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22 small towns near Philly to visit, mapped

Tons to do and see

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There’s so much to see and do in Philly, but we get it: Sometimes you just need to get away.

Good thing there are plenty of charming small towns scattered within two hours of the city that make for easy day trips or overnight stays.

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 in plenty of history, curb appeal, restaurants, and retail into less than a square mile.

Named after a civic do-gooder by the name of Mary Ambler, the borough features historic buildings dating back to the early 1900s.

Most recently, the Ambler Boiler House, once a sign of blight in the small community, was brought back to life as an office complex, revitalizing the neighborhood.

Flickr user Montgomery Planning Commission

2. Ardmore

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Fun fact: This small town on the Main Line featured the first suburb location of 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 such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

3. Bethlehem

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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.

Fun fact: Bethlehem also has ties to the Peeps Factory—every December 31, a gigantic Peeps chick descends to ring in the new year.

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. Flickr/Kevin Thomas

4. Bryn Athyn

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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 such as 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 Bbattlefield.

Don’t miss a stroll along the picturesque Brandywine River or a trip to the Brandywine Museum of Art.

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

6. 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.

Photo via MetroKids.com

7. 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, such as Pyknic.

There are lots of antique shops to get lost in all day, too.

Photo via Victory Brewing

8. Doylestown

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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.

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

9. Easton

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This town of about 27,000 people is about 1.5 hours from Philly, but it’s drawn the attention of New York transplants for its burgeoning artists’ community.

Easton dates to the 1750s and was a booming industrial and manufacturing town throughout the mid-1800s.

In recent years, the town has experienced an artistic renaissance, and its location right on the edge of where the Lehigh and Delaware rivers meet makes it an incredibly picturesque place to spend the day.

Courtesy of Shutterstock.com

10. Haddonfield

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The borough of Haddonfield in New Jersey was established in 1713, but it actually dates 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.

Wikimedia Commons

11. Jim Thorpe

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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

12. Kennett Square

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If you like mushrooms, this is your stop: Kennett Square has earned the nickname Mushroom Capital of the World for the massive amount of ‘shrooms it produces each week.

Besides the good food, it’s also home to the always gorgeous Longwood Gardens.

Photo by Melissa Romero

13. Lambertville

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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’s another haven for artists and artisans.

It’s also considered the best place to go antique-hunting—it’s known as the Antique Capital of New Jersey.

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

14. Lancaster

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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.

15. 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—we couldn’t agree more.

It’s just 8 miles north of downtown Lancaster (#15), so you can definitely knock out two visits in one day.

Smallbones/Wikipedia

16. Media

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This Delaware County town dates back to the late 17th century during the William Penn era.

So, like Collingswood, New Jersey, it has strong Quaker roots. That may explain its friendly atmosphere and plethora of community events such as Dining Under the Stars.

Media Theater is also known to put on some great professional theater shows featuring the likes of resident and comedian Wanda Sykes.

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

17. New Hope

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New Hope has become a hot spot for artists and other 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 (#8).

Flickr user R'lyeh Imaging

18. Saint Peters

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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 (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 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

19. Phoenixville

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This borough was originally settled in 1732 and called Manavon.

During its peak, it was an industrial iron and steel mill boomtown.

Today, it’s experienced a renaissance and is home to quirky festivals such as Blobfest. Why? The marquee of the Colonial Theater was featured in the hit movie the Blob.

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

20. West Chester

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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

21. York

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Come here for the history, stay for the breweries.

After experiencing a brewery boom throughout the 1850s and into 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.

Smallbones/Wikipedia

22. 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.

Photo via Beitel Architects

1. Ambler

Ambler, PA 19002
Flickr user Montgomery Planning Commission

The tiny borough of Ambler manages to squeeze in plenty of history, curb appeal, restaurants, and retail into less than a square mile.

Named after a civic do-gooder by the name of Mary Ambler, the borough features historic buildings dating back to the early 1900s.

Most recently, the Ambler Boiler House, once a sign of blight in the small community, was brought back to life as an office complex, revitalizing the neighborhood.

2. Ardmore

Ardmore, PA
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Fun fact: This small town on the Main Line featured the first suburb location of 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 such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

3. Bethlehem

Bethlehem, PA
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. 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.

Fun fact: Bethlehem also has ties to the Peeps Factory—every December 31, a gigantic Peeps chick descends to ring in the new year.

4. Bryn Athyn

Bryn Athyn, PA

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 such as John Pitcairn’s Beaux Arts mansion Cairnwood and the stunning Bryn Athyn Cathedral.

5. Chadds Ford

Chadds Ford, PA 19317
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 Bbattlefield.

Don’t miss a stroll along the picturesque Brandywine River or a trip to the Brandywine Museum of Art.

6. Collingswood

Collingswood, NJ
Photo via MetroKids.com

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.

7. Downingtown

Downingtown, PA 19335
Photo via Victory Brewing

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, such as Pyknic.

There are lots of antique shops to get lost in all day, too.

8. Doylestown

Doylestown, PA 18901
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.

9. Easton

Easton, PA
Courtesy of Shutterstock.com

This town of about 27,000 people is about 1.5 hours from Philly, but it’s drawn the attention of New York transplants for its burgeoning artists’ community.

Easton dates to the 1750s and was a booming industrial and manufacturing town throughout the mid-1800s.

In recent years, the town has experienced an artistic renaissance, and its location right on the edge of where the Lehigh and Delaware rivers meet makes it an incredibly picturesque place to spend the day.

10. Haddonfield

Haddonfield, NJ 08033
Wikimedia Commons

The borough of Haddonfield in New Jersey was established in 1713, but it actually dates 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.

11. Jim Thorpe

Jim Thorpe, PA
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.

12. Kennett Square

Kennett Square, PA 19348
Photo by Melissa Romero

If you like mushrooms, this is your stop: Kennett Square has earned the nickname Mushroom Capital of the World for the massive amount of ‘shrooms it produces each week.

Besides the good food, it’s also home to the always gorgeous Longwood Gardens.

13. Lambertville

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

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’s another haven for artists and artisans.

It’s also considered the best place to go antique-hunting—it’s known as the Antique Capital of New Jersey.

14. Lancaster

Lancaster, PA

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.

15. Lititz

Lititz, PA 17543
Smallbones/Wikipedia

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—we couldn’t agree more.

It’s just 8 miles north of downtown Lancaster (#15), so you can definitely knock out two visits in one day.

16. Media

Media, PA 19063
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

This Delaware County town dates back to the late 17th century during the William Penn era.

So, like Collingswood, New Jersey, it has strong Quaker roots. That may explain its friendly atmosphere and plethora of community events such as Dining Under the Stars.

Media Theater is also known to put on some great professional theater shows featuring the likes of resident and comedian Wanda Sykes.

17. New Hope

New Hope, PA 18938
Flickr user R'lyeh Imaging

New Hope has become a hot spot for artists and other 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 (#8).

18. Saint Peters

St 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 (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 to 1881.

19. Phoenixville

Phoenixville, PA 19460
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

This borough was originally settled in 1732 and called Manavon.

During its peak, it was an industrial iron and steel mill boomtown.

Today, it’s experienced a renaissance and is home to quirky festivals such as Blobfest. Why? The marquee of the Colonial Theater was featured in the hit movie the Blob.

20. West Chester

West Chester, PA
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.

21. York

York, PA
Smallbones/Wikipedia

Come here for the history, stay for the breweries.

After experiencing a brewery boom throughout the 1850s and into 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.

22. Greenville

Greenville, DE 19807
Photo via Beitel Architects

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.