A Day in the Life in Swarthmore…

Swarthmore is a small borough, just about two miles north to south and one mile east to west – thoroughly walkable!  If you are looking for information about the history of the town or population stats, etc. please be sure to visit the Swarthmore Friends Historical Library!  You can also visit Philadelphia Magazine’s article naming Swarthmore one of The 15 Most Family-Friendly Philly Suburbs!  The purpose of this page is to give a sense of what it might be like to live in Swarthmore.

On a typical Saturday you might wake up and take a cup of tea out to your front porch.  (Many of the homes in town were built between 1890 and 1940 so front porches are common!) Outside you will see neighbors jogging, walking their dogs, and biking or walking to the train for a day in Philadelphia or even New York City.  Because our whole town is about two miles north to south by one mile east to west, we do a lot of walking and biking and a side benefit is that we see each other and get to know each other!  You might decide to treat your family to a nice breakfast and walk into town yourself.  It’s a pleasant walk – Swarthmore is known as a Tree City, USA because of our beautiful canopy of trees – which dapple the sandstone sidewalks with  comfortable shade.  On the way you will pass several coffee shops, a toy store, the Dew Drop Inn (the coolest senior citizens and their friends hang out here), and even a boutique real estate office among the many other shops.  There will be plenty of neighbors and visitors out and about because on Saturdays we host the Farmers Market!  You’ll stroll into the Co-op, a healthy grocery store about the size of a Trader Joe’s, and choose from a selection of organic eggs and meats and freshly made breads – then head across the street to pick up some tasty fruit at the Farmers Market.  You see your neighbors carrying their reusable canvas bags, our town has made the three Rs into a community tradition!  After a nice chat, you stop by the Swarthmore Public Library (which has the highest per capita use of any library in the county system) to grab a few books to enjoy for the weekend, and then head home to cook.  When breakfast is eaten the whole family might decide to take a bike ride to the Swarthmore Swim Club, or walk to one of the six local parks.  Thatcher Park, fondly known as “the tot lot”, won a Best of Philly last year for its toddler-friendly play equipment, ample shade, picnic tables and kid-containing fence. The site of the old Swarthmore Elementary School, now known as CADES, offers two kid friendly parks – one in the front with lots of big plastic riding cars and one in the back that is akin to an amusement park with giant climbing walls, wall-sized puzzles and swings – this park has equipment for children with special needs too!  Umoja Park (formerly known as “the Triangle Park”) is a lovely space just north of Yale Avenue at Rutgers – perfect for enjoying a bit of nature. Tonight perhaps you will head over to the College campus to attend a lecture or just take a twilight stroll through the rose garden – we have wonderful town & gown relations!  Or perhaps you will check out a performance at the Players Club Theater, the nation’s oldest community theatre, after a hand-crafted meal at Aria Mediterranean Cuisine.  On the way home, hand in hand, under the stars, you may feel you have been transported back to a simpler time!

Here are some beautiful photos provided courtesy of my colleague, Linda Heffernan, depicting Swarthmore locations and activities:

summer concert town amphitheater lh

A Summer Series Concert at the town amphitheater

fun fair lh

The Annual Swarthmore Charity Fun Fair

farmer's market lh

Swarthmore Farmer’s Market

coop lh

The food Co-op – anyone can shop here!

coop 2 lh

Outdoor dining at the Co-op

library lh

The Swarthmore Pubic Library

inn picture perfect lh

The Swarthmore College Inn & Bookstore

Did I leave out anything you find special about living in Swarthmore?  Please share your comments!

Here’s a link to watch a small video about our downtown area:


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