9 Suburbs of Philadelphia That Are Absolutely Worth a Visit

These spots have quaint main streets, picturesque gardens, and more to explore just outside of Philly.

Sure, we’re city dwellers around here, but that doesn’t mean we can’t use a trip to the ‘burbs to unwind. When the hustle and bustle of our historic city gets to be too much, don’t forget that Philly is surrounded by lively towns and beautiful sights in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey all within a short drive or SEPTA/PATCO ride.

From quaint main streets with top-notch restaurants to picturesque orchards and gorgeous natural wonders, these Philly-adjacent suburbs check all the boxes whether you’re a thrift shopper or love to harvest your own produce. They’re so great, we won’t judge you if you love them enough to stay for good. So whether you’re looking for a quick weekend getaway or want to stay a while, here are nine suburbs of Philadelphia that are absolutely worth a visit.

Bespoke Home + Life
Bespoke Home + Life

Distance from Philly: 15 minutes
How to get there: PATCO
A short trip over the bridge, Collingswood is a small town nestled within a network of nearby South Jersey communities. Haddon and Collings Avenues boast many of the town’s shops and restaurants, like home products and houseplant store Bespoke Home + Life, Bobby Chez Crab Cakes, Clutter Vintage, Hearthside BYOB, Sagami Japanese Restaurant, and Indiya. For outdoorsy adventures, take a walk through Cooper River Park, which runs through Collingswood, Pensauken, Cherry Hill, and Haddon Township—follow the paved path around the park for a nice three-ish mile jaunt.

The Academy of Natural Sciences
The Academy of Natural Sciences

Distance from Philly: 20 minutes
How to get there: PATCO
Fun fact: Dinosaur fossils were found here! While you won’t be able to peep the bones here (they’re in the city at the Academy of Natural Sciences) you can see a statue dedicated to the creature along Haddonfield’s main street corridor. While you’re there, go vintage shopping at Maison Marcelle Boutique or Raks Thrift Avenue or pick up some fitness gear at Running Co. of Haddonfield or Sole Active. No mini excursion would be complete without a good meal, so get your fill at French-inspired brunch and dinner restaurant Wanda BYOB, Sanook Thai Cuisine, or feast on Italian food at Tre Famiglia.

Tired Hands Brewing Company
Tired Hands Brewing Company

Distance from Philly: 30 minutes
How to get there: Paoli/Thorndale line
Amid this town’s main street and ritzy homes is its open air shopping center, Suburban Square. Complete with retailers like Lululemon, Gap, Sephora, Apple, plus dining options like HipCityVeg, Cava, and DiBruno Bros., the community center is a one-stop shop for your suburban shopping needs. Another popular visitor destination is Lancaster Avenue, where you’ll find popular music venue Ardmore Music Hall (there’s a show or event pretty much every night of the week), Mexican restaurant El Limon, Tired Hands Brewing Co., Calliope Music Store, glass art and clothing boutique Free Will Collective, and whiskey bar Ripplewood Whiskey & Craft.

The Ambler Theatre
The Ambler Theatre | Flickr/Jimmy Emerson, DVM

Distance from Philly: 45 minutes
How to get there: Lansdale/Doylestown Line
At less than a square mile, Ambler is incredibly walkable, which means you can hit all the must-sees on foot. The town’s commercial hub of Butler Avenue features a few theaters—Act II Playhouse and Ambler Theater—and plenty of shopping at home decor shop Antique Garden Cottage and clothing store Free Shop, to name just a few. When you’re not giving standing ovations, get to grubbing at any number of dining locations, such as Dettera Restaurant and Wine Bar (New American and wine!), From The Boot (Italian!) The Lucky Well (Memphis-style ribs!), La Provence (French!), Buutchiis Grille (African and Caribbean!) or Pie and Plate Cafe

Rebel Hill Brewing
Rebel Hill Brewing

Distance from Philly: 45 minutes
How to get there: 1-76 West via car or bus
Breweries are in no short supply in Phoenixville. DIY your own brewery crawl and sample the offerings at Root Down Brewing Company, Iron Hill Brewery, Conshohocken Brewing Company Rec Room, Rebel Hill Brewing, Sly Fox Brewery, Steel City Coffeehouse & Brewery, Stable 12—and one distillery for good measure, Bluebird Distilling. If you don’t care to imbibe, the historic movie theater Colonial Theater hosts an annual event dedicated to the movie The Blob and screens new, cult, and historic films. Or hit the great outdoors at French Street State Park or the Schuylkill River Trail (yes, this is the same SRT that connects with Philly). It sounds like all of these will leave you with a worked-up appetite, so for a seasonal modern spin on European favorites, try Paloma’s; eat Greek delicacies at Avlo’s Greek Cuisine; sample pupusas and tacos at Guatemalan Kitchen; or grab breakfast and sandwiches at Your Mom’s Place.

