Philadelphia's Northwest 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.
Northwest Philadelphia can be divided into two sections - west and east, which could be called the "Ridge Avenue Corridor" (Roxborough, Manayunk, Wissahickon, and East Falls) and the "Germantown Avenue Corridor" (Germantown, Mount Airy, and Chestnut Hill). These two sections are separated physically by the Wissahickon Creek and Fairmount Park, with only a few bridges passing in between. East Falls, though along the Ridge Ave. Corridor, is only connected to Manayunk by Ridge Ave and Henry Ave, and is much more connected to Germantown.
The Wissahickon Creek runs to the east of the two avenues, and is flanked by the Wissahickon section of Fairmount Park. The park offers many paths and beautiful vistas, and is a popular, though not crowded, spot for runners or people who enjoy light hiking.
Roxborough: It is not certain where Roxborough received its name from, but it is likely that the original settlement was named after Roxburghshire, Scotland which is the original home of an early settler Andrew Robeson. Roxborough has two main Avenues running almost parallel through it which connects the neighborhood to the rest of the city. Roxborough connects to Manayunk through Ridge Ave and to East Falls by Henry Ave. Most of Roxborough’s business is placed along Ridge Ave consisting of many hoagie shops and restaurants as well as regular shops and coffee shops. Roxborough is connected to the city through a number of different modes of SEPTA transportation including the train and bus. It is also easily accessed by driving. The neighborhood lies on the edge of the city’s limits and is often mistaken as a suburb of Philadelphia. It has one of the lowest crime rates within the city and because of the low crime rates along with the “suburban feel,” easy access public transportation and community parks, Roxborough is a attractive place to live. One of the main parks is called Valley Green. It consists of one main path that runs along side of the Wissahickon Creek and stretches for about 15 miles. Connected to this main path are numerous of smaller trails reaching all ends of the park. Valley Green attracts many runners, walkers, bicyclists, and horseback riders. Located along the path there is a restaurant called the Valley Green Inn. The surrounding area of the restaurant, one can find a number of ducks to feed, which has become a popular activity.
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. The neighborhood is built on a hill up to Ridge Ave. Some very interesting, beautiful, and historic architecture lines the winding Green Lane up the hill, as well as many other roads in the neighborhood. These beautiful rowhomes, townhomes, and single-family homes are home to everyone from working class laborers to middle class professionals, young adults, college students, and young families. The same is true of the surrounding Roxborough neighborhood, which acts as the "suburbs" of Manayunk, though it, too, falls within the city limits. Manayunk's demographics and architecture are largely extended into Roxborough, although instead of the nightlife hotspot of Main St., Roxborough's main thoroughfare is Ridge Ave, which is lined with shops, markets, and restaurants as well as convenience stores. 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. It is also a popular nightlife destination for young adults. 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 (place 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. Ridge Ave. intersects Midvale Ave, in the heart of East Falls, where you can expect to find a mixture of markets, pizzerias, sports bars, and unique restaurants. Beautiful and interesting architecture abound on the rowhomes and townhomes of Queen Lane, Indian Queen Lane, Penn St., and the surrounding blocks. Travel up Midvale Ave. to see old world style rowhomes populated by middle and upper class professionals. Take Vaux St towards Philadelphia University to find mansions and other old world and tutor style large homes that mix urban and suburban layouts on winding roads. This neighborhood is also populated by wealthy Philadelphians, including Ed Rendell, governor of Pennsylvania from 2003 to 2011, and former US Senator Arlen Specter.
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, quaint, residential neighborhood that has, historically, been associated with wealth. It boasts beautiful rowhomes as well as large homes on large properties and a few mansions. The architecture is beautiful, including some famous buildings. Germantown Ave. has the feeling of a quaint small town main road reminiscent of a New England, or even old England, town. It has a bustling main st complete with restaurants, a hotel, a farmer's market, bakeries, and plenty of stores and boutiques. It feels like a charming small town on the edge of the city.
East Falls sits at the intersection of major highways running through the Philadelphia area:
- US Route 1 (SW to Baltimore/Washington, NE to New York/Boston),
- I-76 (south and east to Center City, South Philadelphia, and New Jersey, north and west to King of Prussia and on to Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, and Ohio),
- and Ridge Ave, Kelly Drive, and MLK/West River Drive to Center City.
From interstate 76, the exits for the area include Belmont Ave/Green Lane (Roxborough/Manayunk), Kelly Drive/Ridge Ave/Lincoln Drive (The main interchange in East Falls) and US 1 N - Roosevelt Blvd, which runs through Germantown on its way to Northeast Philadelphia. US 1 exits in East Falls/ Germantown include Henry Ave, Wissahickon Ave, Wayne Ave, and Germantown Ave.
