Philadelphia's Upper North district is a huge area north of Lehigh Ave and west of Front St. This isn't the most visited part of town, but nonetheless there are plenty of interesting neighborhoods to explore.
Manayunk is known as the "city on a hill," home to many unique stores and shops as well as a thriving student and artist community. Manayunk also hosts an annual Arts Fest and the main climb for the Philadelphia International Cycling Championship in summer months. Main Street runs through the heart of this unique shopping and dining destination with over 70 chic boutiques and galleries and 30 restaurants and eateries. Flat Rock was the original name given to this section of the Schuylkill River, where rapids churned through the rocks in the section of the river, above the Wissahickon Creek. In 1824, a community meeting of the newly formed town changed the name to Manayunk, derived from the Lenape Amerindian word manaiung (where we go to drink). It was named a National Historic District in 1983.
East Falls is named for its eastern location to the falls across from the Wissahickon Transfer Center. It is home to Philadelphia University, Drexel University College of Medicine, and Women's Medical College (the first women's medical school in the world), which is currently being renovated into a mixed-used development by a team that includes Philadelphia's own Wulff Architects. The end of Kelly Drive culminates at East Falls; take the bridge over the Schuylkill River to MLK Drive to continue your 8 mile bike ride back down to the Art Museum.
Mt. Airy is a residential neighborhood that could be described as eclectic, with its main streets crossing at the site of a natural food co-op. Young families tend to live here on many tree-lined streets. Mt. Airy is subdived into two areas, West Mt. Airy and East Mt. Airy, with Germantown Ave ("the Avenue") forming the border between the two. The Avenue (along with the rest of the neighborhood) is undergoing a renaissance, anchored by the popular North By Northwest restaurant/music venue. Characteristics of the neighborhood include some amazing architecture of all different styles and better-than-average public transit access. There are also some historical sites related to the Revolutionary War's Battle of Germantown. It is a very liberal area, politically speaking, with a very diverse population.
Chestnut Hill is the next neighborhood west from Mt. Airy along Germantown Ave, Chestnut Hill is largely a leafy residential neighborhood that could has, historically, been associated with wealth (although I believe Rittenhouse has supplanted it in home prices. It has a bustling main st complete with restaurants, a hotel, a farmer's market, bakeries, and plenty of stores. It feels like a charming small town in the middle of the city.
By car Manayunk can be reached via Schuykill Expressway or Kelly Drive in about 10 minutes from downtown Philadelphia. Manayunk is only about a 25 minute ride from the suburbs. To get there is simple. From the suburbs, take Old Eagle Road to Upper Gulph Road and make a right. You will follow this road for about 3 miles then make a left onto Old Gulph Road. This winding road takes you about 10 miles down until you reach Spring Mill Road. Take a right until you come to an intersection. At this intersection make a right onto Conshohocken State Road. Go about 1.5 miles until you seen Belmont Avenue and make a left. Belmont Ave. will lead you under the bridge straight onto Main Street in Manayunk.
Access to Center City from East Falls is accessible from 76 East and Kelly Drive. Manayunk is a short drive by traveling West on Ridge Ave, and making a slight left onto Main Street and City Avenue is on the other side of the Schuykill River.
Rte. 61 - Manayunk to Center City Phila Rte. R - Wissahickon to Frankford Transportation Center Rte. K - Arrot Terminal to East Falls Rte. 1 - 54th & City Line Ave to Phila Park Casino
Septa buses 9, 27, and 32 all run to Manayunk from Center City. The bus rides usually lasts anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour.
Manayunk Station, R6 Norristown Line.
The East Falls train station is on Midvale Avenue with access to the R6 which runs from Norristown to Center City.
The R7 Chestnut Hill East and R8 Chestnut Hill West lines serve Mount Airy and Chestnut Hill.
At the intersection of School House Lane and Henry Ave., is Philadelphia University, which was previously Philadelphia College of Textile and Science and features a previous home of Grace Kelly on its campus.
