October 2, 2017

Chestnut Hill, Germantown & Mount Airy Neighborhood Guide

Restaurants, Nightlife, Shops, Parks, Museums & More

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Germantown Avenue is the shopping and dining hub for Philadelphia’s tony Chestnut Hill neighborhood. Photo by J. Fusco for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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Morris Arboretum. Photo by R. Kennedy for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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Valley Green Inn in Wissahickon Valley Park. Photo by J. Smith for Visit Philadelphia
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Woodmere Art Museum. Photo by J. Fusco for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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McNally Tavern's Schmitter® sandwich. Photo by J. Varney for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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Earth Bread and Brewery. Photo by G. Widman for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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Cliveden mansion. Photo by R. Kennedy for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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Diverse and historic, Chestnut Hill, Germantown and Mount Airy are urban neighborhoods in northwest Philadelphia. Each enclave has a distinctive style, feel and highlights that represent the communities’ past and present. All are worth day trips, and fortunately, getting there is a cinch via SEPTA, Philadelphia’s public transportation system. Check bus and regional rail schedules at septa.org before heading off to explore these vibrant neighborhoods.

Chestnut Hill (via the Chestnut Hill East/West train lines or the #23 Bus):
With a higher elevation than the rest of the city, Chestnut Hill, a National Register Historic District, was once a vacation spot for those who wanted to escape the summer heat of the lower-lying parts of the city. Today, the village-like neighborhood includes historic and modern mansions hidden behind the eclectic shops and renowned eateries of cobblestoned Germantown Avenue.


