When you step into West Chester, you wonder, “Is there something historic about this place?” The question you should be asking is, “What isn’t historic about this place?” From the Hotel Warner to the iconic Historic Courthouse, West Chester is a place for the young and old.
1. Three Little Pigs | 12pm – N. High St.
After checking into the Hotel Warner on the same street, stop in at the Three Little Pigs for some lunch. Try the sandwiches named after different streets in West Chester. “Matlack Street” includes turkey, New York cheddar, and herb mayo on sourdough, while “High Street” includes honey ham and brie cheese with spicy mustard on multi-grain bread.
2. Chester County Historical Society | 2pm – N. High St.
There’s no better place to immerse yourself in history than in West Chester’s historical museum! Founded in 1893, The Chester County Historical Society (CCHS) is the official museum, education center, and repository of Chester County. In 2015 “The 1960s Pop Culture: Movies, Memorabilia, and the Media, the Steve and Michael Friedman Collection” and “The Sixties!” were exhibited in the museum. CCHS also includes an extensive library with records on genealogy, local history, antiques, and property research. Admission is $3.50 for students and children, $5.00 for senior citizens age 65 and older, and $6.00 for adults. CCHS members and children five and under get in for free. The Society is only a short walk from The Three Little Pigs, and is a fantastic way to spend a few hours during your weekend trip!
3. Shopping and Sights | 4pm
There are so many shops in West Chester that it’s easy to spend hours upon hours looking at all of the merchandise. The most notable boutiques are on North High Street, West Gay Street, and West Market Street, not far out of the way from each other! Stop in at Greene Street Consignment on West Market Street for great deals on fashionable clothing. Blink Chic Clothing on West Gay Street is definitely worth checking out for the newest chic trends. Don’t forget to stop by Moonflower on West Gay Street if you’re into the 1970s look! And click your heels three times to check out Ruby Slippers Boutique on North High Street!
While the Old Courthouse is not in use anymore, you can check out the Chester County Justice Center where new court proceedings are held. The building is impressive with American flags at full mast, and it gives you a feeling of respect and awe just seeing it.
Walking along the streets, you might happen to see a few churches. On West Gay Street, St. Agnes Church stands tall and proud. You might also see paintings planted in the sidewalks. These famous and historic portraits were recently brought to West Chester from the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and descriptions of each painting are included.
West Chester also has a bit of fame. In 2008, “Marley & Me” starring Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston was filmed along West Gay Street.
4. The Couch Tomato Café | 6pm – W. Gay St.
Stop for dinner at The Couch Tomato Café. The menu includes a variety of food, from nine different salads, seven different sandwiches, five sides, five desserts, brick oven pizzas, and a variety of teas at reasonable prices. If you don’t like the salads, sandwiches, or pizzas provided, there’s an option to build your own!
5. Kildare’s | 8pm – W. Gay St.
Kildare’s Irish Pub is a nice place to unwind after your first day in West Chester. Though Guinness and other alcoholic beverages are offered, Kildare’s puts an emphasis on their food. From buffalo chicken egg rolls to “The Fire” burger, this pub is fantastic for casual dinners with friends. Since you already ate at The Couch Tomato, try one of their 11 sides, seven salads, and three soups. On Fridays, the fish & chips are $9.99, and Blue Moon pints are $3 each. Try a pint of Guinness or Bloody Mary’s too!
6. Penn’s Table | 7am – W Gay St.
Start your day bright and early at Penn’s Table! This restaurant is known for its delicious pancakes, but offers a variety of breakfast foods, from nine breakfast sandwiches, six varieties of omelets, and of course, creamed chipped beef over on toast with home fries! If you haven’t tried chipped beef yet, you’re missing out!
7. Let’s Go Back in Time! | 9am E. & W. Market St., W Miner St.
You’ve seen an overview of West Chester’s history at the Historical Society, now it’s time to walk it! Start on East Market Street. Here’s, you’ll see a fantastic view of the Historic Courthouse, the symbol of West Chester. Though this building does not hold court sessions anymore, as they are held at the Justice Center. Next to the Old Courthouse, you may see a man with hot-dog stand that says, “Wally’s Weiner World.” This just so happens to be one of the oldest food stands in West Chester, being a family-owned business and running for over 26 years!
Make your way over to W. Minor St. if you feel like seeing an extra bit of history. At 222 W. Miner St., you may see a tiny bar
approximately the height of your ankle. That’s an old boot scrape that the townspeople would use after they parked their horse to scrape the mud off of their boots before entering a building.
All around town, you may notice blue signs with gold writing on them. These truly make your history walk authentic. Each sign has small historical facts about West Chester, including information about Women’s Rights and President Lincoln.
8. Lincoln Room | 12pm W. Market St.
The Lincoln Room, a historical center and restaurant, is actually known as the place where the first biography of Abraham Lincoln was published on February 11, 1860. Prepared from Lincoln’s own notes, the biography was used to introduce him to the public as a potential presidential candidate. Make a reservation to have lunch and tea here. A small tea sandwich platter is available, complete with a variety of teas, including “Mother’s Bouquet” and “Eight at the Fort.” You can look around the building to find out more information about Abraham Lincoln, as well as shop in the gift store.
9. West Chester Public Library & area | 2:30pm – N. Church St.
Now that you’re refreshed from your luncheon, take a walk towards the West Chester Public Library, no longer than 15 minutes away. You’ll be greeted with fantastic views of the architecture, dating back to 1872. Children can come by on Saturday mornings for story time. If you look under your feet, you’ll see a plethora of bricks engraved with the names of the library’s donors.
10. Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant | 4pm – N. High St.
Iron Hill has some of the most delicious food in town! From pizzas, to salads, sandwiches, burgers, soups, entrees, and even gluten-free options, you can’t go wrong by choosing this restaurant for last dinner in West Chester! The Brewhouse favorites include the Chicken Pot Pie, BBQ Glazed Baby Back Ribs, Jaegerschnitzel, and Beef Stroganoff. Brews to try include the Iron Hill Light Lager, the White Iron Wit, and the Pig Iron Porter.
11. West Chester University | 7pm – S. High St.
Farther out towards the edge of town is a castle-like building you may have noticed from a distance. This is actually the town’s home university. Originally a college and dating back to 1812, the University is a great place to see different shows, if you happen to visit when the shows occur. From magicians, to plays, to planetarium performances, West Chester University is just as important to the town as all of the history. If there’s one thing other than history that West Chester is known for, it’s its sense of community. Driving there is recommended, since the walk may be far.
12. Nudy’s Café | 10am – W. Market St.
Your last breakfast in West Chester would not be fitting if it wasn’t at Nudy’s Café. Known for their breakfasts, this café offers signature pancakes, from Gingerbread to Cinnamon Bun pancakes. The Jumbo Lump Crabmeat and Tomato omelet is an option you can’t go wrong with. And let’s not forget about the Strawberry Cheesecake French Toast! The food is so good, you won’t even think about the calories!
13. Visual Expansion Gallery | 12pm – N. High St.
Before heading out, stop by the Visual Expansion Gallery. Established in 1975 and located at 132 North High Street, this gallery offers a view of gorgeous original portraits of the town, depicted in all seasons. If you would like to take home a bit of West Chester with you, this is the perfect place to do so.
During your visit, definitely stay at the Hotel Warner. As it was the old Warner Theater from the early 20th century, the hotel has a gallery of photographs from nearly 100 years ago of West Chester and the theater. The staircase leading up to the rooms is the original staircase from the theater and was preserved for the hotel. Other hotels near the town of West Chester include the Microtel Inn and Suites and the Holiday Inn Express.