Day-tripping Bucks County: New Hope for shopping, Doylestown for castles

Crowd at New Hope Pride Week
Anthony Sinagoga

Looking to get out of the city for the weekend? Look no further than the county to the north, where rolling hills and small towns can actually feature a cool array of attractions and options to get away for the day.

Start your day in Doylestown and check out the castles that sit in southeastern PA, because… castles. See an art museum while you’re there, and then swing over to New Hope, the locally-legendary art-heavy small town with great shopping, dining and bar options.

Here’s how to plan your Bucks County day trip:

How to Get There

You’ll probably want to drive to get to these places. Good thing for you: It’s an easy, beautiful trip.


That all depends on what you decide to do while you’re there. You’ll spend a bit on gas money for an about one-hour trip, and you’ll probably pay for parking in either metered spots or lots alongside the towns.

What to do

See the castles

Exterior of Mercer Museum

Photo courtesy of the Mercer Museum via Visit Bucks County

Ireland in southeastern PA? Not quite, but Doylestown is home to two pretty awesome castles. The first is the Mercer Museum, located at 84 South Pine Street, which is home to more than 40,000 early American artifacts, i.e. Conestoga wagons and horse-drawn carriages.

There’s also the Fonthill Castle, located at 525 East Court Street, which served in the early 1900s as the home of Henry Mercer, namesake of the aforementioned museum. You can take a tour through this National Historic Landmark that has more than 40 rooms. Both cost $14 for an adult admission ticket.

The arts

Entrance to the Michener Museum

Photo courtesy of the Michener Museum via Visit Bucks County

  • Michener Museum: Located in Doylestown at 138 S. Pine St., The James A. Michener Art Museum was once a jail and has now been turned into a hub of arts and culture. This place has the most impressionist paintings of anywhere in Pennsylvania. Admission is $18 for adults.
  • Bucks County Playhouse: Catch a show at the 75-year-old Bucks County Playhouse which has hosted the likes of Liza Minelli, Robert Redford and Grace Kelly. Tickets for upcoming shows can be found here.
  • Doylestown Arts Festival in September: During the weekend of Sept. 12 to 13, Doylestown will come alive with artists, live music and food. This would be a good event if you’re bringing along the kiddos.

Shopping and nightlife

Group shopping in New Hope

Photo courtesy of Visit Philadelphia

Walk down Main Street in New Hope for a street bustling with boutiques and small shops that have everything from clothing to art to household items and hand-made pottery. Also, fun fact: From here, you can walk across a bridge to get to Lambertville, NJ which has similar shopping opportunities.

New Hope also has a pretty hoppin’ nightlife scene that includes the Havana Bar and Restaurant, which is known for its live music, and The Raven, a cool spot popular among the LGBT community that has outdoor pools and cabanas.

Other top restaurants and bars

Dining Room at Marsha Brown Restaurant

Photo by Anthony Sinagoga, courtesy of Visit Bucks County

  • Marsha Brown’s: Located in a converted church at 15 S. Main St., this restaurant features refined Creole food like Catfish and gumbo.
  • Logan Inn: Located at 10 W. Ferry St., this place specializes in Mediterranean fare and Kobe steaks. Also, they’ve got great brunch options and al fresco seating.
  • John and Peter’s Place: This is your classic dive bar option with live music, fried foods and well-priced drinks. Find it at 96 S. Main St.
  • Lambertville Station Restaurant: Walk across the river to Jersey for dinner at 11 Bridge St., where you’ll find signature crab cakes and racks of lamb.
  • Odette’s: Stay tuned for this one! Still under construction, Odette’s in New Hope will be a riverfront restaurant. The structure was once a landmark, is now an eyesore, and is being rebuilt to have luxury hotel rooms, a large restaurant and rooftop bar.

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