These Main Line Area Towns Are Some of the Best Places to Live

For Extroverts

You’ll find endless opportunities to get out there and mingle among the masses in Ardmore and West Chester. A thriving town center, Ardmore benefits from convenient commuter access to Center City and robust dining, entertainment and shopping scenes. Established in 1928 as one of the first shopping centers in the United States, Suburban Square has its own unique energy, and Ardmore Music Hall lures national and regional music headliners. High-end apartment complexes are giving the town a more urban feel.

Ardmore Music Hall. Photo by Ed Williams.

Nationwide, West Chester was Zillow’s most popular market in 2023. New businesses are popping up almost monthly, with plans for a bakery/bookstore, a boutique hotel and a high-end steakhouse in the works. Students from West Chester University add a youthful energy to the town. “West Chester is a destination,” says Mike Ciunci of Keller Williams Greater West Chester. “Leadership has done a great job of focusing on small businesses, and low taxes make it more affordable than you’d think.”

Downtown West Chester
Downtown West Chester. Photo by Erik Weber.

Median home sale price (Ardmore, West Chester): $499,500, $530,000
Number of homes sold in 2023 (Ardmore, West Chester): 99, 335
Homes sold above list price (Ardmore, West Chester): 25%, 21%

For Aspiring White-Collar Types

Conshohocken and Manayunk are great places to grab that starter home, then keep it as a rental investment property as life progresses,” says Emily Wolski of Keller Williams Greater West Chester.

Manayunk’s Main Street
Manayunk’s Main Street. S. Ramones/ Visit Philadelphia.

With easy access to the Schuylkill Expressway, both towns are teeming with young professionals. Conshohocken has undergone a significant revitalization in recent years, attracting top-flight corporations and trendy restaurants alike.

The Yunk’s mixed urban-suburban feel centers around Main Street, with its many shops, boutiques, eateries and bars. Technically part of Philadelphia, it’s a busy nightlife destination on weekends. Both towns offer access to the Schuylkill River Trail, a magnet for runners and walkers.

Median home sale price (Conshohocken, Manayunk): $403,000, $350,000
Number of homes sold in 2023 (Conshohocken, Manayunk): 152, 502
Homes sold above list price (Conshohocken, Manayunk): 24%, 37%

For First-Time Homebuyers

At one point in history, Phoenixville was down-at-the-heels former steel town. Now, affordable homes and a strong sense of community await young families who settle there. Phoenixville’s downtown revitalization is nothing short of remarkable. “For years, I’ve been introducing it to first-time buyers who may be priced out of the Conshohocken and West Chester areas,” says Wolski.

Phoenixville’s Bridge Street
Phoenixville’s Bridge Street. Courtesy Tessa Marie Images.

Median home sale price: $370,000
Number of homes sold in 2023: 291
Homes sold above list price: 16%

For That Perfect Fixer-Upper

Somewhere in Bala Cynwyd, there’s a roomy diamond in the rough with your name on it—one that needs the sort of TLC that will pay off in the long run. “You can walk to Manayunk on the Cynwyd Trail or bike Valley Forge or Philadelphia—and the neighborhoods are diverse,” says longtime resident Jay Love, who purchased and renovated his circa-1900 home in 2001.

Bala’s cozy neighborhoods afford a community-focused lifestyle just west of the city limits, and families have the award-winning Lower Merion School District at their disposal. The unique Ironworks at Pencoyd Landing offers excellent dining options and stunning views of the Schuylkill River—or check out the action along bustling City Avenue.

Bala Cynwyd’s Ironworks at Pencoyd Landing
Bala Cynwyd’s Ironworks at Pencoyd Landing. Photo by Ed Williams.

Median home sale price: $340,000
Number of homes sold in 2023: 111
Homes sold above list price: 0

For City Couples

Thinking about having kids and feeling a bit cramped and flustered in Center City? Narberth is a great first stop on the way to a full-on suburban lifestyle farther west. Located about eight miles from Philly, the town has a charming, close-knit vibe. “It’s really a village feel, where everyone knows everyone,” says Narberth resident Stacy Pennock. “Beyond being safe, it has great dining, wonderful schools and yearly events like the Dickens Festival.”

And if you miss the city, it’s just a 20-minute train ride away.

Median home sale price: $372,500
Number of homes sold in 2023: 45
Homes sold above list price: 50%

For Growing Families

“People like having the access to a quick 67-minute train ride to New York City and an easy commute to Center City,” says BHHS Fox & Roach’s Lisa Ciccotelli of Devon and Wayne.

The Wayne Music Festival is held annually in June.
The Wayne Music Festival is held annually in June. Photo by Alyssa Kriner.

But it’s more than just convenience that makes these neighboring Main Line towns a perennial hit with families. The Tredyffrin-Easttown and Radnor school districts are among the best in the state. Devon Yard features high-end shopping destinations, upscale dining and more. The newish complex is adjacent to the Devon Horse Show grounds, the oldest and largest outdoor multi-breed equestrian competition in the country.

South Wayne offers some the area’s most idyllic neighborhoods, and lively North Wayne Avenue is ground zero for various seasonal festivals and events. “The sense of community and quality of life in Wayne are key factors that attract families,” says Lewis Esposito of RE/MAX Preferred.

