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Crowds of people in hammocks and picnic tables on the Schuylkill River Banks during Parks on Tap. Photo by Albert Yee for Fairmount Park Conservancy

9 things to do in Philly for Memorial Day weekend 2018

From boating and beer, to history and culture, here’s everything you can do this weekend.

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Yes, The Shore and the suburbs are great, but there’s a ton to do here in Philly for a perfect, sun-filled Memorial Day weekend.

You can take in some history at Independence Hall, watch ships and fireworks on the Delaware River, or head down to FDR Park for some outdoor beers.

Maybe you’re making last minute plans, or you just don’t want to join the nearly 500,000 travelers heading out of the city this weekend. Either way, here’s a definitive list of everything—from Memorial Day-specific events, to just fun stuff to do outside—you can do this holiday weekend.

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1. Sail Philadelphia at Penn's Landing

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Penn's Landing
Philadelphia, PA

One of the most highly-anticipated (and beloved) events on Memorial Day Weekend is the Sail Philadelphia Celebration at Penn’s Landing. Watch tall ships travel around the waterfront and do “displays of pagentry” in the Parade of Sail on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Enjoy the waterfront festival on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., with live entertainment, a beer garden, food, and activities, all along the waterfront.

Don’t miss one of the weekend’s highlights—a free fireworks show on the Delaware Riverfront Saturday night.

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2. Hoagie Nation Festival at Festival Pier

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601 N Christopher Columbus Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19123

The second annual Hoagie Nation music festival is coming back to Philly this year with acts like Hall and Oates, Train, Fitz and the Tantrums, and more. Tickets are on sale now for the Saturday event, in case you’re looking for a livelier way to spend your Memorial Day Weekend. If you’re willing to pay a little more for your tickets, you can get admission to a pre-party on Friday night (complete with a “chef driven hoagie experience”).

3. The Philly Pops memorial salute

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123 S Broad St
Philadelphia, PA 19109
(215) 546-7900
Visit Website

If you’re looking to really take in the spirit of the Memorial Day weekend, The Philly Pops’ annual Memorial Salute has you covered. The free concert at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts will feature patriotic anthems to honor veterans, current members of the military, police, and firefighters.

4. Memorial Day weekend at the National Constitution Center

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525 Arch St
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 409-6600
Visit Website

Travel over to Old City for more Memorial Day celebrations, starting with an entire weekend at the National Constitution Center. Attend a flag ceremony, learn about Alexander Hamilton’s early life (a special treat for those of us who couldn’t land Broadway tickets), and experience a day in the life of a revolutionary-era soldier. The weekend has tons of activities that bring the history of Memorial Day and the military alive.

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5. Independence after Hours

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Independence Hall, 520 Chestnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19106

It’s not surprising that Philly has a multitude of Memorial Day events that celebrate the country’s history. After all, we are the birthplace of America (despite that whole Boston debate). Add to that Memorial Day Weekend list a truly Philly event: Independence After Hours. The event starts with an 18th century inspired dinner, and moves on to Independence Hall, where visitors learn about the Declaration of Independence. Remember to bring comfortable walking shoes! The tour covers about eight city blocks.

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6. Parks on Tap at FDR Park

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1500 Pattison Avenue & South Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19145
(215) 683-3600
Visit Website

If you need a break from celebrations—or you just want to spend some quality time outside—Parks on Tap is a great bet. Celebrate the long weekend with beer, sun and some great walking opportunities down at the historic, 100-year-old FDR park.

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7. Decoration Day service at Laurel Hill Cemetery

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3822 Ridge Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19132
(215) 228-8200
Visit Website

Are you looking to take in some history but still be outside? Head over to the Laurel Hill Cemetery Sunday at noon for a recreation of the traditional Decoration Day service to honor veterans. There will be wreath laying and speeches, followed by complimentary beer and refreshments.

8. Bartram's Garden Dock & Community Boathouse

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Take in the long weekend with a gorgeous (and free!) boating trip by Bartram’s Garden. The gardens are providing kayaks, row boats, life jackets, and basic instruction for those who want to head out on the water for 30 to 45 minutes Saturday.

