15 Best Things to Do in Upper Darby, PA

Upper Darby, PA
Krtz07 / shutterstock.com

Upper Darby is a township in northeastern Delaware County, Pennsylvania, and an eastern suburb of Philadelphia.

Many things to do in Upper Darby are woven around its rich history, with the township being established officially in 1736.

Its history even dates back to the early 1650s when the first permanent European settlers arrived.

Some of Delaware County’s first mills were set up in Upper Darby because of its abundance of streams and creeks.

This township also figured in the US Civil War and anti-slavery movement because of the Quaker background of its early English settlers.

The extension of the railway to the township around 1907 and the economic boost it delivered helped mold many attractions in Upper Darby.

The township eventually developed flourishing business and leisure districts which led to Upper Darby coining its motto, “the world in one place.”

Below are the best things to do in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania.

See the Hottest Acts at the Tower Theater

Exterior of the Tower Theater
I, Mtruch, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Tower Theater opened in 1927 as a vaudeville theater and movie house that has hosted legendary music shows, classic bands, and artists over the years.

With its reputation, Rolling Stone has listed the Tower as among the ten best live music venues in the U.S.

The Tower Theater is in Terminal Square at the southeast corner of Ludlow and 69th Streets.

It closed briefly in the early 1970s but came back with a bang in 1972.

Since then, the shows at the Tower included the first U.S. tours of Genesis and David Bowie and comedians Jim Norton and Trevor Noah.

For VIP treatment at the Tower, reserve its intimate GG’s Lounge, where the amenities go way beyond its custom décor.

This exclusive speakeasy-style lounge provides a private entrance to the Tower, a direct stage view, an orchestra-level viewing patio, and a full-service bar.

Visit the Lower Swedish Cabin

The Lower Swedish Cabin is located on the lush woodlands of Creek Road in Upper Darby’s Drexel Hill neighborhood.

This log cabin witnessed Upper Darby’s early history, as it was believed to have been built from 1640 to 1650.

With this reckoned vintage, the cabin may be one of the oldest in the U.S.

Its construction has been attributed to the Swedish immigrants who moved to the Upper Darby area from the New Sweden colony of Delaware.

The house was a private residence until 1937 when the township of Upper Darby acquired it.

The Lower Swedish Cabin has been recorded by the Historic American Buildings Survey and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

It was used for the location shots of several 1900s movies of film pioneer Siegmund Lubin.

Tour the Collen Brook Farm

Located on Mansion Road in the Upper Darby neighborhood, the Collen Brook Farm dates back to the 18th century.

Today, the Upper Darby Historical Society owns this property, comprising a historic home and associated structures.

Special tours and educational programs on the property can be arranged with the historical society.

The Collen Brook Farm is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Authorized visitors of this historic complex can tour its vernacular stone farmhouse consisting of three sections in its Georgian plan.

Its oldest section was constructed around 1700, followed by additions in 1774 and 1794.

George Smith, a noted local educator and politician, once lived in the farmhouse.

The other structures in the Colleen Brook Farm are circa 1782 granite spring house and a vintage 1870 stone and frame carriage house.

The eight-acre historic farm is also home to a Burr Oak tree believed to be 300 years old.

Take a Stroll on Kent Park

Enjoy the countryside vibe of Upper Darby through a stroll on Kent Park on Bridge Street.

This park spreads over a scenic ten-acre green expanse, featuring a scenic trail along Darby Creek that passes under the historic Lindbergh Bridge.

This park was the former site of Kent Mills, one of the pioneer mills in Delaware County.

Kent Park, traditionally used for fishing access and hiking, also features a multi-recreational use area with a pavilion, playground, and a fenced dog area for member residents.

A Kent Park hike leads northwest to the picturesque Oakview Falls and the Darby Creek Trail Drexel Hill.

Enjoy the Outdoors at Naylors Run Park

Spanning over 86 acres off Garret Road, Naylors Run Park offers excellent outdoor recreational opportunities.

This park features a 2.6-kilometer out-and-back trail along Naylors Run, a tributary of Cobbs Creek.

Partially paved, the trail of Naylors Run Park is generally an easy and serene route.

The trail isn’t only great for hiking, running, and birdwatching.

Naylors Run Park visitors can enjoy its picnic facilities, playgrounds, and tennis courts.

Take the McCall Golf Club Challenge

McCall Golf Club spreads on 77 acres off North Lynn Boulevard, offering what appears to be an easy challenge on its 18-hole golf links.

The club’s course offers a regulation play of a par 66 over 4,469 yards from the back tees.

While this layout appears shorter than other links, the McCall Golf Club course can spring surprises on its sharp doglegs, puzzling bunkers, and small, tricky greens.

Golfers tackling this course must also negotiate two challenging holes across Cobb Creek.

After the surprising course challenge, players can relax in the clubhouse, an 1800s estate home, and enjoy the Par 66 Beer especially brewed for McCall Golf Club.

Join the Upper Darby International Festival

The Upper Darby International Festival is an event that typically kicks off in end-September every year.

This red-letter day in the township hammers on Upper Darby’s slogan, “The World in One Place.”

One of the festival's highlights is a traditional parade of flags representing the various home countries of Upper Darby residents.

The festivity of the Upper Darby International Festival gravitates around Garrett Road, Fairfield Avenue, and Long Lane.

A couple of stages are typically set up for festival programs, including music, dancing, and martial arts performances.