  • Barry’s Buns – At the Market at the Fareway, Barry’s offers made-from-scratch cinnamon rolls, liege waffles and six flavors of sticky buns, including walnut, walnut raisin and apple crumb. Butter and crumb cakes and stroopwafel round out the small but delicious menu. 8229 Germantown Avenue, (267) 521-2867, barrysbuns.com
  • Biryani Bowl – Tucked off the beaten path in a standalone brick building, this dine-in or takeout newcomer spices up Chestnut Hill with arguably some of the best Indian cuisine in the city. Highlights include samosas, chicken tikka masala, and biryani rice bowls with a choice of meat or tofu. 219 E. Willow Grove Avenue, (215) 967-1159, biryanibowlpa.com
  • Bredenbeck’s Bakery & Ice Cream Parlor – Open since 1889, this charming shop scores big with locals who adore its cakes, cupcakes, pies and, of course, ice cream. Throughout the year, Bredenbeck’s welcomes customers to get in on the action through events and workshops, such as cake decorating and gingerbread making. 8126 Germantown Avenue, (215) 247-7374, bredenbecks.com
  • Cake Restaurant – Expanded from its bakery beginnings, this conservatory-based bring-your-own-bottle (BYOB) spot serves sweet and savory French-influenced fare for breakfast, lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch. Guests can ease the wait for salmon Niçoise salads, beef bourguignon, turkey tartines and croque monsieurs with a delectable treat from the pastry case. 8501 Germantown Avenue, (215) 247-6887, cakeofchestnuthill.com
  • Campbell’s Place – This unassuming English pub anchors the neighborhood with its century-old bar and family-friendly atmosphere. Regulars love the mussels braised in beer and topped with bacon and bleu cheese, lobster rolls and the impressive beer list. 8337 Germantown Avenue, (215) 242-1818, campbellsplace.com
  • Chestnut Hill Brewing Company – At the new flagship of the Market at the Fareway, Hillers enjoy a variety of craft beers and tasty traditional and specialty pizzas in a beautifully designed, open-air seating area outfitted with a ping-pong table and plants. 8229 Germantown Avenue, (215) 247-0300, chestnuthillbrewingcompany.com
  • Chestnut Hill Cheese Shop – This charming storefront has purveyed gourmet foods and hard-to-find cheeses for a half century. The well-loved spot is known for its cheese-of-the-month club, gift baskets—and samples. 8509 Germantown Avenue, (215) 242-2211, chcheeseshop.com
  • Chestnut Hill Coffee Company – Something’s always brewing at this upscale espresso bar. Whatever blend it is, those lucky beans have been roasted in-house, allowing for the optimal java shot. 8620 Germantown Avenue, (215) 242-8600, chestnuthillcoffee.com
  • CinCin – Serving cuisine described as “Chinese kissed by French,” this Chestnut Hill fixture has been the go-to for families and couples for the past 20 years. What they order: the moo shu pork, General Tso’s chicken or a more adventurous fish special. 7838 Germantown Avenue, (215) 242-8800, cincinrestaurantphiladelphia.com
  • El Poquito – Hillers fill the indoor booths and outdoor courtyard of this fun and contemporary cantina and tequila bar. Most popular on the menu: fresh-juice margaritas and spicy fish tacos. 8201 Germantown Avenue, (267) 766-5372, elpoquito.com
  • The French Bakery – Considered one of the hidden gems of Chestnut Hill, this restaurant-bakery considers its croissants the best this side of France. The chef here uses fresh local ingredients to make pastries, soups and sandwiches that are perfect for breakfast or lunch. 8624 Germantown Avenue, (215) 247-5959
  • Green Soul – Simplicity, health and freshness rule at Green Soul, which uses kale and faro in its super salad, turkey bacon in its salmon BLT and frozen bananas in its soft serve. Keeping with its health focus, the restaurant offers baked chicken fingers for kids and includes a green apple with every order. 8229 Germantown Avenue, (215) 242-2300, greensoulliving.com
  • Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant – With several rotating beers brewed in-house, a high-capacity space and more than 85 items on the menu, there is always plenty of goodness to choose from at Iron Hill, a locally based chain of brewpubs. It’s no wonder the seats are filled by the open windows on warm days, where patrons feast on mussels and burgers while people-watching and enjoying a cold one. 8400 Germantown Avenue, (215) 948-5600, ironhillbrewery.com
  • Market at the Fareway – A smaller version of Center City’s famed Reading Terminal Market, this year-round indoor market stands behind the Chestnut Hill Hotel. More than a dozen stalls offer produce, beef, chicken, fish, loads of prepared foods—hummus, sushi, lobster rolls, chocolates and other fresh foods. Winston Road between Germantown Avenue & Mermaid Lane, (215) 733-9599, marketatthefareway.com
  • McNally’s Tavern – Home of the iconic, salami-topped cheesesteak sandwich known as the Schmitter®, this circa 1921 pub is the go-to spot for both sandwiches and incredible soup, along with delicious chocolate cake. Established in 1921, this place is a well-known landmark in Chestnut Hill. 8634 Germantown Avenue, (215) 247-9736, mcnallystavern.com
  • Mermaid Inn – Rhythm, blues, jazz, rock and poetry are on the menu at the corner of Mermaid Lane and Germantown Avenue, home of a funky and eclectic well-kept secret among folks who find meaning in music. Despite its name, this place is a tavern and live performance venue, not a spot to spend the night. 7673 Germantown Avenue, (215) 247-9797, themermaidinn.net
  • Mica – Guests are in for a treat at this elegant and modern American bring-your-own-bottle (BYOB) spot. The seasonal menu, available a la carte or as a six-course tasting, changes daily in order to feature the region’s freshest bounty. An intimate outdoor patio provides an ideal setting to dine in warm weather. 8609 Germantown Avenue, (267) 335-3912, micarestaurant.com
  • The Night Kitchen – This green-certified cafe and bakery features from-scratch bakery items, specialty cakes and wedding cakes. Eco-conscious foodies appreciate that the staff grows its own herbs and vegetables for the dishes and recycles via rain harvesting and composting of food scraps. 7725 Germantown Avenue, (215) 248-9235, nightkitchenbakery.com
  • Osaka – Nestled at the top of the Hill, Osaka caters to sushi-lovers with umami nigiri, sashimi, and specialties like the Great Tuna Roll, spicy tuna topped with seared albacore, garlic, scallions and ponzu. 8605 Germantown Avenue, (215) 242-5900, osakapa.com
  • Paris Bistro & Jazz Café – What neighborhood doesn’t require its own sparkling Left Bank brasserie to serve escargots, coq au vin, ratatouille and crêpes suzette? Belowground, Paris’ cafe seats 52 people for live jazz. 8229 Germantown Avenue, (215) 242-6200, parisbistro.net
  • Tavern on the Hill – When a shopping or sightseeing trip to the neighborhood comes to an end and a pint or two is required, this cozy spot delivers. It’s also a great place to order comforting pub fare—particularly its popular roast beef sandwich. 8636 Germantown Avenue, (215) 247-9948, tavernonthehill.biz
  • Top of the Hill Cafe – Born from Top of the Hill Farm Market, which has been providing fresh local produce to the community for four decades, the cafe sells soups, salads, sandwiches and hot entrees that are prepared daily on the premises. Patrons can choose to dine in or take their meals to go. 184 E. Evergreen Avenue, (215) 248-6009, tothcafe.com
  • Weavers Way Co-op: Chestnut Hill – This beloved co-op market offers all-natural groceries, local and organic meat and produce, an expanded bulk section and a large prepared foods section—at a discount for members. 8424 Germantown Avenue, (215) 843-2350, weaversway.coop


