Hockessin is located in the northeast corner of Delaware, just a short drive from the neighboring states of Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.
At the time of the last census, the town had a population of about 15,000 residents. It’s situated in a particularly rural area that includes a number of large state parks that are popular with nature lovers.
Wilmington and Newark are close by as well and offer an abundance of historical, artistic, sporting, and cultural activities.
Below are 15 things to do in and around Hockessin, Delaware, that warrant a closer look.
1. Swift Memorial Park
Hockessin has several local parks that are conveniently located just a few blocks from the downtown area. They offer sports and outdoor-loving visitors a variety of activity options.
Swift Memorial Park is just off Lancaster Pike and features ball fields, walking paths, and lots of wide-open spaces that are great for relaxing with a good book, taking a leisurely stroll, or having a family picnic.
The park also hosts a variety of organized league sporting events. For those looking to while away a few hours without spending an arm and a leg, they’re great ways to do both.
2. Lettie’s Kitchen
In a sea of national chain restaurants serving up less than inspirational fare, Lettie’s Kitchen is a true standout.
Lettie’s was founded on the idea that fresh ingredients and time tested recipes make for a winning combination. For those intent on eating homemade meals without spending hours in the kitchen, it’s a perfect fit.
The restaurant is located on Old Lancaster Pike in Hockessin. Their menu includes loads of traditional favorites like fried chicken, soup, sandwiches, and salads.
Previous guests have noted that it’s possible to feed a hungry family without spending a bundle, but most of their business is carryout.
3. Dew Point Brewing Co.
Dew Point Brewing Company is located just a few minutes from Hockessin in nearby Yorklyn, and rumor has it that it’s The First State’s only family-owned and run microbrewery.
Their tasting room features a variety of beers that change frequently; there are usually ten on tap at any one time. Wheats, IPAs, and stouts are among the perennial favorites.
If you’d like to time your visit to coincide with what’ll be on tap, you can check out their website see what’s available.
They’re only open from Wednesday to Sunday, with extended hours until 11 PM on Friday and Saturday.
4. The Well Coffeehouse and Marketplace
The Well Coffeehouse and Marketplace is definitely known for its tasty Java, but that’s where its similarities with other coffee shops ends.
Located on Lancaster Pike in Hockessin, it features lots of tasty treats like barbecued pork sandwiches, Italian subs, fresh cinnamon buns, and locally made ice cream.
They’ve got ample seating and a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere, and a portion of their profits goes towards helping local, national, and international charities that focus on assisting children and families in need.
For those who’ve already had their fill of coffee, they offer tea, juice, and soft drinks as well.
5. Marshall Steam Museum
The Marshall Steam Museum is located on Creek Road in nearby Yorklyn and is one of Delaware’s most unique attractions.
The museum traces its roots back to the mid-’40s when a local man began collecting automobiles and related items that would eventually make up the bulk of the museum’s collection.
Most of the vintage and historic vehicles on display harken back to the days when automobiles were just bursting onto the scene, and many of them are powered by motors that run on steam and electricity as opposed to gasoline.
There’s also a scaled-down steam train that whisks visitors around the property on narrated tours.
6. Harvest Market Natural Foods
Harvest Market Natural Foods was established more than two decades ago and is solely focused on delivering fresh, nourishing, and high-quality foods to its customers.
Unlike their box store competitors, many of their products are sourced locally and produced in an environmentally friendly and sustainable manner, and their prices are surprisingly reasonable.
Harvest Market is located on Lancaster Pike in Hockessin. It carries an impressive variety of prepared homemade food items for takeaway, like soup, sandwiches, side dishes, and salads.
It’s a great stop for those setting out on a day trip who’d rather not waste an hour in a restaurant.
7. Brandywine Creek State Park
Brandywine Creek State Park consists of more than 2,000 acres of pristine land, including a variety of natural habits like forests, creeks, and freshwater marshes.
The park is located just north of Wilmington and is open year-round, rain or shine.
A particularly popular destination for bird watchers, it was once part of one of the DuPont family’s many estates before being designated a state park in the mid-‘60s.
Due to its proximity to the state’s largest cities, it tends to draw crowds on weekends during the summer, so if you’d like to avoid the masses, consider visiting in the morning or on a weekday.