Median home sale price (Devon, Wayne): $750,000, $727,160
Number of homes sold in 2023 (Devon, Wayne): 192, 79
Homes sold above list price (Devon, Wayne): 67%, 29%

For Older Singles and Empty-Nesters

When the idea first came to life in 2016, King of Prussia Town Center was the first walkable planned community of its kind in the region. Adjacent to the world-renowned King of Prussia Mall, it offers shopping, dining, retail and a variety of modern living options.

Newtown Square has followed suit with Ellis Preserve, a 218-acre hub for business and upscale living with its own hotels, shops and eateries—and more is on the way. Convenience is the mission for both projects, making them ideal for anyone looking to downsize.

Newtown Square's Madison Ellis Preserve
Newtown Square’s Madison Ellis Preserve. Courtesy of Madison Apartment Group.

Median home sale price (King of Prussia, Newtown Square): $473,000, $550,000
Number of homes sold in 2023 (King of Prussia, Newtown Square): 186, 892
Homes sold above list price (King of Prussia, Newtown Square): 50%, 47%

For Culture Enthusiasts…

The Delaware County seat, Media is a legitimate thespian hub thanks to the Media Theatre, with its Broadway-focused crowd-pleasers, and the historic Hedgerow Theatre, a 100-year-old gem. The Media Film Festival is also an annual draw. In summer, you can grab a bite before the show every Wednesday at the popular Dining Under the Stars event, an annual open-air tradition. Media also has convenient rail access to Center City and other destinations.

Median home sale price: $751,000
Number of homes sold in 2023: 140
Homes sold above list price: 44%

For That Idyllic Small-Town Feel…

Kennett Square residents are rightly proud of their friendly little borough. Most will tell you it’s the perfect balance of pastoral country hamlet and funky town center. Kennett is also known as the Mushroom Capital of the World, a designation that’s celebrated every September with a popular two-day festival along downtown’s hilly State Street. Having an international attraction like Longwood Gardens nearby certainly doesn’t hurt, and the Wyeth-affiliated Brandywine River Museum of Art is just down the road in Chadds Ford. “The Kennett market is characterized by a mix of historic charm and modern amenities,” says Esposito of the diverse and often affordable offerings there. “People are drawn to the area for its picturesque setting, strong sense of community and thriving arts scene. The local farmers market, diverse dining options and cultural events contribute to the appeal.”

Kennett Square's State Street is part of one of the best Main Line area towns.
Kennett Square’s State Street. Photo by Ed Williams.

Median home sale price: $450,000
Number of homes sold in 2023: 111
Homes sold above list price: 57%

For Earthy-Crunchy Types…

With its peaceful, tree-lined streets, Swarthmore does its level best to live in harmony with nature. Swarthmore College’s Scott Arboretum is home to a diverse collection of plants, and the borough is big on eco-friendly practices like sustainable transportation and waste-reduction programs. Interestingly, Swarthmore was a dry town for more than 125 years. The ban on booze sales ended in 2017, and Swarthmore’s first wine bar opened in 2020.

Median home sale price: $694,500
Number of homes sold in 2023: 67
Homes sold above list price: 75%

More Great Towns…

Berwyn & Paoli.

Hot spots like La Cabra Brewing and Nectar make Berwyn a draw for beer lovers and foodies alike. Known more as a residential and rail hub, Paoli has gotten a boost thanks to the long-awaited upgrade of its train station.

Broomall & Havertown.

Located along West Chester Pike with direct access to I-476, these neighboring towns offer reasonably priced homes and a relatively easy commute to Philadelphia. Havertown boasts a robust Irish population—and a lively summer celebration to go with it. Broomall is popular with young families.

Bryn Mawr.

This educational, medical and cultural hub has some of the area’s best private schools, a highly regarded women’s college, a top-rated hospital and the utterly unique Bryn Mawr Film Institute.

Bryn Mawr Film Institute makes it one of the best Main Line area towns.
Bryn Mawr Film Institute. Photo by Ed Williams.

Chadds Ford.

Andrew Wyeth’s Pennsylvania hometown has taken a firm anti-development stance to preserve its tranquility. Cultural attractions include the Brandywine River Museum of Art, Brandywine Battlefield State Park and the John Chads House.


Undergoing an impressive resurgence (see page 40), Downingtown has an award-winning school district, and nature lovers will appreciate its proximity to Marsh Creek State Park and Struble Trail.


What the unincorporated Exton lacks in a proper downtown, it makes up for in one of the region’s nicer train stations, the walkable Main Street complex, the 14-mile Chester Valley Trail, and loads of shopping and dining options. A spate of new upscale apartment complexes and high-end townhomes support the upwardly mobile.

Main Street, Exton, one of the best Main Line area towns
Main Street, Exton. Photo by Ed Williams


This quintessential Main Line town is home to the esteemed Haverford School and the mini-Ivy-caliber Haverford College, along with Merion Golf Club and Merion Cricket Club, bastions of old-money tradition.


Malvern’s robust shopping and dining scene is centered around King Street, with its charming eateries, unique boutiques and reputable galleries. The town is quaint but sophisticated, and accessible by commuter rail seven days a week.


It may be home to Villanova University, but it’s far from a college town. Think moneyed neighborhoods, historic homes and low tolerance for collegiate shenanigans.


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