Over 50 Things to do this Summer Around the Philadelphia Suburbs
From music festivals to beer gardens to family-friendly activities, here’s our ultimate summer 2019 bucket list.
The second annual Citadel Country Spirit USA festival returns to the Ludwig’s Corner Horse Show grounds Aug. 23-25. Photo by Michael Redmond.
Bring the Family
Looking for something all ages can appreciate? Look no further than Kennett Square’s Longwood Gardens. With over 1,000 acres to explore, plus its conservatory, it’s a great place to get in touch with nature and enjoy the great outdoors this summer. While you’re there, be sure to catch the Festival of Fountains, on view through Sept. 29.
West Chester’s American Helicopter Museum is another great spot for families—especially those with kids interested in aviation. The facility offers helicopter rides on select Saturdays throughout the summer. Or get a different aerial perspective at the Chester County Balloon Festival, hosted at New Garden Flying Field. This year’s event will take place June 21-23.
Follow Crystal on her journey of self-discovery at Cirque du Soleil Crystal, which comes to Wells Fargo Center June 20-23. Also perfect for the family: A Herr’s Snack Factory Tour. Located in rural Nottingham, it offers visitors a glimpse behind the scenes at the iconic local snack empire.
Escape to a Theme Park
There’s nothing like the feeling of a rollercoaster-induced breeze in your hair or a cooling soak at the water park. Just over an hour away, Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom offer seven coasters and kid-friendly rides, plus slides and lazy rivers. Also a little over 60 minutes away near Lancaster, Dutch Wonderland has over 35 rides, along with shows like Storytime with Princess Brooke, making it a hit with younger kids.
Those with a little more time on their hands can head to Hersheypark, which boasts more than 70 attractions, including 14 coasters and water park slides. Nearby is Hersheypark’s ZooAmerica, an 11-acre home to over 200 animals. Or celebrate the 50th anniversary of Sesame Street at Sesame Place in Langhorne.
The Brandywine River Museum of Art in Chadds Ford.
Beat the Rainy-Day Blues
Don’t let the weather wash away your summer plans. At the Brandywine River Museum of Art, visitors can catch the N.C. Wyeth: New Perspectives exhibit, running from June 22 to Sept. 15. Also in Chadds Ford, the Sanderson Museum is open on weekends for a glimpse into the life of Christian C. Sanderson, who collected over 200 years’ worth of American memorabilia. Over in Malvern, the Wharton Esherick Museum is perfect for art enthusiasts. On advanced-reservation tours, you can get a glimpse at the artist’s studio and some of his signature woodwork.
Looking to challenge your mind? Try one of several area escape rooms: Expedition Escape and Escape Room Mystery, both in King of Prussia, Elite Escape Room in Exton, or the spooky Bates Motel Escape Rooms in West Chester.
Take Sports Indoors
Use an excessive heat warning as an excuse to try indoor skydiving at iFly in King of Prussia, where you’ll be trained in “bodyflight” before testing out your skills with a pro. Or learn how to figure skate at Aston’s Ice Works, which offers eight-class sessions.
Embrace summer by brushing up on your baseball skills at the On Deck Training Center batting cages in Newtown Square. The 8,000-square-foot facility provides everything from balls to pitching machines. Or maybe golf is more your style. At the newly opened Swing in Phoenixville, you can brush up on your game with a simulator and a 300-square-foot putting green.
Adults and kids alike can test their vertical limits at Philadelphia Rock Gym, which has five area locations, with more to come. The original facility in Oaks offers climbers more than 100 routes in its 14,000-square-foot facility. Or kick it old-school and go bowling at one of the many local bowling alleys, including Devon Lanes, Playhouse Lanes in Drexel Hill and Wynnewood Lanes.
The Creamery in Kennett Square. Photo courtesy of the Creamery.
21-and-Over Outdoor Fun
Head to Chestnut Hill Brewing Company for small-batch beers on the open-air patio surrounded by foliage. Conshohocken Beer Garden is open spring and fall, plus a few weekends in June, offering a laid-back atmosphere and lawn games. And when warm weather arrives, Suburban Restaurant and Beer Garden is the place to be in Chester County.
Now open year-round, the Creamery in Kennett Square has been a go-to summer destination since it debuted in 2016. Families and friends gather to sip local brews, dine at a rotating list of food trucks and play lawn games at this industrial-chic outdoor space. Try your hand at the suddenly popular art of axe throwing at the nearby Chop Shop—before you imbibe, of course.
If wine tasting is more your speed, grab some friends and head to Grace Winery in Glen Mills. The idyllic country estate offers tastings on most days; reservations are required. In nearby Chadds Ford, Penns Woods Winery features an outdoor wine bar in summer and flight tastings while also hosting musicians on weekends. A bit up the road is Chaddsford Winery, which also offers tastings and flights. In Kennett Square, Galer Estate Vineyard and Winery oozes rustic charm. Summer tastings are available Thursday-Sunday. Also keep an eye out for the occasional wine-pairing dinner.