The Upper Darby International Festival also features artwork displays and food trucks offering the culinary delights of the diverse cultures in the township.

Watch Talented Kids at the Upper Darby Summer Stage

Affordable live theater performances at the Upper Darby Summer Stage on North Lansdowne Avenue draw thousands yearly.

Curtains raise for seven professional-quality shows on this stage in six weeks during summer.

These performances highlight the theatre summer camp of the Upper Darby Performing Arts Center (UPDAC).

More than 750 students across Philadelphia participate in this summer camp and stage presentation.

The foundation behind UPDAC also holds the carnival MusicMan Festival sometime in May, featuring live music, beer gardens, food trucks, and activities for kids.

This festival is held at the picturesque Greenhorn Gardens of the Arlington Cemetery Field just across the Upper Darby Summer Stage.

Visit the Drum Corps Memorabilia Museum

Upper Darby is home to the unique Drum Corps Memorabilia Museum in the veteran war headquarters Archer-Epler VFW Post 979 on Marshall Road.

This museum is believed to be the largest in the U.S., with 17,000 items in its collection.

The Drum Corps Memorabilia Museum’s pieces grew from the collection of William Ives, a member of Upper Darby’s Archer-Epler Musketeers Drum and Bugle Corps.

Ives has been collecting memorabilia since 2019.

The museum’s displays include over 280 colorful uniforms, 130 jackets, 150 shakos, and 800 records.

There are also flags, drums, photos, horns, pins, and programs in the displays of Upper Darby’s Drum Corps Memorabilia Museum.

Experience Studio Movie Grill

Studio Movie Grill offers a different experience compared with most movie theaters.

This first-run movie house on 69th Street offers in-theater dining, with meal picks from an extensive American grill menu and drinks from a full-service bar.

Just push a button at your seat to place your food/drink order, and a staff of Studio Movie Grill will promptly take it.

The order will be directly delivered to your seat before or during the movie.

Studio Movie Grille provides four seating options, all offering exceptional movie viewing and dining experience.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Browse the Collections of Darby Free Library

Exterior of Darby Free Library
Smallbones, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Darby Free Library, founded in 1743, is one of the oldest U.S. libraries.

Its collection, freely available to the public, includes not only books on the library’s shelves.

The collections of Darby Free Library, located in Darby, Pennsylvania, now include DVDs and CDs.

The library has a knowledgeable staff to guide you through its extensive materials.

In addition, the Derby Free Library regularly hosts special events like science lectures, storytelling for kids, and authors’ guesting.

This library is nine minutes from Upper Darby.

Practice Your Tricks at the Laura Sims Skate House

The Laura Sims Skate House is one of five skating rinks in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, seven minutes from Upper Darby.

This Olympic-size facility is between Locust and Walnut Streets on Cobbs Creek Parkway just east of Upper Darby.

The City of Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Department owns and operates this rink.

The Laura Sims Skate House opened in 1985 and was named after the lady who advocated for its establishment in West Philadelphia.

This facility holds ice skating classes from late October to early June, and between June to October, the rink shifts to roller skating.

Drive an Alfa Romeo at the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum

Winners circle exhibit in Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum
JosephChiaccio, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Race car fans will enjoy the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum on Norwitch Drive in Philadelphia, 16 minutes from Upper Darby.

This museum boasts one of the largest collections of sports race cars.

Its owner-collector, retired neurosurgeon and Philadelphia native Frederick Simeone, have gathered over 75 of these vehicles over 50 years.

Visitors of the museum during its demo days every second and fourth Saturday of most months have an opportunity to drive one of the sports cars in the museum’s 3-acre lot.

A vehicle in Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum
Peter & Laila, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The cars in the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum are Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Jaguar, Porsche Bentley Bugatti, Mercedes, Aston Martin, Corvette, and Ford.

These vehicles were collected under the theme, the Spirit of Competition.

Thanks to the museum’s coverage of the history and evolution of race cars, the Classic Car Trust Registry named Frederick Simeone as its No. 1 car collector.

Interior of Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum
JosephChiaccio, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Sharpen Your Skills at the Cobbs Creek Recreation Center

The Cobbs Creek Recreation Center is located in the 851-acre Cobbs Creek Park directly adjacent to the eastern perimeter of Upper Darby.

The recreation center’s site is on Spruce and 63rd Streets, and among the facilities is an indoor basketball court that hosts skills and drills programs for hoopers.

The Cobbs Creek Recreation Center also provides a lap swimming pool, boxing gym, and an athletic field, all suited for training regimens.

The Cobbs Creek Recreation Center also organizes much-awaited summer camps for children.

It likewise features several multi-purpose rooms for community events.

This rec center is in Philadelphia, seven minutes from Upper Darby.

Bond with the Kids at Please Touch Museum

Exterior of Please Touch Museum
quiggyt4 / Shutterstock.com

The Please Touch Museum is on Avenue of the Republic in Philadelphia, 14 minutes from Upper Darby.

Best for kids from about six months to eight years old, this museum offers two full floors of fun, interactive exhibits.

You can ride with your kids on charming replicas of horses, cats, rabbits, goats, and pigs,

Please Touch Museum is also the place for toddlers to enjoy live theater performances and learn the basics of dance and music.

Children visiting this museum can likewise learn and explore the basics of math and engineering through play.

Final Thoughts

Upper Darby adds much flavor to a visit to Philadelphia and Delaware County.

The long history of this township and its fantastic development over the years have molded several attractions.

Seek out the best things to do in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania!

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