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Rittenhouse Square is one of five squares planned by William Penn and was constructed in 1683. In 1825, the square was named in honor of Philadelphian David Rittenhouse who was an astronomer, clock maker and patriot during the revolutionary war. The layout of the park has main walkways going diagonal from the corners to a center oval plaza. The park is very lively and in a very busy area. There are many people eating lunch or just relaxing during the day. This is a good place for relaxing or just people-watching.
- Arts and Culture
- Historical Travel
Rittenhouse Square is one of the five original open-space parks planned by William Penn and his surveyor Thomas Holme in 1683. It is considered one of the finest urban public spaces in the United States.
Originally called Southwest Square, Rittenhouse Square was renamed in 1825 after David Rittenhouse, a descendant of the first paper-maker in Philadelphia, the German immigrant William Rittenhouse. William Rittenhouse's original paper-mill site is known as Rittenhousetown, located in the rural setting of Fairmount Park along Paper Mill Run. David Rittenhouse was a clockmaker and friend of the American Revolution, as well as a noted astronomer; a lunar crater is named after him.
In the early nineteenth century, Rittenhouse Square became a highly desirable address. In 1840, James Harper, a merchant and brick manufacturer who had recently retired from the United States Congress, was the first person to build on the square, buying most of the north frontage, erecting a stately townhouse for himself at 1811 Walnut Street. Sold after the congressman's death, the Harper house became the home of the exclusive Rittenhouse Club, which added the present facade in 1901.
Today, the tree-filled park is surrounded by high rise residences, luxury apartments, an office tower, a few popular restaurants, shops, and two hotels, including a five-star. Its green grasses and dozens of benches are popular lunch-time destinations for residents and workers in Philadelphia's Center City neighborhood, while its lion and goat statues are popular gathering spots for small children and their parents. The park is a popular dog walking destination for area residents, as was shown in the fictional film In Her Shoes. The Square was discussed in a favorable light by Jane Jacobs in her seminal work, The Death and Life of Great American Cities. We enjoyed the May Rittenhouse Square Festival where the blocks were closed off to traffic, restaurants brought their food and seating outside as did shops, There was a stage for performers, we enjoyed musicians and comedians.
- Food and Dining
Rittenhouse Square is the place to be
Rittenhouse Square, along with Washington, Franklin, Logan, and City Hall Squares, is one of five public spaces established by William Penn in his original plan for the city of Philadelphia. Originally a pasture for the grazing of livestock, it was renamed from Southwest Square to Rittenhouse Square in 1825 to honor David Rittenhouse, a local astronomer, clock maker, and first director of the U.S. Mint. By the 1850s, the Rittenhouse Square area was attracting the wealthy to its residential neighborhood.
Today the area remains affluent, though high-rise apartments have replaced the Victorian mansions. Rittenhouse Square remains a very lively area filled with people throughout the day, relaxing, moving from home to work and back, shopping, or walking the dog. The streets immediate adjacent to the square house some of the city's finest stores alongside expensive apartments.
From here you are just a few blocks from City Hall, and after a few blocks in the other direction (to the west) you will find the great running and walking trails along the Schuylkill River. The area also has many of the city's top restaurants and hotels. This is a perfect place to stay, eat or shop in Philly.
Rittenhouse Square - natural attractions
Rittenhouse Square is one of the five original open-space parks planned by William Penn and
his surveyor Thomas Holme during the late 17th century in central Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Its boundaries are 18th Street to the East, Walnut St. to the north, Rittenhouse Square West to
the west (between 19th and 20th streets), and Rittenhouse Square South to the south
(between Locust and Spruce streets).The Rittenhouse neighborhood is also home to many
cultural institutions, including the Curtis Institute of Music, the Philadelphia Art Alliance, the
Rosenbach Museum & Library, and the Civil War and Underground Railroad Museum. The Square
is home to many works of public art. Among them is a bas-relief bust of J. William White done by
R. Tait McKenzie. The Central Park of Philadelphia's five-park based municipal development,
Rittenhouse Square is home to statuesque blondes and burnished copper statues of our
nation's founders. Well-laid walkways sensibly ring the park, which drips with mid-Atlantic
Rittenhouse Square- the "Central park" of Philly
Rittenhouse Square, one of William Penn's original five, was known as the southwest square until 1825 when it was named for the astronomer-clockmaker, David Rittenhouse (1732-96). This amazing man of universal talents — one of many in 18th century Philadelphia — was a descendant of William Rittenhouse, who built the first paper mill in America in Germantown.
During the day this park is alive with skateboarders, sunbathers and dog walkers— at night couples stroll on romantic walks. The natural sanctuary of lovely trees and green grass is surrounded by one of the city's most upscale eating, shopping and residential districts. this spot is the ideal place to take refuge from modern distractions. A few steps down the path at any of the six gates, and the noise and traffic of the city seem to disappear
Today, the tree-filled park is surrounded with trendy shops, fine restaurants, luxury apartments and two hotels, including a five-star. Its green grasses and benches are major lunch-time destinations for workers in Philadelphia's Center City neighborhood, while its lion and goat statues are popular gathering spots for small children and their parents.
More broadly, the name Rittenhouse Square is used informally to designate the neighborhood surrounding the square itself, at its greatest extent encompassing most of the western half of Center City, from Market Street in the north to South Street in the south, and from Broad Street on the east to the Schuylkill River on the west. This area of the city, particularly the blocks to the south of the square, contain the most expensive real estate in Philadelphia. Though most popular with the affluent 25-35 year old segment, the residents of the area vary widely in age.
- National/State Park
- Historical Travel
Walking, Shopping and Eating
Great area for doing some shopping, dining and walking....
Born Yesterday (babies and kids clothing), Anthropology (clothing, housewares and jewelry, etc), and some many other places... just walk around Walnut and Chestnut Streets to find some great stores. Stroll through the park and sit on a park bench watch the world go by.....
For dining and drinks you can head over to Rouge, Devon, Smith and Wolenski, Loie, Irish Pub, Bards, Tria or any other number of places on or near the square.
- Women's Travel
Classic Urban Park
Rittenhouse square is one of five urban piazzas/parks designed by William Penn when he laid out the city of Philadelphia. These include Rittenhouse, Washington, Logan, Franklin and central squares (City Hall was built on the central square, thus reducing the number to four). Rittenhouse Square lies in a neighborhood of the same name, now a posh residential address and one of the major shopping areas of the city. With the possible exception of Washington Square, Rittenhouse is probably the most attractive of all central city parks.
Rittenhouse Square is really a small, pretty park in the middle of a fine Philadelphia residential neighborhood. People of all walks of life hang out here, socialize, bring their pets - especially when the weather's good.
Take a walk through the Square, maybe rest on a bench. Then go enjoy a beautiful Philadelphia neighborhood, with all the older buildings. Walk through the really narrow streets that, no doubt, go back a few hundred years.
It's a bit of a taste of Philadelphia living.
Philly has 4 main city parks, highlighted by this peaceful block of green space.
Rittenhouse is a great place to people watch. You're sure to see artists painting if the weather is nice.
Stroll around the neighborhood. It's one of the nicer areas in Center City.
You'll find great shopping and dining (including the famous Le Bec Fin).
I recently spent a lazy Sunday afternoon here having a picnic with my nephew and some friends.
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