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By Tina Thomas

Image via Air Ventures, Paoli

Chester County communities have hundreds of places to go and things to see, for residents and visitors alike. Lucky for us, everyone is working hard to keep life moving and has created unique ways to enjoy and support these local attractions and places to visit. Whether you’re new or old to Chester County, there is definitely going to be something that interests you on this list!

Places to Visit in Chester County

1. Jenkins Arboretum & Garden
631 Berwyn Baptist Rd, Devon • (610) 647-8870

Open every day from 9 am to 5 pm, these beautiful gardens originally center-pieced rhododendrons and azaleas, and now encompass 48 acres and 1.2 miles worth of walking trails.  While their main goal is to encourage community interaction with local species, they also provide educational programs, host events, and inspire a love of nature and biodiversity. As a free attraction, we had to include this in our list!

2. American Helicopter Museum & Education Center
1220 American Blvd, West Chester • (610) 436-9600

This museum is so unique and has incredibly interesting exhibits, including 35 helicopters and a flight simulator. With STEM workshops and programs specifically for girls interested in this field (covering topics like “physics of flight, astronomy, energy, chemistry, mechanical engineering, coding, and robotics”) the American Helicopter Museum is open from 12 pm to 5 pm from Friday to Sunday.

3. Air Ventures Hot Air Balloon Flights
P.O. Box 711, Paoli • (800) 826-6361

If you’re looking for an experience that you can brag about for years to come, then this would be the place to start! Be sure to call at least 2 weeks ahead of time to make your reservation. However, it is possible to get on a same-day flight, if you’re on your own, due to cancellations. Choose between three packages: the One-Hour Flight, which includes a champagne toast, the Dinner Flight, which includes a full-course dinner, and the Signature Souvenir Flight, which includes an hour of professional photos before the flight.

4. 1723 Vineyards
5 McMaster Blvd, Landenberg • (888) 330-0526

Previously (partially) owned by Benjamin Franklin, these grounds are steeped in history. Open on Saturdays and Sundays from 12 pm to 5 pm, they currently provide outdoor seating, carryout, and curbside service. Bring your own picnic or try an array of local crackers and cheese as you taste local craft wines including Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Sauvignon Blanc, along with unique blends using their sustainable techniques.

5. Anson B. Nixon Park
Waterworks Dr, Kennett Square • (610) 444-1416

Starting from a dream that began in the 1960s, this park is the culmination of decades of hard work and visionaries. With 106 acres, this park provides at least a full weekend of exploration and activity, open from sunrise to sunset. Be sure to check out the community garden, and feel free to bring along your dog to the leash-free dog park.

6. People’s Light
39 Conestoga Rd, Malvern • (610) 644-3500

This theater is an absolute treasure. Dedicated to the community, they aim to cultivate diversity of thought, vision, skills, and art through excellence, self-discovery, fostering relationships, and civic engagement. With three different centers/stages, theatre classes, and their Farmhouse Bistro for on-site dining, this cultural experience is great for all ages.

7. Bates Motel Escape Rooms
540 E Union St, West Chester • (610) 459-8065

If museums and gardens aren’t quite your style, this attraction might be what you’re looking for. Escape rooms are a great way to safely enjoy a set amount of time with a group of friends and family! With rigorous disinfection policies, the Bates Motel Escape Rooms has 4 unique rooms to choose from.

8. Be Here Brewing Company
122 Pennsylvania Ave, Avondale • (484) 915-2195

We had to include this amazing company in our list. Specifically built to bring the community together in a relaxed, pub setting, Be Here Brewing has some incredible drinks, including Be Merry! ale, Glen Willow Pumpkin ale, and Fools’s Gold Wit, just to name a few. Check out their website to get an idea of seating, reservations, and their menu.

9. The Colonial Theatre
227 Bridge St, Phoenixville • (610) 917-1228

This non-profit had its first show in 1903, has three venues, and is internationally famous for its appearance in the 1958 American science fiction horror film The Blob, and the annual Blobfest celebration. The venue shows a blend of new and old movies, live music, comedy, and community events. You can book tickets for specific events or movies, or rent out one of their spaces (the Berry Theatre is our personal favorite) for more private events.

10. Brandywine Ballet
317 Westtown Rd Ste 5, West Chester • (610) 696-2711

Finally, the last attraction on our list is the Brandywine Ballet. They are hoping to resume their normal schedule this spring, specifically The Nutcracker, which they have performed annually since 1985. As a premier, non-profit ballet company, the Brandywine Ballet has provided quality entertainment to Chester County for 40 years. To learn more about the dancers, performances, and behind the scenes, check out their YouTube account!

Travel Responsibly: The CDC is still recommending avoiding non-essential travel. Plus, mask-wearing and social distancing are required in all public spaces per official guidelines. Advance tickets or reservations are highly recommended or necessary at many attractions and businesses. Your best bet: Plan ahead.