Not ready to give up city walkability? In these towns, you won’t have to!
In the city, you are probably used to walking everywhere. If it’s important to you and your family to maintain that walkability post-move we’ve got good news: these 12 Philadelphia suburbs have very walkable downtowns packed with local shops, trendy restaurants, quaint cafes, and more.
#1. Media (Delaware County)
Known as “Everybody’s Hometown,” Media is a family-friendly suburb just 13 miles from Philadelphia. With a 94 walk score, this is one of the most walkable communities around.
Here, residents stroll along tree-lined sidewalks, heading downtown or to one of the three elementary schools in town. Once downtown, there’s lots to do including shops, restaurants and a theater. You can also hop on the main street trolley if you need to give your feet a break.
#2. Ardmore (Main Line)
Ardmore is home to the pedestrian-friendly retail-meets entertainment district called Suburban Square. When this opened in 1928, it was one of the first shopping centers in the country. It’s still very popular with locals today who head here to pick up groceries at the Ardmore Farmers Market, exercise at Lifetime Fitness or Soul Cycle, meet friends for lunch at one of the many restaurants or to find unique styles at one of the boutiques.
If you do land in Ardmore, keep an eye on the Suburban Square event calendar. There’s usually a concert or another community festival happening in the courtyard that’s easy to walk to post-errands.
#3. Narberth (Main Line)
This compact town is perfect for one-car families. The Paoli/Thorndale train line and bus route 44 run through town plus residents have access to tons of well-maintained sidewalks. Haverford Avenue, Narberth’s main street, is close to the train station and is lined with some excellent eateries like Coco Thai Bistro and Great American Pub.
You can also wander along sidewalks to Narberth Park where the kids can round around and play at the playground.
#4. Wayne (Main Line)
Wayne was established in the 1880s and was one of the first planned suburbs in America. It was built along the Main Line of the Pennsylvania Railroad and today residents can still catch the train in town to reach Philadelphia in just over 30 minutes.
The train station sits near the popular gathering spot Restaurant Row. This walkable cluster of eateries is a favorite for a night out. Stroll along North Wayne Avenue to find an open table at 118 North, The Goat’s Beard or another one of the town’s hot spots.
#5. Malvern (Chester County)
Malvern is a pedestrian-friendly suburb with a cute, walkable city center. King Street — center to downtown — is lined with shops and restaurants. While you are walking along the sidewalks, keep an eye out for murals. There’s an especially impressive piece on the side of Malvern Pizza that depicts the town in 1889.
#6. Phoenixville (Chester County)
During your suburban search, make your way to Bridge Street to get a taste for Phoenixville. This walkable stretch of downtown was revitalized thanks to the sci-fi classic The Blob. This film showcases the town’s Colonial Theater and fans came together to help save the historic venue and rejuvenate the surrounding district (be sure to check out Blobfest if you do move here!).
As you walk along Bridge Street, you’ll pass restaurants, local shops and breweries. Fun fact: Downtown Phoenixville is known for having more breweries per square foot than anywhere in the U.S. Cheers!
#7. West Chester (Chester County)
This welcoming suburb is popular with young families who don’t want to rely on a car to get around. West Chester also boasts a walk score of 94 so, without question, it’s easy to get up and go — to grab lunch, run errands or visit a park on foot.
During the summer, an open-air market fills the downtown streets. Restaurants, boutiques and other local spots spill onto the sidewalks as locals stroll around, heading to the market then to check out the latest from area shops and boutiques.
#8. Ambler (Montgomery County)
No car? No worries! In Ambler you won’t miss out on anything. There’s tons to do and much of it is easily walkable, from catching a performance at the Barrymore Award-winning playhouse to enjoying a BBQ meal at The Lucky Well. Ambler’s pedestrian-friendly charm even helped it win Thrillist’s 2020 title of “Best PA Small Town.”
If you do have a car but prefer to explore downtown on foot, you’re in luck. Many of the city’s parking lots are free after 6 pm.
#9. Jenkintown (Montgomery County)
Just over 10 miles north of Philadelphia is the historic suburb of Jenkintown (you might recognize this as the setting for the hit ABC sitcom The Goldbergs). Over the past few years, revitalization efforts have made the downtown more walkable and family-friendly. Today, you can wander through the town square to reach a few local restaurants and shops. Throughout the summer you might catch an outdoor concert in the square during your stroll.
#10. Skippack (Montgomery County)
This classic American suburb is 100% free from chain stores. Instead, residents have their pick of many locally-owned shops, restaurants, and businesses — many of which line downtown.
If you decide to call Skippack “home” you’ll be able to walk to a variety of events in town. Listen to live music as you and your family wander the sidewalks during a First Friday festival or make your way on foot to a performance at Playcrafters.
#11. Doylestown (Bucks County)
With a 96 walk score, Doylestown residents are living in a “walkers paradise.” There’s tons to do without a car and locals can get their errands done or head to dinner downtown on foot. Check out Quinoa Restaurant for Peruvian and Maxwell’s On Main for craft beer and outdoor seating.
You can also walk with the kids to the Mercer Museum or another one of the fascinating historic sites in town.
#12. Newtown (Bucks County)
Famously founded by William Penn, this quiet suburb is home to just over 2,000 residents. Locals love to go out on foot, especially to State Street which is lined with boutiques and restaurants.
You can continue your walk along State Street to Newtown Theater, the oldest continuously operating movie theater in America. As you explore, just imagine what it would be like to move to this town and walk to dinner and a show for date nights.
Ready to find the perfect walkable suburb for your family?