Two of several major events in Philadelphia this summer: Fireworks light up the sky above the Philadelphia Museum of Art during the city’s Wawa Welcome America! celebration (left), June 27-July 4, 2015, while Tall Ships Philadelphia Camden pulls into port from June 24-28, 2015 (the Gazela is pictured).
Credit: Photos by J. Fusco (left) for VISIT PHILADELPHIA and courtesy of Draw Events (right).
Philadelphia is well known as the nation’s birthplace, and in summer 2015 the city will make history once again with blockbuster events and exhibits filling the calendar all season long. Festivities sail into Philadelphia in June with the arrival of the Tall Ships Philadelphia Camden and the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s major exhibition of impressionist works. Come July, the 50thAnniversary of the Gay Rights Movement marks a half-century of activism in the place where it all began, and Wawa Welcome America!throws the country’s biggest birthday party. As summer fades into fall, all eyes will be on Philadelphia when Pope Francis makes his first U.S. visit during the World Meeting of Families and celebrates a public mass on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
Here are more details about this historic summer in Philadelphia:
- The 50th Anniversary of the Gay Rights Movement kicks off in June with the opening of the exhibition Speaking Out for Justice: Gay Rights, the Supreme Court and the Constitutionat the National Constitution Center. Other exhibitions and activities celebrating LGBT culture and heritage are planned for the William Way LGBT Community Center, the Free Library of Philadelphia, the National Museum of American Jewish History, the Opera Company of Philadelphia and Taller Puertorriqueño, among others. The celebration’s signature events take place over Fourth of July weekend, with a reenactment of the Reminder Day demonstrations in front of Independence Hall, a wreath-laying ceremony at the historic marker that acknowledges the site of the demonstrations, panel discussions, a festival, concerts and more.June-December 2015. Constitution Center, 525 Arch Street, (215) 409-6700, constitutioncenter.org; various locations for other happenings, reminder2015.org, lgbt50.org
- When the Tall Ships Philadelphia Camden pulls into port this summer, visitors can watch the colorful parade of sail led by a giant floating rubber ducky—the world’s largest—and tour L’Hermione, a replica of the ship that brought General Lafayette to the aid of the fledgling United States during the Revolutionary War, along with more than a dozen vessels from around the world. Ships will be docked on both sides of the river at Penn’s Landing and along the Camden Waterfront. Boat lovers and landlubbers can also enjoy live entertainment, hands-on activities and a dazzling fireworks display. June 24-28, 2015. Delaware River Waterfront, (626) 656-3729,tallshipsphiladelphia.com
- Discovering the Impressionists: Paul Durand-Ruel and the New Painting celebrates the ambitious and visionary Parisian art dealer who supported and helped elevate a new style of painting. On view at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the exhibit, showcasing approximately
95 impressionist works, is bigger and more comprehensive than its showings at the Musée du Luxembourg in Paris and the National Gallery in London. Art lovers will view works by Monet, Pissarro, Renoir, Sisley, Degas, Manet and others. June 24-September 13, 2015. 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, (215) 763-8100, philamuseum.org
- Philadelphia celebrates America’s birthday like no place else. In the week leading up to Independence Day, Wawa Welcome America!and other celebrations will light up the city’s historic district and Delaware River Waterfront with concerts, fireworks, historic re-enactments, Wawa Hoagie Day and other family-friendly activities. Then on July 4, the granddaddy of all concerts will take over the Benjamin Franklin Parkway with chart-topping artists hitting the stage prior to a grand-finale fireworks display. June 27-July 4, 2015. Various locations.welcomeamerica.com
- Tens of thousands of people from around the globe will converge on Philadelphia for the eighth World Meeting of Families. Throughout the week, approximately 100 speakers will lead panel discussions and workshops at the Pennsylvania Convention Center focused on the theme “Love is our Mission: The Family Fully Alive.” Museums and area attractions will also offer special programs and exhibits geared towards families. The highlight of the event will be the arrival of Pope Francis at the end of the congress. He’ll make his first visit to the United States and will celebrate a public mass on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. September 22-27, 2015. worldmeeting2015.org
VISIT PHILADELPHIA®, formerly known as Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation, makes Philadelphia and The Countryside® a premier destination through marketing and image building that increases the number of visitors, the number of nights they stay and the number of things they do in the five-county area.
On Greater Philadelphia’s official visitor website and blog, visitphilly.com and uwishunu.com, visitors can explore things to do, upcoming events, themed itineraries and hotel packages. Compelling photography and videos, interactive maps and detailed visitor information make the sites effective trip-planning tools. Along with Visit Philly social media channels, the online platforms communicate directly with consumers. Travelers can also call and stop into the Independence Visitor Center for additional information and tickets.