8 Things to do in Villanova
Discover this beloved college town at these restaurants and hidden gems.
St. Thomas of Villanova Church. Photo courtesy of Villanova University.
Across the country, many recognize Villanova for the university’s basketball prestige. But the town has much more to offer beyond the charming campus. Spend a day—or a weekend—exploring nature, the arts and a diverse array of eateries in Villanova.
9 a.m. – Indulge in a hearty breakfast at First Watch
This farmhouse-style café offers an array of breakfast staples, perfect for kick starting your day. Try the restaurant’s specialty Elevated Egg Sandwich option: An over-easy egg with bacon, gruyere cheese, smashed avocado, mayonnaise and lemon dressed arugula on a brioche bun. Looking for healthy options? The Tri-Athlete omelet, Sunrise Granola Bowl, and Avocado Toast will fuel you for the day.
775 East Lancaster Ave., Villanova, (610) 527-3447.
10:30 a.m. – Take a walk at Stoneleigh
Explore the beautiful Stoneleigh gardens and grounds. Formerly owned by the Haas family, they bequeathed their estate to Natural Lands in 2016. In May 2018, Stoneleigh: A Natural Garden officially opened to the public. Now visitors can relax in nature, meander over a mile of paved walking paths, or have a picnic pavilion, all for free.
1829 County Line Road, Villanova, (610) 353-5587.
12 p.m. – Enjoy authentic Mexican cuisine at El Limón
After working up an appetite at Stoneleigh, have lunch at El Limón. Try Mexican soda with your chips, salsa, and guacamole. Be sure to try restaurant favorites like the fajitas, tacos, and burritos, and don’t forget to try a variety of spicy Mexican sauces with your meal.
845 Lancaster Ave., Bryn Mawr, (484) 222-6928.
1:30 p.m. – Catch a movie at Bryn Mawr Film Institute
Head to this quaint local theater for independent, international and alternative films you won’t find in mainstream cinemas. Need a drink or bite to go with your movie? Foods and beverages from Hothouse Coffee, attached to the building, are permitted in the theater.
824 W. Lancaster Ave., Bryn Mawr, (610) 527-9898.
3:30 p.m. – Visit the Villanova University Bookstore
Whether just browsing or looking to support the hometown team, the bookstore has everything from hats to mugs to sweatshirts. Afterwards, take a stroll around campus, utilizing its brick-paved pathways.
800 Lancaster Ave., Villanova, (610) 519-4160.
4:30 p.m. – Go climbing at Gravity Vault
Get a dose of adventure at this rock climbing gym, which offers climbs for beginner and advanced climbers, alike. Never rock climbed before? The Gravity Vault’s staff will walk you through the basics and have you feeling confident before you take your first step.
175 King of Prussia Road, Radnor, (610) 756-2529.
6:30 p.m. – Dine at Gullifty’s
Peruse the American-style menu at Gullifty’s because on it, you’ll find just about any meal you can imagine. Items range from quesadillas to salads to flatbread pizzas to burgers and steaks. Or, order from the appetizers to share with the whole table. End the night with one of Gullifty’s “Greatest Hits” desserts, like the chocolate chip cheesecake or sweet cream and strawberry pie.
1149 Lancaster Ave., Bryn Mawr, (610) 525-1851.
10:00 p.m. – Get a full night’s rest at the Villanova Inn
Just one mile from the Villanova University’s campus, the Villanova Inn has a beautiful outdoor landscape, plus a fitness center, perfect for making a weekend visit of your trip.