Celebrate July Fourth with parades, fireworks and history 

Posted 6/25/24

You don’t have to fight the traffic and the crowds in Center City to celebrate Independence Day in the nation’s birthplace.

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Celebrate July Fourth with parades, fireworks and history 


You don’t have to fight the traffic and the crowds in Center City to celebrate Independence Day in the nation’s birthplace. Northwest Philadelphia and the nearby suburbs offer a bunch of activities celebrating the holiday. There will be the traditional parades and fireworks, but also a garden scavenger hunt at Morris Arboretum & Gardens and a chance to soak up history at Germantown’s historic mansions. 

If you’re looking for something to do, read on …..

Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion

Philadelphia’s only Victorian historic house museum, Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion in Germantown, will be open as part of the city’s Free Museum Days. Hear the stories of men and women in the period from the Civil War through 1900. Noon to 4 p.m., Fri., June 28. 200 W. Tulpehocken St.  For info, visit ebenezermaxwellmansion.org.

 Red, White Blue & You

Get a jump on the July 4th holiday with a new spin on a Chestnut Hill tradition. Independence Day-decorated bicycles and wagons that usually are displayed after the Chestnut Hill’s Bocce Club’s annual  “For the Kids” holiday parade on July 4th will adorn the windows of Germantown Avenue businesses starting June 29 when some merchants will offer special sales and deals. The decorated “wheels” will be on display through through July 3. For info, visit chestnuthillpa.com.

High Point Sunday Market

Celebrate the holiday with live music, crafters, food and fun at the summer’s weekly High Point Sunday Market at the Allens Lane Train Station in Mt. Airy. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays through September. 7210 Cresheim Rd.  

Ambler Carnival

The Kiwanis of Ambler hosts the group’s annual carnival at Wissahickon High School, 6 to 10 p.m., July 2 to 6. Fireworks will light the sky at 9 p.m., July 5, with a rain date of July 6. Wissahickon High School is at 52 Houston Rd., Ambler. For info and ticket pricing, visit k01532.site.kiwanis.org.

Philly Gumbo

Enjoy a blend of music genres that represents the melting pot that is America with a July 3 performance by Philly Gumbo, the band that mixes New Orleans R&B, reggae, funk and soul into their own eclectic style of music. Pastorius Park Concert Series. Free. 7:30 p.m. Pastorius Park is at 8177 Roanoke St. For info, visit chestnuthill.org.

Independence Day “For the Kids” Parade

For the 108th year, the Chestnut Hill Bocce Club will host its annual July 4th celebration that transforms part of Chestnut Hill into a patriotic wonderland for the young – and young at heart. A decorated bike parade will kick off the festivities at 9 a.m. at the corner of Devon Street and Hartwell Lane. Prizes will be awarded for the best decorated bikes, and attendees can participate in bike races at the Water Tower Recreation Center. Stop by for a fun time of face painting, balloons, a magic show– and a free lunch. 


Tour the historic home of the Chew family, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., July 4. Bring a picnic and enjoy the grounds, view reader rails, and learn the history of Cliveden in the Carriage House. Free. 6401 Germantown Avenue. For info, visit Cliveden.org.

Scavenger Hunt

Come to the Morris Arboretum & Gardens for Independence Day and participate in a firework flower scavenger hunt. Find the plants on-site that have a stellate shape, in other words, plants that look like fireworks. Find all five and get a cold treat. All day, July 4. The arboretum is at 100 E. Northwestern Ave. For info, visit morrisarboretum.org.

Youth performances

Celebrate at The Concord School House in Germantown with a bell-ringing ceremony, readings from the Grounded Theatre Company’s Youth Conservatory and musical performances by students at the Settlement Music School. The Concord School House, built in 1775 and expanded in 1818, is an intact nineteenth-century schoolroom. Free. July 4. The site will open noon to 4 p.m. for visits and tours. The bell ringing and performances are at 2 p.m. 6309 Germantown Ave. For info, visit concordschoolhouse.org.

Johnson House

Join a docent led 60-minute guided tour of the Johnson House Historic Site, a National Historic Landmark and Underground Railroad station, to learn about the history of the Quaker abolitionist Johnson Family, the anti-enslavement movement, the early history of enslavement in America and the collaborative efforts between Black - free and enslaved - and White abolitionists. July 4. For info, visit johnsonhouse.org.

Patriotic in Glenside

One of the nation’s oldest consecutively run celebrations kicks off at 10 a.m. July 4 with a morning program for children at Renninger Memorial Park, followed later that day, at 4 p.m., with “The Grand, Glorious Patriotic Parade” that will traverse a 1.5 mile stretch through Glenside, including a march down Easton Road.  And then, after the sun sets, watch an aerial fireworks spectacular at Abington Junior and Senior High Schools. The park is at 185 S. Keswick Ave. The schools are at 900 Highland Ave. Events are organized annually by the Greater Glenside Patriotic Association.  For info, visit glensideparade.com.

Whitemarsh Parade and Picnic

Don't miss the celebration during Whitemarsh Township's Annual 4th of July Parade held in conjunction with the Lions Club of Whitemarsh. The holiday parade begins at 10 a.m. from the intersection of Crescent Avenue and Germantown Pike. The parade will march down Germantown Pike and end in Miles Park. After the parade, the celebration turns into a community picnic at the park. For info, visit whitemarshparks.org.

Arts & Eats

After all the red, white and blue decorations get put away for another year, take a stroll on Germantown Avenue for Chestnut Hill’s monthly First Friday event on July 5. Art galleries and shop owners extend their hours until 8 p.m., transforming the town into a lively hub of artistic expression and delectable treats. Visit galleries, shop at stores and taste the food and drink specials courtesy of the Avenue’s culinary cuisine. For info, visit chestnuthillpa.com.