  • Artisans on the Avenue – This shop stocks its shelves with clothing from small U.S. and local designers, jewelry from local artists, accessories from around the world and gifts that are just right. 8440 Germantown Avenue, (215) 381-0582, artisansontheavenue.com
  • Caleb Meyer – Fine handcrafted jewelry, designed and forged on premises, combines with fine American glass, pottery and wood to furnish the stock-and-trade of this elegant gift gallery. 8520 Germantown Avenue, (215) 248-9250, calebmeyer.com
  • Greendesign – Eco-friendliness is the name of the game at this playfully serene home and children’s shop known for its organic cotton onesies, handmade cards, carved wood bowls and utilitarian housewares. 8434 Germantown Avenue, (215) 242-0700, shopgreendesign.com
  • Hideaway Music – This shop promises “better living through vinyl,” and it delivers. Original LPs from classic and contemporary rock to jazz and blues, along with turntables, concert posters and releases by today’s artists (also available on CD), draw music lovers from all over to this gem. 8612 Germantown Avenue, (215) 248-4434, hideawaymusic.org
  • The Hill Company – In the neighborhood known as “Philadelphia’s Garden District,” this shop offers wicker settees, durable picnic sets and Big Green Eggs, among other patio and garden essentials. 8040 Germantown Avenue, (215) 247-7600, hill-company.com
  • Host Interiors – Classic modern furnishings by Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams are staples in this elegant yet approachable shelter store, which offers design services and get-there-fast sample sales. 7908 Germantown Avenue, (215) 967-1196, hostinteriors.com
  • Isabella Sparrow – Ethereal yet rustic vintage-y home goods, many made of repurposed farmhouse finds, soothe the soul and update the house to give a comforting country edge to city homes. 8511 Germantown Avenue, (717) 327-7285, isabellasparrow.com
  • Mango – Born of a 1980s Boho beach business, this women’s clothing boutique approaches all-age fashions from a colorful, casual bent, with a style philosophy that clothes should be comfortable and stylish. 8442 Germantown Avenue, (215) 248-9299, mangophilly.com
  • The Philadelphia Print Shop Ltd. – Fans of Antiques Roadshow might recognize a face or two behind the desks of this well-established repository of historic maps, books and original prints, many relating to the region and dating from the 15th through 19th centuries. 8441 Germantown Avenue, (215) 242-4750, philaprintshop.com
  • Quelque Chose – Pink and green and printed all over, this Lilly Pulitzer-packed shop, known for its vast boat-tote selection, is vibrant proof that acolytes of The Preppy Handbook still patronize the Hill. 8437 Germantown Avenue, (215) 248-6022, quelquechose.com
  • Robertson’s Florist – One of the city’s elder florists outdoes itself arrangement after arrangement, offering all manner of flowers, but also elegant home accessories, especially during the holidays. 8501 Germantown Avenue, (800) 242-6002, robertsonsflowers.com
  • Roots Inc. – On-point clothing is the point of this casually trendy spot for independent women’s wear designers. Otology, Splendid, Emerson Fry and Maison Scotch are among the labels adorning effortlessly stylish wardrobe must-haves. 8436 Germantown Avenue, (267) 385-5753
  • Style Camp – This mother-daughter shop specializes in easy, on-trend styles. Chic jersey dresses, French scarves, western accessories and tooled leather bags are among the must-haves for laid-back fashion plates. 9 W. Highland Avenue, (215) 242-3108, style-camp.com
  • Villavillekula – In a children’s shop named after Pippi Longstocking’s home, owner Beth Milley stocks mostly handmade clothing and accessories for wee ones, the sorts of items they probably shouldn’t wear to school, but will certainly want to. 8419 Germantown Avenue, (215) 242-0200, pippisvillavillekula.com
  • Windfall Gallery – Shoppers can snag the perfect gift for a special someone from this global collection, representing 250+ artists from fair-trade groups around the world. Ornate necklaces, carvings, pottery and singing bowls are just the start of amazing trinkets seeking a stylish and kind home. 7944 Germantown Avenue, (215) 247-6303, windfallgallery.com


