Doylestown, Pennsylvania is the apple pie, ice cream parlor, covered bridge type of idyllic that you read about in classic American literature. Only 25 miles from Philadelphia’s city center, this historic hub is full of museums, markets, parks, and historic attractions. There are lots of great things to do in Doylestown.
Doylestown takes its name from 18th-century tavern owner William Doyle. Due to its strategic location on the corner of Main Street and State Street, William Doyle’s Tavern quickly expanded into what is now Doylestown. For a small town, this Bucks County gem has a rich history punctuated by great American architect Henry Chapman Mercer’s lasting impact. Visit for its enduring cultural artifacts, its small-town charm, or simply to retreat from the hubbub of the city.
Here’s a look at some of the top things to do and see here.
Get cultured at the Michener Art Museum
The Michener Art Museum opened as an independent, non-profit cultural institution in 1988. Their mission focuses on preserving, interpreting and exhibiting the art and cultural heritage of the Bucks County region. Named for Doylestown-born, Pulitzer-Prize winning writer, James A. Michener, this museum now hosts a wide range of programs open to the public, including lectures, artists conversations, gallery talks, family-themed activities, and other events.
Explore the objects of the Mercer Museum
If you’re looking for that wow factor, the Mercer Museum needs to be on your list. Designed and completed by Henry Mercer in 1916, this six-story reinforced concrete castle is one of Bucks County’s premier cultural attractions. Displaying a collection of over 50,000 pre-Industrial tools, the museum offers visitors a unique window into pre-Industrial America through sixty different crafts and trades.
Visit Fonthill Castle
Another stop on the coveted, “Mercer Mile,” a collection of three historic structures designed by Henry Mercer within a mile of each other, Fonthill Castle offers a closer look at Mercer’s personal life, featuring his collection of books, prints and Victorian engravings. Book ahead on the Mercer Museum website to attend a one-hour guided tour through a portion of Henry Mercer’s historic home.
Appreciate the craft of the Moravian Pottery & Tile Works
The last of the Mercer Mile’s stops, the Moravian Pottery & Tile Works contains artifacts from the pre-industrial era. Built with the idea of early Spanish mission and monastery architecture in mind, this National Historical Landmark produces handmade tiles and mosaics in the same style of Mercer’s original designs. Guests can even watch artisans throughout the entire tile-making process.
See a movie at the County Theater
Since 1938, County Theater has created movie magic with its art-deco architecture and neon marquee. The County Theater in Doylestown is one of the last remaining preserved neighborhood movie theaters that presents films by local filmmakers, lectures by area film scholars, discussion groups and special events ranging from Saturday Kid’s Matinees to classic Hollywood films.
Browse Siren Records
Once a country barn in 1988, Siren Records has become the place to go in Bucks County for independent music. Conveniently located in downtown Doylestown, the shop carries a wide variety of movies and music from mainstream to independent rock and pop, underground hip-hop, soul, electronica, jazz, world music, roots music, avante garde, metal and country. Catch not only local bands, but great touring bands as well at an in-store concert.
Take a dip at the Fanny Chapman Memorial Pool
Another Mercer production, the renowned architect named this pool complex after his favorite aunt, Fanny Chapman. From its humble beginnings in 1927 the Fanny Chapman Memorial Pool Complex now boasts five swimming pools, memberships for families and individuals of all ages, and offers swim lessons to more than 750 children a summer.
Relax at Peace Valley Lavender Farm
What exudes tranquility like rows of lavender swaying in the breeze? While this family-owned farm stays open year-round, the peak of the blooming season is the third and fourth week of June. If you can’t make it to Peace Valley, fret not. Find a variety of fresh lavender-infused products on their website.
Follow the clues at Doylestown Escape Room
Traveling with a group? Try Doylestown’s all-original escape rooms to test your collaboration skills and mystery solving chops. Want to make a day of it? The Escape Room is within walking distance of the food, drink, shopping, and culture that makes Doylestown Borough famous.
Play around at Kids Castle Central Park
While you explore Fonthill, let your little ones claim their own kingdom. Kid’s Castle contains an unbelievable structure packed full of fun activities. The three story tube slide is a must if you can get through the maze. This is one of the best things to do in Doylestown with kids.
Shop at Doylestown Farmer’s Market
With live music every week and special events throughout the season, this market is one of many reasons to visit Doylestown, Pennsylvania. This open-air market features more than 30 rotating vendors local to Bucks County and the surrounding area. Special events include tasting events, interactive workshops, chef demos, showcases of local nonprofits, scavenger hunts for kids, and more.
Enjoy seasonal fun at Hellerick’s Family Farm
For family-friendly activities, Hellerick’s is the place. The Aerial Adventure Park features nine zip lines, 21 bridges and a free fall jump for ages 7 and up. The farm’s 40+ family friendly activities include hay rides, a corn maze, and animal attractions. Pick up some fresh pies and breads on your way out!
Sample the brews at Geronimo Brewing at Lilly’s Jury Room
Geronimo Brewing uses fresh, diverse ingredients to create ever changing and highly interesting brews. Geronimo’s partnership with Lilly’s Gourmet combines exquisite gourmet foods with hand crafted beers brewed right on site.
See the Doan Outlaw graves
A band of five brothers, the Doans were notorious outlaws and Revolutionary War Loyalists. The gang were reported to have robbed the Newtown Treasury of 1,307 pounds. It was never found. Locals say that it may be hidden in one of several caves in Plumstead, Holicong, and Solebury that the gang used as hideouts from the law. If urban legends are your thing, peek into the cemetery behind the Plumstead Friends Meeting house. The graves can be seen by peering over the left side of the back wall.
Explore Henry Schmeider Arboretum
The Henry Schmieder Arboretum of Delaware Valley University is a horticultural jewel just west of town and is one of the top Doylestown attractions. These 40 acres provide a living collection of plants and serve as a “green resource” for the surrounding community. Highlights include the Iris and Peony Garden and the Rose Garden. Self-guided tours are free.