East Falls, Manayunk, Wissahickon, and Roxborough sit along the Schuylkill River. Ridge Ave. runs parallel to the river after it gets to East Falls, along the crest of the hill between the river and Wissahickon Creek. I-76 runs on the suburban side of the river, parallel to it, until it crosses Route 1 into the city limits and on into Center City.
To access the East Falls US 1/I-76/Kelly Drive/Ridge Ave/Lincoln Drive interchange:
From points west by southwest (West Philadelphia, lower Montgomery County, and Chester County), take US 1 N (known as Baltimore Pike, State Road, Township Line Rd, and City Ave) to East Falls where you can get onto Ridge Ave or Germantown Ave. From those areas Route 1 can be accessed by US Rte 30 (Lancaster Ave) in Wynnewood/West Phila, Lansdowne Ave/Darby Rd and PA Rte 3 (West Chester Pike) in Havertown/Drexel Hill, PA Rte 320 (Sproul Rd) and I-476 in Marple, PA Rte 252 (Providence Rd) in Media, US Rtes 352 and 452 west of Media, and US Rtes 322 and 202 in Chaddsford.
From points northeast (Northeast Philadelphia, Bucks County, and Trenton, NJ, etc.) take Rte 1 S (known as Roosevelt Blvd and Lincoln Highway). It can be accessed via PA 611 (Broad St) in North Philadelphia, PA 232 (Oxford Ave), PA 73 (Cottman Ave), and PA 63 (Woodhaven Rd) in Northeast Phila, PA 413 and I-95 in Bucks County.
From Points west by northwest (West Chester, King of Prussia, Exton, Berks County), take I-76 east. It can be accessed via US 202 if you're coming from the West Chester area, and by US 422 if you're coming from the upper Schuylkill River Valley (Pottstown, Reading, etc.). I-76 has an exit at Green Lane at the northwestern edge of Manayunk as well as at the principle interchange in East Falls.
From points south (Center City, Southwest Philadelphia, University City in West Philadelphia, South Philadelphia, and South Jersey), take I-76 westbound.
Ridge Ave and Germantown Ave become Ridge Pike and Germantown Pike after they pass outside the city limits and extend north into Montgomery County, so they can be used to access the area too.
From points north, you can take Bethlehem Pike, Limekiln Pike/Easton Rd, or PA 309 S to Easton Rd. This will take you to Germantown Ave which will give you access to Chestnut Hill, Mount Airy, and Germantown, which in turn gives you access to East Falls.
Coming from the south or west, the best way to get to Chestnut Hill or Mt. Airy is to get to the East Falls interchange and take Lincoln Drive. But be careful driving on Lincoln Drive, especially in wet weather.
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 Parx 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.
The Norristown line, formerly called the R6 line, stops at East Falls right above Ridge and Midvale, the Wissahickon Station in the Wissahickon neighborhood at the eastern edge of Manayunk along Ridge Ave, the Manayunk Station in the heart of Manayunk one block above Main St, and the Ivy Ridge Station along Umbria St. in Roxborough.
The Germantown Avenue corridor neightborhoods are served by the Chestnut Hill West and Chestnut Hill East lines (formerly R7 and R8). Going outward from Center City, the Chestnut Hill West line stops at Queen Lane (Upper East Falls; Lower Germantown); Chelten Avenue (Germantown commercial district); Tulpehocken (historic Germantown houses); Upsal, Carpenter Lane, and Allens Lane (all in West Mount Airy); St. Martin's , Highland, and Chestbut Hill West (all in Chestnut Hill). The Chestnut Hill East Line stops at Wayne Junction and Wister (lower Germantown); Germantown (commercial district); Washington Lane (Awbury Arboretem); Stenton, Sedgwick, and Mount Airy (all in East Mount Airy); and Wyndmoor, Gravers, and Chectnut Hill East (all in Chestnut Hill). Route maps and schedules can be found in the Center City train stations, and are also posted at most of the stations along the lines.
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.
- The Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania, 100 E Northwestern Ave (at Stenton Ave), ☎ +1 215 247-5777. 10AM-4PM daily. The Morris Arboretum features over 13,000 plants of over 2,500 types spread out over 92 acres. Temporate floras of North America, Asia, and Europe are represented here; the Asian floras are represented particularly well. The arboretum was designed in an English park style with Japanese influences. $14 adults, seniors $12, youth/students/active military/pedestrians/bicyclists/SEPTA users $7.
- Woodmere Art Museum offers a large collection of artwork all displayed in an old mansion!!!
- Stagecrafters- This unique play house accepts works by local playwrights and puts on shows several times throughout the year.