  • Morris Arboretum – When Quaker siblings John and Lydia Morris purchased 92 rolling acres on the edge of Chestnut Hill in 1887, they transformed a barren summer estate into a landscape dedicated to natural beauty and knowledge. Today, the official Arboretum of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania belongs to the University of Pennsylvania. Visitors spend the day luxuriating and learning in Morris’ gardens, meadows, sculptures, Swan Pond and Tree Adventure exhibit. 100 E. Northwestern Avenue, (215) 247-5777, morrisarboretum.org
  • Pastorius Park – Established in 1915 and maintained by the Fairmount Park Commission, this 16-acre park is breathtaking in all seasons. Visitors can walk their dogs among the old trees and around the pond in the center of the park, take the family for a picnic and enjoy concerts in the open-air amphitheater. W. Abington Avenue & Roanoke Street, phila.gov
  • Wissahickon Valley Park – Bordering Chestnut Hill and Germantown to the south, 1,800 wooded acres include the lovely Wissahickon Creek, 50 miles of hiking and walking trails and Pastorius Park, a favorite refuge for picnics and summer concerts. Valley Green Road, (215) 247-0417, fow.org
  • Woodmere Art Museum – An elegant stone mansion is now the home of more than 6,000 works of art, with an emphasis on realist art and outdoor sculpture from the 19th century through the present day. Artists represented here include Edward Redfield, Violet Oakley and Benjamin West. 9201 Germantown Avenue, (215) 247-0476, woodmereartmuseum.org

Germantown & Mount Airy (via the Chestnut Hill East/West train lines or the #23 Bus):
In addition to its elegant examples of 18th– and 19th-century architecture, Mount Airy is known for its community of artists, independent bookstores, cozy coffee shops and green space. Just east of Mount Airy, one of the oldest settlements in Philadelphia, Germantown has a relaxed, backyard feel along with its significant historic resources.


