Top 10 Off-Campus Day Trips

Historic Media Armory, which houses Trader Joes

As the school year dies down and summer approaches, it’s a good time to procrastinate completely on all your looming responsibilities and instead enjoy a nice trip off campus. “But where?” you ask. “Is there anything in Pennsylvania beyond Quakers and trees?” The answer is a resounding … somewhat! With four years of accumulated knowledge at Swarthmore, I present ten fun trips you can take from Swat, only some of which involve Quakers and/or trees!

Media: not only can you eat at a nice restaurant here, but you can also visit the only Trader Joe’s in America that is on the National Register of Historic Places! This is mostly an excuse to go to Trader Joe’s, currently the source of half of my calories and most of my willpower. I have maxed out credit cards at TJ’s before and firmly believe that none of my life habits are problematic and need to change.

Historic Philadelphia: do the historical walking tour of the old city. Yes, the Liberty Bell is “overpriced and too small” according to Yelp, but that also describes our school, so no shade. You can also buy colonial rock candy at the Independence Hall gift shop and the equally historically accurate astronaut ice cream!

King of Prussia Mall: go shopping at America’s third-largest shopping mall and Philly’s second-hottest breakup spot! Live out your 6teen fantasy and be a cool youth skating at the mall with your hella wicked friends. There’s indoor skydiving and a Cheesecake factory, and if you’re efficient, you can even combine those activities …

Bryn Mawr: take a nice trip out to visit one of our TriCo schools and enjoy the amazing food options with real china and glassware. Bryn Mawr also has a mineral collection and, if you ask nicely, you can get a free lecture on why you cannot lick the rocks. Additionally, Bryn Mawr has grad students, and if you talk to them, you can discover new levels of sadness you didn’t know were possible!

Linvilla Orchard: a quick ten minutes away is an opportunity to pick apples and pumpkins and cosplay Stardew Valley. It turns out real farming is actually hard and doesn’t contribute to community center bundles. And there aren’t eligible bachelors who will love you in exchange for gifts of platinum star flowers, which is a disappointment. The cider is amazing, though!

Franklin Institute: so technically, this is a science museum for kids, but you can still buy a ticket at any age. There’s a building-sized model of the human heart you can crawl through and interactive player-versus-player games that are super easy to win given that all your opponents are literally five. So if you ever need an ego boost and/or want to learn about the wonders of electricity, this is for you!

The Met: enjoy this concert hall in Philadelphia full of beautiful architecture and great acts. After seeing your favorite artist perform, enjoy the equally emotional experience of getting back from the theater late at night as the Uber back to Swat climbs to $115 and you’ve missed the last SEPTA. You can even get tickets on Live Nation!

Atlantic City: take a train from Philly and go to the beach with your friends! It’s just like Parrish Beach but with actual sand and water and gambling and copious alcohol. Fun fact: saltwater taffy was invented here when a store owner’s candy got ruined by the tides, and he kept selling it to local kids, which describes the vibe pretty well.

Springfield Mall & Baltimore Pike: “Hey, that’s not a day trip!”, you may say. Well, not with that attitude! Spend hours walking around Target, have a romantic date at Olive Garden (where I had my anniversary dinner, which made my ex annoyed for some reason), and experience the rush of almost dying trying to cross Baltimore Pike. Springfield Mall also has a Dippin’ Dots machine.

Haverford: do not visit Haverford.

As you can see, there are a whole lot of fun places you can visit from our small campus to escape the Swat bubble. As I graduate and prepare to leave Swat, I look back at these places with nostalgic eyes and remember the fun I felt and the money that Uber made from me. If none of these locales appeal to you, you can always go to new places — the joy of the Swat experience is that it’s constantly changing and unique for every person. So try new things and remember, there’s more than Quakers and trees: there’s water ice too!

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