Outside the Philadelphia city limits, a plethora of small towns await your visit. From art galleries to avocado ice cream, each destination offers its own unique treasures to explore.
New Hope, PA
Quaint and quirky, New Hope has long served as a haven for artists, actors and Philadelphians in need of a break from city life. This riverside community forty miles outside of Center City overflows with small-town charm.
To get the lay of the land during a day trip, hop aboard the New Hope & Ivyland Railroad, a steam train that takes visitors on a 45-minute narrated tour through the surrounding countryside.
Next, stroll the six-block stretch of Main Street, which, along with its adjacent side streets, comprises the heart of downtown. Several art galleries, including A Mano Gallery, Bucks County Gallery of Fine Art and Gallery Piquel, showcase crafts, furniture, fine art and home décor from local and national artists.
Kennett Square, PA
Did you know that the Mushroom Capital of the World is located just outside of Philadelphia? In nearby Chester County, Kennett Square and its surrounding farms produce 60 percent of the mushroom supply for the entire country.
For all things fungi, head to The Mushroom Cap, which specializes in mushroom-related kitchenware, home décor, snacks and ingredients. Then walk along State Street to shop for sustainable clothing at Eco Boutique, vintage furniture at Scout & Annie Vintage Homegoods and gourmet groceries at The Market at Liberty Place.
After grabbing a bite at the hyper-locally sourced Talula's Table or the mushroom-centric Portobellos, satisfy your sweet tooth at Michoacana. This Mexican spot specializes in inventive homemade ice cream in unusual flavors like corn, avocado, rice pudding and tamarind, topped with cinnamon, chili powder and other spices.
Located an easy, forty-mile drive from Center City, Kennett Square once served as a military encampment and was an important part of the Underground Railroad, earning it a slot on the National Register of Historic Places.
Chestnut Hill, PA
Though technically part of Philadelphia, Chestnut Hill feels worlds away from city life, which is why the town makes an excellent stand-in for Hogsmeade during the annual Harry Potter Festival every fall. The Victorian architecture, historic mansions, and independent shops, however, make this idyllic town worth visiting year-round.
Chestnut Hill is just a 25-minute drive from Center City and is easily accessible via public transportation, perfect for a quick day trip or weekend getaway. Germantown Avenue, the neighborhood's main drag, boasts a selection of locally owned storefronts, including Bredenbeck's Bakery & Ice Cream Parlor, Oxford Circus toy store and William A. Kilian Hardware Co.
In addition to its picturesque appeal, Chestnut Hill includes renowned attractions. Visitors can view the sunrise and sunset at Skyspace, a permanent light installation by renowned artist James Turrell; meander through meadows, streams and sculptures at Morris Arboretum; and study paintings from local artists like N. C. Wyeth and Benjamin West at Woodmere Art Museum.
Just over the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, Collingswood, NJ is a short drive, bus or train ride from Center City. Named for the once-prominent Collings family, this commuter-friendly haven features a walkable downtown, beautifully restored homes and an engaged, vibrant community of residents.
The town's dining scene abounds with authentic options for Italian, Asian, Caribbean, South American and Southern cuisine. Top eateries like Zeppoli and Indiya consistently receive rave reviews and draw loyal patrons from all over the region. As of May 2, the Collingswood Farmers' Market is open on Saturdays from 8 am until noon. Locals come here to mingle and enjoy goods from farmers, bakers, artisans, makers and purveyors based nearby.
Collingswood's newest blockbuster attraction, the DePace Sports Museum, houses more than $30 million worth of sports memorabilia, including boxing trunks that once belonged to Joe Lewis, Jim Thorpe's leather football helmet and Phillies star Mike Schmidt's locker.
The Camden Waterfront, NJ
Directly across the Delaware River from Penn's Landing, the waterfront district in Camden, New Jersey, provides nonstop opportunities for family-friendly fun. Be sure to tour Adventure Aquarium, which touts more than 8,500 aquatic species including the largest collection of sharks on the east coast. The eight adorable little blue penguins who arrived at the aquarium in January 2016 have made quite a splash with guests.
The Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial also calls Camden home. Set in a massive retired military vessel, this museum showcases what life was like aboard the "Big J" when it was in use from World War II through the Persian Gulf War. Kids love the seasonal Camden Children's Garden which features indoor and outdoor exhibits like the Dinosaur Garden, Butterfly House, a tree house, storybook gardens and a carousel.
Pennsylvania‘s picturesque countryside includes the Brandywine Valley, roughly 30 miles beyond city limits. The area’s rustic landscapes served as an inspiration for famed artist Andrew Wyeth, and visitors can view Wyeth’s masterpieces at the Brandywine River Museum.
Less than a mile away along Route 1, the state’s largest winery, Chaddsford Winery, offers samples of reds and whites, self-guided tours and festive events all summer. Nearby Va La Vineyards likewise produces great local wines and hosts occasional al fresco afternoon concerts. Also in the area, Longwood Gardens is a horticultural wonderland spanning 1,050 acres with a packed summer schedule of performances, fountain shows and fireworks.
Bucks County, PA
Find serenity in Bucks County, Pa., known for such Rockwellian towns as Doylestown. Here, you can examine a collection of early American tools and artifacts inside the Mercer Museum or admire Pennsylvania Impressionist paintings at the James A. Michener Art Museum.
Then venture to New Hope, a colorful town along the Delaware River. Take a scenic ride on the New Hope & Ivyland Railroad, or explore the eclectic shops along Main Street. Cross the Delaware on foot via the Main Street Bridge to Lambertville, NJ, to hunt for antique treasures.