  • Bacio – Regulars know it’s worth the wait for a table at this traditional Italian-American open-kitchen BYOB, known for antipasto and “Grandma’s” lasagna. 311 W. Mount Pleasant Avenue, (215) 248-2740
  • Charlie Gray’s Rib Crib – Open Thursday through Saturday, this popular destination has been sating neighbors and the rest of the city’s eaters with down home ribs, brisket and white bread since 1968. 6333 Germantown Avenue, (215) 438-6793
  • Chef Ken’s – A reputation for done-right Southern soul food—beef ribs, mac and cheese, collards—brought Anthony Bourdain through the door, just like it brings loyal patrons in for filling, satisfying dinners. 7135 Germantown Avenue, (215) 713-8899
  • Cresheim Valley Grain Exchange – Soul food and buck-a-shuck oysters get the gastropub treatment at this modern, neighborhood hang, also known for its burgers, fries, mac and cheese, old-fashioned cocktails and vegetarian offerings. 7152 Germantown Avenue, (267) 766-2502
  • Earth Bread + Brewery – Emblematic of the Mount Airy ethos, this hangout pours onsite-brewed beers from four taps—and rarely repeats a recipe. Seven more taps rotate mostly local brews; there’s also Pennsylvania wine on draught, house-made soda and kombucha—and great flatbread pizzas. 7136 Germantown Avenue, (215) 242-6666, earthbreadbrewery.com
  • Frosted Fox Cake Shop – Basic chocolate chip cookies and over-the-top layer cakes are the specialty of this couple-owned bakery, a monogrammed cupcake-lover’s Pinterest board come to life. 6511 Germantown Avenue, (267) 900-5453, frostedfoxcakeshop.com
  • High Point Cafes – The popularity of the made-to-order crepes and house-roasted coffee necessitated two West Mount Airy locations for this Bohemian bakery/coffee shop. 602 Carpenter Lane, (215) 849-5153; Allens Lane Station, 7210 Creshiem Road, (215) 248-1900, highpointcafe.us.com
  • Jansen – Chef David Jansen, formerly of the Fountain Restaurant at The Four Seasons, brings white tablecloth dining and New American fare to the historic Cresheim Cottage. Menu highlights include East and West Coast oysters, jumbo lump crab cocktail and grilled flatiron steak with creamy polenta, grilled corn and chimichurri relish. 7402 Germantown Avenue, (267) 335-5041, jansenmtairy.com
  • The Juice Room – This sunny spot uses raw vegetables and fruit to create mango lassis and ginger juices, immune boosters, acai smoothies and more. 7127 Germantown Avenue, (215) 248-1122, thejuiceroom.com
  • K & J Caribbean American Diner – One large platter of jerk chicken with rice, peas and cabbage is enough food to keep one family’s taste buds tingling in spicy bliss from lunch through dinner at this no-frills Germantown Jamaican spot. 5603 Greene Street, (215) 849-0242
  • McMenamin’s Tavern – The locals convene here in force to catch Phillies, Flyers, Eagles and Sixers games, to eat what some of the best wings in the city and to drink the local and international beers on tap. 7170 Germantown Avenue, (215) 247-9920
  • Pizzeria Nonna – Two styles of Jersey tomato sauce top the square and round pies at this Germantown gem—as do other local ingredients like mushrooms and Lancaster bacon. Hungry diners seeking the full Philadelphia experience may opt for the roast pork pizza with roasted red peppers, broccoli rabe and sharp provolone. 5301 Germantown Avenue, (267) 766-6900
  • Tata Cafe – Coffee lovers are enjoying this newcomer to the neighborhood, embracing the welcoming space as a central meeting point to relax in armchairs and enjoy panini, pastries or a hot cup of Joe. 7201 Germantown Avenue, (215) 753-8282
  • Trattoria Moma – Chef and owner Bledar Istrefi offers his take on traditional and modern Italian cuisine at this intimate BYOB. Diners enjoy mozzarella di bufala, orechiette with homemade fennel chicken sausage and grilled branzino. 7131 Germantown Avenue, (215) 248-1100, trattoriamoma.com
  • Tiffin – Locals bring their own beer or wine to this petite location of this small chain of impeccable Indian restaurants. Regulars swear by the chicken tikka masala, saag paneer and lamb biryani. Many opt for takeout or delivery. 7105 Emlen Street, (215) 242-3656, tiffin.com
  • Trolley Car Diner – Just beyond the Chestnut Hill border, a circa 1952 trolley has become a family-favorite for stuffed French toast, milkshakes, burgers, meatloaf, chicken croquettes and hot fudge sundaes. 7619 Germantown Avenue, (215) 753-1500, trolleycardiner.com
  • Valley Green Inn – Across a gravel path from Wissahickon Creek, this 19th-century hotel now serves as both resting and refreshment point for partakers in Fairmount Park and simple yet elegant venue for lunch, brunch and dinner, including on holidays. Valley Green Road at Wissahickon Road, (215) 247-1730, valleygreeninn.com
  • Weavers Way Co-op: Mt. Airy – This co-op location is the original, opening its doors in 1973. Shoppers find a full-service natural grocer on the first floor and one of the largest bulk departments in the region upstairs; a separate store across the street houses personal care and pet care departments. 559 Carpenter Lane, (215) 843-2350, weaversway.coop


