Waterfront Festival

Live Entertainment, Hands-On Educational Activities, Fun Festival Foods, Beer Gardens & Fireworks Await This Memorial Day Weekend


Parade of Sail
Thursday, May 24, 3 – 5pm (time subject to change)

The Parade of Sail is a stunning display of maritime pageantry as the tall ships sail into Philadelphia’s waterfront along the Delaware River. The Parade kicks off at (approximately) 3pm as the ships approach Penn’s Landing, each providing their own unique version of showmanship before docking. No tickets required, the Parade of Sail is free and open to the public.

Lower Merion Jazz Band
Friday, May 25, 7:30 – 9pm

Head to the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing for a free concert performed by the Lower Merion Jazz Band. No tickets required, the concert is free and open to the public.

U.S. Airforce Band Concert
Saturday, May 26, 7:30 – 8:45pm

The Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing reopens to the public for a free concert performed by U.S. Airforce (USAF) Band – Full Spectrum. A six-piece high energy “pop & hip-hop” band out of the USAF Heritage of America Band, this dynamic group of Active Duty musicians is assembled from areas throughout the U.S. No tickets required..

Delaware River Waterfront Fireworks
Saturday, May 26, 9:00pm

To kick off the summer season, a spectacular fireworks show will illuminate the Delaware River. No tickets required, the fireworks display is free and open to the public.

Guests can also join the crew of the Gazela for a special night of fun and fireworks. Tickets are available now for the reception and include Sail Philadelphia admission for Saturday, May 26. Spend the day enjoying the waterfront festivities and then spend the night watching fireworks from Philadelphia’s own tall ship, the Gazela.


Buy Festival-Only Tickets
Great Plaza Main Stage Performances
May 25 – 28, 2 – 7pm

Live music and family-friendly performances provide a full day, or weekend, of entertainment for Sail Philadelphia attendees. The main stage at the Great Plaza will feature musical acts including The Jolly Tars (maritime folk band), the Sea Dogs (maritime band & nautical performance group), Stella Ruze (indie folk band), the Beat Tells (Beatles tribute band), and Man About a Horse (a bluegrass quintet). Illusionist Ran’D Shine will also delight crowds with his unique brand of magical comedy. All shows and entertainment are included with same-day festival admission tickets.

Maritime Village Entertainment
May 25 – 28, 11 – 7pm

Jugglers, stilt walkers, and magicians will entertain festival-goers throughout the holiday weekend. Even the youngest crew members can enjoy face painting, carnival booth games, waterfront safety lessons from a U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary group, and get a few seafaring pointers from SailTime Philadelphia.

Activities at Independence Seaport Museum
May 25 – 28, 11 – 5pm

Beat the heat and head indoors for educational and entertaining activities at the Independence Seaport Museum. Throughout the Sail Philadelphia festival, the museum will offer:

  • Hands-On Activities
    • Signal Flag Activity – create colorful signal flags and learn the meaning behind flags that ships use to communicate to each other.
    • Telescope Activity – make your own telescope using a cardboard paper tube to learn about instruments used at sea for navigation.
    • Moving Fish Activity – create a fun moving fish and learn about the Channel Catfish that lives in the Delaware River.
    • Cork Boat Activity – learn about the science behind buoyancy and why corks float by building a cork boat of your own.
    • Talk to the Curator – see artifacts from the museum collection and talk to Chief Curator Craig Bruns to learn more about all of the history that the museum holds.
  • Citizen Science Lab Activities
    • Aquatic Acidification – experiment and learn how changing pH affects life in the Delaware River and what can you do to help keep our waterways healthy.
    • Explosions – shake up your knowledge and burst with wisdom as you explore the effects of pressure, containment, and ignition that have led to some of the worst disasters at sea.
    • Classy Plankton – explore what’s happening in the busy microscopic world of plankton collected from the Delaware River.
  • Movie Screenings
    May 25 – 28, 1pm & 4pm

    • Enjoy maritime-themed movie magic as the Independence Seaport Museum holds daily screenings of “Finding Nemo” at 1pm and “Pirates of the Carribean” at 4pm.



The Sail Philadelphia celebration wouldn’t be complete without stellar food and beverage options. Guests can choose from a wide array of food vendors throughout the festival grounds including classic festival foods like ice cream, funnel cake, and cotton candy, along with snow crab legs and peel and eat shrimp from Chickie’s & Pete’s.

For sailors over the age of 21, there will be plenty of places to wet your whistle, including three beer gardens.

Deck at Independence Seaport Museum

Beginning Thursday, May 24 at 3pm a pop-up bar will open on the second-floor Deck at Independence Seaport Museum and offer brews and bites from 12th Street Catering. Deck at Independence Seaport Museum will be open daily during the festival until 11pm and will close at 7pm on Memorial Day.

Admirals Tavern

Admirals Tavern, also operated by the Independence Seaport Museum, opens for Sail Philadelphia guests at the Cruiser Olympia. Gather your crew for beer, cocktails, wine, and games aboard the oldest steel warship afloat in the world from 6 – 11pm, May 24 – 27.

