Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Haverford, PA

  • Published 2023/06/03

Haverford, Pennsylvania, is a prosperous unincorporated community located approximately three miles west of Philadelphia.

Haverford Township in Delaware County and Lower Merion Township in Montgomery County shares this community.

Haverford borders the unincorporated component of Haverford Township known as “Havertown,” as well as Bryn Mawr, Ardmore, Gladwyne, Wynnewood, and a portion of Broomall.

Haverford took its name from Haverfordwest, a municipality in Wales, United Kingdom.

Today, it is an endearing and modest community with many exciting activities.

Haverford is most notable as the location of Haverford College and one of the earliest country clubs in the United States, the Merion Cricket Club.

Read on to discover the best things to do in Haverford, Pennsylvania.

Explore the Ryan Pinetum

Landscape of the Ryan Pinetum

Rahuber203, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The mature conifer collection at the Ryan Pinetum is the best and most extensive in the region.

In recognition of their ongoing efforts to enhance this precious site, it is named after Nancy P. and Richard J. Ryan.

Over 300 trees are included in this 216-acre arboretum, each identified by its original environment and a unique identification code in addition to its typical, scientific, and family names.

When you first enter Ryan Pinetum, you’ll see 15 points of interest marked with numbered poles.

Most of Haverford’s State Champion trees, which are labeled in gold below, may also be found in the Pinetum.

The State Champions and other hand-picked conifers with distinctive numbered posts may be easily located on your map, and further descriptions can be found in the accompanying booklet.

Following the numbered tree tour, the State Champions are listed roughly in the sequence you will see them.

Witness Musical Performances at Haverford College Music Halls

Haverford College Music Halls, namely Michael Jaharis Recital Hall and Roberts Hall’s Marshall Auditorium, host stellar performances.

The Michael Jaharis Recital Hall serves as a multipurpose venue for concerts, rehearsals, seminars, and even classroom lectures in the brand-new building.

The acoustics are superb, and the location provides an unparalleled panorama of the campus and duck pond.

It also has high-end equipment for capturing audio and video and playing multimedia presentations.

Meanwhile, Roberts Hall, which houses Marshall Auditorium, hosts larger performances.

Hike through Haverford College Nature Trail

The Haverford College Nature Trail spans 2.2 miles and encircles the school’s 216 acres.

In 1933, a group of alumni and current students called the Campus Club built the route to exhibit the college’s expanding arboretum and promote bird-watching.

Athletes quickly discovered the path was an excellent area for workouts.

Parts of the trail now go through an 18-acre pinetum, which houses the arboretum’s collection of conifers.

You’ll also go through sports fields; along the cherry and azalea-lined Woolman Walk; past wildlife-friendly meadows; and alongside the 3-acre Duck Pond and pollinator garden.

Be Amazed by the Historic Grange Estate

Historic Grange Estate also comes by the name The Grange.

The manor house on the property was initially only a stone building.

It was built in the 1770s but had grand halls, huge rooms, gardens, and outbuildings.

This colonial home has a spacious 4200 square feet.

Skate Around with a Friend at Philadelphia Skating Club and Humane Society

Interior view of the Philadelphia Skating Club and Humane Society

EPC803, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Did you know the earliest skating club in the United States is in Haverford?

Philadelphia Skating Club and Humane Society offers a welcoming environment and a great location all year round.

All ages and abilities may benefit from the club’s welcoming atmosphere, extensive on- and off-ice skating programs, and enjoyable social activities that foster teamwork, sportsmanship, health, and fitness.

Philadelphia Skating Club and Humane Society is unlike any other, with high-quality ice, plenty of natural light, a wall of mirrors, no boards, and no hockey teams.

Come in for a session of roller skating, watch your favorite skaters from the comfort of the cozy lounges, or take advantage of the skate store and sharpening services.

Learn about a Historic Schoolhouse at the Federal School

Near the Allgates Estate in Haverford, Pennsylvania, is where you’ll find the historic Federal School, a one-room schoolhouse.

