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A street running through a small town near Philadelphia. The street is lined with houses and shops. The house in the foreground has a porch with a white fence. There are trees in the background. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

22 small towns near Philly you need to visit in 2020

You may never want to leave

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There are so many fun things to do around Philly, from touring Eastern State to taking in all the foliage on a long walk. But sometimes what you really need is a day or weekend trip. Good thing there are plenty of charming small towns scattered within two hours of this city that make getting out of the city easy.

Fancy feasting on delicious baked Amish goods? Head to Lancaster. Want to take in some agricultural history (and great Instagram photos)? Clinton has you covered.

We’ve adapted and changed this roundup several times since we first posted it. If you think we’re leaving off a great small town, let us know in the comments or drop us a line.

No matter where you choose to explore, these 22 small Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey towns—listed in alphabetical order—all offer much to see, eat, and do.

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1. Ambler

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The tiny borough of Ambler manages to squeeze plenty of history, curb appeal, restaurants, and retail into less than a square mile. Named after civic do-gooder, Mary Ambler, the borough features historic buildings dating back to the early 1900s. Plus, they have a beautiful theater that’s really a must-see.

A large red brick building in Ambler, Pennsylvania. There is a giant smoke stack on the building. Courtesy of Flickr user Montgomery Planning Commission

2. Ardmore

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Fun fact: This small town on the Main Line featured the first suburban location of the Strawbridge and Clothier department store. Today, Ardmore features big box stores plus smaller, eclectic shops along the town's main street of Lancaster Avenue. It's also home to Tired Hands Brewing Company and the independently-owned Ardmore Music Hall, which has featured big acts like the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

A street with the lights of a car in motion. Over the street is a sign that reads: Ardmore. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

3. Bethlehem

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10 E Church St
Bethlehem, PA 18018

If you find yourself in the Lehigh Valley, follow the gleaming star on top of South Mountain to Bethlehem. Originally founded in 1741 as a Moravian community, it has a rich history within the Lehigh Valley. The former Bethlehem Steel Corp.—which produced the steel for the Golden Gate Bridge—, it's now the Steel Stacks, a popular music venue. Bethlehem is also has ties to the Peeps Factory: Every New Year's Eve a gigantic Peeps chick descends down for its ball drop.

A street in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. There is a stone house with a red roof and a larger building with a brown brick facade and a sign on top that reads: hotel. via Flickr/Kevin Thomas

4. Bryn Athyn

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1005 Cathedral Rd
Huntingdon Valley, PA 19006

Come here for the history, stay for the architecture. This National Historic Landmark was established as a religious community in the late 19th century and is now home to architecturally significant estates and churches like John Pitcairn's Beaux Arts mansion Cairnwood and the stunning Bryn Athyn Cathedral.

5. Chadds Ford

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This beautiful town just 25 miles west of Philadelphia is a mix of rolling hills dotted with wineries and historic sites like the Brandywine Battlefield. Don't miss a stroll along the picturesque Brandywine River or a trip to the Brandywine Museum of Art.

A street in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. The street is adjacent to a creek lined with trees. There are brick and glass buildings. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

6. Clinton

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Clinton is the ultimate small town getaway for when you just need a break from the city. The town was built in 1870, and has a ton of picturesque, woodsy charm, from the bridge that runs across the river, to the local coffee shops, candy stores, and artisan workshops. If you visit, you have to check out the 10-acre Red Mill Museum Village, which encompasses 12 historic buildings (including a mill and quarry buildings), and aims to preserve and display the town’s agricultural past. Plus, there are tons of hands-on workshops, lectures, reenactments, and various other events offered in Clinton year round.

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7. Collingswood

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Up until 2015, Collingswood in Camden County was a dry town, given its Quaker roots. Today, it has a mix of historic homes and a great retail and arts district along Haddon Avenue, which was once named one of the 10 Great Streets by the American Planning Association.

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8. Downingtown

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Downingtown has made a name for itself as a charming small town in recent years. It's the home base of Victory Brewing Company, but even smaller retailers have set up shop here. There are lots of antique shops to get lost in all day, too.

