Gently rising from the banks of Wissahickon Creek roughly 20 minutes from Center City, Mt. Airy combines dense leafy parkland, miles of multi-use trails, tree-lined streets and a historic cobblestoned business corridor attracting aspiring entrepreneurs. Mt. Airy began as a resort for colonial Philadelphians to get away from it all. While the landscape of Philadelphia has since connected Mt. Airy to the rest of the city, the neighborhood’s serene settings and lush greenery still serve as a welcome respite from many of Philadelphia’s dense “rowhome neighborhoods”.
The area is historically recognized by many civil rights groups for being one of the most tolerant neighborhoods in America. In the 1950s, real estate professionals and Mount Airy residents organized to resist blockbusting, panic selling, and redlining and has also been recognized by US News & World Report for racial harmony and balance.
Mount Airy is bounded on the northwest by the Cresheim Valley, which is part of Fairmount Park. Beyond this lies Chestnut Hill. On the west side is the Wissahickon Gorge, which is also part of Fairmount Park, beyond which lies Roxborough and Manayunk. Germantown borders the southeast of Mount Airy, and Stenton Avenue marks the northeast border. Beyond Stenton Avenue is Cedarbrook and West Oak Lane. Mount Airy boasts both a peaceful community and a commercial corridor, with an upsurge in imaginative entrepreneurs who are re-energizing a cobblestoned-stretch of Germantown avenue with new restaurants and shops. Cozy cafes, diverse restaurants, bars, chic galleries and small businesses line this happening main street, which draws visitors from all over the region.
Mt. Airy is laced with businesses and community institutions that exemplify the neighborhood’s anything-goes, everyone’s-welcome ethos; such as a brewpub that also has a monthly “tabletop science” night for the kids. This includes the Mt. Airy Art Garage, a community art hub and gallery founded by a group of professional artists who live in the neighborhood. In addition, Mt. Airy is rare because it has more than 57 miles of trails like Valley Green and Forbidden Drive which wind through a 1,600-acre park, where hikers, cyclists, horseback riders and runners and even anglers can experience the peace of nature in the midst of America’s 5th largest city.
There are alternatives to traffic for Mount Airy residents to get in and out of Center City. The neighborhood is served by SEPTA Regional Rail at the Washington Lane, Stenton, Sedgwick and Mount Airy stations on the Chestnut Hill East Line as well as Upsal, Carpenter and Allen Lane stations, Chestnut Hill West Line. For more flexibility in destination, there are numerous SEPTA Bus Routes to choose from, to include the 18, on Chew Avenue, Phil-Ellena Street and Vernon Road; 23, on Germantown Avenue; 53, on Wayne Avenue; H, on Greene Street, Johnson Street, Lincoln Drive, McCallum Street and Mt. Pleasant Avenue; L, on Stenton Avenue; and XH, on Washington Lane.