Chestnut Hill Philadelphia – An Enjoyable Place for Visitors

Chestnut Hill Philadelphia

Photo of the Chestnut Hill Hotel, Germantown Avenue / CC BY 3.0

If I Am An Out-of-Town Visitor, Is It Worth My Time to Visit Chestnut Hill?

The answer to that question is, "It depends."

Here are the advantages and drawbacks:

Chestnut Hill, unlike Fairmount or Northern Liberties - is not accessible by foot from Center City Philadelphia, nor is it an easy or cheap cab ride. It's about 10 miles away, on the outskirts of Philadelphia, in the city's Northwest section. You either have to drive, or take SEPTA Regional Rail service from Center City. (The best analogy is Manayunk - which also requires a train ride from Center City, although it's not quite as far as Chestnut Hill.)

Fortunately, SEPTA offers not just one, but two train lines serving Chestnut Hill - the aptly named Chestnut Hill East (formerly the R7) and Chestnut Hill West (formerly the R8) Regional Rail lines. We describe them in further detail, in our SEPTA to Chestnut Hill Guide - which provides all of the information you may need.

So, you have to be willing to invest, at minimum, several hours. If you only have a couple of days in Philadelphia, making the trek up to Chestnut Hill might not be worth it.

But if you're from the region - or you're an out-of-town visitor, making multiple visits, and you feel like you've already hit the major Philadelphia tourist attractions - Chestnut Hill might very well be the place for you.

There Are Many Popular October Activities in Chestnut Hill - Fall For the Arts Festival, Ghost Walks, and Scarecrows

The Chestnut Hill Fall For the Arts Festival - now in its 26th year - will take place on Sunday, October 10, 2010, from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM. This event has 150 vendors and regularly draws thousands of visitors. Click on the link above, for more information on the schedule of activities, parking, etc.

Is Chestnut Hill Safe For Visitors To Walk Around?

For the most part, yes, it is safe to walk around.

In addition, since visitors only need to walk up and down Germantown Avenue, it reduces the likelihood of getting lost in a confusing, unfamiliar place. It's one of the reasons why we recommend the Chestnut Hill West SEPTA train station, as it places you right onto Germantown Avenue, as opposed to the Chestnut Hill East station, from which you have to walk a couple of blocks.

However, as with any urban environment, even one as pleasant as Chestnut Hill, use common sense and be alert to your surroundings. Likewise, at night, use even more caution than during daylight hours.

Tip: Despite the Names, There Is No Connection Between Chestnut Hill and Chestnut Street

To avoid confusion - one of the major east-west tree streets in Center City Philadelphia is Chestnut Street. However, there is no connection whatsoever, between Chestnut Street and Chestnut Hill. Chestnut Street doesn't run anywhere near it.

(You can, of course, get there, eventually, from Chestnut Street, but that involves walking north of Chestnut Street to Market Street or John F. Kennedy Boulevard, and boarding a SEPTA Regional Rail train.)

Traveling to Chestnut Hill

Although Both Chestnut Hill West and Chestnut Hill East Will Take You There, Chestnut Hill West Is A Better Option

We discuss in detail, the reasons why Chestnut Hill West is a better choice, on that aforementioned SEPTA to Chestnut Hill page. The fundamental reason, is that the Chestnut Hill West station is located at 9 Evergreen Avenue, a stone's throw from Germantown Avenue. Chestnut Hill West is also a closer walk, to the Chestnut Hill Visitors Center at 8426 Germantown Avenue, which will be your first stop, especially if you're visiting Philadelphia from out-of-town.

In contrast, Chestnut Hill East station is located on Bethlehem Pike, two blocks away from Germantown Avenue, and it's a considerably longer walk - about half a mile. But both are acceptable choices, certainly.

Germantown Avenue - The Main Thoroughfare in Philadelphia Chestnut Hill, and Very Pleasant For Pedestrians and Foot Traffic

Regardless of whether you are a native Philadelphian, or a visitor to our city, you want to stay on Germantown Avenue. That is the main corridor for both traffic and pedestrians. It offers an eclectic combination of shops, restaurants, and general overall urban charm, for this suburb-in-a-city.

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