Ridley Park blends the perfect amount of amenities with nice homes and quiet streets, making it an attractive place for families. Located south of Folsom along Chester Pike, the borough occupies only 1 mile of land and remains only 30 minutes away from the heart of Philadelphia. Residents come for the suburban feel and good schools, but choose to call the area home for its low crime rates and employment opportunities that do not require commuting to the city. The streets of Ridley Park are known for older, Victorian-style homes that house middle-class families. The low-key borough maintains its positive reputation by focusing on a sense of community between residents, most notably by organizing community events and groups.
Restaurants & Nightlife
Similar to the retail offerings, the food scene in Ridley Park speckles the length of Chester Pike and Hinckley Avenue. Residents of the little borough swear by Big Daddy’z BBQ & Grill. Stop in for serious barbecue in the form of a brisket sandwich or crispy barbecue chicken with smoky sauce. Locals advise picking up a few pulled pork sandwiches or a rack of ribs on your way home from work, as the restaurant focuses on smoky meats to go. Pizza lovers head to Double Decker Pizza for their signature “inside outs.” These calzone-like pockets pack any combination of toppings inside the dough before deep-frying or baking them. Locals recommend the buffalo chicken with flecks of feta cheese. While these little tasty pockets are legendary, make sure to try the Philly steak pizza, or grab a rustic turkey bacon sandwich to go. For a blend of dinner and drinks, locals visit The Gas Light. The rustic restaurant combines a lively bar area with a great selection of beers on tap while also providing a second dining area that elicits a more romantic vibe. Order the strip steak with scallops cooked on the stone grill for a satisfying dinner. If you’re more interested in the bar’s atmosphere, stick around for a pumpkin martini or seasonal brew to help wash down your crab dip appetizer.
Despite being such a small borough, Ridley Park does offer locals a few spots to indulge in a bit of nightlife. While these locations are bars and lounges rather than clubs, the environments of each cater to residents looking to have a good time after hours. Locals praise the Burgundy Lounge for the friendly atmosphere it provides. This dive bar has low prices and a consistent group of regular visitors who help make this a neighborhood hangout. Just outside Ridley Park’s western boundary lies Durty Nelly’s pub, a two-story bar with a dance floor upstairs. Grab drinks at the bar on the first floor before heading up to dance the night away.
History & Culture
Isaac Hinckley founded Ridley Park in 1871 when he wanted to expand railroad service through Darby and into Chester. He previously saw how other rail expansions helped develop towns along the lines and desired the same result for the farming communities along the Darby Creek. Farmers resisted the proposed plans, and Hinckley only managed to purchase one farm in what is now know as Ridley Park. To make the area more appealing so other farmers would agree to the development, Hinckley hired a landscape architect to design a master-planned community, which eventually became the Ridley Park borough. The manicured streets and Victorian homes attracted wealthy vacationers from Philadelphia during summer months. As farmers sold their land, more homes were built and the area was established as a residential community rather than a vacation enclave. Notable residents include NASA astronaut Daniel Tani, author Jim Goad and political figure John Morton. Ridley Park gains recognition in pop culture as the location for the 2012 film “Silver Linings Playbook.” Because the area primarily houses residents, museums and a prominent arts scene are not prominent aspects of life. However, locals fill their free time with annual festivals, such as the Fall Festival and Car Show as well as the events hosted in Eastlake Park.
The small and compact layout of Ridley Park makes a variety of transportation options viable between the Delaware county boroughs. Residents prefer walking or biking for most errands around Ridley Park, particularly along Ridley Avenue and Haverford Road. The locals praise Ridley Park for its walkability and many biker-friendly roads. Driving becomes necessary when the destination lies outside the borough, and 78 percent of residents prefer driving to public transportation as their primary mode of transportation. Locals say commuting to the city is quicker with a car, but public transit serves the individuals who do not want the hassle of locating a parking spot. The SEPTA Wilmington/Newark Line runs through the center of the neighborhood with service at the Ridley Park Train Station on East Ridley Avenue. Trains headed north run to Philadelphia reach the 30th Street Station in about 25 minutes. Bus route 114 provides transportation within the immediate neighborhood with stops all along Chester Pike. For longer driven distances, access the Delaware Expressway from Stewart Avenue at the borough’s southwest boundary. Similarly, Interstate 476 connects to the Veteran’s Memorial Highway north of Baltimore Pike. Taxis cannot be hailed in town, but Uber serves the area, and rides can be arranged by calling ahead.
With an average cost of living about 15 percent higher than the Pennsylvania average, locals face increased prices for standard goods and services. For example, groceries, health care, transportation and utilities all cost more in Ridley Park than the state’s average. Housing remains the most expensive aspect of Ridley Park by far. Though only 31 percent of residents choose to rent, they also encounter steep prices. The average rental prices hang around $920 a month, though a standard one- bedroom apartment can be found for as little as $750. Properties with two bedrooms are much more common.
Ridley Park’s central business district operates from Hinckley Avenue and Sellers Avenue, where dozens of street-level businesses cluster the road. Though big-name chains provide the majority of Ridley Park’s goods and services, local shops such as Langguth’s Gift Shop provide popular alternatives to corporate products. Locals say the gift shop features an impressive variety of one-of-a-kind trinkets you cannot find in malls. The esteemed fudge makes for a special gift when accompanied with a unique card from Langguth’s vast selection. To decorate your new apartment or home, head to The Primitive Place for handmade item’s that reflect the county’s history and style. From decorative elements to small furniture staples, this home décor boutique gives Ridley Park residents a special selection without a big price. Locals looking for a one-stop location to meet all their shopping needs head less than 5 miles away to the Springfield Mall.
Grocery stores serving Ridley Park technically lie outside the borough’s boundaries except for two convenience stores: one on Chester Pike and the other at the intersection of Hinckley Avenue and Sellers Avenue. The nearest full-service grocery store, Acme Market, sits on Morton Avenue in Folsom. The community also offers the Ridley Park Farmers’ Market through the summer in front of Borough Hall, where residents can select the best of local produce, meat, wine and crafts.
The name of Ridley Park rings true with at least seven recreational areas residing inside the borough’s 1-mile radius. With its ligtred fountain, fishing dock and miles of winding trails, Eastlake Park reigns as a free local favorite, offering something to everyone looking to escape the hustle of town. Spanning over 14 acres, locals can jog the trails or have a family picnic without feeling overcrowded. Pets on leashes are welcome, though popular annual events such as the Site of Fireworks and Victorian Fair draw in crowds too large for animal attendees. Families with children and athletes prefer to spend time at the ABC Field and Recreation Park for its selection of playing fields and courts. This location sees kids tossing around balls and playing in the water fountain, though the Nevin Street Park attracts children in search of traditional playground.