Philadelphia Neighborhood Guide: Chestnut Hill
Located in the northwest corner of Philadelphia, Chestnut Hill is one of the most affluent, picturesque and historic areas of the city. Nestled along 1,800 acres of Wissahickon Valley parkland, the region is bordered by the Wissahickon Gorge and the Cresheim Valley to the southeast. The charming green streets of the neighborhood are populated with stately homes, Victorian townhouses and modest townhouses. Known as the Garden District of Philly, the suburban enclave is teeming with greenery, beloved parks and, you guessed it, gardens. The charming shopping district of Chestnut Hill is centered on Germantown Avenue, which is lined with antique shops, art galleries, shops and restaurants.
Public transport is provided by SEPTA. Two Regional Rail commuter train lines serve the region: the Chestnut Hill East Line and the Chestnut Hill West Line. It takes less than half an hour to get to the bars, shops, restaurants and workplaces of Center City via I-76 E. However, we advise you to avoid driving because public transport is abundant and the traffic can be a nightmare.
Where locals eat brunch
8501 Germantown Ave.
It’s good to have cake for breakfast at Chestnut Hill. The smell of croissants, scones and freshly baked cookies greets you as you enter the restaurant-converted greenhouse, a suitable setting for brunch in the Garden District.
The best coffee for working remotely
Chestnut Hill Coffee Co
8620 Germantown Ave.
Chestnut Hill Coffee Co roasts its own beans by hand, so you know the espresso is ready. This two-level café on Germantown Avenue offers plenty of seating for relaxing with your laptop, café au lait and baking.
The best place to take away when you don’t feel like cooking
7838 Germantown Ave.
A must in the neighborhood for decades, take-out, delivery and classic Chinese CinCin catering. Get pork moo shu, General Tso’s chicken or any other special fish to go.
In the evening, you eat when you have eaten too much
8634 Germantown Ave.
Mcnally’s has been around for almost a century. This old-school institution is known for its iconic Schmitter sandwich, a touch of classic Philly cheese steak. Grilled steak and fried onions are topped with melted cheese, but what makes this sandwich unique is the salami and grilled tomatoes, along with its special sauce, and the fact that it is served on a grilled Kaiser roll rather than a traditional hoagie. Pair it with a draft beer and a delicious slice of homemade cake, available in chocolate, carrot and coconut.
The dive bar where everyone knows your name
7673 Germantown Ave.
For friendly faces, live music and cocktails, head to the carved antique bar at the Mermaid Inn. This quintessential water point in the hometown is housed in a century-old stone building with stained glass windows. The intimate listening room hosts concerts five nights a week.
Where to drink mimosas outside
8337 Germantown Ave.
People watch along Germantown Avenue as you sip bottomless mimosas in the shade at Campbell’s Place weekend brunch.
Where to have cocktails on a first date
8235 Germantown Ave.
Show your date how chic you are by ordering a bottle of chilled white Bordeaux from the Jazz Café on the ground floor of Bistro Paris. The best jazz musicians in Philadelphia play three sets every night from Wednesday to Sunday.
Chestnut Hill travel guide
Original Belgian block granite, canopy storefronts and pocket parks make the main street of Chestnut Hill a charming place to spend the afternoon shopping. Get equipment centered on Philly at Mango; buy children’s clothes in Villavillekula; and find women’s fashion at TC Unlimited. Track down thrifty discussions at Statement Boutique Consignment and Greene Street. Small designers are showcased at the women’s boutique, Artisans On the Avenue. Mixed women can find pretty clothes for lessons in Serendipity shops. Discover jewelry, gifts and folk art at the Windfall Gallery.
Antiques enthusiasts can browse collectibles at The Antique Gallery. Then, head around the corner to find all the things on the farm at Isabella Sparrow. Stop at the iconic Zipf candy shop and the BnB cigar shop. The Philadelphia Print Shop has an impressive inventory of wall art, including antique prints, maps and illustrations from rare books. At the heart of the avenue, “Gallery Row” houses the Gravers Lane Gallery, which offers fine jewelry, ceramics and fiber arts.
The Stagecrafters Theater is the only performing arts center in the neighborhood, presenting professional stage productions in intimate excavations.
The Chestnut Hill Farmer’s Market offers fresh farm produce off Germantown Avenue and Mermaid Lane every Saturday morning from 10 a.m. to noon. Follow your nose to the market at Fareway. The modern farmer’s market on Germantown Avenue sells coffee, baked goods and chocolate alongside fresh produce, meat and poultry. Immerse yourself in international offerings like Korean Takos, sushi, falafel and Tibetan dumplings in their cafe, or head to the on-site brewery, the Chestnut Hill Brewing Company for craft breweries and wood-fired pizzas. Also located along the retail corridor, Weavers Way Co-op is a community grocery store that carries basic necessities.
Watch live music during the summer in the outdoor concert series at Pastorius Park. Take winding paths through the 92 hectares of romantic Victorian gardens and streams at Morris Arboretum. The surrounding Wissahickon Valley Park occupies a few thousand acres of Philadelphia’s 9,200-acre Fairmount Park. The seven-mile valley is crossed by Wissahickon Creek, with rolling hills and beautiful wooded trails for walking, biking, or even horse riding. Picnic or try to catch fish on the relaxing waterfront.
Top-rated places in Chestnut Hill
Located in the Morris Arboretum at the University of Pennsylvania, about one mile north of the main avenue shopping district, the The Woodmere Art Museum exhibits regional art in a magnificent Victorian mansion. Borrelli’s Chestnut Hill gallery presents emerging and established artists in its rotating exhibitions.
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