Ah, the Main Line suburbs. Pretty, quiet, glossy, and basically every city dweller’s simultaneous dream and fear—too much quiet worries us. However, if you’re looking to slow things down after a busy first week on campus, the suburbs are a perfect place to do it.
Getting to the suburbs is surprisingly easy from campus: walk over to 30th Street Station, get on the Paoli/Thorndale Regional Rail line from there, and get off at Ardmore Station. Trains usually run about every hour, and schedules are listed here; however if you're anything like me, schedules can be confusing as heck, so consult your preferred transit app when in doubt. Overall, it takes about half an hour to get to Ardmore, factoring in the walk from campus to 30th Street.
11:00 a.m.: If there’s one thing Ardmore does well, it’s brunch. Unlike most brunch spots in the city, you can get great bang for your buck with simple yet classic breakfast dishes at both Nudy’s Cafe and Ardmore Station Cafe. Both cafes are Main Line staples and have extensive menus to satisfy any craving while keeping a no–frills ambiance that will remind anyone of home. We recommend getting the classic pancakes at Nudy’s and the Nutella french toast at the Ardmore Station Cafe. If you’re looking for a lighter breakfast, head to Green Engine Coffee down the road for pastries, paninis, and Rival Bros. coffee.
1:00 p.m.: Take it upon yourself to explore the many options for shopping in Suburban Square, as well as the side streets around it. Suburban Square strikes the right balance between urban and suburban, featuring retail favorites like Urban Outfitters, J.Crew, Sephora, GAP, and more, along with a farmers market with fresh produce seven days a week. Whether you’re looking to treat yourself or just window–shop, Suburban Square’s open–air structure makes shopping less stressful and stuffy than huge malls or hurried city streets. Additionally, downtown Ardmore (steps away from Suburban Square) is home to several independent businesses and restaurants if you’re looking for shops unique to the area.
4:00 p.m.: If you’re tired from brunching and browsing, head over to the storied Bryn Mawr Film Institute, which is a ten minutes by car or 16 minutes by bus from Suburban Square. Originally opened in 1926 and reopened in 2005, the BMFI shows independent and foreign films (some of which aren’t even shown in Philly) and offers classes in filmmaking and film history.
6:30 p.m.: If you’re thinking about dinner in the area, there are several walkable options from the BMFI in Bryn Mawr like El Limon, Fraschetta, and Xolo Tacos. However, there’s always the option to take the train back to Philly and eat on campus because you've missed it so much!