Chestnut Hill: Five Places to Escape Philadelphia Without Leaving the City

The concrete jungle of Philadelphia can sometimes drive citygoers mad. Regardless of your love or hate for city life, sometimes you just need an escape. Whether it be to a park to collect your thoughts or just a trip to a bookstore for some much needed “me” time, Chestnut Hill offers places for residents to escape.

Pastorius Park 

Imagine being able to enjoy your favorite book under towering green trees, as the sun reflects off a picturesque pond. Pastorius Park (above), located just two blocks from Germantown Avenue, makes it possible for citygoers to make this daydream a reality. The 16-acre park is part of the Fairmount Park Commission and dates back  to 1915. The park is ideal for dog lovers, who make use of the spacious area to play fetch with their dogs. If playing fetch isn’t your thing, you can lounge on a blanket or relax on one of the park’s many benches.


Mt. Airy Read and Eat

Mt. Airy Read & Eat – 7141 Germantown Ave.

In September, Germantown Avenue welcomed a new addition to its expanding central business district. Mt. Airy Read & Eat offers customers an array of used books and tasty treats. Customers can sit and enjoy their favorite book while enjoying their favorite gourmet coffee. The store attracts customers from all ages and backgrounds.

“We have a great selection of used books here and our ice cream is very popular,” said employee Desiree DeFara. “Our place ties our diverse community together by the many events we offer. We hold poetry slams, activities for kids, and tie in events with the Sedgwick Theater.”



Morris Arboretum – 100 East Northwest Ave. 

Nature lovers can find peace and solitude at the University of Pennsylvania’s Morris Arboretum. The 92-acre garden offers visitors views of classic Victorian landscapes, accompanied by soothing sounds of chirping birds. This is also an ideal place for family fun and adventure. Children find entertainment in the arboretum’s outdoor garden railroad station. A romantic rose garden and plant species from all over the world are just a few of the other features the arboretum offers. While visiting, it is easy to forget that you are still in the city of Philadelphia.


Poppy's Cafe

Poppy’s Cafe – 8229 Germantown Ave.

It is no secret that city dwellers love their coffee. While reading the Sunday paper, some may argue that there is nothing more relaxing than enjoying it with your favorite cup of coffee. Poppy’s Cafe on Germantown Avenue offers coffee made from locally roasted coffee beans. Not only are you supporting Philadelphia small business owners, but also local coffee roasters. This is a great place to go and catch up with your significant other, best friend, or to just stop by for a quick caffeine fix.



Market at the Fareway 

Tucked away behind the Chestnut Hill Hotel on Germantown Avenue lies a weekly market. You can explore the 15 different vendors Thursdays through Sundays. Like a mini version of Reading Terminal Market, it offers city lovers tastes from cupcakes to sushi. It is also a great place to bring children. The market offers free face painting, glitter tattoos and balloon art. After exploring the market, families and friends can hang out by the relaxing fountains. In the winter, curl up by the fire and relax with beautiful views from the inside looking out.

– Text and images by Molly Mulvihill and Nicole Bernier

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