Photo Credit: @meganannmayer
This year’s Guide to Philly features neighborhood guides written by students and recent grads. In this mini-guide to Manayunk, we cover things to do, places to eat, and everything YOU need to know to enjoy the neighborhood!
As told by William Harris, Haverford 2024
Hi! I am William, a senior at Haverford College majoring in History and minoring in Spanish and History of Art. My interests include practically anything outdoors, including running (I’m on Varsity Cross Country and Track), hiking, snowboarding, mountain biking, hiking, and pickleball. I also really enjoy visiting museums, trying new foods, exploring public parks, and listening to live music!
Manayunk is perched along the eastern banks of the Schuylkill River, and the neighborhood’s windy, hilly streets feature a ton of hidden gems. Sandwiched between two of the best parks in Philadelphia, I enjoy heading out to Manayunk for a weekend long run on the Schuylkill River Trail or at Wissahickon Valley Park.
For a fun twist, check out the Cynwyd Heritage Trail across the river and venture into Manayunk by bridge—the trail crosses the Schuylkill into Manayunk from Bala Cynwyd along an old rail trail (the bridge used to be part of an old SEPTA route!).
Manayunk has fantastic food. After a long run at the Wiss, my team likes to go to Bob’s Diner for a hearty breakfast. While exploring the neighborhood, be sure to sample a cheesesteak for lunch. For a canonical, classic, true-to-tradition Philly Cheesesteak, I recommend Dalessandro’s, which is right around the neighborhood in Roxborough… and for an opposite-style-steak, try my personal favorite near Independence Hall: Woodrow’s on South Street, which puts an artisanal spin on the original with cherry pepper mayo and homemade truffle cheese whiz.
For a nice dinner spot which still captures Manayunk’s rustic vibe, head to The Goat’s Beard, which is delicious and also vegetarian-friendly.
Throughout the year, Manayunk opens up Main Street for community events that are both fun and inclusive. In October, the neighborhood hosts Out and About in honor of National Coming Out Day, which includes LGBTQ+ organizations and entertainment. I’ve enjoyed visiting Manayunk with my boyfriend and always feel comfortable in the neighborhood, which has a friendly, diverse population.
Don’t miss Manayunk’s Halloween celebration in October, too, with a Haunted House and Trick-or-Treating! The highlight of Manayunk’s Main Street event programming is the StrEAT Food Festival in April, which features over 50 of Philadelphia’s best food trucks and vendors.
Manayunk is only a stone’s throw from some of Philly’s most prominent architectural icons, including the Vanna Venturi House in Chestnut Hill, which epitomizes postmodern residential design. Be sure to visit the Margaret Esherick House if you’re in the area, which is right down the road, and Louis Kahn’s most famous residential building. UPenn’s Morris Arboretum is nearby, too, and students receive discounted admission, so bring your college ID!