Neighborhood Tour: Your Guide to Spending a Great Day in Germantown and Mount Airy

If you've got a day to spend in these historic Northwest Philly neighborhoods, here's an itinerary to get you started.

cliveden germantown

Cliveden / Photograph by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia

Tree-lined Germantown Avenue — Northwest Philly’s “Great Road” — might be the most historic single street in the city, and it makes for a pleasant three-mile walk through Germantown and Mount Airy. Start at the south end and head north (uphill) — or vice versa, for a less strenuous hike. For the former, begin at Wayne Junction’s Attic Brewing Company and Deke’s Bar-B-Que. The award-winning craft brewer has loads of loyal fans, and its courtyard is a popular stop for live music and community events. Oh, and Deke’s serves some kick-ass ’cue.


Grab a beer at Attic Brewing Company in Germantown / Photograph by Todd Lacy

From here, follow the Great Road to Grumblethorpe, the “big house” of Colonial botanist John Wister. In the two-acre garden out back, local schoolkids learn horticulture and sell seasonal crops. Two blocks up is the Deshler-Morris House, a.k.a. the “Germantown White House,” where George Washington spent two summers in the 1790s.

philadelphia affordable and trendy uncle bobbie's coffee and books

Uncle Bobbie’s Coffee and Books, Marc Lamont Hill’s homage to the uncle who put the love of books into him. It’s located right next to the Germantown Historical Society on Market Square. / Photograph by C. Smyth for Visit Philadelphia

Stop by nearby Uncle Bobbie’s Coffee & Books for a pick-me-up and brain food, then continue to the Aces Museum, honoring WWII veterans of color, and Wyck, the historic former home of several Haineses and Wistars, with a stunning garden showcasing more than 65 varieties of Early American roses.


Johnson House / Photograph by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia

Three blocks north is the Johnson House, a station on the Underground Railroad, and, in the next block, the Chew family’s Cliveden, which saw the heaviest fighting of the 1777 Battle of Germantown. (Catch that re-enactment the first weekend in October.) Seven more blocks and you’re in downtown Mount Airy, where you can enjoy a globe-spanning array of cuisines via its many restaurants, explore funky boutiques, or just chill at McMenamin’s Tavern, where Mount Airy-ites have been gathering for classic pub fare and a solid beer selection since 1936.

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Published as “Your Hyperlocal Bucket List: Doing Germantown & Mount Airy on Foot” in the July 2022 issue of Philadelphia magazine.