15 Best Things to Do in Manayunk, Philadelphia

Things to Do in Manayunk, PA
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Enjoy an urban experience with small-town charm when you visit the neighborhood of Manayunk in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Renovated Victorian storefronts and mill buildings dot the streets of this commercial district along the banks of the Schuylkill River and the Manayunk Canal and Tow Path.

Manayunk was originally called the town of Flat Rock until 1824 when the residents named it after “manaiung,” the Lenape Indian word for the Schuylkill River, meaning a “place to drink” in English.

The area rose as one of the most prominent manufacturing villages in the United States later on and was even recognized as the“Manchester of America.”

Nowadays, Manayunk is a place to live, shop, dine, and play, as many of the storefronts and mill buildings became locations for restaurants and retail stores when the revitalization efforts took place in the neighborhood during the 20th century.

You can reach most of its popular establishments just by exploring its Main Street, the “heart and soul of the neighborhood,” accessible minutes away from Center City.

Here are the best things to do in Manayunk of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania:

Marvel at the Philadelphia Skyline on the Manayunk Bridge Trail

Daytime view of Manayunk Bridge Trail
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The Manayunk Bridge Trail became accessible to the public in 2016, connecting Manayunk to the lower Merion Cynwyd Heritage Trail.

The trail encompasses the iconic Manayunk Bridge, which served as a rail line stretching across the Schuylkill River.

Explore the Manayunk Bridge Trail starting from its entrance at the intersection of Dupont and High Streets.

Bicycle ride along Manayunk Bridge Trail
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Walkers, joggers, and cyclists can take different suggested routes for recreation, and the map can be accessed on Manayunk’s website.

Enjoy the scenic view of the Philadelphia skyline from the Manayunk Bridge and that of Main Street.

See and Take Photos of St. John the Baptist Church

Along Recto Street stands one of the most majestic buildings in Manayunk.

As the 10th oldest parish in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, St. John the Baptist Church has welcomed devout Catholics and visitors for more than a century.

It was also the first Catholic Parish constructed outside of Center City.

Its humble beginnings date back to 1831 when Jerome and Eulalia Keating made a gift of the ground and built a small church on the land where the Upper School building is now located.

To serve the growing Catholic community in the neighborhood, a new cathedral-like church was erected and dedicated in 1894.

Stand in awe of the beautiful St. John the Baptist Church, designed in the Gothic style of architecture and built with gray, brownish stones from a quarry in Bucks County.

Its interior is just as marvelous as its exterior, adorned with stained glass windows, several religious sculptures, stations, and murals.

Patrick Charles Keely, an architect from New York, designed the current church, while many of the sculptures are the work of eminent sculptor Joseph Sibbel, also from New York.

Check Out New Releases at Main Street Music

If you're passionate about music, drop by Main Street Music and discover different music genres and artists.

This independent record shop is located on the bustling Main Street, featuring a wide-ranging collection of affordable new and used CDs, plus vinyl and DVDs.

From country and folk to world music, Main Street Music has something in store for you.

Look for your favorites, see the latest released albums, or meet new artists by seeking recommendations from its staff.

Keep posted on Main Street Music events and catch performances of local and national artists.

Fill Your Shopping Bags at Pretzel Park Farmers Market

Pretzel Park is a small public park on Silverwood Street, one block above Main Street.

It was named Manayunk Park after its construction in 1929, but residents refer to it as Pretzel Park.

It was said that its name was inspired by the pretzel shape of the pathways, while others claim that the name was inspired by the Philly Pretzels that were used to be sold in the park.

Manayunk Park was officially renamed Pretzel Park in 2004.

Enjoy a restful afternoon with the several amenities in the park, such as Pretzel Park Dog Park, Pretzel Playground, and Little Free Library.

Don’t miss the seasonal Pretzel Park Farmers Market, too, if you’re visiting during the months of May to December.

Buy fresh produce and farm products to support local farmers, or score novelty goods, crafts, and vintage items.

In between browsing stalls, reward yourself with tasty food, refreshing drinks, and sweet treats sold by food vendors at Pretzel Park Farmers Market.

Enjoy Thrills at Lincoln Mill Haunted House

For thrill-seekers, check out Lincoln Mill Haunted House, a relatively new haunted attraction in Philadelphia on Main Street.

It’s located in the former Mad River building and presents a legend related to Manayunk’s textile mills' past and the year when Hurricane Ida hit Philadelphia.

See and hear for yourself the dark past of Lincoln Mill Haunted household as you explore the old textile mill built in the 1800s.

Get spooked by over 40 live scare actorsthe attraction assembled production-quality sets, props, animatronics, and special effects to create an atmosphere that will keep your heart pounding with every step.

