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Rittenhouse Square is a posh place. Philadelphia’s social scene starts here. Deluxe hotels, luxurious private residences, top shelf restaurants and fashionable boutiques surround this tree filled park. The park is a bustling epicenter with fountains, statues, dozens of benches and walkways. The square was designed as a gathering place for residents by William Penn and organizations like The Friends of Rittenhouse continue that tradition. Check out our video here and read below for some great details about Rittenhouse Square.
One of the park’s most popular annual events is the “Clothesline Show”, which was started 80 years ago by local artists to display their work on clotheslines, between the trees. This art exhibition has grown over the years to include three-dimensional works and is America’s longest running outdoor art show.
The arts are alive in Rittenhouse. The Curtis Institute of Music is a world renowned conservatory founded in 1924. They feature many opera and orchestra performances by students, staff and alumni. The Philadelphia Art Alliance has been a fixture in Rittenhouse for the past 90 years showcasing 12 exhibits a year, as well as hosting workshops, concerts and tours. Adults and children alike take advantage of these programs.
One of the most famous residents’ of Rittenhouse Square was Henry P. McIllhenny. According to Andy Warhol, McIllhenny was the only person in Philadelphia with glamour. The Philadelphia Art Alliance has called him “the first gentleman of Philadelphia”. His summers were spent at his Castle in Ireland entertaining famous actors like Clark Gable and Greta Garbo. While in Philadelphia, he was the chairman of the Philadelphia Art Museum and left his entire collection to the museum when he died.
Rittenhouse Row represents area businesses between the Avenue of the Arts to the Schuylkill River and are always hosting special events such as the spring festival and the fall gathering. The French Quarter of Rittenhouse Square is the area between 17th and 19th streets and is home to many wonderful restaurants, nightclubs, shops and galleries like Devon Seafood Grill, The Prime Rib, Tavern 17 an the David David Gallery. Steven Starr has a few restaurants in this section including Barclay Prime, The Dandelion and of course, Parc.
In a recent visit to Parc, we enjoyed the Sunday Brunch complete with background jazz music, exceptional service and the food made us feel we were in either Paris or New Orleans. How do the French say it? “je ne sais quois!”
If Italian is your pleasure, then Di Bruno Brothers, is the place to eat and shop! Known as the best cheese shop and gourmet grocery in Philadelphia. There is an upstairs café the sign at their door says it so well, “Blue is the violet, Red is the rose, Buy him some cheese and we bet he’ll propose!”
If fashion is your pleasure, then hold onto your hat! Walnut Street is the place to shop! Here you will find world class merchants and small specialty boutiques for all styles and age groups! Women’s Wear Daily recently recommended our premier shopping district to its readers. Bring your credit cards fashionistas, because this is upscale! For more information, try this Philadelphia blog is always on the cutting edge of what is hot in Rittenhouse Square.