It opened in 1797 under the name Federal School, but people would only know its history in 1849 when the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania purchased the building and formally renamed it Haverford Seminary Number 1.

After then, it was used as a public school until 1940, when Horatio Gates Lloyd purchased it.

It became a storage shed after he and his family had left.

In 1991, it was renovated by the Haverford Township Historical Society.

Haverford Township fourth graders may now experience life as a student at the Federal School in 1849.

There was enough historical significance to warrant including the structure on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.

Admire the Stunning Fall Trees and Leaves at Haverford Reserve Meadow

Haverford Reserve Meadow is a well-kept natural oasis that is stunning and tranquil.

The Reserve is kept in pristine condition thanks to the tireless efforts of dozens of neighborhood volunteers.

Over the years, local Scout organizations have helped to plant trees and develop the Dog Park.

The trail’s topography and level of difficulty are both dynamic.

You’ll also find a disc golf course in Haverford Reserve Meadow.

In general, it’s a lovely focal point for the neighborhood.

Relax at Sharpe Park and Bird Sanctuary

Catherine Dixon Sharpe left the municipality of Haverford, Pennsylvania, her 2.7-acre property in the middle of a bustling residential area in her legacy in 1963.

She insisted that it be used as a park and bird sanctuary for the sake of the community.

Ms. Sharpe opened up her private garden to the public so that it may serve as a respite in a highly populated area, just like Frederick Law Olmsted’s parks were meant to do.

Early in 1979, the Sharpe Park and Bird Sanctuary was legally adopted by The Garden Workers, who committed to maintaining it as a low-maintenance forest park that would be attractive to humans and other animals.

In 1974, the community of Haverford welcomed this gorgeous park.

Haverford Reserve Meadow is a small park, but it’s perfect for relaxing, reflecting, and observing birds.

Despite its proximity to the city center, it provides a sense of seclusion.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Haverford visitors will also love the fact that it’s in proximity to other fantastic Pennsylvania cities.

You will find plenty of entertainment options, from farmers’ markets to live performance venues to museums.

Here are other things to do near Haverford, Pennsylvania.

Create Memories with Your Loved Ones at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts

Two men walking towards their seat at Mann Center for the Performing Arts

Adeceve, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Mann Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 16 minutes from Haverford, is one of the largest outdoor amphitheaters in the United States and a popular destination for Philadelphia music fans during the summer months.

Located in Fairmount Park, the center’s TD Pavilion can accommodate more than 4,500 guests, while the adjacent Connelly Terrace and Great Lawn can accommodate approximately 10,000 more.

In a first-rate venue, the Mann Center for the Performing Arts hosts top-tier events and festivals.

Famous symphony orchestras, legendary rock musicians, and cutting-edge indie rock, R&B, hip-hop, and pop performers all take the stage throughout the summer months.

The amphitheater is also historically significant since it has hosted the Philadelphia Orchestra every summer since the 1930s.

Pay a Quick Visit to the Ardmore Farmers Market

The vendors in the Ardmore Farmers Market, seven minutes away from Haverford, provide everything from fresh vegetables and flowers to coffee and pastries to delicious prepared foods.

Ardmore Produce offers only the freshest fruits and vegetables in a genuine farmer’s market setting.

For that “straight from the farm” look, all products are packaged in wood baskets, crates, and shipping cartons.

All of the salsas, guacamoles, and cut fruits in the store are made fresh right there, and there is also a modest selection of dried fruits and nuts.

There’s also a fresh juice bar where you can get any combination of fruits and vegetables juiced to request.

The fresh and prepared fish options at Ardmore Fish are extensive.

If you need a quick bite, Ardmore Farmers Market food stalls have you covered.

Try the Special Workshops at Please Touch Museum

Exterior view of the Please Touch Museum

quiggyt4 /

Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia, 17 minutes from Haverford, formerly the Children’s Museum of Philadelphia, has operated since 1976.

Running for over three decades and two million visitors, the Please Touch Museum has become one of the best children’s museums in the United States.

The museum aims to give children a better start in life by allowing them to learn about the world around them while having fun.

