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Chestnut Hill Philadelphia PA - Nice Place to Visit

Updated on January 28, 2012


I recently wrote an article on quick, free and easy things to do in Philadelphia right here on Hubpages. I was going to update the article by adding a piece on the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia. After some thought, I decided it would be best to do a separate article since downtown Chestnut Hill is much different than downtown Philadelphia

I have visited the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia a number of times. I recently did a walk through and checked out the scene.

I decided to write a brief article on my experience.

chestnut hill philadelphia:
Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, PA, USA

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Downtown Chestnut Hill is located in the North West section of Philadelphia. The main drag I'm writing about is right on Germantown Avenue. For those of you nervous about city driving, don't worry. While this within city limits, it is very much a suburban feeling area.

Downtown, for purposes of this article runs almost exclusively on Germantown Ave. in Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, PA.

It is surprisingly accessible from the PA turnpike. To my surprise, for those 'locals' reading this article, it is shockingly close to all Montgomery County areas close to Norristown such as Whitpain, Blue Bell, Ambler, etc. You can get to Chestnut hill in about 15 minutes or less from these areas. Downtown Chestnut Hill is 5 miles from the Norristown Exit 333 off the Turnpike. A straight shot down Germantown Ave.

The Look

Downtown Chestnut Hill has a very pleasant look to it. In some ways it resembles a small idyllic village. During the Christmas season it has that sort of Christmas village look to it, without actually being one.

You'll know when you are in downtown when you see the cobble stones. Most of Germantown Ave in the Downtown section is lined with historic looking cobblestones and in some spots, the street is entirely cobblestone. This makes the car bounce a lot but it gives the town a nice historic look.

There also is a currently defunct trolley line that runs right down the middle of Germantown Ave. Even though, sadly, loud buses run in its place, the trolley tracks add nice character to this quaint town.

Check out the pictures (and more of the article) below.


The Size

Chestnut Hill is not particularly large. Figure it runs about a 8-9 block stretch along Germantown Avenue with some use of side streets for additional shops to visit.

As far as planning your day, you won't need to set aside a lot of time. If you take your time and limit your day to window shopping, you can cover just about everything you'd want to see in about an hour or so. Of course, you can add time to your day with more intensive shopping, grabbing a coffee, a few drinks or a meal to eat.

The Feel

Chestnut Hill is a very nice area. There is nothing threatening about it. The town lends a very safe feeling.

It is also very clean and tidy. There is no litter on the street.

I don't sense the locals come out to the downtown section in droves. I had the feeling that the shoppers and browsers were mainly from neighboring towns but I have no way of proving this.

From what I could tell from walking some of the side streets, the locals are very affluent, single home living white collar professionals.


Plenty of food in Chestnut Hill. If you want a coffee shop, a bakery, ice cream shop, a restaurant, a pizza shop, it is all here in Chestnut Hill.

There is good international variety of restaurants to choose from such as, Japanese, Chinese, American, Fusion, Cuban, etc.

The service levels vary from take out to BYOB to full restaurant bar.


There are a number of bars but from what I could tell, none of them are the big trendy dance club types or large rock and roll cover types.

The bars I found were either low key restaurant bars or classic, cozy tavern bars.  Some offer background music acoustic acts on weekend nights.


For theater fans, there is Stagecrafter's Theater that features live shows.  This organization and this theater (in various forms) has been around since the 1930s. They do not feature productions every night of the week so check their schedule for upcoming plays.


There are a lot of specialty shops in Chestnut Hill. You can buy gourmet baked goods, unusual cheeses, fun toys, clothing, art, specialty rugs, teas, etc etc etc.

This is definitely a browsers paradise with a wide variety of stores.


Chestnut Hill does feature indoor and outdoor events come up periodically throughout the year such as an arts festival, books festival, etc. They also have events such as Stag and Doe Wednesday nights and First Friday nights that encourage stores to stay open at night and people to browse the streets.


There are several art galleries. Mainly galleries that featured paintings from what I could see but also photography. Check them out.

My Thoughts

Downtown Chestnut Hill is the classic, shop lined, touristy town.

I always joke that if you take any few blocks in any town, add a restaurant, add a coffee shop, an art gallery, a restaurant, a bar, and a few of those specialty shops and you'll have a big attraction. This town is one of those places.

I did not find anything especially over the top of outstanding about Chestnut Hill. It is not an artists mecca or a haven for musicians. I doubt the restaurants are taking home any Michelin stars and most of the stores are the specialty kind that most of us like to visit but could live without.

That said, I don't think that this is an attraction that wants that kind of attraction. It doesn't seem to posture itself that way like other edgier neighborhoods and I suppose it doesn't have to. Chestnut Hill isn't an area struggling to make a name for itself for survival. This town already. There might not be anything breathtaking about this town, but it is sure nice to visit especially if you live in the Philadelphia region.

Stroll down Germantown Avenue in downtown Chestnut Hill sometime and tell me what you think.


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