Experience Doylestown Like a Local

Experience Doylestown Like a Local

When visiting Doylestown, Pennsylvania, most tourists head to the Mercer Museum or the Mercer Mile. Although these are must-dos for first-time visitors, the town offers so much more.

Often, the best parts of Doylestown are hidden from the regular tourist. How about you get a home in Doylestown and experience it as a local? That way, you get to experience the sights, smells, and sounds that truly make this town the "best fun suburban town" according to Philly Mag. Doyletown also has the honor of being the home of writer James Mitchener and renowned musician P!nk. If you're looking for things to do in Doylestown, PA, start with these twelve.

Michener Art Museum

The works of some of Pennsylvania's most prolific and renowned artists live at the Michener Art Museum. Named after the Pulitzer-winning author of "Hawaii" and "Tales of a South Pacific," the museum opened its doors in 1988 in a former Bucks County Prison.

Today, the Michener Art Museum has a collection of over 2,700 pieces of cultural and artistic heritage from Bucks County, including one of the largest collections of Pennsylvania Impressionist paintings.

The museum also has an outdoor labyrinth and sculpture gardens and regularly hosts traveling exhibits, classes, workshops, and camps.

Pro Tip: Bring your SEPTA key or a student ID and get $2 off adult on on the $8 tickets.

Smell the fragrance of Peace Valley Lavender Farm

Patti and George Lyon's Peace Valley Lavender Farm is a piece of sun-soaked, fragrant heaven. With over 3,000 lavender plants, the private garden is both a sight to behold and a fragrance you won't forget.

You're welcome to wander the farm or take a guided tour in groups of 20–30 people. You can also pick a few bunches to take home with you or buy lavender products such as scented soaps, lotions, cooking ingredients, and even pillows.

Peace Valley Lavender Farm is open all year, but it's best experienced between June and July when the lavender bushes are in full bloom. Find the farm at 802 New Galena Rd., Doylestown.

Even better, if you dream about owning a farm and a home in the country, check out our featured listings where we always have a fabulous deal waiting.

See the verdant delights of Peace Valley Park

Only a few miles down the road from the lavender farm is the 1,500-acre Peace Valley Park along the northeastern border of Doylestown. The park is home to the beautiful, crystal-clear Lake Galena.

Ideal for fishing, kayaking, and paddleboarding, lake Galena has a clear surface for anyone looking for a calm and relaxing adventure. The park is a gorgeus sight with its verdant grounds, thick forests, and more than 14 miles of trails.

Other fun activities you can enjoy with the whole family include:

  • Birdwatching the park's 250+ bird species
  • Picnicking
  • Biking and hiking along the 6.1-mile trail around lake Galena

Go restaurant hopping for a taste of Doylestown

In addition to being one of the most picturesque spots in Pennsylvania, Doylestown also boasts amazing dining. From casual restaurants to sophisticated, world-class dining, the town has it all. Here are some highlights that we highly recommend:

86 West

86 West is a restaurant and bar in downtown Doylestown that is famous for its chic nightclub environment. Enjoy the regular offerings of sushi, sashimi, and plates of tapas in addition to a fresh selection of creative culinary creations every day.

86 West also offers one of the town's largest dining experiences in season and sports luxurious stone landscaping for an extremely chic look.

Nina's Waffles

Nina's Waffles is undeniably the best dessert spot in Doylestown. Featuring delectable waffles and over a hundred ice-cream flavors hand-crafted to perfection, Nina's Waffles is the worst kept secret in town.

They also have cakes, pies, cobblers, and other mouth-watering pastries in which to indulge your culinary tastes.

The Heirloom

The Heirloom is a farm-to-table restaurant in Doylestown whose menu focuses on "New American" cuisine. It mostly uses fresh local and seasonal ingredients, although its menu is somewhat limited.

As one of the new joints in town, The Heirloom promises "heartfelt cooking and sincere service," and we agree.

Nonno's Italian Coffee Parlor

Nonno's is the prime spot for coffee, espresso, gelato, and everything else you would expect from an upscale cafe. Nonno's Italian Coffee Parlor has become a staple in the town and has set itself up with its authentic Italian coffee. The proprietors, Mary and Vincent Bocchino, are experts with decades of experience.

Get the cannolis at Nonno's and enjoy the explosion of flavors synonymous with this small upscale restaurant.

Listen to the boulders at Ringing Rocks County Park

Only a 30-minute drive away from the town is Ringing Rocks County Park, so-called for its 8 acres of diabase boulders. In addition to the serene, unforgettably beautiful scenery, the boulders here sing.

The unusual attraction has volcanic rocks that ring musically when you strike them with a hammer, sounding a lot like the musical notes of a xylophone.

The whole park is actually 123 acres and also houses the largest waterfall in Bucks County, the High Falls. Bring your hiking and rock climbing gear and spend the day enjoying the grandeur of the geological music and majestic waterfalls.

