For more than a century, Philadelphia’s Towns have been home to some of the nation’s best small-town shopping and eating. Charming mom-and-pop shops and book traders convivially co-exist with lively and contemporary boutiques that outfit discerning shoppers of all ages and tastes. Visitors can stroll at a slower pace and linger in shops and independent galleries, chatting with store owners and neighbors. And hungry visitors and residents can often grab a seat right on the sidewalk of many main drag restaurants and enjoy a meal alfresco.
When it comes to events, Philadelphia’s Main Streets don’t slouch either. Farmers’ markets crop up weekly, and First Fridays and Second Saturdays are the perfect occasions for businesses to stay open late and offer specials and discounts. Plus, nearly every Main Street is home to a unique festival or event, from Phoenixville’s Blobfest to Kennett Square’s annual Mushroom Festival.
Come experience the charming shops, fantastic dining, history and fun with our Main Streets Trail of Greater Philadelphia.
In Kennett Square, the action centers around State Street. This energetic thoroughfare showcases locally owned businesses, charming shops, farm-fresh eateries and small-town charm. The self-proclaimed “Mushroom Capital of the World,” the town is bursting with restaurants and shops where visitors can learn about the region’s mushroom farming industry and sample the ingredient in countless dishes.
Beyond mushrooms, Kennett Square boasts a large downtown that combines festive community events, arts, boutiques and authentic Mexican shops. From May through Thanksgiving, the Kennett Square Farmers Market pleases food lovers every Friday from 2-6 p.m.
Where: N. Union Street and W. State Street, Kennett Square
West Chester’s downtown grid spans several blocks. More than 120 shops, boutiques and eateries fill the storefronts on Gay, Market and High Streets. Both Market and High streets are lined with alfresco dining options aplenty, and visitors can take advantage of both upscale and affordable shopping on West Chester’s main drags.
Home to West Chester University, this quaint town in the Brandywine Valley also exudes an energetic, young vibe. In the bustling downtown area, casual eateries and food-centric events satiate hungry palates, and throngs of charming shops line the streets.
Where: W. Gay Street and S. High Street, West Chester
Bridge Street — the town’s main drag — offers a mix of wine-tasting rooms, low-key restaurants and artsy, locally owned shops. Bridge Street is divided in the center of town by Main Street, home to boutique retail and food outlets.
Phoenixville blends historic charm with a modern mindset, and boasts an artsy, low-key vibe that attracts visitors craving a relaxing day with a creative twist. Specifically, its arts and entertainment district showcases eclectic art displays and a weekly farmers’ market that draws shoppers from all over the county.
Where: Bridge Street and S. Main Street, Phoenixville
Wayne’s upscale community blends the past and the present, as some of the best antique stores in the country mingle with designer boutiques, spas, quaint gift shops, elite hair salons, four-star restaurants, top universities, historic sites, famous gardens and acres of “horse country.”
It all comes together in the town’s compact central business district, which forms a “T” where short North Wayne Avenue intersects with Lancaster Avenue (Route 30), a broad avenue lined with shops, a few more restaurants and landmarks. Known as Restaurant Row, North Wayne Avenue has more than a dozen restaurants and bars, and foodies could easily pop into a different one for each course.
Where: N. Wayne Avenue and Lancaster Avenue, Wayne
The feeling of community on Media’s State Street is palpable — shopkeepers tend lovingly to stores situated in buildings older than the town itself, and acquaintances greet one another during outdoor concerts on the pedestrian Plum Street and at open-air dinners that invite visitors to dine under the stars. Media also holds the distinction as America’s original Fair Trade town, marking its public support of businesses that make sure workers receive a fair price for their products and labor, and many shops purvey international hand-crafted wares.
On most Thursdays, the Media Farmers Market brings fresh edibles downtown, and Second Saturdays keep shops open late and colors the business district with art openings, kids’ activities and live concerts.
Where: W. State Street and Plum Street, Media
Ardmore’s major thoroughfare — Lancaster Avenue — holds the majority of the town’s restaurants and shops, and the train station, Suburban Square and the Ardmore Farmers Market are located just off the avenue. The mix of eateries in town spans the globe, and shoppers rejoice in a densely packed retail scene.
The town also caters to treasure seekers with its bounty of antique shops and thrift stores. The Clover Market, held three weekends in the spring and two weekends in the fall, attracts shoppers from all over to its beautifully displayed tents of vintage goods and artisan wares.
Where: E. Lancaster Avenue and Cricket Avenue, Ardmore
The appropriately named Skippack Pike serves as the hub of the town, and most of the restaurants and shops are clustered in small buildings along or slightly removed from the street. With a mixture of European charm and hippie ease, the shopping-centric town has evolved through the years to become a popular tourist destination.
