Is West Chester, PA the Best Small Town in America?

Fun Things To Do that You May Not Know

by TheSpot

Is West Chester, PA the best small town in America?  There are several charming towns in the surrounding Philadelphia region however there is one that offers a combination of charm, history, and a quaint small town vibe.  West Chester is situated in Chester County, Pennsylvania.  Home to West Chester University and the American Helicopter Museum, West Chester offers plenty of boutiques and bars.  Downtown West Chester is so recognizable among city chic and town locals that it came as no surprise when West Chester was voted as one of the winners of the Great American Main Street Awards hosted by the National Main Street Center in 2017.

We recently visited Gay Street Open Air Market in downtown West Chester.  During the weekends, Gay Street is closed to traffic to give locals and visitors the chance to stroll the walkway.  Bars, restaurants, and boutiques are burgeoning with diners, passer byes, and shoppers beginning on Friday mornings to Monday mornings.  

Iron Hill Brewery West Chester was the first large restaurant on the corner of Gay and Market Street that we came upon.  We chose it as our lunchtime afternoon pub with none other than fish and chips and a refreshing Iron Hill beer.  Live music drifted down as patrons dined or sat in park benches to drink in the light and music. 

We spent the afternoon window shopping down the four blocks. Down town is home to over 65 boutiques and each is more unique than before.  The diversity of shopping on Gay Street included everything from vintage clothes, record stores, chic wear, and collectibles.  It’s easy to spend a weekend day wandering, having a languid lunch, or simply drink in the sunshine.  There is more than meets the eye however. 

The American Helicopter Museum and Education Center has been home to vintage and modern aircraft and hydro gliders since 1996.  The museum is truly unique in that it highlights the contribution of this particular aircraft as well as provides education for STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) programs.  If you are an aviation enthusiast or simply curious, do not miss the wonders of the museum and history it holds. 

Another unique feature found in West Chester is the Stroud Preserve.  A 571 acre patchwork of lands, the Preserve offers a one of a kind combination of education, recreation, and scientific research.  Habitats, watersheds, and wildlife can all be observed and enjoyed.  

There is little doubt that West Chester, PA really is one of the best small towns in America.  Make it a destination to uncover lesser known resources and you’ll be making return plans in no time.