It’s a little bit of everything in the Main Line region, from vibrant dining and shopping hubs to upscale neighborhoods to historic main streets.
This trio of relatively low-key hamlets along Lancaster Avenue feeds off the notoriety of Devon Yard, a recent creation that includes the high-end shopping destinations Anthropologie and BHLDN, plus upscale dining and more. The complex is adjacent to the Devon Horse Show grounds, the oldest and largest outdoor multi-breed equestrian competition in the country. West of Devon, hot spots like La Cabra Brewing, Nectar and Clay’s Creative Corner Bakery make Berwyn a draw for beer lovers and foodies. Known more as a residential and rail hub, Paoli has gotten a boost thanks to the long-awaited upgrade of its train station.
What the unincorporated Exton lacks in a proper downtown, it makes up for in one of the region’s nicer train stations, the walkable Main Street complex, the 14-mile Chester Valley Trail, Chester County Library, and loads of shopping and dining options. Plenty of new upscale apartment complexes and high-end townhomes support the upwardly mobile. Two stops west, Downingtown boasts a cozy downtown, good schools and the award-winning Victory Brewing Company’s original location. Eagleview Town Center offers some excellent dining options on a well-utilized town square just minutes from Marsh Creek State Park and the Struble Trail.
Known as the Mushroom Capital of the World after the product that sustains its surrounding farms, Kennett Square has grown considerably thanks to its affordability, walkability and family-friendly vibe. State Street offers an array of shopping and dining options, and the world-renowned Longwood Gardens is not far from town.
Just a few miles west of Paoli, Malvern’s robust shopping and dining scene is centered on King Street, with its charming eateries, unique boutiques and reputable galleries. The town is quaint but sophisticated, and accessible by commuter rail seven days a week.
Young families and millennials can’t get enough of affordable Phoenixville. Its thriving downtown has undergone a food and beverage renaissance, with distilleries and breweries popping up everywhere—especially along Bridge Street. And with all the new housing options, there’s little downside to this former steel town.
Touted as the western suburbs’ hottest town, West Chester offers history, a sizzling real estate market, excellent schools, and a quaint downtown with brick sidewalks, robust dining and bar scenes, and a full slate of annual events. The borough is also the seat of Chester County and home to West Chester University of Pennsylvania, the largest of 14 state schools.
Located along West Chester Pike with direct access to I-476, these neighboring towns offer reasonably priced homes and a relatively easy commute to Philadelphia. Locally known as the 33rd county of Ireland, Havertown boasts a robust Irish population—and a lively summer celebration to go with it. Broomall is popular with young families.
The late Andrew Wyeth’s Pennsylvania hometown is enjoying the fruits of the revitalized Chadds Ford Barn Shops, where a bakery and café, artisans, and service-oriented businesses comingle. Chadds Ford is also home to Brandywine River Museum of Art, Brandywine Battlefield State Park, and the John Chads House. A few miles away, Glen Mills is booming with new growth in every sector.
Thanks to its many festivals and community events, Media is one of the liveliest towns in the region. A community sensibility and plenty of parking mesh well with its walkability, making it a draw for younger families, empty-nesters and Philadelphians looking to settle in an accessible suburban enclave. Lined with restaurants and a handful of boutiques, State Street is the borough’s busy center. The trolley line completes the cozy, old-timey vibe.
Once a sleepy crossroads town, Newtown Square is experiencing a major revitalization. The 218-acre Ellis Preserve continues to expand, offering multi-use event space, shops, restaurants and more. High-end living options are another draw. The prestigious Aronimink Golf Club and easy access to Ridley Creek State Park add to the appeal.
Nine months out of the year, these Radnor Township neighbors play host to Villanova University students and fans. Both offer a traditional Main Line vibe sprinkled with historic homes and modern amenities.
This family-friendly town has no shortage of desirable neighborhoods, in part thanks to the community-centric atmosphere, which shines through during seasonal festivals and events. Wayne has plenty of shopping and dining options plus access to the Radnor Trail, making it well worth the higher price tag for homebuyers.
The Main Line’s most thriving town center, Ardmore is home to more than 12,000 people. It benefits from convenient commuter access to Center City Philadelphia and robust dining, entertainment and shopping scenes. Established in 1928 as one of the first shopping centers in the United States, Suburban Square continues to have its own unique energy thanks to its mix of fine restaurants, food vendors, upscale retailers and local boutiques. Ardmore Music Hall lures national and regional music headliners, and splashy high-end apartment complexes are giving the town a more urban feel.
Just two stops west of Ardmore on the commuter rail line, Bryn Mawr is home to some fine private schools and nationally ranked Bryn Mawr College. It oozes small-town charm, with estate homes lining quaint streets. There’s also a top-rated hospital and the utterly unique Bryn Mawr Film Institute.
Located just north of the core Main Line on a bend in the Schuylkill River, Conshohocken’s blue-collar roots have been overwhelmed by a swarm of white-collar young professionals drawn to its restaurants, bar scene and more affordable living options. Access to Center City is an on-ramp away via I-76, and top-notch dining is the norm.
Given the hilly, heavily wooded setting, it’s easy to forget that Gladwyne’s hyper-upscale neighborhoods are so close to I-76, affording easy access to Center City. One of the wealthiest zip codes in the country, it’s also home to Philadelphia Country Club and a surplus of sprawling estates and awe-inspiring mansions.
Beautiful estate homes define this old-school suburban enclave. You’ll also find the esteemed Haverford School and the mini-Ivy-caliber Haverford College, along with Merion Golf Club and Merion Cricket Club, both bastions of Main Line tradition. Founded in 1865, the latter offers squash, lawn tennis and (of course) cricket. Merion Golf Club, meanwhile, has hosted five U.S. Open tournaments.
The nexus of one of the largest, most successful malls in the country, King of Prussia is well on its way to becoming a mini city of its own. At KOP’s walkable Town Center, a park-like courtyard area hosts free concerts and movie screenings in warm weather. If you’re looking for more trees and hills, Valley Forge National Historical Park is minutes away. It’s home to George Washington’s Revolutionary War encampment, along with a popular network of hiking and biking trails.
A quasi-European town built into a scenic cliff overlooking the Schuylkill River, Manayunk is technically part of Philadelphia, which makes it a haven for young professionals and empty-nesters who want some of the perks of Center City without the typical urban annoyances. Renovations and new construction are the norm in Manayunk these days, so there’s an abundance of housing options. Main Street boasts plenty of retail distractions and every cuisine imaginable. Nearby Wissahickon Valley Park offers a gorge, meadows and 57 miles of trails. Just across the river from Main Street via footbridge is Bala Cynwyd’s new waterfront showpiece, Ironworks at Pencoyd Landing. The converted 19th-century iron and steel foundry has two first-class restaurants (Lark and the Landing Kitchen), office space and a Marriott Residence Inn.
Just 10–15 minutes to Philadelphia by train, Narberth and Wynnewood share a decidedly urban vibe, making both an easier transition for former city dwellers, young and old. Narberth’s small cluster of restaurants offers impressive variety. A bit more spread out, Wynnewood’s dining scene also has a global flair.
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