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9. Photo Pop up Philly

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1315 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19107

There’s a new, interactive pop up exhibit in Philly, meant for all those who love Instagram, or just taking fun photos. The exhibit, called Photo Pop Philly, has five different rooms with interactive displays by local artists. The theme is American history-inspired with red, white, and blue installations. Photos are encouraged so bring your camera or phone!

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1. Sail Philadelphia at Penn's Landing

Penn's Landing, Philadelphia, PA

One of the most highly-anticipated (and beloved) events on Memorial Day Weekend is the Sail Philadelphia Celebration at Penn’s Landing. Watch tall ships travel around the waterfront and do “displays of pagentry” in the Parade of Sail on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Enjoy the waterfront festival on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., with live entertainment, a beer garden, food, and activities, all along the waterfront.

Don’t miss one of the weekend’s highlights—a free fireworks show on the Delaware Riverfront Saturday night.

Penn's Landing
Philadelphia, PA

2. Hoagie Nation Festival at Festival Pier

601 N Christopher Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19123

The second annual Hoagie Nation music festival is coming back to Philly this year with acts like Hall and Oates, Train, Fitz and the Tantrums, and more. Tickets are on sale now for the Saturday event, in case you’re looking for a livelier way to spend your Memorial Day Weekend. If you’re willing to pay a little more for your tickets, you can get admission to a pre-party on Friday night (complete with a “chef driven hoagie experience”).

601 N Christopher Columbus Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19123

3. The Philly Pops memorial salute

123 S Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19109

If you’re looking to really take in the spirit of the Memorial Day weekend, The Philly Pops’ annual Memorial Salute has you covered. The free concert at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts will feature patriotic anthems to honor veterans, current members of the military, police, and firefighters.

123 S Broad St
Philadelphia, PA 19109

4. Memorial Day weekend at the National Constitution Center

525 Arch St, Philadelphia, PA 19106

Travel over to Old City for more Memorial Day celebrations, starting with an entire weekend at the National Constitution Center. Attend a flag ceremony, learn about Alexander Hamilton’s early life (a special treat for those of us who couldn’t land Broadway tickets), and experience a day in the life of a revolutionary-era soldier. The weekend has tons of activities that bring the history of Memorial Day and the military alive.

525 Arch St
Philadelphia, PA 19106

5. Independence after Hours

Independence Hall, 520 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19106

It’s not surprising that Philly has a multitude of Memorial Day events that celebrate the country’s history. After all, we are the birthplace of America (despite that whole Boston debate). Add to that Memorial Day Weekend list a truly Philly event: Independence After Hours. The event starts with an 18th century inspired dinner, and moves on to Independence Hall, where visitors learn about the Declaration of Independence. Remember to bring comfortable walking shoes! The tour covers about eight city blocks.

Independence Hall, 520 Chestnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19106

6. Parks on Tap at FDR Park

1500 Pattison Avenue & South Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19145

If you need a break from celebrations—or you just want to spend some quality time outside—Parks on Tap is a great bet. Celebrate the long weekend with beer, sun and some great walking opportunities down at the historic, 100-year-old FDR park.

1500 Pattison Avenue & South Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19145

7. Decoration Day service at Laurel Hill Cemetery

3822 Ridge Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19132

Are you looking to take in some history but still be outside? Head over to the Laurel Hill Cemetery Sunday at noon for a recreation of the traditional Decoration Day service to honor veterans. There will be wreath laying and speeches, followed by complimentary beer and refreshments.

3822 Ridge Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19132

8. Bartram's Garden Dock & Community Boathouse

Philadelphia, PA 19143

Take in the long weekend with a gorgeous (and free!) boating trip by Bartram’s Garden. The gardens are providing kayaks, row boats, life jackets, and basic instruction for those who want to head out on the water for 30 to 45 minutes Saturday.

9. Photo Pop up Philly

1315 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19107

There’s a new, interactive pop up exhibit in Philly, meant for all those who love Instagram, or just taking fun photos. The exhibit, called Photo Pop Philly, has five different rooms with interactive displays by local artists. The theme is American history-inspired with red, white, and blue installations. Photos are encouraged so bring your camera or phone!

1315 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19107