PHILADELPHIA, June 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --When it comes to celebrating America's birthday, nobody rocks it like Philadelphia, America's birthplace, and 2013 -- the country's 237th birthday -- will be no exception thanks to festive happenings before, during and after the Fourth of July. From July 1-7, Wawa Welcome America! hosts a week-long celebration filled with festive events, including the largest free concert in America starring Philly hometown heroes and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon house band The Roots. Add to that two major fireworks shows, more concerts, movie screenings and food-focused events -- all of which are free -- for a Fourth of July weekend that's sure to go down in history. The full lineup is posted at welcomeamerica.com.
Visitors can book their hotel stay at visitphilly.com, where they'll find great rates and packages. The Philly Overnight® Hotel Package, one of the site's most popular offerings, includes a two-night hotel stay and free hotel parking.
Pre-Fourth of July Festivities:
1. Movie buffs can gather in beautiful Rittenhouse Square to watch Jenkintown native Bradley Cooper in the award-winning Philadelphia-based film Silver Linings Playbook. It's the first screening of 2013 for the Philly @ the Movies series, bringing cinematic classics to the big screen in the open air. July 1, 9:00 p.m. 18th & Walnut Streets
2. Those in the know know to come hungry to Wawa Hoagie Day on the Independence Visitor Center lawn. It's free hoagies for all on the lawn, where the Liberty Belles entertain the sandwich-eating crowds. Then, participants can eat up a mouthwatering exhibition on the history of the hoagie at the National Constitution Center, where admission is free all day. July 2, 12:00 noon-2:00 p.m. 525 Arch Street; Independence Visitor Center, Market Street between 5th & 6th Streets; National Constitution Center, 525 Arch Street
3. The renowned Philadelphia Orchestra takes the RiverStage at the Great Plaza at Penn's Landing for a free Neighborhood Concert, followed by a small-but-dazzling fireworks salute. July 2, 8:05 p.m. 301 S. Columbus Boulevard
4. The Philly @ the Movies series continues with a viewing of the Oscar-winning film Rocky on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Before or after the show, movie-goers can snap a picture in front of the bronze statue of the boxer that sits at the bottom right of the steps—a not-to-be-missed photo opp. July 2, 9:00 p.m. 26th Street & Benjamin Franklin Parkway
5. Peter Nero and the Philly Pops return for the Pops! on Independence concert in front of Independence Hall. Show-goers are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs, blankets and picnic foods to enjoy the always patriotic performance. July 3, 8:00 p.m. 6th & Market Streets
The Fabulous Fourth:
6. The Celebration of Freedom Ceremony pays tribute to the document that started it all: the Declaration of Independence. Taking place in front of Independence Hall, the event features music, speeches and readings derived from the Declaration, and this year's ceremony honors two more weighty birthdays: the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights movement. July 4, 10:00-11:00 a.m. 6th & Chestnut Streets
7. Stepping off from Independence Hall, the Philadelphia Independence Day Parade features more than 5,000 participants from states across the nation, including marching bands, floats and military groups. The parade winds through the country's most historic square mile as part of the most diverse Independence Day parade in the U.S. July 4, 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. 6th & Chestnut Streets
8. Philly's historic district isn't the only happening 'hood on the Fourth. The Benjamin Franklin Parkway's Party on the Parkway features musical entertainment on the Global Music and Questlove stages, interactive games, arts and crafts and plenty of food. July 4, 12:00 noon-7:00 p.m. Benjamin Franklin Parkway from 20th Street to Eakins Oval
9. Hometown musical heroes The Roots host the Wawa Welcome America! Philly 4th of July Jam and Grand Finale Fireworks, featuring some of music's hottest acts: John Mayer, Demi Lovato, Jill Scott, Ne-Yo, Grace Potter and J. Cole, among others. Philadelphia comedian Kevin Hart hosts the evening's festivities, which ends with a spectacular fireworks display above the Philadelphia Museum of Art. July 4, 7:00-10:00 p.m. Benjamin Franklin Parkway from 20th Street to Eakins Oval
The Independence After-Party:
10. A smorgasbord of culinary delights satisfy attendees at Taste of Philadelphia, a three-day food sampling celebration at Penn's Landing, filled with reps from some of the city's favorite restaurants and food trucks. Also on the menu: live music performed on two stages: the RiverStage at Penn's Landing and the Old City Stage at Front and Chestnut Streets. Entertainment and admission to Penn's Landing are free; the bite-sized dishes are offered at a few dollars apiece. On Saturday, Taste ends with a bang as the Adventure Aquarium Waterfront Fireworks Spectacular illuminates the sky over the Delaware River. July 5, 12:00 noon-10:00 p.m., July 6, 12:00 noon-10:00 p.m.; and July 7, 12:00 noon-3:00 p.m. 301 S. Columbus Boulevard
11. For Philly guys The Roots, one day of celebrating is just not enough. So, they added a full day and night of music to the calendar—and it's free. The day before the Fourth of July Jam, The City transforms The Piazza at Schmidts into a mini-Philly, with neighborhoods represented throughout the space. The diverse lineup of music includes GoGo Morrow, Cody Wise and Modern Inventors, and runway shows between acts show off the apparel and accessories of national designers. Not enough? After the show, music lovers can head to the TLA for the ticketed Brothers in Arms, starring Questlove and D'Angelo. July 3, 2:00-9:00 p.m. 2nd Street & Germantown Avenue; July 3, 10:30 p.m. 334 South Street
The Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation (GPTMC) makes Philadelphia and The Countryside® a premier destination through marketing and image building that increases business and promotes the region's vitality.
For more information about travel to Philadelphia, visit visitphilly.com or uwishunu.com, where you can build itineraries; search event calendars; see photos and videos; view interactive maps; sign up for newsletters; listen to HearPhilly, an online radio station about what to see and do in the region; book hotel reservations and more. Or, call the Independence Visitor Center, located in Historic Philadelphia, at (800) 537-7676.
SOURCE Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation