Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia is one of five original open-space parks that were created during the late 17th century. The park was planned by both William Penn and Thomas Holme, and its boundaries stretch for approximately two short blocks on either side, between Walnut Street to the north, Rittenhouse Square South, and Rittenhouse Square West.
Although it was originally named Southwest Square, in 1825 the park was renamed Rittenhouse Square after David Rittenhouse who was a descendant of the first Philadelphian paper-maker, William Rittenhouse.
Things To Do in Rittenhouse Square
Other than enjoying the beauty of the park itself, which can be largely accredited to a public – private partnership known as Friends of Rittenhouse Square, it is a popular dog-walking stop for local residents and hosts a number of tree- and bench-lined walkways in addition to a variety of lion and goat statues. During the summer months the park offers free outdoor concerts and several times a year hosts Art in the Park where local artists get to show off their latest works. Surrounding the park are luxury apartments, high rise residences, outdoor cafes and trendy restaurants, a Barney’s Co-Op, several high end hotels, and a Barnes & Noble bookstore.
Arts & Culture at Rittenhouse Square
There are a number of cultural institutions that reside within the Rittenhouse neighborhood, including the Ethical Society, the Curtis Institute of Music, the Rosenbach Museum & Library, the Philadelphia Art Alliance, the Underground Railroad Museum, and the Civil War Museum. Among the featured works of public art is the bust of J. William White in bas-relief style which as created by Robert Tait McKenzie, a Canadian-born doctor and sculptor.
Top Restaurants In Rittenhouse Square
Rittenhouse Square is surrounded by some of the most high end restaurants often hosting the Who’s Who of Philadelphia Society.
Rouge located directly across from the park at 205 S 18th St is well known for its burgers and American fare along with martini lunches. This Bistro remains a favorite dining destination for its ambience, food and dazzling sidewalk dining. It is open Monday to Friday 11:30 to Close and Saturday and Sunday 10am until close.
Parc Brasserie Restaurant, Bistro & Cafe is also located directly across from Rittenhouse Square Park at 227 S 18th St. This brasserie which is reminiscent of the chic brasseries of Paris and there French Café culture offers traditional bistro fare in an open and grand fashion with tables spilling out onto the sidewalk. It is open Monday to Thursday 7:30am to 11pm Saturday and Sunday10am to 10pm.
Getting Around Rittenhouse Square
The Square is accessible via a variety of forms of public transport. All Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) regional rail lines serve the Suburban Station, which is six blocks to the north of Rittenhouse Square. A rapid transit system – the PATCO Speedline – connects 16th Street and Locust Street, which are two blocks to the east of the Square, to the surrounding areas of Philadelphia and beyond.
Education In The Rittenhouse Square Neighborhood
Residents in the Rittenhouse Square neighborhood are in the catchment area of the Albert M. Greenfield School, which caters to those from kindergarten age through to eighth grade. High school level pupils can attend South Philadelphia High School. Pierce College, which offers a variety of degree programs, and the University of the Arts are both located within the Rittenhouse Square neighborhood.
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