Longwood Gardens
Longwood Gardens

Distance from Philly: 1 hour
How to get there: I-95 South by car
Home to Longwood Gardens, probably the most famous horticultural center in the area, Kennett Square is also known for its mushroom output (the area’s farms yield about half of the country’s supply), so pick up some fresh ones at the Woodlands at Phillips Mushroom Farms. For meals beyond mushrooms, Talula’s Table offers farm-to-table American eats, and yes, Portabellos does indeed serve mushrooms in dishes like Stroganoff and Shrimp and Mushroom Risotto. Craft beer enthusiasts can wrap up the trip enjoying sips at Braeloch Brewing and Kennett Brewing Company.

Rye byob
Rye byob

Distance from Philly: 1 hour
How to get there: Media/Elwyn Line
Media really knows how to show off when it comes to nature. Spend your time among the flora and fauna at Tyler Arboretum and the nearby Ridley Creek State Park, which is home to 13 miles of hiking trails. Perfect year round, but especially lovely in the fall for apple and pumpkin season, Linvilla Orchards offers pick-your-own produce, hayrides, a beer garden, and market for some laid back farm times. For downtown happenings, catch a show at Media Theater, and sample the crab and pork soup dumplings at Tom’s Dim Sum, the modern Asian fare and sushi at Azie, and the locally sourced small plates at Rye BYOB. Don’t leave without picking up some pottery and crafts from Earth & State to take home.

Solebury Orchards
Solebury Orchards

Distance from Philly: 1 hour
How to get there: I-95 North via car
A two-for-one deal, these riverfront communities are on opposite sides of the Delaware River, but mere feet apart. On the Pennsylvania side is New Hope, a lively community full of art, theater, and local business. You can see live theater at the Bucks County Playhouse or check out galleries like The Creeper Gallery, New Hope Arts and Red Tulip Gallery that are open for artistic perusing. For pick-your-own apples, blueberries, cherries, and flowers, don’t miss Solebury Orchards. Between wineries like New Hope Winery and Buckingham Winery and eateries such as Stella and Triumph Brewing Co. you might not feel like wandering over the bridge into New Jersey—but you should. In Lambertville, get your antique needs fulfilled by the famed Golden Nugget Antique Market, Antiques Center at the People’s Store, and A Touch of the Past Antiques (among many others). Elsewhere on the Jersey side of the river, dine in a restored 19th century train station at the Lambertville Station Restaurant, sip New Jersey wines at Tomasello Winery Tasting Room, or sample authentic Peruvian fare at El Tule. In the summertime, make a point of tubing down the river and biking, running, or strolling down the towpathtrails.

Stove and Tap
Stove and Tap

Distance from Philly: 1 hour and 20 minutes
How to get there: Paoli/Thorndale line and 135 or 92 bus
Home of West Chester University, this ‘burb is so much more than just a college town. The downtown corridor runs along Gay and High Streets and it’s as quaint as quaint can be. Immerse yourself in the dining scene with an ever-changing locally sourced menu at Andiario and Stove and Tap (or venture downstairs to the underground bar there, Good, Bad & Ugly). Or feast on barbecue and soul food at Mabel’s Barbecue and creole goodness at the High Street Caffe. Go for a scenic ride on mid century locomotives at the West Chester Railroad—or if the sky is more your deal, learn about the history of a specific type of aircraft at the American Helicopter Museum & Education Center. No visit would be complete without some shopping, so pick up some new tunes at Creep Records, gifts and home decor at Pine + Quill Shop, and vintage galore at Malena’s Vintage Boutique and The G Spot Thrift Boutique. Wind down with a facial at Remedi Wellness & Spa.
 

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Allie Volpe is a writer based in Philadelphia. She hasn't slept in days. Follow her on Twitter: @allieevolpe.