Traveling to Manayunk and Vibrant Main Street, Day or Night
Traveling to Manayunk by car has one major drawback - parking is at a premium, particularly on weekend nights, when Main Street is most crowded.
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Traveling to Manayunk is more of a challenge, than traveling to Center City Philadelphia, due to the neighborhood's idiosyncrasies, bizarrely named streets, and hilly terrain. But here's your guide on how to do it - especially if you are a first-time visitor to Philadelphia...
While planning your visit to
the most important decision you must make, is -
should we drive, or should we take SEPTA and/or a taxicab to Main Street?
Let's examine three different options, as each has strengths and weaknesses. One is driving both ways, one is taking the train both ways, and one is traveling to Manayunk by train, but returning by cab.
Traveling to Manayunk By Car
Manayunk is not part of Central Philadelphia, and so it is not as easily accessible as the downtown area. In addition, Manayunk's Main Street is known for a very lively nightlife scene. This gives driving two big pluses:
1) You don't have to worry about missing the last train back to Center City. Accordingly, you can stay out late at night, as long as you wish, till the bars and restaurants close.
To its credit, SEPTA has begun offering late night service on Saturday nights, on this particular line, but there's always the risk of missing the train.
2) You can get yourself to Manayunk whenever you want to, and leave whenever you want to.
3) Main Street is very long, and the train leaves you off at Carson and Cresson Streets, very far up the western end.
However, here are the disadvantages:
Manayunk is very confusing to drive around, even for Philadelphia natives. If you aren't familiar with the area, you can get lost easily.
Manayunk also has little parking to begin with - and if you're going on a Friday or Saturday - peak party time - there's that much less parking.
So you may end up spending a great deal of time trying to find somewhere to park, and then trying to figure out how to get to Main Street from there.
official Manayunk visitor web site
provides a handy list of places to park - just click on the preceding link and scroll down to the section head of
"Parking here is simple!"
So that's driving. You make the call.
The Hybrid Option - Take SEPTA Regional Rail to Manayunk, While Taking a Taxicab Back from Manayunk, Late At Night
This may be the best option, depending on your circumstances. SEPTA service is more frequent during the day, and it doesn't make a lot of difference if you get lost during the day, once you've arrived in Manayunk; however, it can make a lot of difference if you miss the last train back because you get lost.
In addition, it frees you from concern about making it back to Manayunk Station in time for the last train back. (By clicking the preceding link for the Manayunk train station, you can take a look at our complete guide to the extremely confusing Manayunk train station, which can be challenging to visitors, especially first-time ones.)
Finally, you don't have to worry about navigating your car through Manayunk, parking it, getting to your preferred establishment or store, and then making it back again. You just hop in the cab and you're whisked back, from whatever point on Main Street you happen to be at.
This is a particularly good idea, if you are traveling with a large group. Granted, the cab ride from Manayunk to Center City is not around the corner, but with the fare distributed over three to five people, it's probably only slightly more expensive than taking the train, and far more convenient.
We particularly recommend the "SEPTA to Manayunk, taxicab back to Center City" option if you are from out of town. You want to enjoy your time in Philadelphia in general and Manayunk in particular, and this option is probably your safest and most convenient option, in terms of personal safety, convenience, and fun.
Traveling to Manayunk Via SEPTA Regional Rail
In terms of public transit, your best bet is - by far -
SEPTA Regional Rail
- which offers service on its Manayunk/Norristown Line. This is the case, unless you happen to be coming from Roxborough or another neighborhood close by. For 95% of you, the train is the way to go.
This line - which travels from Center City, through Northwest Philadelphia and eventually into the seat of suburban Montgomery County - was known for decades as the R6 Manayunk/Norristown Line, before 2010, when SEPTA - for reasons not entirely clear - decided to officially abolish the "R-number" system for naming Regional Rail lines.
However, although the R-numbers have been formally removed, we anticipate that Philadelphians will continue to keep using them for decades, as they continue to serve their original purpose very well - that is, as convenient shorthand for the name of the rail line. Accordingly, if someone tells you to "take the R6", they mean one of the two lines formerly designated as the R6, with dark green lettering - one of which was Manayunk/Norristown.
You can board the Manayunk/Norristown Line at any of the three major SEPTA Regional Rail stations in Center City:
Market East Station
- located at 11th and Market Streets.
- located at 16th Street and John F. Kennedy Boulevard.
30th Street Station
- at 30th and Market Streets.
All will take you to Manayunk. But double-check, before you get on the train - ask the Regional Rail conductor - "Does this train go to Manayunk?" If so, hop on.
The trip isn't long; it will be about 22-23 minutes or so, before you reach your destination, Manayunk Station. Note that the Wissahickon Transportation Center is the stop before, so once you hear that stop announced, prepare to get off the train at Manayunk, a short distance away.
