Nestled in the heart of Pennsylvania's Brandywine Valley, West Chester is a picturesque and historic community that offers small-town charm with cosmopolitan flair. The Philadelphia Inquirer called it "one of the world's most perfect small towns." And West Chester has received a multitude of awards and recognitions.
Shopping and Dining West Chester is your perfect option for spending the day sightseeing and shopping in over 65 boutiques for items you won't see at the mall. There are over 75 award winning restaurants for every taste and budget -- many offer entertainment in the evening making it a great place to wind down after a long day.
The Brandywine Traveler When staying in downtown West Chester, check out highlights of nearby attractions with The Brandywine Traveler. It includes an itinerary for Scenic Route 52 featuring attractions all within a short drive from downtown West Chester. See it online at Fig Brandywine Traveler. FREE print copies available. See the list of popular hiking and biking trails.
Hotel Warner Enjoy all there is to see in the Brandywine Valley just minutes away when you stay at the Hotel Warner, part of Historic Hotels of America. Offering the best in lodging hospitality, the hotel blends the historic 1930 Warner Theatre lobby seamlessly into a newly constructed wing with 80 well-appointed rooms.
RECOMMENDED ATTRACTIONS Distances are gauged from The Hotel Warner.
Chester County Historical SocietyWEBSITE Location: 225 N High St; across the street Open: Tuesday-Saturday Venue: Indoor Visit time: 1-3 hours Highlights: Get a fascinating glimpse of Brandywine Valley history as you stroll through this well-appointed museum that also features a genealogical library, gift shop, and permanent and revolving exhibits. Current exhibit revolves around postal history in Chester County. Explore rare and exquisite examples curated by guest postal-historian Bill Schultz through April 2018. See more. Inside tip: Long-term parking located across the street at the Chestnut Street Garage (14 East Chestnut St). Pick up your downtown guide for shopping and restaurant opportunities.
Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts CenterWEBSITE Location: 226 N High St; across the street Open: 9-5 weekdays and through show times Venue: Indoor Visit time: Length of performance Highlights: Live entertainment including musical theater, concerts, speaker series, dance, comedy, drama, as well as film, facility rentals and performing arts education for adults and youth. Housed in the renovated historic West Chester Armory. Inside tip: Convenient parking at the Chestnut Street Garage; free on Sunday.
West Chester RailroadWEBSITE Location: East Market Street at Railroad Street; 5 blocks Open: Sundays, June 4 - September 17 Venue: Excursion train ride Visit time: 2 hours Highlights: A tourist railroad along the beautiful Chester Creek Valley on one of the oldest train routes in the country. There is a variety of nostalgic 90-minute train trips. Summer Picnic Specials occur every Sunday at noon, June through September. Inside tip: West Chester Railroad offers many different special events, check out their website for details.
Chester County Art AssociationWEBSITE Location: 100 North Bradford Ave; 0.7 miles, 15 minute walk via West Gay Street Open: Tuesday-Saturday Venue: Indoor Visit time: 1-3 hours Highlights: Chester County's local art place where the Brandywine Tradition of painting was first established by N.C. Wyeth and others. Since its founding, CCAA has retained its mission as a community-minded organization but has grown tremendously to include an astonishing range of activities and ArtReach programs. Inside tip: A pleasant walk westward along Gay Street through downtown and the west end neighborhood takes you past Horace Pippin's historical marker located at 327 West Gay Street (now a private residence).
American Helicopter Museum & Education CenterWEBSITE Location: 1220 American Blvd, West Chester, PA 19380 | 3.7 miles Open: Wednesday-Sunday Venue: Indoor/Outdoor Visit time: 1-3 hours Highlights: Focuses on the history, science, and technology of rotary wing aviation with a collection of rare and unique aircraft. Inside tip: Lots to do for families and enthusiasts
Longwood Gardens WEBSITE Location: 1001 Longwood Rd, Kennett Square PA 19348; 9 miles Open: Everyday Venue: Indoor/Outdoor Visit time: 2-6 hours Highlights: Experience the exquisite world-famous gardens that elevate the art of horticulture with beautifully elegant displays. Inside tip: Reservations available for the seasonal shows.
