When it comes to the best cities to visit for the Fourth of July, Boston and Washington, D.C. win out every year with their spectacular fireworks displays. For American-history buffs, however, there’s no better place to celebrate the birth of our nation than where it all began: Philadelphia.
Nicknamed the “Birthplace of America,” Philadelphia is now rife with buzz-worthy restaurants, luxury hotels, top-notch museums, and, of course, ample American Revolution history. Below, we’ve rounded up where to eat, stay, and play over a July 4 stay so you can get to know the modern version of our nation’s early capital city—plus where to see the fireworks for July 4th in Philadelphia.
Where to eat in Philadelphia
One of the nation’s oldest public markets, Reading Terminal Market draws locals and visitors alike to shop like they did when the market first opened in 1892. In between the collection of food stalls selling produce, freshly butchered meats, seafood, handmade cheeses, and warm donuts are dozens of restaurants serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Some of the best eats include the famous roast pork sandwich at DiNic’s, with its thinly sliced roast pork, sharp provolone, and chopped broccoli rabe on a long roll; the roast duck and roast pork barbecue rice platter at Sang Kee Peking Duck House; and the Franklin cheesesteak at Carmen’s Famous Italian Hoagies and Cheesesteaks, which features both American cheese and Philadelphia cream cheese.
No historic tour of Philadelphia is complete without a pint at McGillin’s Olde Ale House. Opened in 1860 when Lincoln was elected, the tavern is the oldest drinking establishment in the city and one of the longest continuously operating bars in the country. In addition to Irish stouts, there’s a large selection of Eastern Pennsylvania microbrews, as well as standard Irish fare like fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, and seafood cake.
At Wilder, it’s all about fresh ingredients. The restaurant’s name is a nod to the abundance of peak-season vegetables on the menu, whether in handmade pastas, wood-fired pizzas, or savory main dishes like pork chop Milanese with fennel-and-peach salad. Housed in a historic building in Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse neighborhood, the 4,500-square-foot, three-story spot also features a fun, unique design, complete with leopard-print bar chairs, electric blue booths, mismatched chandeliers, and Persian rugs on the walls.
A bookstore, art gallery, and intimate music venue, LMNO is also one of Philly’s hottest restaurants. The cuisine here is Mexican, and the menu is filled with creative takes on Baja cuisine, including five types of aguachile (don’t miss the Rojo with shrimp, scallops, crab, watermelon, and cucumber) and house specials like an 18-ounce, bone-in ribeye, served with flour tortillas and green papaya salad. After eating, be sure to check out the bookshop curated by photography-focused Dashwood Books, the gallery with rotating shows by local artists, and the listening room, which regularly hosts live music and DJ sets.