Long-considered one of the toniest neighborhoods in the city, Rittenhouse Square isn’t just an enviable address. It’s a lifestyle.
And since it’s home to a number of hotels, the neighborhood, which spans Market to South streets from the north to south and runs east to west from Broad Street to the Schuylkill River Banks, remains an out-of-towner favorite.
Along the Rittenhouse sidewalks — many of which boast seating for alfresco dining and drinking in the warm months — residents and visitors find high-end stores; locally owned boutiques; small galleries; theaters and entertainment; cafes; beer, wine and cocktail bars; and restaurants of all kinds. With all this, the neighborhood buzzes with activity all year long.
Rittenhouse Square, the one-square-block park that gives the neighborhood its name, is more popular with sunbathers, readers, families, artists and even dogs than city founder William Penn ever could have imagined. Festivals, farmers’ markets, fairs and general merriment make it the city’s best-known — and perhaps, most enjoyed — park.
Shoppers can give their wallets a workout on Walnut Street (between Broad and 18th Streets) in the popular Rittenhouse Row shopping district. Featuring high-end boutiques and trend-setting stores, including the first location of Anthropologie, the district offers bountiful shopping and fantastic neighborhood dining.
Another popular park, Fitler Square, has been a community gathering place in Rittenhouse Square for more than a century. The small, half-acre park (located near the Schuylkill River) hosts a variety of seasonal events and offers a relaxing urban retreat to visitors and residents alike.
Rittenhouse Square presents a relaxing spot where visitors and locals gather for picnics, sun-bathing, or just to take a stroll amid the trees, manicured lawns and sculptures.
Named for astronomer and clockmaker David Rittenhouse, the family-friendly park remains one of the most lovely and peaceful spots in which to paint, read, relax on a park bench or catch-up with friends. The main walkways are diagonal, beginning at the corners and meeting at a central oval.
The plaza, which contains a large planter bed and a reflecting pool, is surrounded by a balustrade and ringed by a circular walk. Classical urns, many bearing relief figures of ancient Greeks, rest on pedestals at the entrances and elsewhere throughout the square. Ornamental lamp posts contribute to an air of old-fashioned gentility.
Rittenhouse Square hosts dozens of events throughout the year, including some of the city’s most popular happenings. Typically held in beginning of May, the blockbuster Rittenhouse Square Spring Festival attracts tens of thousands for a celebration of the season complete with food, shopping, and a showcase of live entertainment. In the fall, hundreds of artists from around the country “Circle the Square” during the traditional Rittenhouse Square Fine Art Show. During the holidays, hundreds of celebrants pack the park for the official start of the season during the Rittenhouse Square Christmas Tree Lighting, featuring more than 5,000 brilliant holiday lights.
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Bryant and Wilde's top restaurant picks
Vernick Food and Grill
Occasionally (and rightly) called the best restaurant in Philadelphia, Greg Vernick’s original Philly restaurant was a wonder when it opened and has only gotten better. A focus on simplicity, comfort, and exquisite technique have kept it honest, and (miraculously) it’s never let praise and money distract it from its primary mission: making dinner for the neighbors. 2031 Walnut Street
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If Rittenhouse had to choose a single restaurant to represent its collective soul, Parc would have to be it. Fancy but approachable, expensive but not murderously so. Tables at brunch are the most sought after square feet of real estate in the entire city, and the dining room at dinner is a place where being seen matters nearly as much as what’s on the plate. 227 South 18th Street
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Philly has never had a great reputation for sushi. But chef Hiroyuki “Zama” Tanaka has never let that slow him down. Zama does a particularly modern version of sushi and Japanese cuisine, churning out all sorts of locally-inspired rolls and giant catering platters for wherever sushi is required. 128 South 19th Street
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