Day Trip to West Chester, Pennsylvania

A day trip to West Chester, Pennsylvania is an easy trek from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, which is exactly where we all venture from for our Girl’s Day Out! We’re always looking for something centrally located to all of us that we can do in a day and West Chester is just one of the east coast small towns that fit the bill.

Downtown West Chester
Downtown West Chester

Where is West Chester, Pennsylvania?

West Chester is a charming town located in the heart of Chester County, located in the Philadelphia metropolitan area. Under the best traveling conditions, it’s an accessible day trip from many locations

To West Chester PA from:

  • Baltimore, MD – 87 miles
  • Washington, DC – 120 miles
  • York, PA – 68 miles
  • Lancaster, PA – 42 miles
  • Philadelphia, PA – 36 miles
  • Wilmington, DE – 17 miles
  • Allentown, PA – 60 miles
  • Trenton, NJ – 58 miles
  • NYC – 120 miles

What to See and Do in West Chester, Pennsylvania

West Chester is known for its historic architecture, vibrant downtown, and rich cultural offerings. It’s also home to West Chester University, a public research university offering undergraduate and graduate programs.

Whether you’re a local or just passing through, there are plenty of things to do in West Chester to make your visit a memorable one.

First and foremost, a visit to West Chester wouldn’t be complete without a stroll through its downtown area. The downtown is lined with boutiques, cafes, and restaurants, making it the perfect place to spend an afternoon shopping or dining. The architecture of the downtown buildings is also noteworthy, with many of the structures dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries. The brick sidewalks and old-fashioned lampposts only add to the charm of the area. If you’re interested in history, there are several walking tours available that explore the history and architecture of the downtown area.

356 Fairmans
356 Fairmans, West Chester

One of the most popular attractions in West Chester is the Chester County History Center. Run by The Chester County Historical Society, it is dedicated to preserving the history of Chester County and offers visitors a glimpse into the past. The museum features a wide range of exhibits, including artifacts from the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. There is also a research library on site that is open to the public.

If you’re looking for outdoor activities, West Chester has several parks and recreational areas to explore. One of the most popular parks is Everhart Park, which features playgrounds, walking trails, and picnic areas. The park is also home to several annual events, including a summer concert series and a fall festival. Other outdoor attractions in West Chester include Stroud Preserve which offers hiking trails and opportunities to enjoy nature.

Stroud Preserve, West Chester, PA photo: Jarrod Shull
Stroud Preserve, West Chester, PA photo: Jarrod Shull

For art lovers, West Chester has a thriving arts community that is worth exploring. The town is home to several galleries, including the Chester County Art Association and the Art Trust Gallery. The Chester County Art Association offers classes and workshops in a variety of mediums, including painting, pottery, and photography. The Art Trust Gallery features rotating exhibits of local and regional artists.

Finally, no trip to West Chester would be complete without sampling some of the town’s culinary offerings. West Chester has a thriving food scene, with a wide range of restaurants offering everything from casual dining to upscale cuisine. Some of the most popular restaurants in town include Roots Cafe, Iron Hill Brewery, and Teca. Whether you’re in the mood for pizza, sushi, or a hearty steak, you’re sure to find a restaurant in West Chester that fits the bill.

333 Ryans Pub
333 Ryans Pub, West Chester

West Chester, Pennsylvania is a town that offers something for everyone. Whether you’re interested in history, art, or outdoor activities, there are plenty of things to do in West Chester to keep you entertained. And with its charming downtown and thriving food scene, the town is the perfect place to spend a day or a weekend exploring.

Our Girls Day Out in West Chester, PA

Our usual itinerary includes meeting for lunch, walking through a picturesque downtown, do a little shipping, and enjoy a sweet treat before we head home. And we were able to accomplish all of that! Here’s how we did it.

Lunch at Roots Cafe

Street parking was readily available and we all met up at Roots Cafe for a light lunch and a little day drinking. I ordered the Brown Sugar Jalapeño Margarita, made with tequila, brown sugar simple syrup, orange liqueur, fresh lime juice, and fresh orange juice.

Brown Sugar Jalapeño Margarita from Roots Cafe

Shopping in Downtown West Chester

The best way to walk off day drinking is to go shopping! We like to call it stimulating the economy. We meandered in and out of many stores on Gay Street, Market Street, and Church Street. Some of our favorites included:

All The Dogs – Lindsay and I are the dog lovers and we always check out any pet related stores

A Taste of Olive – It’s become our thing to both taste and buy olive oils and vinegars when we’re together.

La Chic Boutique – Lindsay bought a purse here!

Pine + Quill – We didn’t buy but we loved browsing here.

There are lots of downtown shops good for a stroll when the weather is nice. And when you’ve walked off your lunch and shopped til you’re about to drop, it’s time for…

Sweet Treat in West Chester

We’re totally health conscious until we hit that mid-afternoon slump and then we want caffeine and a little sugar! We found both at La Baguette Magique, an urban French patisserie with handmade baked treats and light fare.

It was there that we discovered a brioche filled with whipped cream. To be fair, we split it three ways although I could have easily eaten it myself.

Lindsay, Fadra, and Shannon eat a brioche at La Baguette Magique

Whatever you like to do, West Chester has that east coast small town vibe while still being just on the outskirts of a metropolitan area. Next time, we’re back in the area, we’d love to venture just a little further out and visit Longwood Gardens which is just a quick 20 minutes away from West Chester.

What are your can’t miss things for a day trip to West Chester, Pennsylvania?

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