Shop at Makers Off Main, Allora Gifts & Home Decor, and The Mercantile

Even from the old days, Doylestown has always offered a rich and diverse shopping experience. The three most notable places are:

Makers Off Main

Photo courtesy of Makers Off Main

Makers Off Main sells handmade stuff from more than 90 artisans. More of an arts and crafts exhibition than a store, Makers Off Main features unique jewelry, woodworking, bath, and home decor products, as well as artisanal candles.

The eccentric space is also an excellent place to host parties, creative workshops, and private events.

Allora Gifts & Home Decor

Allora Gifts & Home Decor is an "eclectic mix of quirky goods and gifts" with things like goat milk chocolates, adult coloring books, puzzles, and jewelry. Like Makers Off Main, the store also has a lot of handmade stuff by local artists and is one of the prime spots to explore in downtown Doylestown.

The Mercantile

The 25,000-sq foot Mercantile is Doylestown's artisan collective. Local artisans and businesses display their merchandise here, and it is also a key meeting point for art lovers to connect and engage.

The Doylestown farmers market

Doylestown also has a rich agricultural heritage that you can tap into at the Doylestown farmer's market. With seasonal pickings of fresh vegetables, fruits, and flowers, the farmer's market along Hamilton Street is a must-visit.

The market is also home to artisans such as woodworkers, bakers, and home decorators. We guarantee that you will make some amazing friends here in addition to sampling delicious fruits and veggies.

Explore Central Park with its bike and hike trails

Doylestown boasts 30 miles of paved, car-free bike and hike trails. With more than a dozen individual trails, the system allows you to explore local attractions, shopping centers, schools, and various SEPTA Regional Rail Stations.

The Doylestown Central Park is a highlight of this system with its expansive 150+ acres of wooded trails and open vistas. Perfect for family fun, it offers a wonderful sensory experience including butterflies, flowers, bluebirds, and endless recreational activities.

If you are inclined to do something more active, you will find tennis, pickle ball, bocce, kite flying, and exercise stations all around the park. Dogs are also welcome in the park, so long as they are leashed and well-behaved.

Visit the Hellerick's Family Farm

Your stay at Doylestown wouldn't be complete without an indulging visit to the Hellerick's Family Farm. Opened over 150 years old, the Adventure Farm is where families go to rediscover the outdoors.

The farm is open in spring through fall with more than 40 activities, including:

  • Farm animals
  • Straw bale slides
  • Corn barn
  • Goat yoga
  • Aerial adventure
  • Obstacle course
The farm is also the perfect space to host birthday parties, school tours, and other group events. Since this is one of the most fun things to do in Doylestown, you can even grab season passes and visit as often as you like.

Concerts in the garden at the Heritage Conservancy

With a mission to conserve the state's natural and historic heritage, the Conservancy is a cultural hotspot. The beautiful gardens at the Heritage Conservancy's Aldie Mansions often host musical evenings where you can bring your own picnic and wine as you groove to incredible music.

Tickets are usually free, although you need to register. The Conservancy also hosts various events at different locations throughout the year, so catch their events here well in advance and prepare for what is one of the best things to do in Pennsylvania.

County Theater

The old-school movie theater (The County) is a unique attraction that's bound to give you nostalgic shivers.

Standing at 20 E. State St., The County is a non-profit community arthouse for "artful film entertainment". At the time of writing, The County was screening CODA, a film that was named Best Picture at the 2022 Academy Awards.

If you want even more of an immersive experience, consider the Doylestown escape room over at Main Street.

Soap Opera Company

Photo courtesy of Soap Opera Company

The Soap Opera Company specializes in making and selling artisanal hand-crafted bath products such as soap bars, bath salts, and bath bombs. The company is recognized nationally and internationally for its hypoallergenic soaps made with all-natural ingredients.

Visit the Soap Opera Company for an incredibly sensual experience and to pick up luxurious bath products to match your lifestyle. Bubble baths, liquid soaps, seasonal treats, candles, and similar items are all available at the company's boutique and website.

Attend the festivals

Doylestown has lots of seasonal festivals and events. The biggest of these is probably the Doylestown Community Arts Festival in the fall with two days of live music, artwork, and community engagement.

The Doylestown Winterfest is also one of the best things to do while in Pennsylvania with its town-wide celebrations that include tree lighting, a business decorating contest, and a community Hanukkah celebration.

Find luxury Doylestown real estate property

Living in Doylestown is an experience unlike any other. The town's vibrant culture, close-knit community, natural beauty, and small-town feel makes it one of the best in which to live or invest in the country.

As a lifelong resident in the county and an experienced real estate agent, Cary Simons Nelson is a true asset when you're searching for and buying real estate in Doylestown. Cary and her team have the skills, experience, and resources you need to get you the home you want.

If you're looking to buy property in Doylestown, talk to Cary and her team now and let her intimate knowledge of Doylestown work for you.

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