Town

Bristol

Unexpected finds on the banks of the Delaware

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Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia
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Overview

Founded in 1681, the town of Bristol, Pennsylvania boasts a long and proud history.

Located on the banks of the Delaware River, Bristol served an important role in both the Revolutionary and Civil wars, and at one time it was a major textile-milling center. The old-world influence still exists today, as evidenced by the town’s many antique shops, historic mansions and significant landmarks.

An important local figure, textile-milling tycoon Joseph R. Grundy, lends his name to many establishments around town, including the Margaret R. Grundy Memorial Library and the Margaret R. Grundy Memorial Museum. The latter showcases an impressive collection of authentic Victorian-era décor and furniture, and free, guided tours are offered Tuesday through Thursday as well as Saturday.

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Getting Here

Driving the 25 miles from Center City to the Historic Bristol Borough takes roughly 35 minutes. Metered street parking and municipal lots are available. SEPTA operates a station in Bristol, which takes about an hour to reach by train from Center City.

Attractions like Bristol Waterfront Park and Silver Lake Nature Center receive high marks from nature lovers.

In The Town

A mix of independently owned restaurants and shops lines Mill Street. This charming stretch runs through the center of town, all the way down to the Delaware River. Radcliffe Street, which meets with Mill Street at the King George II Inn — billed as America’s oldest operating inn — is also part of the Main Street experience.

For nature lovers, Bristol Waterfront Park provides a tranquil oasis for fishing and walking along the river. Just outside of town, outdoor enthusiasts love Silver Lake Nature Center, which features a butterfly garden, lakes, marshes, meadows, a bog and 4.5 miles of nature trails that highlight the area’s diverse plant and animal life.

Seasonal Events

The biggest event of the year, Historic Bristol Day (October) features a family-friendly street fair packed with arts and crafts, food vendors, entertainers, children’s games, a sailing regatta and more.

On the First Friday of every month, businesses in Bristol’s historic shopping district stay open late and offer discounts, specials and giveaways.

The longest running exhibition of antique cars in the country, the Antique Auto Show, attracts car enthusiasts on the first Sunday in May.

Woman walking dogs in Bristol Waterfront Park Woman walking dogs in Bristol Waterfront Park

Bristol Waterfront Park   — Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia

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