The Fourth of July is a big deal here in Philly, where our country was officially founded. And while there are a bevy of events planned for the national holiday, the big shebang will be happening on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and around Independence Mall with the annual Wawa Welcome America festival.
This year, it’s a five-day party with more than 50 free events, including the July Fourth concert featuring headliner Mary J. Blige, that will take place around the city to celebrate our nation’s independence.
Sticking around these parts for the big weekend? Or coming from out of town? Here’s what you need to know if you want to attend.
When and where is Wawa Welcome America?
The five-day-long event kicks off on Thursday, June 29 and runs through Tuesday, July 4. Most of the big events take place on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, but there are many others taking place throughout the city.
Independence Day Parade
July 4 at Independence Mall from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Wawa Welcome America July 4 Concert
July 4 on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway from 7 to 9:30 p.m.
Wawa Welcome America July 4 Fireworks
July 4 on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway fro 9:30 to 10 p.m.
Freedom Festival Fireworks
July 4 on the Delaware River Waterfront from 9:30 to 10 p.m.
Which streets will be closed for Wawa Welcome America?
A bunch of roads will be closed all around the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and Independence Mall from Thursday, June 29 through Tuesday, July 4. Per the City of Philadelphia, the street closures are as follows:
Thursday, June 29
Arch Street, between 5th and 6th streets, will be closed for crowd safety, between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. for Wawa Hoagie Day, which begins at noon at the National Constitution Center.
Friday, June 30
Chestnut Street, between 5th and 6th streets, will be closed from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. to construct the stage for the Pops Concert.
Saturday, July 1
Chestnut Street, between 5th and 6th streets, will be closed, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. for ongoing stage construction.
Monday, July 3
- Chestnut Street, between 5th and 6th streets, from 6 a.m. through the post-event break-down of the festivities on July 4 at about 5 p.m.
- 5th Street, between Market and Walnut streets including Ranstead and Ludlow Streets, between 4th and 5th streets, from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
- 5th Street, between Market and Walnut streets Including Ranstead and Ludlow Streets, between 4th and 5th streets, from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
- 6th Street, between Market and Chestnut will remain closed overnight until the post-event break down of the festivities on July 4th at about 5 p.m.
- See maps below: The inner lanes of the Parkway, between 20th and Eakins Oval, will be closed from 9:30 a.m. until July 5th at 5 a.m. (Outbound lanes will reopen for evening rush hour on Monday, July 3).
Tuesday, July 4
- Chestnut Street, between 5th and 6th streets, from the prior-day closures will be in effect until 5 p.m.
- 6th Street, between Market and Chestnut streets, from prior day until 5 p.m.
- See map below: Chestnut Street, from 5th to Front streets, and Front Street, from Market to Dock streets, will be closed on July 4th, from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., for the set-up of the parade.
- See map below: Chestnut Street, from 6th to 9th Street; 9th Street, from Walnut to Market streets; and Market Street, from 10th to Front streets, will close at about 10:45 a.m. until about 2 p.m. All cross streets (9th, 8th, 7th, 4th, 3rd, 2nd) will be closed during the parade — one block back from the parade route (Arch or Walnut), to allow traffic to be diverted around the parade.
- See map below: All lanes and the entire width of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, from 18th to the Art Museum, will be closed beginning at 5 a.m. until July 5. The Parkway, from 15th to 18th streets, may be closed, depending on the volume of pedestrian traffic.
- A limited-access perimeter (event participants and Parkway-area residents only) will be established, from 18th to 25th streets, and from Arch to Spring Garden streets, beginning at 5 a.m. until the clean-up is complete in the early hours of July 5th.
- See map below: The Parkway, from 20th to 25th streets, will be closed for extensive cleanup overnight until about 5 a.m. on Wednesday, July 5th.
How to get to Wawa Welcome America
If you’ve made it this far, the answer is pretty clear: You’re going to want to walk or take public transportation. SEPTA is running extra service on July 4 to and from Wawa Welcome America activities. You can find their Independence Day schedule here.
There’s also PHLASH, a local bus that only runs on weekends and roams around all of Center City’s main attractions. You can buy a ticket for just $2 or $5 a day and hop on and off as you wish.