  • Big Blue Marble Bookstore – At this independently owned bookshop, patrons browse the diverse selection of progressive and multicultural titles or bring the kids in for weekly story time. 551 Carpenter Lane, (215) 844-1870, bigbluemarblebooks.com
  • Majeki’s Stained Glass – Craftsman and restorer Mark Kidd, Sr. runs this circa 1990 studio and gallery, where work ranges from fanciful doors to artsy brooches. 7212 Germantown Avenue, (215) 242-1586, majekistainedglassworks.com
  • The Nesting House – Families pop into the flagship outpost of a small chain of eco-conscious boutiques for babies and small children to score new and gently used clothing, toys, books and furniture—or to exchange the ones that their little ones have outgrown for cash or store credit. 606 Carpenter Lane, (215) 438-1600
  • October Gallery: Main Art Gallery – The folks behind October Gallery have connected people to African-American creative and visual expression since 1985. Every November, the annual Philadelphia International Art Expo presents an array of masks, sculptures and canvas works representing images and artists from across the African Diaspora. 6353 Greene Street, (215) 352-3114, octobergallery.com
  • Philadelphia Electric Wheels – This spot sells electric bikes, folding bikes and kits to convert regular bikes into electric ones. And for those who like to pedal old school, it also carries traditional bikes, sans motors. 7153 Sprague Street, (215) 821-9266, phillyew.com
  • Rothe Florists – Whether for a wedding, birthday or just because, this four-generation family- owned business has been creating beautiful floral arrangements for Philadelphians for more than 100 years. 7148 Germantown Avenue, (215) 247-0832, rotheflorists.com

Arts & Attractions:

  • Allens Lane Art Center – A theater plus exhibition space, workshop and arts school and summer camp serves as a community go-to for all manner of creative discoveries. 601 W. Allens Lane, (215) 248-0546, allenslane.org
  • Awbury Arboretum – Horticulturalist William Saunders designed this onetime site of a British encampment as an English-style estate in 1852. The 55-acre property, now a free and public arboretum, offers meadows, wetlands, trails, birds, greenhouses, a community garden and working farm. 1 Awbury Road, (215) 849-2855, awbury.org
  • Cliveden of the National Trust – This 18th-century mansion, a National Historic Landmark, is both an important Battle of Germantown site and a repository of history about northern plantations. Artifacts and tours help guests learn about slavery, from colonial through abolitionist times. 6401 Germantown Avenue, (215) 848-1777, cliveden.org
  • Johnson House Historic Site – Though pocked with marks from musket balls and cannon balls from the Battle of Germantown, this stone home, also a National Historic Landmark, is best known as a rare, surviving station of the Underground Railroad. In the 19th century, the house’s Quaker owners helped form a network of protectors of people fleeing enslavement. 6306 Germantown Avenue, (215) 438-1768, johnsonhouse.org
  • Mt. Airy Art Garage – This community-driven, professionally run arts hub, now housed in an interim space, shows the diverse, can-do spirit of the neighborhood with mural projects, classes, gatherings and exhibitions. 6622 Germantown Avenue, (215) 242-5074, mtairyartgarage.org
  • Wyck – This National Historic Landmark includes a house, garden and farm owned for nine generations (1690-1973) by the Quaker Wistar/Haines family. In 1777, during the Battle of Germantown, the house served as a field hospital for British troops. Today, the 2.5-acre estate remains vital to the neighborhood via horticulture, educational programs, a weekly farmers’ market and community festivals. 6026 Germantown Avenue, (215) 848-1690, wyck.org

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