8. Delaware Park
For its abundance of varied activities and convenient location, Delaware Park is one of the state’s most well-rounded attractions. It draws visitors from regional cities like Baltimore and Philadelphia as well.
Delaware Park’s amenities include a championship level 18-hole golf course, a Vegas-style casino, a horse racing track, and great dining and lodging options as well.
Needless to say, getting bored while on-site shouldn’t be an issue. Though they cater to the gambling crowd, there are also family-friendly activities and events for those visiting with kids.
Delaware Park is a big live entertainment venue too, so check their website before heading out.
9. Nemours Mansion
The Nemours Mansion in Wilmington was once one of the DuPont family’s most opulent residences. It was designed to mimic a European alpine chateau.
Today, the home is owned and operated by a local historical preservation society and has been renovated to a near-original state, giving visitors a unique glimpse into the lives of the ultra-wealthy in years past.
Now, the impressive home is open to the public. Most visitors choose to join one of the regularly scheduled tours to get the most bang for their admission dollars.
Along with art, furniture, and housewares, the mansion’s grounds include scenic gardens and a network of paved walking paths that connect each area.
10. Grand Opera House
Though opera doesn’t rank highly on many vacationer’s to-do lists, for those in the mood for something different and romantic, an evening spent at the Grand Opera House would be a welcome change.
The Grand, as it’s often called, is located on North Market Street in Wilmington and was originally built in the 1870s.
Over the years, the building has served many different roles, but is now most well-known for its professionally performed classical music, that according to many guests, is every bit as good as that found at venues in larger cities.
Check out their website for a complete calendar of events.
11. Rockwood Museum
The Rockwood Museum in Wilmington is another popular area attraction that was originally built just before the Civil War.
At that time, the home was the residence of a prominent local banker and his family. Though it stayed in the family for generations, it’s now a museum run by a local non-profit organization.
Like many of the area’s older attractions, the museum features art and historically significant memorabilia and is open to the public for both self-guided and staff-led tours.
The museum also hosts lots of special events, like ghost tours and seasonal programs during the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons.
12. Delaware Museum of Natural History
Natural history often gets lost in the shuffle in states like Delaware that feature so many significant human history attractions.
The Delaware Museum of Natural History is the only one of its kind in the area, and its exhibits focus on animals, dinosaurs, ecology, and the state’s diverse environments.
Many of the museum’s exhibits were designed with kids in mind, which makes them perfect for families traveling with young ones who crave engagement and entertainment.
The museum is located on Kennett Pike in Wilmington, just a short drive from Hockessin. Throughout the year, they feature temporary exhibits and special events.
13. DuPont Center for Environmental Education
Unlike most of its environmental education contemporaries, the DuPont Center for Environmental Education is located amidst the state’s largest metropolitan area.
The center is spread over nearly 200 acres that include forests, marshes, and scenic stretches of the Christiana River.
There are indoor and outdoor portions, and most visitors choose to check out the indoor area first before heading out to explore the center’s grounds.
It’s common to see a variety of animals and birds from the center’s walking paths, and there are special programs and activities throughout the year as well that are appropriate for families, students, and those traveling with groups.
14. The Bob Carpenter Center
The Bob Carpenter Center is a multi-use sports facility that’s located on the campus of the University of Delaware in Newark.
The center seats nearly 5,000 spectators and has been home to the university’s men’s and women’s basketball teams since it was opened nearly two decades ago.
Sporting events are popular college attractions, but tickets usually aren’t too hard to come by, though it’s wise to buy them in advance if you know exactly when you’ll be in the area.
The Bob Carpenter center also hosts a number of non-sports events, including music, comedy, and theater, as well as art fairs and even professional wrestling.
15. The Back Burner
Delaware has no shortage of great restaurants, and more so than many other areas, many of them have been around for decades.
The Back Burner in Hockessin was founded four decades ago and specializes in contemporary American fare with a twist.
They use fresh local ingredients whenever possible, some of the most popular of which are Pennsylvania mushrooms, local cheese, and blue crabs from the coast.
They offer an extensive wine list and craft cocktails as well. Though it’s probably not the best fit for families looking to dine on the cheap, most guests agree that their slightly premium prices are well worth the experience.