Mount Airy is bounded on the northwest by the Cresheim Valley, which is part of Fairmount Park. Beyond this lies Chestnut Hill.
On the west side is the Wissahickon Gorge, which is also part of Fairmount Park, beyond which lies Roxborough and Manayunk. Germantown borders the southeast of Mount Airy, and Stenton Avenue marks the northeast border. It is accessible to Center City via Lincoln Drive and to Manayunk via Walnut Lane. There are two train lines, the Chestnut Hill East and the Chestnut Hill West, making the neighborhood one of the most convenient in the city for commuters.
The area is recognized by many civil rights groups as one of the first successfully integrated neighborhoods in America. It continues to be a well-blended neighborhood and was recently cited in US News & World Report and Oprah Winfrey’s O magazine for its racial diversity and neighborhood appeal. Mount Airy’s main commercial district lies along cobble-stoned Germantown Avenue, which also serves as the boundary between East and West Mount Airy. The neighborhood has a variety of independent shops, restaurants, bookstores, art galleries, clothing stores, coffee shops, pubs and wine bars. Mount Airy is also home to Weavers Way Co-op, a long-running co-op grocery store, and two local, tented farmers’ markets.
Housing stock varies greatly. The homes are as individual as the families inside them. Painted Victorians, brick rowhomes, glass ranchers and stone twins live in harmony. Large three-story, gray-stone Victorian, colonial revival, and Norman and Cotswold-style houses and mansions, with stained glass windows and slate roofs, are situated on many of the area’s tree-lined streets. They dominated districts like West Mount Airy’s Pelham section (a Wendell and Smith development from 1890s), East Mount Airy’s Gowen Avenue (the James Gowen Estate development from 1880s), Sedgwick Farms (an Ashton S. Tourison development from 1905), and Stenton (a Frank Mauran development from 1905) areas.