If you're not into scary stuff, you can try a more family-friendly activity during the daytime with Lincoln Mill Haunted House’s scavenger hunt.

There will be no scare actors; however, the lights will still be turned off!

Buy Unique Gifts at The Little Apple

The Little Apple has welcomed visitors to its cheeky gift boutique since 2010 on Main Street.

Its shelves are filled with unique finds from local artists and small businesses, all of which are hand-picked by the store with gift-giving in mind.

Step inside The Little Apple and say hello to Bettie, the boutique’s rescue chihuahua.

Walk around the store that offers something for everyone; find accessories and clothes, items for self-care, kitchen accessories and decorations that will make your home livelier, gifts for the little ones, and many more!

Spot items you rarely see in big malls and make finding gifts for your loved ones easier with The Little Apple.

Look for Your Favorite Comic Books at Johnny Destructo's Hero Complex

Johnny Destructo's Hero Complex is another store that’s interesting to visit on Main Street, especially for people who love comics and collect graphic novels.

It’s stocked with various art books, comics, action figures, and Japanese manga.

Have fun browsing through its excellent selection of titles and find something to add to your collection.

Discover unique pop culture shirts and artworks inside Johnny Destructo's Hero Complex, run by an illustrator and t-shirt designer.

Reach out to the artist for art commissions if you want to have something drawn for you.

Participate in the monthly gaming night and the Graphic Novel of the Month Club hosted at this boutique-style comic book store!

Grab a Bite of Artistic Burgers at Lucky’s Last Chance

You’ll never run out of places to eat during your vacation in Manayunk.

One of the popular dining options on Main Street is Lucky’s Last Chance, where you can fill yourself with artistic burgers, craft beer, and hotdog concoctions in a cozy atmosphere.

The burgers at Lucky’s Last Chance are touted to be the best in the neighborhood and had been awarded several times.

Try its PB & Bacon burger, which won the "Philadelphia Burger Brawl People's Choice" award three times, made with peanut butter, cheese, bacon, and a side of grape jelly, giving an adult twist to a childhood favorite.

Or have a taste of its Pickle Monster burger, a 2019 Philadelphia's Burger Brawl winner.

Other items you can also order include hotdogs that use local natural casing, mac and cheese, chicken and meatless options, and other mouthwatering side dishes.

Indulge in Delicious Food and Gorgeous Views at PHS Pop Up Garden at Manayunk

What was once an empty vacant lot on Jamestown Avenue has become a seasonal hotspot to indulge food cravings in a picturesque, vibrant setting.

From spring through fall, PHS Pop Up Garden at Manayunk invites foodies to enjoy it in its outdoor bar, restaurant, and local garden.

The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, founded in 1827, has transformed unused outdoor spaces in Philadelphia into temporary hangouts where people can socialize and relax.

In 2022, the pop-up gardens blossomed on South Street and in Manayunk.

Savor delectable food and refreshing drinks while taking in gorgeous plant views at PHS Pop-Up Garden at Manayunk.

Don your best outfits at this beer garden, where every spot is Instagram-worthy.

Meet up with friends and create unforgettable memories with glass on hand from its list of botanical cocktails.

Check the socials of PHS Pop Up Garden at Manayunk for updates on its opening and special events hosted at this lively site.

Savor Inventive Dishes at The Goat's Beard

Named after a plant native to Pennsylvania, The Goat's Beard on Main Street is set out on the concept of local.

It's committed to serving responsibly sourced food and sustainably domestic wines and craft beer to its patrons.

Make a reservation at The Goat's Beard and try its inventive, fresh plates that showcase the flavors of traditional American cuisine.

Share a feast with your loved ones in a cozy, rustic-chic space with indoor and outdoor seating available.

Customers rave about its steak, mac and cheese, TGB nuggets, and Detroit-style pizza.

The other main dishes you may try here are the pulled pork sandwich, seared salmon, roasted chicken, and beef short ribs.

Raise Your Glasses at Manayunk Brewing Company

Manayunk Brewing Company is housed on a building erected in 1822 that served as a cotton mill and then as a woolen mill during Manayunk’s storied past as a mill town.

In 1992, the woolen mill shut down, and local entrepreneur Harry Renner IV acquired the building and founded Manayunk Brewing Company and Restaurant.

Since 1996, Manayunk Brewing Company has brewed more than 600 different varieties of small-batch beer while constantly concocting new takes on classic favorites.

When his daughter took over in 2004, the restaurant expanded with a stone pizza oven and sushi bar, plus a chic banquet space for hosting special gatherings and events.

Have a taste of handcrafted cocktails and beers available on tap while chilling at the spacious outdoor deck of Manayunk Brewing Company with striking views of the Schuylkill River.

