48 Hours in Valley Forge and Montgomery County: Shopping, Dining and Staying Overnight in the Suburbs
Some people try to squeeze out every last drop of summer with an early September beach weekend full of barbeques and boardwalks. Instead of dealing with Jersey shore traffic, why not spend the holiday exploring historic Valley Forge and its surrounding shops, dining and nightlife? The beginning of fall is a time to be celebrated, not feared. As the leaves change and the air gets cool, here’s how to efficiently “do” Valley Forge in a weekends’ worth of hours.
A King of Prussia trip isn’t complete without a little indulgence. First, grab a donut and a cup of coffee at Duck Donuts, we suggest opting for the dusted French Toast option, or the savory Maple Icing sprinkled with chopped bacon. (It’s the closest thing you’ll get to the famed Voodoo Donut Maple Bacon confection without making the trek to Portland, OR.) Afterwards, you might want to take a walk. With the Valley Forge Park serving as its backyard, the area is ripe with trails and historical hikes. The Valley Creek Trail is a great option for families with dogs looking to walk along the water. After your hike, refuel at one of Valley Forge’s many restaurants like Caruso’s Brick Oven Trattoria for a hearty Italian meal, or Cantina Laredo for a modern spin on authentic Mexican cuisine. Sit outside at Fitzwater Station and gaze the Schuylkill Canal (you can rent kayaks and canoes at the station, as well). The view is great — as is the jukebox — and their menu is full of pub fare so good you’ll be happy bathing suit season is coming to a close.
After lunch, pass your keys to the King of Prussia mall valet and get a little mid-day shopping accomplished. Most shoppers call it “mecca,” due to the fact that it’s one of the largest of its kind in the country and always has been a staple of the Philadelphia suburbs. With over 400 shops, you are very unlikely to leave empty-handed. Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus and Lord & Taylor reign over the four corners of the center, but smaller boutique shops — Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Cartier, even Tesla — all offer up their high-end wares within the Philadelphia suburb.
While you could get literally lost in the King of Prussia mall for a day or more, there are countless small businesses in and around Montco worthy of perusing. Looking for one-of-a-kind vintage? Revivals Boutique in Narberth carries countless designer brands. Nannygoat specializes in affordable, classic pieces for the home. Looking for Southwestern-style jewelry and untraditional gifts? Skippack’s Southwest Trading Post and Wooden Duck Shoppe should be on your list.
For other larger retail options, the Philadelphia Premium Outlets (featuring Calvin Klein, Forever 21 and Nordstrom Rack, among over 150 other retailers) is just a short drive away, as is Suburban Square, an open-air mall with a curated selection of shops, dining options and a Farmer’s Market that sources its produce from Lancaster farms. There’s also the Plymouth Meeting Mall, located a hair closer to city limits and still outfitting you in all the goods.
Staying over? Can’t blame you. It’s difficult to do it all in a day; and there are over 70 hotel and resort options in Montco. If you’re looking for a good nightlife scene, consider checking into Valley Forge Casino Resort, where you can dine and game in style, and see live music, to boot. If you’re looking for something more quiet and quaint, try Normandy Farm, a beautifully restored American landmark is history turned into a hotel. The charming Chesnut Hill Hotel is also one of the area’s must-see hidden gems. Take the weekend to stroll through the elegant gardens of this former Colonial-era summer house. You won’t regret it.
For one more reason to jump start your shopping adventure, enter to win a $1,000 shopping spree to Montgomery County from now until September 30th.This is a paid partnership between Valley Forge & Montgomery County PA and Philadelphia Magazine's City/Studio