Chestnut Hill – Philadelphia, PA

Chestnut Hill sits tucked along a sliver of land between Wyndmoor and the Wissahickon Valley Park in northwest Philadelphia. The cozy neighborhood attracts families and professionals in search of a suburb where amenities are within walking distance from their homes. Chestnut Hill holds the reputation of being friendly while also catering to upper middle-class residents in both housing options and retail environments. The streets themselves hold plenty of historical charm, lined with churches and residential buildings designed by prominent Philadelphia architects in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The neighborhood is known for its immaculate houses and amazing architecture. Locals appreciate the proximity to downtown Philadelphia without needing to rely on it for their everyday needs.

Schools in Chestnut Hill

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Restaurants & Nightlife

For the best of Chestnut Hill's cuisine, head to Germantown Avenue. Dozens of unique eateries line the street and provide residents with opportunities to dine on dishes from around the world. Local favorites range from American pub-style lounges to Chinese cafes. Start with the world-class neighborhood bar McNally's, a family friendly pub with the perfect atmosphere to savor a pint of Guinness at any hour. This local favorite has served its signature sandwich since 1921. Try the Schmitter, loaded with sliced beef, extra cheese and fried onions atop a flash-broiled Kaiser roll smothered in Schmitter sauce and topped with a chunk of grilled salami. For a taste of something less like a Philly cheesesteak, order The Dickens. This dish makes it possible to taste the savory nuances of Thanksgiving all year long with a slab of roasted turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce on a toasted wheat roll. Polish off a slice of the owner's renowned coconut cake to complete the McNally's experience. Climb the hill for a meal at Top of the Hill Café on Evergreen Avenue. This market-café hybrid allows residents to pick up fresh produce while they are out for lunch or dinner. Residents call this the go-to place for a quick meal that still has excellent flavor. Order a bowl of the turkey corn chowder, a market staple and local favorite that leaves everyone who eats it stunned. Rejuvenate yourself with "Barb's Favorite," roasted turkey breast covered in smoked Gouda cheese with alfalfa sprouts and red peppers. Grab a few crab cakes to go and continue with your regular shopping. On your date night or evening out with your pals, visit CinCin Restaurant on Germantown Avenue. The eclectic Chinese menu, described as Asian fusion with an adventurous twist, sells exquisite dishes from brandy-infused Szechuan beef to pan-seared dumplings. Locals appreciate the large portions and delivery service, especially since the parking lot fills quickly. Order cashew chicken and the cheesesteak egg rolls to go for a true taste of the neighborhood's best Chinese food. Nightlife is not a prominent aspect of life in Chestnut Hill, although residents can indulge in live music from a few humble venues. The Mermaid Inn, an old cottage turned bar, hosts local bands and small performances inside its charming interior. Locals come for a relaxing drink and good music without the overwhelming atmosphere of a club. A similar environment exists within the Paris Bistro and Jazz Cafe. Residents enjoy classy French dishes on decorated plates while the bluesy hum of jazz music fills the background. Regulars recommend heading downstairs to the jazz lounge for a more lively experience bound to fill you with nostalgia and good liquor.

History & Culture

During the late 18th century, Chestnut Hill served as a popular vacation spot because of its tolerable climate and elevation above the city center. It was around this time the area developed its affluent reputation. Chestnut Hill officially joined the city in 1854 and began operating the Chestnut Hill Railroad, an operation that made commuting to the city easier than ever. From the mid 19th century forward, the neighborhood functioned as a railroad suburb and commuter community, with most of its residents working outside the area’s boundaries. The Morris Arboretum and Woodmere Art Museum are the neighborhood’s two historical venues; however, a dozen buildings are historical sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Art enthusiasts indulge at Chestnut Hill Gallery where local artists showcase and sell their work. The Philadelphia Dance Theatre, located on the Mount Airy border, brings annual performances to life through the movement of local dancers. Residents fill their weekends with a multitude of events, ranging from the magical Harry Potter Festival to the annual Black & White Gala and a community parade. With all that Chestnut Hill has to offer, residents call this neighborhood home without ever growing bored.


Though transportation originally fueled the neighborhood’s growth, public transit options are not as easily accessible. Locals say navigating the rail lines and their stops can be tricky. Only two SEPTA Trail Lines serve the neighborhood, Chestnut Hill East and Chestnut Hill West. These routes see high traffic during typical weekday commuting hours since several residents work in the city. Bus lines 23, 77, 94, 97 and the L supplement the commuter rails, though nearly half of the residents prefer to drive. Driving prevails as the most popular method of getting around the neighborhood, but a flourishing retail hub around the Evergreen Avenue and Germantown Avenue intersection makes this strip perfect for walkers. Residential streets also see plenty of families on foot. Biking as a means of transportation proves difficult since Gravers Lane, Highland Avenue and Lincoln Drive provide the only designated lanes aside from those surrounding Chestnut Hill College. Call ahead to schedule taxi service or use Uber to arrange your rides. Take the Pennsylvania Turnpike to connect to one of several major highways for significant distances outside the city. The Veteran’s Memorial Highway runs vertically and is accessible less than 10 miles away in Plymouth Meeting.


Life among the attractive streets and mansions adorned with original details comes at a hefty price. The average cost of living in Chestnut Hill climbs 32 percent higher than the Philadelphia average. Prices for standard goods and services such as groceries and health care remain congruent to the city’s prices, however the housing market tells a different story. The majority of residents own their own homes; those who rent face average monthly payments of $1,200 for a two-bedroom apartment.


The major shopping district in Chestnut Hill spans the length of Germantown Road west of Chestnut Hill Avenue. Local and specialty shops line these streets and provide residents plenty of opportunities to acquire one-of-a-kind products. On Germantown Avenue, Greene Street provides the residents with fashionable consignment finds for men and women. The prices can't be beat, and the pieces sold go through inspection for holes, signs of wear and stains before they make it to the racks. For the best in jewelry and accessories, peruse Mango or El Quetzel. Each shop contributes to the artistic vibe along Germantown. Shoppers of all ages fall in love with handmade pieces at El Quetzel. From silky Bohemian wrap skirts to ceramic hand-spun bowls, this retail gem has an exclusive item for any taste. Mango, on the other hand, suits residents who have a knack for wearing exuberant colors in modern cuts. Locals especially suggest Mango for its selection of intricate textiles and funky handbags. Residents grab groceries along the same stretch of Germantown Avenue. Shop for your whole list at Weaver's Way Co-op. Members feel more connected to the community and like the selection of rare goods, such as almond cheese. Find more affordable and widespread options at Wegmans, the neighborhood's primary chain grocery store. However, its convenience hardly competes with the Chestnut Hill Farmers' Market. Unlike most farmers' markets, this store operates indoors and on multiple weekdays. Over 10 vendors contribute to the esteemed produce, meat and cheese sold inside the Germantown Avenue location. The offerings that keep bringing locals back for more include gluten-free cookies from PhilaDing, bagels from Poppy's Seed and Dutch potato salad.


Residents jog along the trails that wind through Wissahickon Valley Park on weekends or take to Pastorius Park between Millman Street and Roanoke Street to let their pets run free in the enclosed park. Boasting tall shady trees and free concerts in the summer, this park appeals to canines and people alike. Leave your pets at home while you bike ride along the Wissahickon Trail where you can take in diverse wildlife amid the natural streams and foliage. Residents suggest a leisurely horseback ride in the fall months to enjoy the changing leaves. Parking is easy to find around the free park and makes it simple to transport the whole family out for a day in one of Pennsylvania’s most beautiful locations.
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