There’s no more beautiful time than autumn to visit Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. Located just 25 miles northwest of Center City Philadelphia, in diverse Mongtomery County, the area makes a great day trip to complement a long weekend in the city. From history at Valley Forge National Historical Park to shopping at the King of Prussia Mall, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
Bonus: Our day starts at 9 am, for those who have already fueled up at their hotel. If you’d rather eat in the neighborhood, check out Nook and Kranny Kafe, which offers delicious home-cooked breakfast starting at 7 am during the week and 8 am on weekends! 847 Valley Forge Rd, Phoenixville, PA
9am: The area is perhaps most famous for its Revolutionary War history, so it’s only natural to start the day at Valley Forge National Historical Park. Keep in mind, the park is enormous—more than 3,600 acres of hills and trails—so be conscious of your fitness level and time constraints when planning your visit. Whether you’re taking a self-guided driving tour, a 90-minute trolley tour, or exploring the park trails on a bicycle, don’t miss these park highlights:
- Visitor Center: Construction is underway on a brand-new Visitor Center—in the meantime, start your visit at the temporary Visitor Center (located just 800 feet from the original). Here, you’ll find park maps, the Encampment Store (where you can purchase tickets for guided tours), restrooms, and an 18-minute orientation film, “Valley Forge: A Winter Encampment.”
- Muhlenberg Brigade Huts: The Muhlenberg Brigade Area is the site of an encampment consisting of nine log cabins facing a gravel company street. Here, you’ll find volunteers in full period attire, ready to show you what life was like at the encampment. This area is the perfect spot to learn everything you want to know about the daily routine of Revolutionary War soldiers.
- Artillery Park: This park features three rows of cannons, making it a great spot for photographs. The area also offers a long distance view of the National Memorial Arch, which was erected in 1914 to commemorate the arrival of George Washington and the Continental Army into Valley Forge.
- Washington’s Headquarters: This 1773 home that General Washington used as his headquarters during the 1777-1778 Valley Forge Encampment. Martha Washington lived here with him during the later months of the Encampment and official army business took place on the first floor. This is one spot in Valley Forge Park where you can truly step through the doors of history.
12pm: Time for lunch! The towns surrounding Valley Forge National Historical Park offer dining options for every budget and palate. Some of our faves include:
- Black Powder Tavern: If you’re looking for more history, look no further. Legend has it that General Washington himself enjoyed a few ales in this tavern, which has existed in one form or another since 1746. These days, guests can enjoy salads, pastas, and sandwiches alongside a rotating craft beer list. 1164 Valley Forge Road, Wayne, PA
- honeygrow: Enjoy this fast-casual option with kiosk ordering and a focus on healthy meals made with local ingredients. Perfect for lovers of salads and stir-fry! In King of Prussia Town Center: 100 Main St., suite 180, King of Prussia, PA
- Valley Forge Trattoria & Lounge: Here you’ll find award-winning pastas and pizzas, made-to-order salads, and gourmet panini in an elegant dining room. Looking for something sweet? Their dedicated coffee bar offers espresso and dessert all day. 1130 Valley Forge Road, Phoenixville, PA
1pm: For the afternoon, you have options! If you’re traveling with school-aged kids, LEGOLAND Discovery Center is a can’t-miss attraction. If not, explore the unique combination of art, nature, and history at the John James Audubon Center, historic home to the famous American naturalist and painter.
- LEGOLAND: The LEGOLAND® Discovery Center is attached to the Plymouth Meeting Mall, just 10 miles east of Valley Forge. This haven for LEGO® fans features an interactive LEGO® themed ride, LEGO® 4D Cinema, and 10 LEGO® themed play areas! Keep in mind that adults must have a child accompanying them (unless it’s an adult evening event). Purchase your tickets in advance online to save $10 on admission. 500 W Germantown Pike, Plymouth Meeting, PA
- John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove: Mill Grove was the first home of John James Audubon in America and the only true American Audubon home still standing. The museum located in the historic home features all of John James Audubon’s major works, including his famous Birds of America. The 175-acre estate also offers five miles of marked nature trails along the Perkiomen Creek, so pack your walking shoes – and bring your binoculars to sneak a peek at the 175 species of birds that frequent the trails. 1201 Pawlings Road, Audubon, PA
3pm: Time for some retail therapy at the King of Prussia Mall. With more than 400 stores open for business, it’s the largest retail space in the county and the largest shopping mall on the east coast. Hardcore shoppers could easily spend the full 8 hours here, but we’ve set aside 2 hours in this itinerary. Make sure to consult the interactive mall map to strategically plan your parking and shopping route! 160 N Gulph Rd, King of Prussia, PA
5pm: It’s officially been an amazing 8 hours in Valley Forge! Call it a day—or top off your adventures by exploring one of the local breweries offering tasty craft beers made right here in Montgomery County! Two of our favorites are Workhorse Brewing Company (250 King Manor Drive, King of Prussia, PA) and Bald Birds Brewing Company (970 Rittenhouse Rd., Suite 400, Audubon, PA).
Looking for the perfect home base for your visit to Valley Forge? Explore all of the Hilton hotels in Montgomery County and book your stay today!