- Wissahickon Creek- is a stream in southeastern PA which runs about 23 miles. The beauty of this area attracted the attention of local poet like Edgar Allan Poe. The area is now part of the Fairmount Park system in Philadelphia, and the Wissahickon Valley is known as one of 600 National Natural Landmarks of the United States. America's first papermill was set up along this stream. Many locals, go to the stream to relax, and you can even take a trip to feed the ducks. It makes for a great family outing.
- 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.
- Home and Garden Festival. Germantown Avenue, between Willow Grove Avenue and Rex Avenue, will be closed to traffic and transformed into an outdoor marketplace for garden-related merchandise and fun. There is even a special "canine parade."
- Pastorious Park Concerts. For 10 Wednesdays in the summer the Chestnut Hill Community Association sponsors outdoor concerts in Pastorius Park, located just off Germantown Avenue. The concerts are free and feature various local and non-local bands. You can easily grab dinner at one of the numerous restaurants nearby and then see a free concert in the park at 7:30!
- Fall for the Arts Festival - This festival is fantastic! It is a day of art, music, culinary delights and boutique shopping as Germantown Avenue, between Willow Grove and Rex Avenues is transformed into an outdoor arts and crafts marketplace. Over 150 talented artists from throughout the Mid-Atlantic region will come for this fabulous event. Various types of artwork will be on display including oils, watercolors, photography, sculpture, etc...! Germantown Avenue will be closed to all cars while fine arts and crafts, live entertainment, exhibits and children activities, are taking place. Adults stroll the streets and purchase arts and handcrafts, and enjoy the various types of restaurants. Children can create their own works of art, or enjoy a mini amusement park!! There is even a special parking fee of $5.00.
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 Social 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 jewelry, electronics, beauty supplies, and florists.
- A.I. Poland Jewelers, 4347 Main St, ☎ +1 215 483-1316. Tues, Wed, Thur: 10-6. Fri: 10-7. Sat: 10-5. Sun, Mon: Closed. Family owned for 107 years. If you are looking for nice jewelry at a relatively cheap price, this is the place to look. $10 sterling items to varied prices of gold and diamonds jewelry.
- Beans Beauty Supply, 4405 Main St, ☎ +1 215 487-3333. Mon, Tues, Thurs & Sat - 10-6PM. Wednesday & Friday - 10-9PM. Sunday - 11-6PM. Family business since 1980. The staff is very helpful with the large array of products available. The salon is great with hair color and specializes in cuts for curly hair
- Main Street Music, 4444 Main St, ☎ +1 215 487-7732. Mon-Thu 11AM-7PM. Fri-Sat 11AM-9PM. Sun 12PM-6PM.. The prices on the new music ranged from very reasonable to a little expensive. The store is pretty small, but they use the space well, and there's far more CDs in there than you'd assume.
- Gary P Mann Design, 4349 Main St, ☎ +1 215 482-7051. Tues-Sat: 11-6. Sun: 12-5. Owner operated really special jewelry store. Beautiful one of a kind jewelry you won't see anywhere else- experts in custom design- appraisals, repairs, vintage and items in every price range.
- Orbit, 4312 Main St, ☎ +1 215 508-6728. Manayunk’s only contemporary American Crafts & fine art gallery. Also carries gift for any occasion, such as glass sets carvings. Small but colorful appearance.
- Fleur, 4254 Main Street, ☎ +1 215-482-4609. Fleur is a classic and elegant flower shop that has a variety to choose from. Quite pricey, but the quality of these flowers will keep you coming back for more. They always have a fresh assortment greeting you on the sidewalk so it's almost impossible to not stop. Great place for timeless centerpieces!
- Tag Clothing, 4358 Main Street, ☎ +1 215-482-9656. Sun-Thu 11AM-7PM; Fri-Sat 11AM-9PM. Tag is an amazing shop that offers upscale clothing lines. Diesel, 7 For All Mankind, Joe's Jeans, Free People, 3 Dots, Michael Stars, you name it, TAG has it. It is expensive but with name brands like these, the quality of the clothing is worth it. Loud and upbeat music will have shoppers pumped to browse the store for hours!
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 than 520 yards along the Canal, though you will find others at the Southeast end of the street.
- Bayou Bar and Grill, 4245 Main St, ☎ +1 215 482-2560, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Chabaa Thai Bistro, 4371 Main St, ☎ +1 215 483-1931, e-mail: email@example.com. Chabaa, one of the Thai words translating the hibiscus flower, is a peaceful invitation in itself.
- The Couch Tomato Cafe', 102 Rector St, ☎ +1 215 483-2233, fax: +1 215 483-6627. Dine-in, take-out or delivery upscale café.
- Jake's Restaurant, 4365 Main St, ☎ +1 215 483-0444, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. "Nouvelle Cuisine" and bar.