9. Downtown York

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2 E Market St
York, PA 17401

Come here for the history, stay for the breweries. After experiencing a brewery boom throughout the 1850s and early 1900s (Helb’s Keystone Brewery was founded here), downtown York went through a period of decay. No longer. Today, the town has a bustling Main Street that Travel+Leisure named one of the best in America, and it's home to a growing microbrewery scene.

10. Doylestown

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425 Wells Rd
Doylestown, PA 18901

This town is about 27 miles from Philadelphia and is known for being home to multiple works of Henry Chapman Mercer, including the epic Mercer Museum. But there are also opportunities to really enjoy the small-town vibe at the County Theatre, or wander among the corn fields where M. Night Shyamalan filmed the movie Signs. George Nakashima's workshop is also well-worth a visit.

A movie theater in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. There is a sign over the marquee that reads: County. The theater is yellow and the marquee and sign are blue. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

11. Greenville

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If you're in Kennett Square you might as well make the short drive across the PA border to Greenville, Delaware. This small town is home to the epic Winterthur Museum, Garden, & Library, once the home of the DuPonts, the family behind the chemical engineering giant. If the beautiful mansion isn't enough, there are 60 acres of gardens to stroll through.

12. Haddonfield

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The borough of Haddonfield in New Jersey was established in 1713, but it actually dates back to 1682. It's brimming with history, from its preserved buildings and charming colonial homes to its many shops that are filled with antiques and locally-made arts and crafts. It's right off the PATCO, too.

A house in Haddonfield, Pennsylvania. The house has a white facade with a red roof and trees surrounding it. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

13. Jim Thorpe

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1 Susquehanna St
Jim Thorpe, PA 18229

This quaint town is about 1.5 hours from Philly, and has become popular as a so-called “gateway to the Poconos.” Named after the Native American sports legend who is buried there, hikers and nature-lovers flock here thanks to its proximity to the Appalachian Trail, and the picturesque Glen Onoko Falls, a 7.4-mile loop that takes you past waterfall after waterfall.

A street in the town of Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania. The street is lined with buildings and shops. In the distance are mountains. Courtesy of Shutterstock.com

14. Kennett Square

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Hope you like mushrooms, because this town has an abundance. Kennett Square has earned the name Mushroom Capital of the World for the massive amount of 'shrooms (not that kind) it produces each week. Besides the good food, it's also home to the always gorgeous Longwood Gardens.

A building in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. The building is white with columns. There is a large water fountain above the building. Photo by Melissa Romero

15. Lambertville

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18 York St
Lambertville, NJ 08530

Lambertville is another small town located across the Delaware River in New Jersey. It's rich in history—George Washington set up an encampment here during the Revolutionary War—and today it is another haven for artists and makers. It's also considered the best place to go antique-hunting: it's known as the Antique Capital of New Jersey.

If you want to make this one a weekend trip, head just down the road to Washington Crossing where you’ll find some great camping spots.

A street in Lambertville, Pennsylvania. There are multicolor houses and shops. Courtesy of Shutterstock.com

16. Lancaster City

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38 Penn Square
Lancaster, PA 17603

Lancaster is an incredibly scenic county in Pennsylvania that features a large Amish population in the surrounding countryside. In Lancaster City, spend a day feasting on tasty Amish baked goods from Central Market and enjoying the burgeoning restaurant, shopping, and arts scene downtown. Or, simply drive through the farm country—there's a high likelihood you'll get stuck behind a horse buggy.

Street musicians stand and play on a sidewalk outside of a store on a street in Lancaster City, Pennsylvania. Courtesy of DiscoverLancaster.com

17. Lititz

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This adorable town in Lancaster County has been around since 1742. A Curbed reader suggested we add it to the list given its incredible selection of local shops, history, and charm—and we couldn't agree more. It's just eight miles north of downtown Lancaster, so you can definitely knock out two visits in one day.

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18. New Hope

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New Hope has become a hot spot for artists and creatives—Travel & Leisure once named it one of the coolest suburbs to visit. In addition to the eclectic shops and galleries, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy a walk along the Delaware Canal Towpath or meander through the Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve. For lovers of stone homes, you'll want to check out this driving tour of historic stone homes—it starts in New Hope and ends in Doylestown.

