Our Favorite Downtowns: Collingswood

A blossoming arts community paired with a burgeoning restaurant scene make Collingswood a hip South Jersey enclave.

The Pop Shop in Collingswood. Photo by Frank Veronsky

Photographer/musician Kevin Monko and his wife, Linda, a product designer, were enjoying the urban pleasures of Philadelphia when they decided to start a family. Fortunately, they found Collingswood just as its downtown was getting hip.

“There is always something going on,” says Monko, who sports a Van Dyke and heads two bands, the semi-folk-rock Monko and the glam-rock Candy Volcano. Monko and Ted Velykis, owner of Collingswood Music, produced a festival at Velykis’s downtown shop. The evening raised $3,000 to fund music lessons for needy kids.

“There are just more and more things like that downtown,” he says.

The main drag, Haddon Avenue, has blossomed with new businesses over the last decade—much of it driven by the restaurant scene, says Mayor James Maley.

“It brings people from all over to our downtown,” Maley says. Restaurateurs, he adds, “are amenable to all the arts stuff we have, and people seem to like the funky feeling that brings.”

WHERE TO EAT: The Pop Shop, a throwback to a mid-20th century soda fountain, has almost 20 grilled cheese choices, quiz night Mondays and pajama nights for kids. Indeblue is upscale Indian, Sagami the go-to sushi place. Italian options include the highly regarded Sapori and NJM Top 25 Zeppoli as well as Kitchen Consigliere, whose chef/owner Angelo Lutz did a little hard time for being a bookie, but is now on the straight and narrow at the stove. All restaurants are BYO.

WHERE TO SHOP: Make your own pottery at All Fired Up. Evaluate your collection at Philly Stamp & Coin. Look for one-of-a-kind furniture at the Painted Cottage. Indulge in the cannolis at DiBartolo’s Bakery. The Saturday morning farmers’ market, under the PATCO rail tracks, is the most extensive in the area.

DON’T MISS: The Factory, a onetime movie theater turned into a  studio space for artists and craftspeople. Watch the artisans work, enroll in a class or get caffeinated at the complex’s Revolution Coffee Roasters.

THEN AGAIN: Downtown is essentially a two-mile stretch of Haddon Avenue. It makes for a long walk.

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  1. thegreengrass

    As a Collingswood resident, I can assure you that picture is of Haddonfield.

    Also, long walk? Why not pleasant bike ride?

  2. Ken Schlager

    Thanks for pointing that out. We changed it to a shot of the Pop Shop in Collingswood.