Main Street in Manayunk Has Tremendous Philadelphia Nightlife


Main Street in Manayunk, during the Manayunk Arts Festival, June, when it is closed to car traffic. There is great vibrancy on Main Street, worth experiencing if you have the time... / CC BY-ND 3.0

Manayunk - once a blue-collar factory neighborhood - is now the home of Main Street, a dynamic, vibrant corridor which offers some of the best foot traffic to be found anywhere in Philadelphia, particularly its nightlife scene. But how can you best explore it? Read on.

To Avoid Confusion - Manayunk Is A Section of Philadelphia, Not a Suburb or A Distinct Town

To start with-

Manayunk is a neighborhood and section within the City of Philadelphia - not a separate town or a suburb.

It's understandable that when you hear talk of "going to Manayunk", especially since it is not walkable from Center City Philadelphia, to think that it is located outside of the city. Even within Manayunk itself, you may see a sign or read something every once in a while, that refers to "Manayunk, PA". But if you try to look up a restaurant in "Manayunk, Pennsylvania" or "Manayunk, PA", you will have difficulty doing so. Everything in Manayunk will have a Philadelphia post office address; it is part of Northwest Philadelphia.

(Prior to the Civil War, Manayunk was, in fact, a separate town in Philadelphia County. However, in 1854, the City of Philadelphia and Philadelphia County were completely unified for the first time, which they remain to the present day.)

Traveling to Manayunk? Here's Our Comprehensive Guide

Manayunk is a complex place to which to travel, and so if you're planning to go up there, we'd recommend that you take a look at our comprehensive Traveling to Manayunk Guide - for the most detailed information on how to get to Main Street in Manayunk. It's worth reading, whether you're from out of town, or you are a local, especially one who just hasn't been there for a while. It's a dynamic neighborhood, and the rise and fall of bars, restaurants, businesses, and parking availability is constant.

A Tale of Two Neighborhoods - Main Street in Manayunk, and Neighborhood Manayunk

Manayunk has not always been a Philadelphia tourist attraction - it didn't become cool until the 1990s. For this reason, it's important to distinguish between "Vibrant Manayunk" - which is Main Street and the immediate little streets which intersect it - and "Neighborhood Manayunk", which consists of everything else in the neighborhood.

We should emphasize that there is nothing wrong, with Neighborhood Manayunk. In summary, it is the remainder of the industrial rowhouse neighborhood, that comprised all of Manayunk until the last 20 years or so. Many Philadelphia neighborhoods are similar to it. For the most part, it is safe.

What's the dividing line between the Two Manayunks?

The railroad tracks. In this case, the cliche about "being from the other side of the tracks" is actually true.

The railroad tracks bisect Manayunk, and it's actually very difficult to walk - or drive - from one side to the other. Don't be fooled by the map. If you're on Google Maps or Mapquest, you may see a bar or restaurant that appears to be just two blocks off Main Street, and assume - logically enough - that you can easily walk to it from Main Street. And in Old City or Fairmount, that assumption would be true. But it's not true in Manayunk.

Accordingly, as a visitor, you want to

"Vibrant Manayunk" - Main Street and Its Environs

Although this is somewhat of an arbitrary line, we would define the borders of Vibrant Manayunk, as the intersection of Main Street and Green Lane, at the northern end, to the intersection of Main Street and Shurs Lane, at the southern end.

The northern end begins with Mom's Bake at Home Pizza, at 4452-54 Main Street, and Main Street Music at 4444 Main.

Conversely, Mad River Bar and Grille and the Manayunk Brewery and Restaurant occupy this southern end: Mad River is at 4100 Main Street, while Manayunk Brewery is next door at 4120 Main Street.

To walk from one end of Vibrant Main Street to the other, is about half a mile, and would take about 10 minutes.

The Broader Definition of Vibrant Main Street - Down to the Diner and Movie Theater

It could be argued, that Vibrant Main Street extends an additional four blocks (about another half-mile), all the way to the Manayunk Diner, as well as the United Artists Main Street 6 movie theater at the southern end, which is at 3720 Main Street. However, we think that this would be an overly broad definition.

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