A red building with a grey roof in the town of New Hope, Pennsylvania. In the foreground is a body of water, grass, and trees. Courtesy of Shutterstock.com

19. St. Peter's Village

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3100 St Peters Rd
Saint Peters, PA 19465

St. Peter's Village in Chester County runs along French Creek and has managed to maintain its original charm from its heyday as a 19th-century industrial village. Today, it's on the National Register of Historic Places and offers lots of hiking (were we not in a government shutdown, you could check out the Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site) and local artisans' shops to peruse. Want to stay the night? The quaint Inn at St. Peter's Village is also on the National Register of Historic Places and dates back to 1881.

A street in the town of St. Peter’s Village, Pennsylvania. The street is lined with shops, houses, and trees. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

20. Phoenixville

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This borough was originally settled in 1732 and called Manavon. During its heyday it was an industrial iron and steel mill boomtown. Today, it's experienced a renaissance and is home to quirky festivals like Blobfest. Why? The marquee of the Colonial Theater was featured in the hit movie the Blob.

A street in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. There is a movie theater that has a neon sign that reads: Colonial. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

21. Wayne

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By popular demand, we’ve added the gorgeous little town of Wayne to this list. At the time of the last census (2010) it was around 32,000 people large, and it’s just a quick, 30 minute train ride down the Main Line. Go check out the stunning Chanticleer gardens, or—if you’re an architecture-lover—head into the Reel Cinemas Anthony Wayne Theater, a stunning example of the 1920s art deco movie theaters that are so popular around Philly. If you’re hungry, head over to Minella’s Diner, a favorite among college students in the area for its all night breakfast food. If you’re just eager to walk, you’re in luck. The gorgeous, stone homes around Wayne are truly a gift to see as you wander around the neighborhood.

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22. West Chester

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(610) 436-1326
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This cute town is in the heart of the Brandywine Valley. It was established in 1712 and now has a popular restaurant, retail, and arts scene. In addition to its historic homes, the National Register of Historic Places district also features an impressive amount of Greek Revival architecture.

A sidewalk in the town of West Chester, Pennsylvania. The sidewalk is red brick and there are shops and trees. Photo by J. Fusco for VISIT PHILADELPHIA

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1. Ambler

Pennsylvania 19002
A large red brick building in Ambler, Pennsylvania. There is a giant smoke stack on the building. Courtesy of Flickr user Montgomery Planning Commission

The tiny borough of Ambler manages to squeeze plenty of history, curb appeal, restaurants, and retail into less than a square mile. Named after civic do-gooder, Mary Ambler, the borough features historic buildings dating back to the early 1900s. Plus, they have a beautiful theater that’s really a must-see.

2. Ardmore

Pennsylvania 19003
A street with the lights of a car in motion. Over the street is a sign that reads: Ardmore. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Fun fact: This small town on the Main Line featured the first suburban location of the Strawbridge and Clothier department store. Today, Ardmore features big box stores plus smaller, eclectic shops along the town's main street of Lancaster Avenue. It's also home to Tired Hands Brewing Company and the independently-owned Ardmore Music Hall, which has featured big acts like the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

3. Bethlehem

10 E Church St, Bethlehem, PA 18018
A street in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. There is a stone house with a red roof and a larger building with a brown brick facade and a sign on top that reads: hotel. via Flickr/Kevin Thomas

If you find yourself in the Lehigh Valley, follow the gleaming star on top of South Mountain to Bethlehem. Originally founded in 1741 as a Moravian community, it has a rich history within the Lehigh Valley. The former Bethlehem Steel Corp.—which produced the steel for the Golden Gate Bridge—, it's now the Steel Stacks, a popular music venue. Bethlehem is also has ties to the Peeps Factory: Every New Year's Eve a gigantic Peeps chick descends down for its ball drop.

10 E Church St
Bethlehem, PA 18018

4. Bryn Athyn

1005 Cathedral Rd, Huntingdon Valley, PA 19006

Come here for the history, stay for the architecture. This National Historic Landmark was established as a religious community in the late 19th century and is now home to architecturally significant estates and churches like John Pitcairn's Beaux Arts mansion Cairnwood and the stunning Bryn Athyn Cathedral.

