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Neighborhood Spotlight: Manayunk

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Manayunk is certainly Philly’s most under-appreciated neighborhood. Existing just far enough from Center City to keep this secret section from becoming completely mainstream, Manayunk is absolutely charming, possesses so much character, and has solidly established itself as a ‘hood that can hold it’s own. With a flood of cool new establishments vying for their spot on Main Street, we insist that you swing by and check out the scene next time you’re near in the area.

VIPARC: Lined with its twinkling lights, glittering shops, and colorful crowds, Manayunk’s Main Street seems to be the place crowds flock to when they’re in the neighborhood; however, not all of Manayunk’s appeal exists on this street alone. The new Venice Island Performing Arts Recreation Center – aka VIPARC – is located just a few steps from Main Street between the Manayunk Canal and the Schuylkill River. Opened in fall of last year, this huge new community space doubles as an eco-friendly stormwater basin that is able to contain 4 million gallons of stormwater in an effort to improve the health and water quality of the Schuylkill River.

Besides the performing arts theater, the center has an outdoor amphitheater, a playground, basketball courts, an eco-friendly garden spray park, and plenty of fun and FREE programs! From now until March 12th, VIPARC is offering free performing art programs for children and adults, including vocal lessons, public speaking, and acting classes. Also held at this fabulous new venue is The Philly Mart, an outdoor artisan market that will be open on April 18th, May 9th, and June 13th. (Did we mention that VIPARC has a parking lot?! We thought that might entice you to leave the city…)

Philadelphia Mummer’s Mardi Gras: The Philadelphia Mummers will be hosting Mardi Gras in Manayunk on February 28th, their new parade set to march all the way down Main Street, from Shurs to Green Lane. For the first time, you can celebrate N’awlins style with the colorful crew who is best known for their annual New Year’s Day performance. This is a free event, but for $10 you can purchase a passport book that will give you special access to premium discounts at Manayunk’s top restaurants, bars, and shops.

The Juice Merchant: This juice bar is just about ready to open their doors. They plan on offering fresh-pressed juices, smoothies, salads, and wraps, while promoting local Manayunk artists with their thoughtful interior design and rotating exhibits.

So Crepe: Both Frederic Elmalek and Fabrice Goutte, owners of So Crepe, are from Lyon, France and have already brought this authentic dish to Philadelphia via their popular South Street location. They announced in October of last year that they had decided to expand to a second Manayunk creperie – and their sweet and savory menu made in-house from locally sourced, high quality ingredients will be one of the most anticipated openings of the year.

The Wall Cycling Studio:* Don’t let the name fool you, there’s much more than indoor cycling at this fitness studio. Boost your metabolism with barre classes, yoga, and more starting as early as 5 a.m. to start kicking butt before most people are even awake!

strEAT Festival: Twice a year, Philly’s best food trucks line up on the streets of Manayunk to bring your their most delicious dishes. Gourmet fooderies and farmer’s markets set up shop, attracting foodies from Philadelphia and beyond. Their next event will be held on April 12th from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., and will kick off Manayunk’s two-week long Restaurant Week. With menus ranging in price from $15 to $35, there is truly something for everyone at an incredible price!

Arts Festival: We know it’s a little early, but mark your calendars for this don’t-miss-event happening in June! During their signature two-day festival, over 300 artists showcase their work in the tri-state’s largest outdoor arts fest.

In addition to all of these fabulous events, delicious new restaurants and bars, and their brand new riverside community center, select stores and restaurants celebrate their own First Friday events every month, and the neighborhood has a number of signature events to participate in.

With a long established nightlife scene, great restaurants (check out the fabulous Derek’s, Winnie’s Le BusJake’s & Cooper’s Wine Bar), and a buzzing lineup of events, Manayunk is an eclectic city neighborhood with a small town feel and a fabulous sense of community. It is also easily accessible by train, so no excuses! Come by and check it out!


* The Wall Cycling Studio is a client of Philly PR Girl. 

What event are you interested in participating in? Do you have any favorite places in Manayunk we should know about? Tell us in the comments!