Please Touch Museum, housed in the National Historic Landmark Memorial Hall, constructed in 1876 for the Centennial Exhibition commemorating the country’s 100th birthday, features six interactive exhibit zones across 157,000 square feet, four of which are tailored to children aged three and under.

The 1908 Woodside Park Dentzel Carousel, created in Philadelphia and returned to its hometown after more than 40 years in storage, is a popular attraction for children and their parents.

It is housed in a 9,000-square-foot glass pavilion east of Memorial Hall.

Get up Close with the Animals at the Philadelphia Zoo

People entering the Philadelphia Zoo

Helen89 /

The Philadelphia Zoo in Philadelphia, 18 minutes from Haverford, the first in the United States, is well-known for its forward-thinking animal care practices and steadfast dedication to conserving biodiversity.

Philadelphia Zoo has set the standard for zoos elsewhere since it initially welcomed visitors on July 1, 1874.

Peacock at the Philadelphia Zoo

Ethan Quin /

The Philadelphia Zoo has a long history of innovation in zookeeping, including the first successful U.S. births of orangutans and chimpanzees, the first on-site animal care center, the first specially-formulated nourishment for zoo animals, and the first U.S. Children’s Zoo.

The zoo is home to several endangered species, including several types of black animals, raptors, reptiles, and more.

Zebras at Philadelphia Zoo

Conchi Martinez /

Be at Peace at Shofuso Japanese Cultural Center

Inside and out, the Shofuso Japanese Cultural Center in Philadelphia‘s western Fairmount Park, 19 minutes from Haverford, is a haven of peace.

Sano Tansai created the current garden in 1958 when the authentic shoin-style Japanese house was relocated here from New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

The original Japanese-style landscape was constructed for the 1876 Centennial Exposition.

This historic Japanese home and its top-rated garden pay homage to the city’s long and rich relationship with Japan.

Guests are welcome to see the house, feed the koi fish swimming in the pond shaded by a weeping cherry tree that is 75 years old, and wander the gorgeous garden landscape that covers more than an acre.

Shofuso Japanese Cultural Center members can come as frequently as they like without paying a fee.

They are also invited to special events that are exclusively open to members.

Explore the Exhibits at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Exterior view of the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Samuel Borges Photography /

The Philadelphia Museum of Art in Philadelphia, 21 minutes from Haverford, the city’s most recognizable landmark, is perched on a hill at the end of Benjamin Franklin Parkway, looking down on the town like a modern-day Parthenon.

This cultural mecca houses one of the nation’s most significant art collections, making it a must-see on any art lover’s itinerary.

Interior view of the Philadelphia Museum of Art

EQRoy /

Philadelphia Museum of Art’s collection spans two millennia and includes about 240,000 artworks from antiquity, the middle ages, the Renaissance, the Impressionist era, and contemporary times.

In recent years, the attraction’s interior had a massive renovation supervised by world-famous architect Frank Gehry.

New galleries, public areas, and exhibitions debuted in May 2021, with the north entrance opening in the fall of 2019.

Stunning architecture of Philadelphia Museum of Art

Hope Phillips /

Learn about the Father of American Short Story at the Edgar Allan Pоe National Historic Site

Are you a fan of the macabre?

Visit Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site in Philadelphia, 26 minutes from Haverford.

One of America’s most innovative authors, Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849), spent nearly a year in this red-brick mansion with his wife, Virginia, and Virginia’s mother, Maria Clemm.

During that period, he wrote The Black Cat, which has a basement with striking parallels to this one.

Tours of the three-story residence may take guests into the bare rooms and cellar where Poe’s imagination went amok.

Edgar Allan Pоe National Historic Site also displays information and runs an eight-minute film about Poe’s relatives and literary colleagues.

Final Thoughts

Haverford may be small, but filled with history and outdoor escapes.

There’s something for everyone there, whether they’re in the mood for a romantic evening, a fun outing with the kids, or some old-fashioned relaxation.

When visiting this community, use our list of the best things to do in Haverford, Pennsylvania.

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