Local businesses offer specials on First Fridays, held from April through October, which celebrate local art and music with activity spilling out onto porches and sidewalks.
Where: Skippack Pike and Store Road, Skippack
Despite having an actual Main Street, Ambler’s commercial corridor is actually along E. Butler Avenue and W. Butler Pike. (Main Street is home to several shops, however.) Ambler’s dining scene includes cuisines from around the world as well as urbane destination restaurants, and “shop local” is the mantra in this town where chain stores are practically nonexistent.
First Fridays marks a transformation of the downtown area into a concert hall, as musicians line the streets to provide a soundtrack. And the Saturday Ambler’s Farmers’ Market showcases the best of the region’s bounty, from Horsham-grown produce to New Jersey seafood to locally roasted organic coffee.
Where: E. Butler Avenue and S. Ridge Avenue, Ambler
611, or Old York Road as it’s more familiarly known, serves as Jenkintown’s main thoroughfare. The majority of the town’s shops are here, though its restaurants, which merit their own exploration, tend to be located on the side streets.
In fact, Jenkintown brims with historical interest and secret finds — curious visitors will find National Landmarks, an active arts scene and shops and restaurants that are just off the main drag.
Where: Old York Road and West Avenue, Jenkintown
Germantown Avenue is a treasure trove of shops, galleries, boutiques, home furnishings stores and restaurants. The avenue boasts cobblestones on the street and historic facades on many shops and businesses, all adding to the picturesque charm. Altogether, it creates a vibe that is lively but not wild and a quaint setting that is traditional but not stuffy, giving Chestnut Hill a village-like atmosphere.
Restaurants and pubs line the main drag, and the options for indulging in a marvelous meal are numerous. With 10 blocks of locally owned shops and nationally recognized brands, Chestnut Hill features everything from yarn shops and toy stores to antique emporiums and home décor showplaces.
Where: W. Highland Avenue and Germantown Avenue
East Mt. Airy and West Mt. Airy are united by historic Germantown Avenue, a commercial corridor where imaginative entrepreneurs are re-energizing the cobblestoned avenue, opening new restaurants, cafes and shops.
When the last Friday of the month rolls around, local businesses, restaurants, galleries, guest vendors and artists stay open late for Final-ly Friday.
Where: Germantown Avenue and W. Durham Street
The heart and soul of Manayunk is Main Street, a mercifully level thoroughfare bustling with dozens of restaurants, owner-operated boutiques, bars and galleries.
Daytime activities give way to nighttime action as foodies and revelers hit the streets, scoping out new menu additions at restaurants, jockeying for views at the riverside clubs or catching up-and-coming local musicians or dancing to a DJ.
Where: Main Street and Cotton Street
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 shores of the Delaware River. Radcliffe Street, which meets with Mill Street at the King George II Inn, is also part of the Main Street experience.
On the First Friday of every month, businesses in the historic Bristol shopping district stay open late and offer discounts, specials and giveaways.
Where: Radcliffe Street and Mill Street, Bristol
The Bucks County Court House provides a strong orientation point to start a stroll around Doylestown. Sitting just above the intersection of Main and Court streets, it allows for a long look down several main streets. Thanks to a layout that crisscrosses several diagonal roads, a few V-shaped corners (West State, West Court and Clinton; Court and Main; State and Main) bustle with activity; though one hardly needs to stand on a corner to feel the commercial buzz. Oakland parallels State and is also busy, and many streets that identify as either north or south, east or west begin at State and Main Streets.
While strolling along the Main Street sidewalks lined with brick pavers and Victorian-style street lamps, visitors will adore the remarkable architecture of Doylestown and its impressive belt of historical attractions. After a day of exploring and shopping, quiet your grumbling stomach at one of the many charming outdoor cafés in restored 18th- and 19th-century buildings dotted along the main drag of this alluring town.
Where: N. Main Street and E. Court Street, Doylestown
Visitors should plan for a full day of sightseeing in New Hope, with eclectic shops, restaurants and curiosities lining half-a-dozen blocks of Main Street (which runs parallel to the river) and just as many side streets. The corner of Bridge and Main Streets forms the center of the retail district, and many intriguing and slightly hidden spots tuck into the river bank just beyond Main Street.
The vibrant Main Street of New Hope offers travelers eclectic charm comfortably offset by casual sophistication. Packed with specialty boutiques, distinct bed & breakfasts, upscale galleries, diverse restaurants and historical treasures, this lively Main Street offers visitor’s big city culture with a small town charm. And New Hope’s retail sector is as fashion-forward, elegant, kitschy and cool as they come.
Where: W. Bridge Street and S. Main Street, New Hope
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