An upscale, historic neighborhood in northwest Philadelphia, Chestnut Hill is a residential gem set amidst the natural beauty of the Wissahickon Valley, replete with cobblestone streets, Victorian houses and cozy shops.
City Hall 45m. by train, 30m. by car
University of Pennsylvania 60m. by train, 29m. by car
30th St. Station 30m. by train, 25m. by car
Chestnut Hill: Affluent families and commuting professionals
Chestnut Hill’s popularity dates back to the American Revolutionary War, when its cooler, elevated climate made it a summer resort for prosperous families. The convenient location (now a 25-minute drive to the city) provided its original legacy as a gateway for the neighboring farming and milling communities. With the addition of the train into the city, it quickly developed into a residential hotspot, becoming one of the most beautiful living areas outside the city.
What To Expect: Old-world charm and a close-knit community
With much of Chestnut Hill included on the National Register of Historic Places, the area’s rich past lends the neighborhood a great deal of its character (and, some believe, a few ghosts). Locals are proud of their beautiful homes: stroll the streets and you’ll encounter pretty gardens and well-kept houses everywhere. Neighbors are friends, throwing block parties and greeting each other at local haunts like McNally’s Pub, the Chestnut Hill Cheese Shop, and the century-old, family-owned Kilian Hardware store.
The Lifestyle: Shop on Germantown Avenue or lose yourself in greenery
The main artery of town, Germantown Avenue, is packed with charming shops and restaurants. Pop into Greene Street Consignment for well-curated clothes or Hideaway Music for vinyl records, and grab sushi and sake at Osaka. Nature lovers will revel in the nearby 92-acre Victorian garden at Morris Arboretum as well as the lovely, wooded trail of the Wissahickon Valley.
Unexpected Appeal: Quietude just outside a busy urban center
Despite its proximity to the city, Chestnut Hill doesn’t have the grit or late-night energy of downtown Philly. For most who live here, that’s part of its charm.
The Market: Historic mansions and quaint rowhomes showcase 19th and 20th century architecture
A menagerie of styles line the verdant streets, from Italianates to Colonial Revivals. Most homes are single-family residences or rows, and often constructed from indigenous materials like Wissahickon stone. Prospect Avenue, Bethlehem Pike and Norwood Avenue hold some of the area’s oldest homes and are among the most desirable.
You’ll Fall In Love With: The area’s small-town vibe and elegant, aristocratic look
Unlike the suburban sprawl that has overtaken areas further afield from the city, Chestnut Hill has carefully maintained its unique, century-old character, thanks in large part to generations of families who have lived here who wish to keep it a special place. While sumptuous homes create a civilized, aesthetic splendor, gardens and chestnut trees allow the town to melt into the natural landscape.
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