Society Hill is one of Philadelphia’s most sought-after neighborhoods. While mostly residential, the community also includes a comfortable combination of restaurants, historic attractions and shops that meet the needs of residents and visitors alike.
During the post-Revolutionary era the neighborhood was home to a number of luminaries — Samuel Powel, the first mayor of the city after independence was declared, former first lady Dolley Todd Madison and Revolutionary War hero Thaddeus Kosciuszko, to name a few.
By the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the diverse neighborhood slipped into a state of decline. Despite its slump, many of the historic buildings remained, which inspired city planners — chief among them, famed Philadelphia architect Edmund Bacon — to revive Society Hill and help residents rediscover the advantages of city living.
And that it did.
Society Hill, which lies between the Delaware River on the east, 8th Street on the west, Walnut Street on the north and Lombard Street on the south, is part of Historic Philadelphia.
The Organization of World Heritage Cities (OWHC) designated Historic Philadelphia — the birthplace of the nation — as the first U.S. World Heritage City. It’s also home to buzzed-about restaurants and beer gardens, owner-operated boutiques, pushing-the-boundaries art galleries and more.
Washington Square, one of Philadelphia’s five public squares laid out in William Penn’s original city plan, remains the scenic park Penn envisioned more than 350 years ago. Its proximity to Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell and the Independence Visitor Center makes it possible for visitors and locals to walk the same streets the nation’s founders once strolled. Walk the same streets the nation’s founders once strolled in Society Hill.
The beautiful park setting and lovely homes and buildings surrounding it complete the experience.
With 18th- and 19th-century buildings lining cobblestone streets, Headhouse Square remains as picture-perfect today as it was hundreds of years ago. It’s also home to Headhouse Farmers Market, the oldest farmers market in Philadelphia, which is held every Sunday, weather permitting.
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Bryant and Wilde top restaurant picks
The gorgeous rustic-chic restaurant and bar has embraced the rich traditions of Spanish gastronomy while incorporating avant-garde cooking techniques.
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The restaurant’s namesake and head chef, Morimoto (of Food Network’s Iron Chef fame), has created a menu offering the very best in contemporary Japanese cusine. While regulars flock here for the exquisitely prepared sushi, Morimoto offers diners a broad spectrum of flavors that delve beyond nigiri and sashimi.
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The fare is top notch — appetizers include seared kobe beef carpaccio, endamme ravioli, miso tuna tartare and tea smoked spareribs. For the main course, delve into delicious dishes like Japanese black cod, wasabi crusted filet mignon, roasted ponzu chicken and colossal tempura shrimp. For dessert, the chocolate bento box will please just about anyone.
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