Chestnut Hill and Historic Germantown

Making History

Take a quick drive or short train ride from Center City to visit the charming towns along cobblestoned Germantown Avenue: Chestnut Hill and Historic Germantown.  Architecture buffs will want to explore the streets off Chestnut Hill’s main street, Germantown Avenue, to take in the picture-perfect homes built from Wissahickon schist, a quarried material that has become a signature feature of Philadelphia’s northwestern neighborhoods.  Stroll down the hill along the tree-lined street and check out an eclectic collection of shops, including stores specializing in eco-friendly home furnishings, antique maps, ethnic and botanical prints, used books and creative toys for kids and adults alike.

Historic Germantown is where one of Philadelphia’s Revolutionary War Battles was fought, where the first-ever American protest against slavery was written and where one of the few remaining houses on the Underground Railroad still stands.

Highlights include:

Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania, about a mile from the shopping district, is a historic 92-acre public garden and educational institution that promotes an understanding of the relationship between plants, people and place through programs that integrate science, art and the humanities.

Woodmere Art Museum, housed in a 19th-century stone mansion on six acres in Chestnut Hill, is dedicated to the art and artists of Philadelphia.

Historic Germantown, also known as “Freedom’s Backyard,” features numerous historic sites including the Johnson House.  Built in 1768, the Johnson House was home to three generations of a Quaker family who worked with both European and African Americans to end slavery and improve living conditions for freed African Americans. It is also Philadelphia’s only accessible and intact stop on the Underground Railroad.  Also, explore, Aces Museum, that pays tribute to minority veterans of World War II, Cliveden of the National Trust, site of the Revolutionary War Battle of Germantown, Germantown White House, George Washington’s summer home, and more.


The Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB) is the official tourism promotion agency for the City of Philadelphia globally.

Updated January 12, 2018

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