Live Like a Local in Phoenixville PA: Small Town Livin’
With a Busy Big City Life, Coming Home to a Few Quiet Days in Phoenixville PA is Priceless
By Moira Sim, Fordham University
It always is a huge adjustment moving from my new home in New York City back to my childhood home in the western suburbs of Philadelphia for the summer. Growing up I always wanted to get out of Phoenixville and be in the big city, and now that I actually am living my dream, it’s unexpectedly busy and often quite loud. That’s why it’s sometimes nice to come home and have a few quiet days.
My town is about an hour outside of Philadelphia, which is readily accessible, but there are also plenty of interesting things to do in my town! Just driving through our main Bridge Street you feel like you have been transported to this classic American street. Phoenixville was originally home to Phoenix Iron & Steel Co. (hence the mural above), but when it shut down the town faded into relative obscurity. Thankfully it has made a comeback with an influx of businesses in the town center, but has simultaneously retained that classic Americana feel with the design of the storefronts. Bridge Street is the Mecca of all restaurants, stores, and bars here, which makes it super convenient for locals and visitors alike. The shops always take advantage of this and have a festival on the first friday of every month. All the stores set up shop outside the confines of their walls, there is live music everywhere, and we just celebrate our wonderful town and everyone in it. This may be one reason why more than half of my favorite places can be found on Bridge Street:
Artisans Gallery & Cafe
This small coffee shop on Bridge is really quiet & relaxing and you can get a great latte here while working on a blog post or catching up with friends. The walls are covered with local artists’ work and you can admire or even purchase the pieces while you’re enjoying your caffeine fix! Grab some coffee and a muffin and then head across the street to…
The Colonial Theater
This theater was built in 1903, bringing live entertainment to the residents of Phoenixville. It has been well taken care of and still entertains us today with live concerts, movie screenings both old and new, and other types of shows. It is most famous for being featured in the horror movie The Blob (1958), and the theater still holds a BlobFest every year, where people run from the building at the end, mimicking the film!
If older movies aren’t your thing, you can always head over to the new Providence Town Center. Here you can go to the Movie Tavern, where you sit in luxurious leather seats and order food and drinks from your theater seat right before the movie begins. If this is the movie theater of the future, I am definitely in. After your movie, you can walk around the entire center. You can comb through accessories at Charming Charlie’s, grab some loaded frozen yogurt at Kiwi, or even eat some more at one of the many other restaurants!
Iron Hill Brewery
If none of those appeal to you, you can head back to Bridge Street to one of my favorite restaurants, Iron Hill. This pub-type restaurant has my absolute favorite salmon salad. They also brew their own beer, and through glass walls you can see the process. The whole front of the restaurant has giant glass windows too, which makes for great people watching!
Wooden Spoon Café and Bakery
A more recent addition to the street, this place has the amazing pastries and desserts and was actually just voted Best Breakfast and Brunch of the Main Line for 2013! It is small quarters in here but if you’re lucky enough to grab a seat you won’t be sorry.
Valley Forge Park
After all of this eating and sitting in movies, you might want to exercise, and this is where Valley Forge comes in. This is a historical national park, with miles of grassy hills and trails. You can walk, run, bike, or even horseback ride through all the historical cabins (George Washington was here) and other structures from the Revolutionary War. I love walking my dog, Rory, along the trails, and people come from all over to see this amazing park that I am so lucky to live next to.
King of Prussia Mall
While you’re near the park, 5 minutes away is a must-see, the King of Prussia Mall. This is the largest mall on the eastern seaboard, and my absolute favorite place to shop. You can find literally any store you could think of here, from a two-story Forever 21 to Free People or even Louis Vuitton and Gucci. I can promise you won’t be leaving empty-handed, just maybe with an empty wallet.
So these are my favorite things about suburban Philadelphia! I loved sharing my All-American town with you as we are coming up on the 4th of July. I am beginning to realize how fondly I think of my town, and will sometimes miss these quiet days when I’m back in the hustle of city life!