The Manayunk Station is located at the intersection of Carson and Cresson Streets. "Cool" Main Street in Manayunk begins, roughly, at the intersection of Main Street and Green Lane.
Once you're off the train, you're only a couple of blocks away. Walk south on Carson Street, until you reach Main Street. (If you're not on Main Street, within a couple of blocks, you're going the wrong way. Turn around and walk the other way.)
Once you arrive at the U.S. Post Office, at the intersection of Carson and Main Streets, you can turn right or left.
If you want to explore a bit, you can make a left and walk up to the border of "cool" Manayunk at Green Lane, and then double back.
However, most of Main Street is concentrated in the other direction, so if you're pressed for time, turn left at the intersection of Carson and Main. You're there in the heart of Manayunk! Enjoy!
Traveling to Manayunk Via SEPTA City Transit Lines
You can take the
Broad Street Subway/Orange Line
Station. From there, follow signs for SEPTA Regional Rail and Suburban Station - you'll have to walk a couple of blocks through the concourse, but you never have to go outside. You'll have to buy a train ticket at Suburban Station's ticket window - then follow signs for the Manayunk/Norristown Line.
Traveling to Manayunk Via the Blue Line - Also Known Officially As the Market-Frankford Line, and Unofficially As "The El"
You can take the
SEPTA Blue Line
to its 15th Street Station, located at 15th and Market Streets. In much the same way, just follow signs in the concourse for Suburban Station, without going outside. It won't take as long as from City Hall, because it's one block closer. Find the Manayunk/Norristown Line and be on your way to Main Street.
In addition, you also can take the Blue Line to its 11th Street Station, and walk to Market East Station, without going outside. The ride to Manayunk will be slightly shorter from Market East, than Suburban Station, by about 5 minutes.
Traveling to Manayunk Via the Phlash Trolley
When in season, from May 1 to October 31, you can take the purple
to either Market East Station or Suburban Station, and take SEPTA Regional Rail from there, jumping on the Manayunk/Norristown Line. The ride will be slightly shorter (about 5 minutes) from Market East Station, so if you have your choice, go there. But whether you leave from Market East or Suburban Station doesn't make much difference, it's only about five minutes, either way.
However, be cognizant that aside from running only six months out of the year, the Phlash also ceases operating around 5:30 PM - 6:00 PM each day - and Manayunk is known for its nightlife. So you may have to take the Blue Line, the Orange Line, or SEPTA buses to Market East or Suburban, if the Phlash has shut down for the day.
Traveling to Manayunk From Amtrak 30th Street Station
If you are visiting Philadelphia via Amtrak, the odds are overwhelming that you'll be disembarking at
30th Street Station
- an architectural masterpiece, located at 30th and Market Streets. Unfortunately, this is nowhere near Manayunk; it's a 7.2 mile cab ride from 30th Street, to the western point of "cool Manayunk" on Main Street, at its intersection with Green Lane.
Of course, you can take a cab and get to Main Street quickly. There will always be a plethora of cabs directly outside 30th Street Station. It's also a quick zip up I-76 - the Schuylkill Expressway - to its Manayunk exit; since it's literally highway all the way - you get on the Schuylkill at 30th Street and don't stop till your destination, it's only about an 11 minute ride.
So if you have the cash and you're in a hurry, the cab is fine. You probably won't encounter enormous difficulty in getting a cab back, although you may have to call for one.
However, we would recommmend that you take SEPTA Regional Rail to its Manayunk Station, as it will take you to the same place nearly as quickly, and with less expense.
After you disembark from the Amtrak train, follow signs for the area designated "SEPTA Regional Rail". Once you're there, go to the ticket window. Say that you'd like to purchase a "one-way ticket to Manayunk" (if you won't be taking the train back to Center City) or "a round-trip ticket to Manayunk" (if you plan to come back to Center City via train).
Important note, here: You can buy a round-trip ticket to Manayunk for the same price and validity, regardless of which Center City stop you'll be using. If you buy a round-trip ticket, you can travel to Manayunk via 30th Street Station, and return to Market East Station or Suburban Station - or vice versa. The fares and validity of the ticket are the same, for those three stations.
While at the window, ask them to direct you to the Manayunk/Norristown platform. Service is roughly once an hour, outside of rush hour. And once you're up there, double-check with the conductor, before you get on the train. Just ask, "is this train going to Manayunk Station?"
It will be about a 30 minute ride to Manayunk. As noted above, the last stop prior to Manayunk, is the Wissahickon Transportation Center, which is a short distance away, so start to get ready to disembark as soon as you hear Wissahickon announced by the conductor.
Once you get off the train at Manayunk Station, just follow the directions above for SEPTA Regional Rail travel to Main Street in Manayunk. Enjoy!
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