- Manayunk Diner, 3722 Main St, ☎ +1 215 483-4200. Breakfast all day, upscale entrees, home-made desserts and full-service bar with a separate lounge.
- Machismo Burrito Bar, 4330 Main St, ☎ +1 215 508-3333. M-F 11AM-9PM, Sa-Su 11AM-10PM. One of a kind "build your own burrito" spot. It is a sit down restaurant with a twist. One can order saffron rice with spinach or even vegan style cheese, meats and sour cream! Toppings can be traditional or outrageous.
- Duff's Steaks, 114 Levering St, ☎ +1 215 508-1125. Tu-Sa 11AM-11PM, Su 11AM-7PM. If you're not willing to make the trip into the city to the all time favorite Pat's steaks, Duff's will do the trick. Duff's offers amazing authentic cheese steaks. You even have to order it like at Pat's, "wiz with or wiz without". Come in on Tuesdays for $5 steaks, every Tuesday/every steak $5. Phenomenal steaks at a great price!
- Tiffin - Indian cuisine
- Limpopo - International African cuisine
- Earth, Bread and Brewery, 7136 Germantown Avenue. A great place with amazing flatbreads and beers!
- McMenamin's - Popular among locals; pub food and beer, sports - 17 beers on tap including one on a beer engine!
- Infusion Tea - Coffee house
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).
- Kildare's Irish Pub, 4417 Main St, ☎ +1 215 482-7242, e-mail: Man@kildarespub.com. Not that far from the Irish Cill Dara atmosphere; one of the six Irish Pubs of that brand in Pennsylvania.
- Manayunk Brewery, 4120 Main St, ☎ +1 215 482-8220, e-mail: email@example.com. A restaurant too, serving American Regional Cuisine.
- Old Eagle Tavern, 177 Markle St, ☎ +1 215 483-5535.
- Mad River Manayunk, 4100 Main St, ☎ +1 215 482-2666. 11AM-2AM daily. Looking for a fun night out in Manayunk? Look no further. With 20 flat screen TVs to watch games, the largest dance floor in Manayunk, DJs and live music nearly every night, 3 frozen drink machines, nightly drink specials and a brand new deck on the river, this is the place to be.
- Castle Roxx Cafe, 105 Shurs Lane, ☎ +1 215 482-9000. Su 5PM-1AM, M-W 6PM-2AM, Th-Sa 5PM-2AM. This bar has two floors with live music, djs, and lots of drink specials.
- Yunkers, 4421 Main St, ☎ +1 215-50-6005. Su noon-2AM, Tu-Sa 5PM-2AM. Great drinks, nightly drink specials. Illusuions is the new club inside that has DJs and VIP bottle service. Fun night out if you are looking for a more upbeat night.
- J.D. McGillicuddy's Pub, 111 Cotton St, ☎ +1 215 930-0209. 11AM-2AM daily. If you're looking for a more low key night out to grab a couple drinks with some friends then this is the place to go. Friday nights they have karaoke here, which is usually a good time.
- Flat Rock Saloon, 4301 Main St (at Roxborough Ave), ☎ +1 215 483-3722. M 4PM-2AM, Tu-Sa noon-2AM. This place allows smoking so if you're a smoker and are just looking for a quiet night at the bar listening to music from a jukebox then this is the place for you. But make sure you have cash on you because they don't accept credit cards.
- Bourbon Blue Restaurant and Canal Lounge, 2 Rector St, ☎ +1 215 508-3360. Su 10AM-1AM, M-Th 4PM-1AM, F-Sa 4PM-2AM. A little more up-scale. The Canal Lounge is more for an older crowd. It's open every Friday and Saturday from 10PM-2AM and has live entertainment from 10:30PM til close. They play jazz and blues music and have some cover bands. Parking isn't a problem because they have valet on the weekends.
- Chestnut Hill Hotel, ☎ +1 215 242-5905. In the heart of the Chestnut Hill commercial district - a 25 min train ride from center city.
- Holiday Inn Philadelphia City Line, 4100 Presidential Blvd. $119.
- Homewood Suites by Hilton, 4200-A City Avenue, ☎ +1 215 966-3000, fax: +1 215 966-3020. $199.
- North American Motor Inn, 4444 City Line Ave. $79.
|Routes through Northwest Philadelphia (by subway)|
|END ←||N S||→ North Philadelphia → South Philadelphia|
|Routes through Northwest Philadelphia (by commuter rail)|
|END ←||NW SE||→ North Philadelphia → West Philadelphia|
|END ←||NW SE||→ North Philadelphia → West Philadelphia → North Philadelphia|
|West Philadelphia ← North Philadelphia ←||SW NE||→ Northeast Philadelphia → END|
|Norristown ← Conshohocken ←||NW SE||→ North Philadelphia → West Philadelphia|