Things to Do in West Chester, PA
Like any community, there are plenty of great things to do in West Chester, PA. Sometimes these events, attractions and restaurants are well known, while other times it takes a well-trained eye or local guide to introduce you to them. If you are looking for more variety, the more populous cities in Pennsylvania are certain to accommodate your desires of activities.
From the musical comedy of Gilbert & Sullivan to the brooding prose of author Frank McCort and the haunting paintings of the Wyeth family‚ West Chester and Chester County are blessed with a bounty of arts in a wide range of mediums. And with recently approved plans and funding for a new home for the School of Music and a performing arts center at West Chester University of Pennsylvania‚ that cultural cache will grow considerably richer in the future.
If you Google “running, biking or walking in West Chester, Pa.,” you’ll find more than 50,000 Web links. Three years ago, Alison Gracey did a similar Internet search when trying to decide if she should move from North Carolina to West Chester. As an avid biker and runner, she knew she wanted her new home to support her active lifestyle. “They do a very good job in West Chester of promoting physical fitness,” Gracey says. “It really depends on how involved you want to get, but you’ll find a wonderful community here that is incredibly helpful and friendly.”
Greater West Chester’s abundant parks, playgrounds and green spaces offer opportunities for active recreation and quiet reflection that would be hard to match anywhere else. “We feel strongly about the value of green space,” says Nancy Mohr, executive director of Chester County 2020, which serves as a catalyst for engaging citizens in addressing community issues, including thoughtful land use and regional planning for growth. “Our parks are an important part of the fabric of our lives. If all of that fabric was concrete, we’d be in trouble,” she says.
Visit West Chester‚ and you might never want to go home again. In fact‚ you may decide to just stay put and make this community your own. “People come here and they stay here‚” says Dick Yoder‚ who is now in his second term as mayor of West Chester. “It’s friendly‚ it has a vibrant and interesting town center‚ and it has a unique balance between being a small town andhaving a lot of activity.” Yoder‚ one of 13 children‚ grew up in a West Chester he describes as a small farm town‚ in which his father ran a feed store.
For more than a decade‚ the American Helicopter Museum and Educational Center has been teaching visitors about the past‚ present and future of helicopters‚ autogiros and convertiplanes. The museum features a variety of aviation-related items and more than 35 aircraft‚ both civilian and military‚ including the only tilt-rotor Osprey V-22 on display in the world.
Downtown West Chester proffers a veritable smorgasbord of culinary delights. Here you can savor everything from haute French cuisine to down-home Southern barbecue, spicy Asian specialties to hearty Italian dishes, rich pastries to roast prime rib, fresh fish and seafood to salads and sandwiches. In addition to the impressive array of restaurants, the downtown district also is home to gourmet retailers who peddle an assortment of artisanal foods.
Nearly a decade ago, West Chester native John Hannafin was a green college graduate who spent his days in a cubicle, selling cubicles. Although he lost his less-than-dream job in Boston, Hannafin says it was the best thing that ever happened to him.