Bike Race Throughout the summer months Manayunk holds various events on Main Street and surrounding areas. In early June, the Philadelphia International Championship is held throughout the streets of Manayunk. Moving through Main Street and stretching up onto Manayunk Avenue, the bike race moves through various sections of the Manayunk/Roxborough area. The “wall” refers to a section of the race where the bikers are required to scale Lyceum Avenue, which has a steep 17 percent grade. The “wall” has become a main attraction for the race, as many riders find this the most challenging stretch of the race. The race has become a Philadelphia tradition, drawing thousands of visitors and spectators each year
Arts Festival The Manayunk Arts Festival is held in late June each year. Over two hundred artists come to Manayunk to showcase their work along Main Street. The Festival draws thousands to the Manayunk area, with vendors and artists lining the street with small booths. Local restaurants set up stands where passerby’s can sample the local cuisine. Many of the main businesses stay and offer specials throughout the weekend long festival. While the Arts Festival and the Bike Race are both held in the month of June, the gathering of artists provides a quieter option for families. Since its start in 1989, the Manayunk Arts Festival continues to attract more and more visitors each year.
Red Bull Soapbox In September 2008, Red Bull held its annual Red Bull Soapbox Derby in Manayunk. Thousands came to Manayunk to view over twenty "boxcars" race down the "wall" on Lyceum Avenue. The event took place September 6th, at 1 PM.
Recreation in Manayunk is very diverse. Keeping busy is not hard because the area has so much to offer. Manayunk offers more than just shops and restaurants, it is surrounded by nature. The top recreations in Manayunk are biking up the "Manayunk Wall", hiking the Manayunk Tow Path, and rowing along the Schuyllkill River.
Located only minutes from Manayunk's Main Street, lies Fairmont Park. Fairmont Park is one of the largest urban parks in the United States, and offers a variety of recreational options. Throughout the park lies paths for hiking, biking, and horseback riding, both paved and unpaved, as well as Boathouse Row. The Fairmont Park trails are popular among residents and a popular channel for escaping the inner city. The park runs from West Philadelphia, west to the King of Prussia area.
Many Manayunk residents take part in organized team sports that take place throughout the area. Through Philadelphia Sport and Socials Leagues, both men and women are able to have fun and meet new people. Many leagues work with surrounding bars and restaurants to provide locations for teams to unwind after a competition.
Manayunk has two miles of extensive shopping centered along Main Street, including clothing boutiques and art galleries. Main Street also is a great place to find jewlery, electronics, beauty supplies, and florists.
Franco's Trattoria- Fine Italian Dining- 4211 Ridge Ave., 215-844-7889
Johnny Mañana's- Mexican Cuisine and famous margaritas-4201 Ridge Ave., 215-843-4747
Bucket's Bar and Grill- Casual Bar Atmosphere- 3749 Midvale Ave., 215-849-1222
Shan Chuan- Wide range of Chinese and Japanese Cuisine- 215-844-7889
The Pour House- Local Bar Atmosphere- 4213 Ridge Ave., 215-848-2770
Slices Pizza- 4249 Ridge Ave., 215-843-4747
Golden Crust Pizza- 3732 Midvale Avenue, 215-848-4400
Major Wing Lee's- Convenience and Sandwich Shop- 4207 Ridge Ave.
Sherman Mills is a community artist's lofts which have been renovated and include their own community of cafes, an art supply store, and studios.
The Trolley Car Cafe opened on November 12th, 2009 and was part of a plan for preservation in East Falls.
Remember that most of the restaurants and bars of Main St are essentially concentrated on little more then 520 yards along the Canal, though you will find others at the Southeast end of the street.
Wine and Sprits on Ridge Avenue offers a wide assortment of wines and liquors.
East Falls Beverage offers a variety of imported and domestic beers with a delivery service.
Manayunk is known for its hip night scene. Thursday-Saturday nights Main Street transforms into a hot destination for young adults. For the 21+ crowd Main Street offers 18 different bars to party in. Some bars are more sport related while others transform into dance clubs. Crowds from all over the city visit Main Street on the weekends because they know they will be able to find a good party, after all Manayunk does come from the Lenape Amerindian word manaiung (where we go to drink).