Nobody does Independence Day better than Philadelphia, the city where it all originated. This area, steeped in historical significance for the United States, boasts some of the best fireworks displays in the country with celebrations like none other. From week-long extravaganzas to fiery explosions in the sky, these are the best places to go on the 4th of July.
4th of July Jam and Grand Finale Fireworks
Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Between 18th and 23rd streets
Philadelphia, PA 19130
Hours: 8:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.
On Independence Day, the 10-day Wawa Welcome America! extravaganza hosts a parade through historic Philadelphia starting at 11 a.m. Then it’s on to the Party on the Parkway complete with entertainment, games, educational activities and foods to please every palate. Later, though, all heads will turn toward the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum for an 8:30 p.m. Goo Goo Dolls concert followed by a one-of-a-kind fireworks spectacular, visible, of course, from the parkway, but also from Lemon Hill, Boathouse Row, Kelly Drive, MLK Drive and the Schuylkill River Park.
100 Sesame Road
Langhorne, PA 19047
When it comes to good times for kids and adults, nothing compares with Sesame Place, which makes it the perfect setting for a unique Independence Day family celebration. Spend the day enjoying all of the attractions, such as the roller coaster and carousel, take a dip in a pool, ride a raft down a lazy river or head down a water slide. Have dinner with Sesame Street characters, eat at one of the many eateries or bring your own fare,as you wait for the Neighborhood Street Party parade at 9 p.m. followed by fireworks set to everyone’s favorite Sesame Street tunes.
Stars and Stripes
1001 Longwood Road
Kennett Square, PA 19348
Click here for prices
Hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. gardens; 9:15 p.m. fireworks
Come for the 1,077 acres of outdoor gardens and the four-acre Conservatory, and stay for Independence Day festivities that include a musical program that would make John Philip Sousa proud. Known as the March King, he composed such greats as “Semper Fidelis” and “The Stars and Stripes Forever,” Sousa and his band performed 14 concerts here. The celebration then wraps up with stunning fireworks and illuminated fountains, all making for a one-of-a-kind 4th of July.
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Skippack Village 4th of July Parade, Concert and Fireworks
4059 Skippack Pike
Skippack, PA 19474
Heckler and Creamery Roads
Skippack, PA 19474
Hours: 11 a.m. to dusk
Only 20 miles north of Philadelphia, there is no better place to celebrate the fourth in the city’s suburbs than in Skippack Village where, in 1777, George Washington and his men camped out before heading to the Battle of Germantown. The festivities begin with a parade down Route 73 through the historic village, followed by a Reilly Raiders concert and then a barbecue at the Parc Bistro at 3 p.m. After that, it’s off to Palmer Park for memorable fireworks at dusk.
Pottstown 4th of July Celebration
Highland Memorial Park
701 Farmington Avenue
Pottstown, PA 19464
Hours: July 3 – 5 p.m. to 9:45 p.m.; July 4 – 8 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Get set for two days of patriotic revelry that boasts everything from a cutest baby contest and carnival to a water slide, live music and craft show. There is, of course, also a parade, and this one holds bragging rights as, along with old cars, marching and string bands, and a even a booming calliope, you’ll be seeing the famous Clydesdale horses, which you may later ride. Then enjoy fireworks in the park after dark.
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Carol Josel, a Blue Bell, PA resident, is a learning specialist, author of three books, and examiner.com contributor. Her work can be found here