Haddonfield, New Jersey, is a quaint and picturesque town that’s often compared to the ideal version of “Main Street USA.” A historic destination just outside of Philadelphia, Haddonfield is known for its long stretch of Kings Highway, home to many locally-owned fun stores and great restaurants—from upscale dining to quick service cafes. Always lively, you’ll find several coffee shops and food businesses in this bustling area with colonial architecture—even a brewery situated in a historic building in the center of town. But Haddonfield is more than just well-maintained colonial buildings and a postcard-perfect main street; it's also famous for being director Steven Spielberg's childhood home. In fact, there's also a monument to the first dinosaur found in the United States, which was considered the original inspiration of Jurassic Park.
History of Haddonfield
Steeped in history, Haddonfield is known as one of the oldest communities to be established in the state of New Jersey, as it was originally named “West Jersey.” Founded by Elizabeth Haddon in the 1700s as a Quaker establishment, the area became popular for local commerce. It drew local farmers, tanners, and other merchants from across the state and Philadelphia. Several businesses set up shop here: a tavern was opened, and so were markets and outposts. In fact, the existing firehouse (Haddon Fire Company No. 1) is the second-oldest firehouse in the country.
Being a Quaker community, the town attempted to avoid involvement in the Revolutionary War, but it was impossible due to its proximity to Philadelphia (and the founding fathers). During the war, both British and American troops marched through the area or encamped there. In the center of town, along Kings Highway, the landmark “Indian King Tavern” is the first historic site in New Jersey.
As the town was built near the Cooper River, Haddonfield became a summertime destination for those living in the Philadelphia area over the years. It became more accessible when the railroad was established, and bridges were built over the Delaware River. In the late 1800s, Haddonfield became famous for discovering the world’s first intact dinosaur fossil, Hadrosaurus foulkii, which made a major impact on dinosaur research across the globe.
Things to Do in Haddonfield
With its historical yet modern vibe, the cute town of Haddonfield offers much to do in a compact area and provides a great day trip that’s about 20 minutes from Philadelphia.
There are several locally-owned shops here, and you can spend hours checking out a variety of intriguing retail stores, such as the Happy Hippo toy store, Hooked Fine Yarn boutique, Haddonfield Record Exchange, Haddonfield Fine Jewelry, Anatolia Art and Craft Studio, and more.
If you’re a food-lover, you’re sure to adore Haddonfield, as this town has a high concentration of cafes, bistros, and restaurants, some with outdoor seating). You’ll be impressed with the variety of culinary options, including Japanese, Italian, Indian, Chinese, American, and more. A few favorites include The Bistro at Haddonfield, Zaffron Mediterranean Cuisine, Fuji Japanese Restaurant, and Cross Culture Indian Restaurant.
Beer aficionados can grab a pint or a flight at King’s Road Brewing Company, a popular South Jersey destination that serves up a variety of different styles of brews. Keep in mind that they don’t serve food here due to New Jersey state laws, but you can bring your own.
Aside from restaurants, a few gourmet food shops include Duffy’s Fine Chocolates, Mecha Chocolate Shop (both offering hand-made chocolates), the Spice and Tea Exchange of Haddonfield, and the Tea Store.
As you meander around Haddonfield, you'll also spot some cool art—statues and sculptures that are situated along Kings Highway. They are here on a rotating basis; you might see something new every time you visit!
When you wish to take a break from all the shopping and strolling, there’s plenty of outdoor seating around Haddonfield—perfect for people-watching—including an adorable gazebo in the town’s courtyard and several benches along this busy stretch of Kings Highway. If you’re seeking some spiritual inspiration, Haddonfield is also home to several beautiful churches on Kings Highway as well.
And don’t forget to stop by and grab a selfie with the famous dinosaur monument, located in the town center! This impressive statue also includes several signs and display maps with additional information regarding the exact location of where the dinosaur bones were found and why this discovery was significant!
How to Visit Haddonfield
The bustling center of Haddonfield stretches along several blocks of Kings Highway—and that’s where all the action is. You can’t miss all the quaint storefronts housing many diverse businesses here, so you can easily grab a coffee or quick breakfast at one of the cafes, stroll around perusing the shops, and then enjoy lunch or dinner before heading home.
Haddonfield is a “dry” town (although there is a brewery here), so all the restaurants are BYOB. However, the nearby towns of Collingswood and Cherry Hill have many liquor stores and restaurants that serve alcohol.
You can easily reach Haddonfield from Philadelphia via the PATCO train that stops in Haddonfield at the Kings Highway station. Once there, you are just a few steps from the center of town with all the shops and restaurants. There is plenty of street parking in Haddonfield for drivers, both on Kings Highway and several large municipal parking lots behind Kings Highway buildings.
Things to Do Nearby
Visitors can easily spend a day in this area of Southern New Jersey. Haddonfield is adjacent to Cherry Hill, New Jersey, known as a shopping metropolis that attracts visitors from Philadelphia and beyond daily, with its famous Cherry Hill Mall and much more. On its other side, Haddonfield is also adjacent to Collingswood, another historical town that also features a vibrant, colorful main street (Haddon Avenue) with a variety of shops and restaurants.