If you’re visiting during the warm months, enjoy a kayak tour on the river.

Grab a bite of its stone-over-fired pizza and order a plate from its sushi bar.

While you’re here, check out an original industrial scale for weighing wool found inside the front foyer.

Take a breather at Manayunk Brewing Company on Main Street!

Go on a Hike on the Manayunk Canal and Towpath

Aside from shopping and dining spots, Manayunk also has attractions for visitors searching for outdoor recreation.

Behind Main Street, you’ll find the historic Manayunk Canal and Towpath that’s part of the larger Schuylkill River Trail extending from Center City to Valley Forge.

The journey starts on Lock Street until the Shawmont neighborhood, and the trail runs for approximately two miles.

Free your mind from worries by exploring the Manayunk Canal and Towpath, consisting of the boardwalk, gravel, and hard ground suitable for jogging, walking, hiking, and off-road biking.

Bring binoculars and cameras to get the best views of regional birds and geese you may spot during the hike.

Rediscover Manayunk’s colorful past as you encounter historical signage, rail lines, old canal locks, ruins of buildings, and old textile mills along the way.

For more adventure, you may also access Fairmount Park Trail from the other end of the Manayunk Canal and Towpath and hike along Kelly Drive toward Boathouse Row and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Other Things to Do Nearby

If you're traveling by car, make the most of your visit to Manayunk by checking out nearby tourist spots in Philadelphia.

Here are some of the attractions that are around four to six miles away from the neighborhood and will take around 15 minutes of travel time.

Experience the Great Outdoors at the Wissahickon Valley Park

Trail at Wissahickon Valley Park
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The Wissahickon Valley Park is one of the top sights in Philadelphia, registering over 1.1 million visitors every year due to its abundant recreational opportunities.

The 1,800-acre public park is open to hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrians.

It also has a rich history as the Wissahickon Valley was once the hunting and fishing grounds of the Lenni Lenape and the site of several mills, taverns, and roadhouses around the 1800s.

Plan your route at the Wissahickon Valley Park, with more than 50 miles of rugged trails winding through its dense forests, open meadows, and shaded creeks.

Forbidden Drive is recommended for all ages and abilities; this wide, flat gravel trail parallels the Wissahickon Creek for five miles.

A pond at Wissahickon Valley Park
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Enjoy spin and fly fishing at Wissahickon Creek, where you can reel some trout, bass, and other warm water species.

If you love birdwatching, Wissahickon Valley Park also attracts various species of birds.

After exploring the trails and historic points, have fun picnicking while feasting your eyes on the beautiful, wild scenery.

There are many entry points to Wissahickon Valley Park, including Northwestern Avenue and Wissahickon Avenue.

Scenic view of Wissahickon Valley Park
John Delacy, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Marvel at Artworks at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Exterior of the Philadelphia Museum of Art
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If you love going to museums, drop by the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which is among the country’s oldest art museums at the end of the popular Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

As the city’s cultural heart, the Philadelphia Museum of Art houses a world-renowned collection of more than 200,000 objects from worldwide and different periods.

Dive deep into different cultures and periods by joining a guided tour of the museum’s collection, or explore at your own pace with its audio tour available for rent.

Interior of the Philadelphia Museum of Art
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Step inside the New European Galleries and view the works of renowned artists like Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet, and Paul Cézanne.

Marvel at “Diana,” the work of American sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, installed at the Great Stair Hall.

Check out the latest exhibitions and more of the interesting galleries of Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Hallway in the Philadelphia Museum of Art
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See Wild Animals at Philadelphia Zoo

A red panda at Philadelphia Zoo
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Connect and look closely at wild animals and habitats at Philadelphia Zoo, America’s first zoo, home to more than 1,700 rare and endangered animals.

Since it opened in 1874, it stays committed to animal care and conservation while providing an opportunity for its visitors to learn about wildlife and care for the environment.

Watch animals traversing the animal exploration trail Zoo360, a campus-wide network of see-through trails that the Philadelphia Zoo installed so animals can roam around the area.

Zebras at Philadelphia Zoo
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Have a blast on the zoo’s rides and attractions, and take a rest with snacks, ice creams, and refreshing drinks from any of the food establishments on site.

Bond with your family and friends at the Philadelphia Zoo at the corner of 34th Street and Girard Avenue!

Giraffes at Philadelphia Zoo
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Final Thoughts

The neighborhood of Manayunk guarantees a rewarding shopping and dining experience to visitors as its streets teem with different establishments, boutiques, specialty stores, restaurants, and cafes.

The Manayunk Canal and Towpath, Manayunk Bridge Trail, and the Schuylkill River also provide outdoor recreational activities.

Bookmark this page and try the best things to do in Manayunk of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on your next vacation!

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