Philadelphia 2026: Celebrations kick off this summer for America’s Semiquincentennial

America will mark its 250th anniversary on July 4, 2026, but Philadelphia is getting the party started early with a full line-up of celebrations starting in just a few short weeks.

Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro joined city and state leaders on Tuesday to announce the first wave of a multi-year schedule of programming, events and activities leading up to the Semiquincentennial.

"As our nation prepares to celebrate its 250th anniversary in 2026, Philadelphia and the entire Commonwealth of Pennsylvania will be the place to be," Shapiro said.

As an upcoming host for the FIFA World Cup and MLB All Star Game, Philadelphia will see millions of visitors from around the world over the next couple of years.

However, the city will kick off its Semiquincentennial celebrations on July 2 with a new local event to show off its Philadelphia pride.

Semiquincentennial line-up

  • Red, White, & Blue To-Do: John Adams famously declared that July 2nd should be a day of "pomp and parade." So, starting July 2, 2024, and occurring annually, the Philadelphia Historic District partners will host this patriotic celebration taking place throughout America’s most historic square mile with parades, concerts and more.
  • The Young People’s Continental Congress: In July of 2024 and 2025 Carpenters’ Hall will host this youth-focused event bringing together delegates from across the country to explore the themes of democracy and to engage in civic dialogue.
  • 250th Birthdays of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps:  In October of 2025, Philadelphia will be partnering with the US Navy and Marine Corps as well as Homecoming 250 in hosting their 250th birthday celebration. More details on that event will be coming in the months ahead.
  • The Declaration’s Journey: The Museum of the American Revolution will host this major special exhibition exploring the history and global impact of the Declaration of Independence from 1776 to today. The exhibition will run from Oct. 18, 2025 through Jan. 3, 2027.
  • 52 Weeks of Firsts: The Philadelphia Historic District will commemorate the Philadelphia-born creativity and ingenuity that has been shared globally over the past 250 years with weekly acknowledgments starting January 2026.
  • NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament: March Madness comes to Philadelphia in 2026 when the city will host first and second round tournament play at the Wells Fargo Center.
  • ArtPhilly What Now: This city-wide arts festival will launch in May 2026 and will highlight Philadelphia’s iconic arts institutions, neighborhood arts initiatives and talented artists.
  • FIFA World Cup 26™: June - July 2026 Philadelphia will host matches at Lincoln Financial Field culminating in a knockout stage match on July 4, 2026. The World Cup FanFest will also run through July 17th giving soccer fans a great place to meet up, watch matches and celebrate victories.
  • Wawa Welcome America: And, with the world watching, the city will host the biggest and best July 4th celebration Philadelphia’s ever seen.
  • 2026 Major League Baseball All-Star Game: Citizens Bank Park will host this multi-day event honoring baseball’s best and celebrating America’s favorite past-time in the city where America was born.
  • Printmaking by the People - Citywide Voices of 2026: Mural Arts Philadelphia team will begin concepting in 2024, and in 2026 will present this crowd-sourced mural that will create a lasting visual legacy that honors the semiquincentennial, our shared values and desired changes.

New TED series

In addition to a slate of new activities, the TED Democracy Series in Philadelphia was also officially launched during Tuesday's announcement.

"Philadelphia is teaming up with TED — another convener of ideas — to create a platform that could shape the next 250 years of democracy globally," said TED CEO Jay Herratti.

The first TED Fireside Chat will feature Emmy-nominated host, producer, writer, and public speaker, Baratunde Thurston. Governor Shapiro will headline a TED Fireside Chat later this year.