With summer slowly winding down, it’s the perfect time to squeeze the most out of the remaining school-free days. The Main Line is anything but boring, with wonderful places to eat, drink and get outside. Pick a theme, pick a day and get ready for an adventure.
Reluctant to leave the warm weather behind? Soak up the sun before its swept away and replaced with autumn chills.
1. Take the morning to canoe or kayak on the Brandywine River. Rentals are simple to arrange at Brandywine Outfitters (2096 Strasburg Road, Coatesville), and you can start your self-guided tour right across the street.
2. After you’ve explored Southern Chester County by boat, head back to your favorite shady spot along the river or trek up to Phoenixville’s Black Rock Sanctuary (953 Black Rock Road, Phoenixville) and cast a line midday. Fish commonly found in the local Brandywine and Schuylkill Rivers include largemouth bass, sunfish and trout. Unpack a picnic while waiting for a nibble on the line.
3. Take a short sojourn into the woods at Okehocking Preserve (5316 West Chester Pike, Newtown Square). Willistown’s 180 acres of meadows, forest and wetlands are easy to walk with dogs, horses and kids.
4. Right before dinner, pick up some fresh produce at Thornbury Farm (1256 Thornbury Road, West Chester). The CSA sells fresh veggies and herbs, local honey, baked goods and dairy. Kids of all ages will enjoy seeing Daisy the donkey and greeting the goats and chickens.
The Main Line is full of quaint cafes and booming bars if imbibing is what you’re into. Continue your “best day” into the night and have some adult fun, tapping into local nightlife.
1. The Malvern Buttery (233 E King St, Malvern) is a cute spot to sit with a cup of coffee before work—or even during, if you don’t mind moving your home office to the rustic bakery. Cozy armchairs or wooden tables make an ideal spot to sip on handcrafted lattes accompanied by warm baked goods.
2. When you’re ready for a night on the town, take to West Chester for dinner and house made root beer at Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant (3 W Gay St., West Chester). Head across the street to Kildare’s (18 W Gay St., West Chester) or Landmark Americana (158 W Gay St., West Chester) for a taste of the vibrant nightlife in this booming college town.
3. Over the bar scene? Burlap & Bean (204 S Newtown Street Road, Newtown Square) has great live music and roasts its own beans. A cappuccino and a friend make its comfy leather couches all the more wonderful.
4. Want the experience of barhopping without the bar or the hopping? World of Beer (102 Main St., Exton) has hundreds of brews and a tasty tavern menu. There’s a brew for craft enthusiasts and curious novices alike.
Get a whole new perspective on the Main Line.
1. Take to the skies and get a birds-eye view of Chester County while floating along in a brightly colored hot air balloon (2904 Conestoga Road, Glenmoore). Local flights are available at both sunrise and sunset in the summer, with each culminating in a ceremonial champagne toast.
2. Get a shot of adrenaline with a helicopter ride at the American Helicopter Museum (1220 American Blvd., West Chester). Only held periodically, its community days are perfect for riding through the clouds in style. The museum is also a great place to visit if you want to learn about the history of aviation and sit in a chopper or watch biplanes taxi down the runway—without taking off, yourself.
3. Get that weightless sensation a little closer to the ground at Sky Zone (122 Mill Road, Oaks). The indoor trampoline park is perfect for fitness junkies and energetic kids alike. Take a workout class or flip into a foam pit.
4. Thrill seekers will be excited to try indoor skydiving at iFly (290 Goddard Blvd., King of Prussia). If you’re not quite ready to jump out of a plane, try jumping into a wind tunnel instead. Groups of two to 12 can take a freefall and walk away with a video clip of their flights.
Just because school’s out doesn’t mean that the learning has to stop. These great field trip locations will entertain the whole family.
1. The Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire (2775 Lebanon Road, Manheim) runs from August to October and turns Mount Hope Estate and Winery into a medieval wonderland. Enjoy the costumes and foods while browsing the merchants and watching the shows spread across 35 acres.
2. Ready for an afternoon adventure? The Philadelphia Zoo (3400 W. Girard Ave., Philadelphia) houses over 1,300 species. Kids will love the Zoo360 trails that let species such as tigers and gorillas roam above the crowds. Parents will appreciate the new Watering Hole Beer Garden, hosted by Victory Brewing Company.
3. The Franklin Institute (222 N. 20th St., Philadelphia) is always a wonderful educational experience, but young kids will be especially fascinated by visiting exhibit the Science Behind Pixar, on display through Sept. 5. Take advantage of workshops and evening events featuring guests specializing in everything from 3D printing to mindreading.
Feeling competitive? Showcase athletic prowess and appreciation.
1. Check your reflexes at Grand Slam (11 Lancaster Ave., Malvern). With laser tag, batting cages, and a new ninja course full of obstacles, you’ll have a great time playing at this indoor entertainment complex.
2. Bowling at Devon Lanes (300 W. Lancaster Ave., Devon) will give everyone a competitive streak. Team up or play solo to beat your record and take advantage of a cool indoor spot to escape the heat.
3. Take a dip during the hot midafternoon at Ardmore Avenue Pool (122 Ardmore Ave., Ardmore).
4. Watch a Phillies game in the middle of their season. Head to Citizens Bank Park (1 Citizens Bank Way, Philadelphia) to root for the home team and enjoy some Philly-favorite crab fries.