1005 Cathedral Rd
Huntingdon Valley, PA 19006

5. Chadds Ford

Pennsylvania 19317
A street in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. The street is adjacent to a creek lined with trees. There are brick and glass buildings. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

This beautiful town just 25 miles west of Philadelphia is a mix of rolling hills dotted with wineries and historic sites like the Brandywine Battlefield. Don't miss a stroll along the picturesque Brandywine River or a trip to the Brandywine Museum of Art.

6. Clinton

Clinton, NJ 08809

Clinton is the ultimate small town getaway for when you just need a break from the city. The town was built in 1870, and has a ton of picturesque, woodsy charm, from the bridge that runs across the river, to the local coffee shops, candy stores, and artisan workshops. If you visit, you have to check out the 10-acre Red Mill Museum Village, which encompasses 12 historic buildings (including a mill and quarry buildings), and aims to preserve and display the town’s agricultural past. Plus, there are tons of hands-on workshops, lectures, reenactments, and various other events offered in Clinton year round.

7. Collingswood

New Jersey 08108

Up until 2015, Collingswood in Camden County was a dry town, given its Quaker roots. Today, it has a mix of historic homes and a great retail and arts district along Haddon Avenue, which was once named one of the 10 Great Streets by the American Planning Association.

8. Downingtown

Pennsylvania

Downingtown has made a name for itself as a charming small town in recent years. It's the home base of Victory Brewing Company, but even smaller retailers have set up shop here. There are lots of antique shops to get lost in all day, too.

9. Downtown York

2 E Market St, York, PA 17401

Come here for the history, stay for the breweries. After experiencing a brewery boom throughout the 1850s and early 1900s (Helb’s Keystone Brewery was founded here), downtown York went through a period of decay. No longer. Today, the town has a bustling Main Street that Travel+Leisure named one of the best in America, and it's home to a growing microbrewery scene.

2 E Market St
York, PA 17401

10. Doylestown

425 Wells Rd, Doylestown, PA 18901
A movie theater in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. There is a sign over the marquee that reads: County. The theater is yellow and the marquee and sign are blue. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

This town is about 27 miles from Philadelphia and is known for being home to multiple works of Henry Chapman Mercer, including the epic Mercer Museum. But there are also opportunities to really enjoy the small-town vibe at the County Theatre, or wander among the corn fields where M. Night Shyamalan filmed the movie Signs. George Nakashima's workshop is also well-worth a visit.

425 Wells Rd
Doylestown, PA 18901

11. Greenville

Greenville, DE 19807

If you're in Kennett Square you might as well make the short drive across the PA border to Greenville, Delaware. This small town is home to the epic Winterthur Museum, Garden, & Library, once the home of the DuPonts, the family behind the chemical engineering giant. If the beautiful mansion isn't enough, there are 60 acres of gardens to stroll through.

12. Haddonfield

Haddonfield, NJ 08033
A house in Haddonfield, Pennsylvania. The house has a white facade with a red roof and trees surrounding it. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The borough of Haddonfield in New Jersey was established in 1713, but it actually dates back to 1682. It's brimming with history, from its preserved buildings and charming colonial homes to its many shops that are filled with antiques and locally-made arts and crafts. It's right off the PATCO, too.

13. Jim Thorpe

1 Susquehanna St, Jim Thorpe, PA 18229
A street in the town of Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania. The street is lined with buildings and shops. In the distance are mountains. Courtesy of Shutterstock.com

This quaint town is about 1.5 hours from Philly, and has become popular as a so-called “gateway to the Poconos.” Named after the Native American sports legend who is buried there, hikers and nature-lovers flock here thanks to its proximity to the Appalachian Trail, and the picturesque Glen Onoko Falls, a 7.4-mile loop that takes you past waterfall after waterfall.

1 Susquehanna St
Jim Thorpe, PA 18229

14. Kennett Square

Pennsylvania 19348
A building in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. The building is white with columns. There is a large water fountain above the building. Photo by Melissa Romero

Hope you like mushrooms, because this town has an abundance. Kennett Square has earned the name Mushroom Capital of the World for the massive amount of 'shrooms (not that kind) it produces each week. Besides the good food, it's also home to the always gorgeous Longwood Gardens.