Suds lovers can take a tour of the wildly successful Victory Brewing Company at its Downingtown or Parkesburg locations. Both get you behind the scenes of the beer-making process.
The Wayne Music Festival reuturns on June 8. Photo courtesy of the Wayne Music Festival.
Kick off the summer live music season with the Wayne Music Festival, which returns on June 8 with tons of live performers, plus local vendors. If blues is your thing, head to the State Street Blues Stroll on July 15, held throughout downtown Media. Later in the summer, Turk’s Head Music Festival takes over West Chester’s Everhart Park on July 21, with 11 bands on two stages, over 70 vendors, and a kid’s play area.
For fans of acoustic music, the 91st annual Old Fiddlers’ Picnic returns to Hibernia Park on Aug. 10. Another legacy event, the Philadelphia Folk Festival celebrates its 58th year Aug. 15-18 at Old Pool Farm in Schwenksville with an impressive lineup that includes David Crosby, Grammy-winner Margo Price and the Mavericks. Following up its successful 2018 debut, Country Spirit USA returns to the Ludwig’s Corner Horse Show grounds Aug. 23-25. Headliners include Little Big Town, Chris Lane and Lauren Alaina.
Ariana Grande hits the Wells Fargo Center on June 24. Later in the summer, the arena hosts John Mayer (July 22), Iron Maiden (July 30) and Queen (Aug. 3). Heart, Joan Jett and Elle King take the stage at the BB&T Pavilion in Camden, N.J. on Aug. 2. Also that month, Grammy winner Beck joins Cage the Elephant on Aug. 21. Former Beatle Ringo Starr headlines the Met in Philadelphia on Aug. 14.
If you’ve ever dreamed of surfing big waves, Heavy Water may be as close as you come. This new documentary follows professional surfer Nathan Fletcher in his quest to surf massive swells, culminating in Fletcher plunging into a huge wave from a helicopter. Locally, the film screens one day only, June 13, at Oaks Stadium 24 and Regal King of Prussia Stadium 16.
The LEGOLAND Discovery Center at the Plymouth Meeting Mall. Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia.
Keep the Kids in Mind
Let the little ones burn off some steam at Jumpers Family Fun Zone in Newtown Square, with its multitude of moon bounces and frequent open play hours. Or plan a trip to the Please Touch Museum, which offers healthy grocery shopping simulations, a river adventure, a maze and tons of other interactive experiences, plus a century-old carousel. Always a safe bet, LEGOLAND Discovery Center in Plymouth Meeting keeps kids busy with its Miniland miniature city, Pirate Adventure Island, a 4D cinema and more.
At Norristown’s Elmwood Park Zoo, children get close to an array of animals, including American bison, cougars, elk and giraffes. For a tamer wildlife experience, visit the petting farm at Linvilla Orchards, which has white-tailed deer, calves, goats, horses and more. Stop by for one of Linvilla’s annual summer festivals, focused on strawberries (June 1), blueberries (July 13) and peaches (Aug. 3).
Learn a Few New Tricks
Whether you’re looking for a single-day session or a weeks-long course, Main Line School Night offers a surprising array of adult-friendly courses, from exercise to autobiographical writing. Or try your hand at ceramics, jewelry making, drawing or painting at the Wayne Art Center. To hone your dance-floor skills, head to Media for Salsa in the Suburbs, for classes in everything from ballroom dancing to belly dancing to, yes, salsa.
Do the Unexpected
Immerse yourself in West Chester’s Neverland VR, with its virtual-reality light sabers, zombie apocalypse and car racing. If you’d prefer to test your racing skills in real life, you can zip around the quarter-mile F1-inspired indoor track in an Italian-made electric go-kart at Horsham’s Speed Raceway. Or take to the trees on a Spring Mountain Adventures canopy tour, with its zip lines and rope bridges.
Spend an afternoon exploring the shelves at Baldwin’s Book Barn in West Chester. The 18th-century building houses over 300,000 rare and second-hand books, maps, prints and more, with cozy seating for bibliophiles.
Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park. Photo by M. Kennedy for GPTMC.
Classic Summer Fun
Join the resurgent crowds at Citizens Bank Park to see Bryce Harper and the Phillies take on the New York Mets (June 24-27), battle the Los Angeles Dodgers (July 15-18) or duke it out with cross-state rivals the Pittsburgh Pirates (Aug. 26-28).
An underrated regional treasure, Marsh Creek State Park boasts a 535-acre lake on 1,700 acres, where you can kayak, sail or hike to your heart’s content. And while hiking the heavily wooded hills of Valley Forge National Historical Park can prove tricky, its paved paths are perfect for walking and biking.
And what’s summer without ice cream? You’ll find over 48 flavors at Chester Springs Creamery. Our favorites are Melody’s Mocha Chip, Belle’s Blueberry Cheesecake and Beau’s Brownie Bliss—all named in honor of the dairy’s cows.