Manayunk Development Corporation
On the list of Philadelphia’s quirkily named geographic landmarks, Manayunk ranks near the top.
This Native American word, meaning “where we to go drink,” references the neighborhood’s location next to the Schuylkill River. Though the river helped shape Manayunk’s identity, so do the hills. Yet despite its famous inclines — or maybe because of them — what was once one of the city’s hottest industrial centers is now one of its hottest neighborhoods. Incidentally, it offers plenty of places to grab a drink.
The heart and soul of the community is Main Street, a mercifully level thoroughfare bustling with dozens of restaurants, owner-operated boutiques, bars and galleries. Daytime activities give way to nighttime action as foodies and revelers hit the streets, scoping out new menu items at restaurants, jockeying for views at riverside clubs, catching up-and-coming local musicians or dancing to DJ music.
The combination of singles, young families and multigenerational residents infuses Manayunk’s blue-collar origins with a modern edge. Row homes that housed millworkers during the community’s late 19th- and early 20th-century industrial boom now appeal to residents as much as the trendy loft apartments and stately Victorian houses that dot the community.
The annual Manayunk Arts Festival comes to Main Street on the final weekend in June.
SEPTA bus routes 35 and 61 as well as the Manayunk/Norristown Regional Rail Line all travel to Manayunk.
Metered street parking is available but tight. Many merchants validate parking at several private parking lots. Valet parking becomes available at several lots after 6:00 p.m. The Manayunk Development Corporation manages lots on Main Street at Lock, Levering and Cotton streets, and where proceeds support local events.
Those in need of retail therapy rejoice in Manayunk. Within a few blocks, shoppers can score runway designs at Nicole Miller and get gorgeous with imported high-end products from Beans Beauty. The town includes several furniture stores, such as Pompanoosuc Mills. In a nod to Manayunk’s manufacturing past, Philadelphia Woodworks offers visitors an opportunity to craft their own furniture item. The center also hosts classes for aspiring craftspeople and master woodworkers alike, where they can utilize professional tools and equipment. Cyclists of all skill levels love gear shops like Cadence Cycling and Trek Bicycle.
Each spring and fall, Main Street closes to auto traffic for the Manayunk StrEAT festival as food trucks and vendors line the thoroughfare. The event also features live music and sidewalk sales. Following the StrEAT festival, Manayunk Restaurant Week kicks off with three-course prix fixe menus priced at $15, $25 and $35.
Bikers and walkers eager for a challenge take on Manayunk’s hills, particularly “the Wall” at Levering Street. Outdoorsy types can also hike or bike the Canal Towpath.
Cycling shops in town also organize rides that will challenge various skill levels. If just looking at the water isn’t enough, Hidden River Outfitters leads guided kayak tours of the Schuylkill River. And Venice Island scheduled to open this fall, offers a “sprayground” for kids, basketball court and a 250 seat theater. Access from at Lock Street or Cotton Street.
Manayunk Canal Towpath
— Photo by M. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia
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