15. Lambertville

18 York St, Lambertville, NJ 08530
A street in Lambertville, Pennsylvania. There are multicolor houses and shops. Courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Lambertville is another small town located across the Delaware River in New Jersey. It's rich in history—George Washington set up an encampment here during the Revolutionary War—and today it is another haven for artists and makers. It's also considered the best place to go antique-hunting: it's known as the Antique Capital of New Jersey.

If you want to make this one a weekend trip, head just down the road to Washington Crossing where you’ll find some great camping spots.

18 York St
Lambertville, NJ 08530

16. Lancaster City

38 Penn Square, Lancaster, PA 17603
Street musicians stand and play on a sidewalk outside of a store on a street in Lancaster City, Pennsylvania. Courtesy of DiscoverLancaster.com

Lancaster is an incredibly scenic county in Pennsylvania that features a large Amish population in the surrounding countryside. In Lancaster City, spend a day feasting on tasty Amish baked goods from Central Market and enjoying the burgeoning restaurant, shopping, and arts scene downtown. Or, simply drive through the farm country—there's a high likelihood you'll get stuck behind a horse buggy.

38 Penn Square
Lancaster, PA 17603

17. Lititz

Lititz, PA 17543

This adorable town in Lancaster County has been around since 1742. A Curbed reader suggested we add it to the list given its incredible selection of local shops, history, and charm—and we couldn't agree more. It's just eight miles north of downtown Lancaster, so you can definitely knock out two visits in one day.

18. New Hope

New Hope, PA 18938
A red building with a grey roof in the town of New Hope, Pennsylvania. In the foreground is a body of water, grass, and trees. Courtesy of Shutterstock.com

New Hope has become a hot spot for artists and creatives—Travel & Leisure once named it one of the coolest suburbs to visit. In addition to the eclectic shops and galleries, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy a walk along the Delaware Canal Towpath or meander through the Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve. For lovers of stone homes, you'll want to check out this driving tour of historic stone homes—it starts in New Hope and ends in Doylestown.

19. St. Peter's Village

3100 St Peters Rd, Saint Peters, PA 19465
A street in the town of St. Peter’s Village, Pennsylvania. The street is lined with shops, houses, and trees. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

St. Peter's Village in Chester County runs along French Creek and has managed to maintain its original charm from its heyday as a 19th-century industrial village. Today, it's on the National Register of Historic Places and offers lots of hiking (were we not in a government shutdown, you could check out the Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site) and local artisans' shops to peruse. Want to stay the night? The quaint Inn at St. Peter's Village is also on the National Register of Historic Places and dates back to 1881.

3100 St Peters Rd
Saint Peters, PA 19465

20. Phoenixville

Pennsylvania 19460
A street in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. There is a movie theater that has a neon sign that reads: Colonial. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

This borough was originally settled in 1732 and called Manavon. During its heyday it was an industrial iron and steel mill boomtown. Today, it's experienced a renaissance and is home to quirky festivals like Blobfest. Why? The marquee of the Colonial Theater was featured in the hit movie the Blob.

21. Wayne

Wayne, PA

By popular demand, we’ve added the gorgeous little town of Wayne to this list. At the time of the last census (2010) it was around 32,000 people large, and it’s just a quick, 30 minute train ride down the Main Line. Go check out the stunning Chanticleer gardens, or—if you’re an architecture-lover—head into the Reel Cinemas Anthony Wayne Theater, a stunning example of the 1920s art deco movie theaters that are so popular around Philly. If you’re hungry, head over to Minella’s Diner, a favorite among college students in the area for its all night breakfast food. If you’re just eager to walk, you’re in luck. The gorgeous, stone homes around Wayne are truly a gift to see as you wander around the neighborhood.

22. West Chester

Pennsylvania 19380
A sidewalk in the town of West Chester, Pennsylvania. The sidewalk is red brick and there are shops and trees. Photo by J. Fusco for VISIT PHILADELPHIA

This cute town is in the heart of the Brandywine Valley. It was established in 1712 and now has a popular restaurant, retail, and arts scene. In addition to its historic homes, the National Register of Historic Places district also features an impressive amount of Greek Revival architecture.