If fireworks are what you’re after this Fourth of July, all you have to do is look up — from Penn’s Landing to the Ben Franklin Parkway, Philly’s got spectacle covered from river to river. But if you’re looking for a more nuanced way to celebrate independence this weekend, don’t forget about some of the city’s better-kept patriotic secrets, from historic bell-ringing in Germantown to a Society Hill soda festival.
Music: Summer Nights Concert at the Penn Museum
July 3, 5 p.m.
This Latin ensemble is dedicated to the interpretation of folk and traditional music from all over Latin America and the Caribbean. Puerto Rican boleros, Cuban sones, Mexican mariachi music, Colombian cumbias and Dominican merengues are some of the many styles they perform.
Theater: Patrick Henry's speech by the American Historical Theatre at Independence Hall
July 4, 1-2:30 p.m.
Dedicated to the art of historical interpretation, the American Historical Theatre brings Patrick Henry and the PA Sons of the Revolution to Independence Hall on the Fourth. Hear an impassioned speech by the famous Virginian, and show up a bit early for a photo op.
Visual art: Special holiday tour at Philadelphia's Magic Gardens
July 4, 2 p.m.
Take an hourlong walk into the alleyways along South Street to view Isaiah Zagar's glittering creations, led by a trained Philadelphia's Magic Gardens interpreter. You'll learn detailed information about Zagar's technique along with the personal and community stories depicted in his large, shimmering murals. Walking tour price includes admission to the Gardens.
Museums: Spotlight talks and arts and crafts at the National Museum of American Jewish History
July 4, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Pay what you wish
Listen to a talk focused on American Jews and the Revolutionary War while your kids illustrate what freedom means to them by diving into arts and crafts. (Projects include flag making, decorating a patriotic pin and more.)
Museums: Seventh Annual Philly Phyzz Fest at the Physic House
July 6, 1-5 p.m.
To celebrate Dr. Physick's life, birthday, achievements and contributions to medicine and Philadelphia history, Landmarks will host a day of fun and activities for the whole family. The festival will be held in the garden of the Physick house; the only freestanding federal-style mansion remaining in Society Hill, built in 1786 by Henry Hill.
Family: Ring Out Freedom and Independence in Historic Germantown
July 4, 11:30-4 p.m.
Five of Historic Germantown’s member sites participate in this annual celebration of America’s road to freedom, from Stenton’s old-fashioned 4th of July celebration and free tours in Hood Cemetery to a special interactive activity for kids at Cliveden, “Life as a Colonial Soldier.”
—Rachel Olenick, Canary Promotion