Chestnut Hill is a quiet and quaint neighborhood on the outskirts of Philadelphia that is loved by locals and out–of–towners for its beyond–beautiful aesthetics, vibrant small business scene, and rich history. With restaurants and activities galore, Chestnut Hill is a great and accessible in–city escape if you’re looking to explore another part of Philadelphia and get away from the hustle and bustle of University City.
Getting from University City to Chestnut Hill is relatively easy. Make your way over to 30th Street Station and take the Chestnut Hill West line to the Chestnut Hill West station, which will put you right on Germantown Avenue, the heart of Chestnut Hill.
11 a.m.: Brunch at Cake is a must when you’re coming to Chestnut Hill. Whatever the weather or the mood, dining in a converted greenhouse surrounded by plants and light is a beautiful way to start the day—and that's before tasting their scrumptious baked goods and brunch plate selection. While the brunch menu varies between Saturday and Sunday (Sunday has a larger selection), it is reasonably priced and of good quality, with all of their plates staying under $15. They have classic brunch options like french toast and waffles, but also some unconventional plates like crab cakes with eggs or smoked salmon over a potato latke.
1 p.m.: Germantown Avenue is lined with beautiful Victorian buildings housing everything from hotels to specialty shops to retail. There’s the Market at the Fareway, previously known as Chestnut Hill Farmer’s Market, which sets up on Germantown Avenue from Thursdays to Saturdays. Vendors sell everything from meat, poultry, and produce to more niche items like wood–fired pizza, cinnamon buns, and Korean–style tacos. Other interesting shops on Germantown Avenue include Bredenbeck’s Bakery if you’re in the mood for scrumptious desserts, Ten Thousand Villages or El Quetzal if you’re looking for ethical home goods or gifts, and Greene Street Consignment if you’re looking for trendy thrifted pieces, among many, many others. If you’re not in the mood to shop, just take a stroll down Germantown Avenue and peruse the windows.
3 p.m.: If you’re looking to escape even more and be surrounded by lush foliage and greenery, look no further than Morris Arboretum. From Germantown Avenue, it’s a quick, six–minute car ride or 15–minute bus ride. With beautiful sculptures and architecture to compliment the plant species that populate the arboretum, going here isn’t just a fun and calming activity—it’s also free for all Penn students with a PennCard. With free buses leaving from the Penn Bookstore on 36th and Walnut streets to the arboretum every Saturday morning in the spring, it’s your choice whether or not you want to go earlier or later in the day, but either option is cost–effective and worth the trip.
6 p.m.: For reasonably priced and tasty dinner fare on and around Germantown Avenue, look no further than El Poquito. They’re known for fresh and homey Mexican food with beloved classics like fresh guacamole, ceviche, and salads. Done side–by–side with the staples are their innovative street tacos inspired by international cuisines with flavors such as bánh mì, curry cauliflower, and Korean barbecue. If you’re not in the mood for Mexican, Earth Bread + Brewery is nearby and has great flatbreads and beers.
8 p.m.: To cap off the night and satisfy your sweet tooth, right off of Germantown Avenue is Chill on the Hill Frozen Yogurt, which serves different flavors of frozen yogurt with tons of topping in a sleek, clean, and colorful space.