Philadelphia’s most fashionable neighborhood since 1840, the area surrounding the verdant two-square-block park has always been one of the city’s most desirable residential destinations. A nationally renowned green urban space, Rittenhouse Park is at the locus of a host of tongue-wagging real estate, plus a surfeit of luxe shopping and avenues chockablock with restaurants and bars that boast local character.
City Hall 9m. by train, 7m. by car
University of Pennsylvania 21m. by train, 9m. by car
30th St. Station 11m. by train, 9m. by car
Rittenhouse Square: A posh oasis in the midst of a gritty, hard-working city
Originally a pasture for livestock, the park became one of five open-space areas designated by city father William Penn. In the 1880s, wealthy families recognized the neighborhood as a residential gold mine and began peopling the surrounding streets with elegant mansions and homes, many of which still stand. Rittenhouse Square’s legacy as the home of Philly’s elite remains true today, as little else can compete with views of and proximity to the stately park.
What to Expect: An ideal blend of drool-worthy, upscale residences and swanky retail
Sophisticated patrons clad in Maison Margiela and sunglasses people-watch from chic haunts along the park like Rouge and Devon, while students and young professionals bring a dog, a bottle of wine, and a date to hang on the lawn. At night, scattered lights give the area a magic glow as the post-work crowd goes for cocktails at the Franklin Mortgage and Investment Co, mussels at Monk’s Café or a steak at Barclay Prime.
The Lifestyle: Fine-dining and shopping in one the city’s prettiest neighborhoods
Walk along Walnut and Chestnut Streets for the best clothes the city has to offer. Ladies who lunch and dandies swear by designer boutique Joan Shepp, while post-grads swarm Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie, which were both started in Philadelphia. A few blocks away, the flow of traffic and pedestrians slows on quiet, tree-lined streets, and you can sidle up for a beer and a delicious burger at the consistently popular gastropub Pub & Kitchen.
Unexpected Appeal: Great values can still be found among the pricier options
Looking west at the rising adjoining area of Fitler Square can reward those looking for prices that don’t break the bank.
The Market: Parkside high-rise condos, historic houses, and Victorian mansions
The blockbuster penthouses and apartments ringing the park are of course the big ticket items, but peel back a few streets and you’ll find a varied mix of Gothic Revivals, handsome condos, princely mansions, and styles to suit nearly any taste.
You'll Fall in Love With: Living in the heart and soul of the city
The famous urban activist and writer Jane Jacobs hailed Rittenhouse Park as one of the great examples of what a city could be at its best, noting that it “possesses an intricate sequence of users and uses.” Walking north up 18th Street, the city’s narrow blocks seem to open up, offering glimpses of the towering oak and maple trees of the park ahead. No other part of Philadelphia manages to feel quite so intimate and grand at once.
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