Northwest Philly: Five Community Gems that Focus on Art, History or Nature

Painted chairs placed outside the Woodmere Art Museum.

A mixture of art, history and parks makes Northwest Philly a diverse area for community activities and events. Check out the community treasures of the Northwest.

Woodmere Art Museum

This 19th-century Victorian mansion sits on six acres of land in Chestnut Hill. Once the home of Charles Knox Smith, an oil and mining businessman, the site is now home to over 3,000 works of art (above). With lectures, movie nights and holiday events, this museum has something for everyone.


The Oakleaf Hydrangea location at the Morris Arboretum

Morris Arboretum

Nestled in Chestnut Hill lies the Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania, the official arboretum of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Explore the family-friendly plant collecting expeditions and learn horticultural practices from experts. Thousands of visitors frequent the arboretum for research, learning and uncovering natural beauty.


The 19th century Johnson House Historic Site.

Johnson House Historic Site

First owned by a family of Quaker abolitionists, the Johnson House Historic Site helped to free enslaved African-Americans during the 19th century. Located on Germantown Avenue, the historic house not only serves as a staple in American history, but also provides tours and educational programs for kids and adults alike.


The Settlement Music School where 10,000 weekly activities are offered.

Settlement Music School

The Settlement Music School is not just of value to Philadelphia, but to the nation. The school is the largest community school of the arts in the country. Despite its elite nature, the school awards nearly $2 million annually in financial aid and scholarships, thus being able to reach kids from lower income neighborhoods. The school also offers music, art and dance/movement therapy that have been proven to lead to improved self-esteem, increased coping skills and relaxation.


Center in the Park provides events for senior citizens in the Northwest community.

Center in the Park

Senior citizens are not forgotten when it comes to activities in Northwest Philadelphia. Center in the Park was founded in 1968 specifically as a community resource to fit the needs of the older residents of the Northwest. Located on Germantown Avenue, the center hosts trips and events, including trips to Atlantic City.

– Text and images by Paulina Jayne Isaac and Maryrose Kelkis 

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