Best Places to Raise Kids: The 15 Most Family-Friendly Philly Suburbs

If you are forgoing city for ‘burbs, as a parent you want two things: safe streets and good schools. But after that, the choices vary: A touch of urbanity? Wide-open spaces? A charming downtown? We crunched the numbers, analyzed the data and forayed out into the field. No matter your preference, we found a locale worth moving to

Swarthmore


Population: 6,194
School district: Wallingford-Swarthmore
Average SAT scores: 559 math / 575 reading / 558 writing
Crime rate: 1.15 violent crimes per 1,000; 13.83 nonviolent per 1,000
Median home price: $405,000

Maybe it’s the choo-choo train in downtown Swarthmore’s stroller-packed Tot Lot. Or the kid-friendly yoga classes at the Creative Living Room rec center. Or our personal fave, the local Santa Claus hot line, which dispatches St. Nick himself for in-home Christmas Eve visits. Something about this college town, packed with shady streets of (affordable!) colonials and Victorians, incites even the most jaded to want to hop on a tricycle and pedal back to childhood. But while kids in Swarthmore reap the benefits of award-winning public schools (the elementary school has a U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon) and bike rides to the revered Co-Op (whose produce is literally award-winning) and library (which has the largest circulation rate per capita in the county), grown-ups don’t have it bad, either. The town’s august namesake college opens up its concerts, lectures and 300-acre arboretum to the public, meaning kids aren’t the only ones with stimulating extracurriculars—good news, since the whole town is dry. While it can all get a bit crunchy, and taxes are steep (those blue ribbons don’t come cheap), that’s more than offset by easy train access into Philly and the quaintness of a soap-opera town without all of those desperate housewives.

To read about Solebury, click here.


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  • Mark

    …they have Renato, which is the best place anywhere for a cheesesteak or a hoagie.

  • Sally

    Definitely a great place to raise kids!!!

  • Bid

    What a nice view of our town and residents!

    Sadly, the property owners in the Jenkintown Business Improvement District (BID) voted to eliminate the our Festival of the Arts, and any other efforts designed to bring people and new businesses into into our lovely community. By failing to re-authorize the BID, these short sighted barons killed marketing of our town and a business recruitment program. They also eliminated the distinctive holiday decorations that lined the streets AND Santa’s annual visit.

    For a perspective from a resident, BID supporter and volunteer, please read this letter printed in Times-Chronicle: http://tinyurl.com/jenkintownbid

    To view the “No Votes” see: http://www.opposedthebid.com

  • colton

    Why is PHILADELPHIA magazine encouraging people to move out of the city? This is the problem in the first place w/ Philly, people keep moving out and that causes loss of population, loss of tax base, higher vacancy rates, etc… all leading to worse schools, less stability, less “eyes on the street” and thus more crime. You should be highlighting the best neighborhoods IN Philly for families, not the best places to escape Philadelphia for.

    • Tara

      Right underneath the title it says: “If you are forgoing city for ‘burbs, as a parent you want two things: safe streets and good schools.” … This was written for people who WANT to move out of the city.

  • Jamison

    Thanks for the list, most of these I can agree with, but there are some glaring omissions, most notably Doylestown. I don’t know how it doesn’t make this list as it meets and exceeds most of the criteria set.

  • Beth

    Does anyone have any details about Mullica Hill, NJ. Is that a great place to live. I heard it has a very good school and quaint town atmosphere.

  • http://susiemadrak.com Susie Madrak

    Leave it to Philly mag to keep making the word “best” synonymous with “white and rich.”

    • Jane Yavis

      May I correct part of your “Best” synonyms – “White and NEW Rich”???

    • Broyal

      Despicable comment from an idiotic and despicable person. Go spread your nazi crap elsewhere.

    • Tony b

      Fuck you.

    • Vald Bagina

      true. the philly area is pretty racially segregated. now that I said this, people will get sensitive and try to say that it isn’t but in reality it is.

  • Kelly

    Ummmm….more like the richest and highest housing prices outside of Philadelphia. You missed the mark on so many towns.