Historic SugartownWEBSITE Location: 690 Sugartown Rd, Malvern, PA 19355; 7 miles Open: Starting May 3: Tours Saturdays, 11am–4pm; Sundays, 1–4pm through December 14. Venue: Indoor/Outdoor Visit time: 2-4 hours Highlights: A remarkably intact and fully restored 19th-century village featuring a general store as it was in 1880, a restored farmhouse, a book bindery, a wonderful carriage barn of historic wagons and sleighs, and many other sites. Each reflect a life in a simpler time. Annual events and special tours available. Insidetip: Ticketed attraction. Guided tours take you through the eight sites. On weekdays, visitors are welcome to stroll the grounds at no charge during daylight hours. Added tip: Visit the nearby Paoli Battlefield Historical Park (2.5 miles north of Sugartown via Sugartown Rd, right on Monument Ave to the Malvern Historical Park). Considered the most pristine Revolutionary War battlefield in the United States, it's the site that Washington's Army called The Paoli Massacre, where the British routed "Mad Anthony" Wayne's troops on September 20, 1777. Free everyday. Several interpretive plagues along walking trails.
Tyler ArboretumWEBSITE Location: 515 Painter Road, Media, PA 19063; 10 miles Open: Everyday Venue: Outdoor Visit time: 2-6 hours Highlights: One of the oldest arboreta in the northeastern United States, Tyler Arboretum encompasses 650 acres of renowned plant collections, heritage and champion trees, historic buildings and 17 miles of hiking trails through woodlands, wetlands and meadows. Inside tip: Totally Terrific Treehouses are a hit with children and families!
Delaware Museum of Natural HistoryWEBSITE Location: 4840 Kennett Pike, Wilmington DE 19807; 14 miles Open: Monday through Saturday: 9:30am-4:30pm, Sunday: 12:00pm-4:30pm Venue: Indoor/outdoor Visit Time: 1-2 Hours Highlights: Connect to the natural world through exploration and discovery at the Delaware Museum of Natural History. Experience habitats from around the globe, gaze up to a giant squid, encounter a jaguar face-to-face and marvel at the diversity of shells from around the world. Gallery highlights also include the only permanent dinosaur collection in Delaware, a simulated coral reef, and a Science in Action paleontology lab. Throughout the year the Museum also hosts several special exhibits on national tour. Inside Tip: Check out their Facebook page for announcements and upcoming events all year round.
Valley Forge National Historical ParkWEBSITE Location: 1400 N Outer Line Dr, King of Prussia PA 19406; 15 miles Open: Open daily; see website for hours of specific sites Venue: Indoor/Outdoor Visit time: 2-6 hours Highlights: Valley Forge National Historical Park is a 5.5 square mile Revolutionary War encampment with many roadside interpretives including George Washington’s Headquarters and reconstructed soldier barracks. Both roads and trails connect key monuments and historic structures. Inside tip: The park is free to enter. The Visitors Center should be the first stop for new guests. Bring a picnic lunch.
Chanticleer GardensWEBSITE Location: 786 Church Road, Wayne, PA 19087; 15 miles Open: Open Wednesday-Sunday. Venue: Outdoor Visit time: 2-4 hours Highlights: Chanticleer has been called the most romantic, imaginative, and exciting public garden in America. It's a study of textures and forms, where foliage trumps flowers, and the gardeners lead the design. It is an experience of pleasure and learning filled with art, ideas, and beauty. Inside tip: There's no food service but on-site picnicking is allowed.
See "West Chester, PA: The Center of the Televised Shopping Universe and Other Surprises" by Malerie Yolen-Cohen, HuffingtonPost.com
Insiders Parking Tip Your best option for worry-free parking in downtown West Chester are the centrally located municipal parking garages. Park as long as you want and have no fear of getting an overtime parking ticket. Go to the Parking Tab for details.
Home to West Chester University Within a few blocks of downtown, West Chester University serves the educational needs to 14,000 students. With roots dating back to 1812, WCU has evolved into a comprehensive university which excels in teacher education, business, health, natural and social sciences, music and the arts.
WCU's performing arts programs are open to the public and many of the events are free.