Walking Tours

The mission of the History Center stretches beyond the walls of its building in West Chester, exploring different themes and topics. Check the Calendar of Events for dates and times of offered tours.

The following tours may also be reserved by groups, with a minimum of $100 for up to 8 individuals, and $15-$16 per person for any additional guests. 

Please reach out to us at [email protected] for information about the tours and booking a program for your group!

The Underground Railroad in West Chester

The Underground Railroad was a network of people, Black and white, working together to offer shelter and aid to freedom seekers from the South. This walking tour will visit eight locations around downtown West Chester that played a part in these struggles toward liberty and equality. This tour lasts approximately 80 minutes and covers 1.5 miles.

Chilling West Chester

True tales of murder, mischief and misadventure. Beginning at the Chester County History Center, the tour is approximately 1.5 miles. Guests will hear macabre stories from West Chester’s history while visiting some notable downtown landmarks. These are not ghost stories; these are true tales of terror pulled from our own archives.

Sweet! A Walking Tour

Explore the sinfully delicious history of West Chester with this walking tour, visiting the locations of the borough’s candy stores, malt shops, and bakeries past and present. Tour lasts approximately 75 minutes and covers 1.5 miles. Depending on date and time, we may be able to arrange stops at sweet shops like Eclat Chocolates for conversations with their owners.

Plagues and Pestilence (also available as a virtual presentation!)

In the early 1800s West Chester billed itself as an elegant and healthful place, but the reality was very different. Words like cholera, diphtheria, and smallpox struck fear into the heart of every West Cestrian. This tour will explore its fight against infectious diseases in the 19th and early 20th centuries, how families coped with loss, and how we worked to overcome the King of All Fears–Death. This tour lasts 90 minutes and covers 1.5 miles.

NOTORIOUS: Behaving Badly in West Chester

For over 200 years West Chester had a reputation as “that elegant and notorious place,” but beneath the prim veneer was a shadowy underbelly of mischief and misbehavior. From robberies, to arson, to speakeasies, learn about West Chester’s historical crimes—and the authorities tasked with maintaining law and order. Tour lasts approximately 90 minutes and covers 1.5 miles.

Holiday History Stroll

Explore 200 years of Christmas tradition in West Chester borough on this 60 minute walking tour. We’ll visit West Chester’s early churches, department stores and cultural sites, learning about what “Christmas” meant to the people of West Chester from the late 1700s to the early 1900s. Tour covers approximately 1.5 miles.

That’s Entertainment!

On this 1.5 mile, 90 minute tour, we’ll stop at locations connected to West Chester’s most prominent actors, artists, and musicians, including Claude Rains, Mary Cassatt, Horace Pippin and Samuel Barber.

FIERCE: Women of West Chester

Women make up half the population, yet their stories have often been neglected, excluded, or marginalized in public memory. West Chester, long the center of battles for equality and civil rights, has been home to several trailblazing women who left an indelible mark on the history of law, abolition, suffrage, education, politics and science. This 1.5 hour walking tour will visit the homes and businesses of the women who shaped West Chester from colonial times to the present.