Sail Philadelphia Beer Garden

At the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing, the Sail Philadelphia Beer Garden will serve local craft beer and seasonal cocktails from 11am – 7pm during the festival.

Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest
Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest is located at the North end of the Festival, and has food and beverage options at Chickie’s and Pete’s Waterfront Crabshack, Franklin Fountain Clubhouse Cabin, and The Bar at the Waterfront Crabshack.

Spruce Street Harbor Park Sustained by Univest
Spruce Street Harbor Park Sustained by Univest is located at the South end of the Festival, and features food offerings from local Philadelphia restauranteurs, including HipCityVeg, Chickie’s & Pete’s, Garces, Franklin Fountain, and Frozen Delights. Beer, wine, cocktails, and frozen drinks can be purchased from the barge oasis and the beer garden.



Shop Now
Pick up a souvenir on site, or purchase your Sail Philadelphia swag in advance from the Sail Philadelphia online shop. Options include t-shirts, polos, jackets and sweatshirts, totes and boat bags, hats, and more. Sail Philadelphia merchandise is produced in Pennsylvania by Penn Graphic Associates, Inc., a veteran-owned small business.


May 25 – May 28
Price: adults, $10; seniors and military, $8; children ages 12 – 3, $7; children 2 and under, free
Buy Ship Tour Tickets

Daily self-guided ship tours will be available on a timed schedule for six of the visiting tall ships from noon to 7pm. Tours allow guests to board the vessels of their choosing (each ship requires a separate tour ticket) to get a first-hand look at how the ships were crafted, how they function, and how their crews live and work. VIP Early Entry tickets are also available (price: adults, $65; children 12 – 3, $50; children ages 2 and under, free), allowing guests to beat the crowds and tour the ships with fewer people and more time to explore. Early Entry tickets provide access to ship tours between 11am and noon (for one day) prior to general boarding. These tickets also include non-timed entry on all touring ships from noon – 5pm (on the same day of purchase) and admission to the Waterfront Festival and Independence Seaport Museum.

Touring Ships:

  • Oliver Hazard Perry – named after a hero of the War of 1812, Oliver Hazard Perry is the first ocean-going full-rigged ship to be built in the US in 110 years. She resides in Newport, RI.
  • Sagres – sailing in from Lisbon, Sagres is one of the international ships attending the festival as well as one of the largest vessels in the festival.
  • Gazela – the Gazela is right at home in Philadelphia. Gazela has represented her city since 1971 by sailing as a goodwill ambassador (and even starring in a few movies).
  • Spirit of Bermuda – as her name suggests, The Spirit of Bermuda will be sailing to Philadelphia from the Caribbean. She’s a Bermudian training ship modeled after the schooners constructed on the island during the 19th century.
  • LynxSailing from Portsmouth, NH, Lynx is a topsail schooner modeled after a naval schooner from the War of 1812. The original Lynx was an armed “letter of marque” clipper, commissioned during the opening days of the war.
  • Kalmar Nyckelthe tall ship of Delaware, Kalmar Nyckel is a re-creation of a 17th-century Dutch Pinnace which served as an armed merchant ship, a Swedish naval vessel, and as the colonial ship that founded New Sweden (present-day Wilmington, Delaware – her home port).



May 25 – May 28
Price: $90 for Day Sails, $125 for Twilight Sails
Buy Sail Away Cruise Tickets

Sail Aways provide the most immersive experience aboard five of the magnificent tall ships. Guests are offered a cruise along the Delaware River and can choose between a Day Sail (90 minutes) or Twilight Sail (120 minutes), which includes a complimentary glass of wine and snacks. Day Sails are $90 per person and Twilight Sails are $125 per person. Each Sail Away ticket also includes admission to the Waterfront Festival and Independence Seaport Museum. Sail Away tickets are also available for the Parade of Sail, offering guests an exclusive three-hour experience on the water complete with VIP views of the arriving ships and a chance to participate in the event. Parade of Sail tickets are $150 per person.

Sail Away Ships:

  • AJ Meerwald – New Jersey’s official tall ship, docked in Gloucester City, NJ.
  • Northwind – as a school ship, Northwind (docked in Gloucester City, NJ) provides underserved students with an education outside of the traditional classroom setting.
  • America 2.0 – Scarano Boat Building incorporated decades of experience when building America 2.0, creating the sleek and beautiful ship en route to Sail Philadelphia from New York City.
  • When and If – commissioned in 1939, When and If is sailing around the world from her home port in Gloucester, RI.
  • Thomas E. Lannon – the Schooner Thomas E. Lannon was built in 1997 in Essex, MA. She is a family owned and operated vessel that focuses on keeping the history of schooners and the Gloucester fishing industry alive.


Spend Memorial Day Weekend in Philadelphia for five days of waterfront festivities, ship tours, and sailing excursions. Sail Philadelphia festivities will take place rain or shine. Don’t miss the opportunity to view these majestic ships and create your own sailing adventure.