Rittenhouse Square is one of five city squares conceived by Philadelphia’s founder, William Penn, in the 1600s. Originally called Southwest Square, the park was renamed in 1825 to honor David Rittenhouse, a local astronomer-clockmaker and patriotic leader during the Revolutionary era.
The first mansion facing Rittenhouse Square was built in 1840, and by the second half of the 19th century, the Square had become the city’s most fashionable residential neighborhood. Later, in 1913, the Square’s entrances and central plaza were redesigned by architect Paul Philippe Cret— incorporating a reflecting pool, fountains, and timelessly beautiful sculptures.
By the 1920s, the Square’s impressive family mansions gave way to landmark high-rise buildings, and the neighborhood evolved into what it is today— a thriving hub of homes and apartments, upscale shops, galleries, restaurants, luxury hotels, book stores, a public library, health and sporting clubs, and an abundance of Euro-style sidewalk cafés that give Rittenhouse Square its old world charm.
Explore Center City’s numerous cultural and historic sites amidst a green and leafy oasis. With blooming shrubs that add splashes of seasonal color, a summer concert series, annual flower markets and outdoor art exhibits, RIttenhouse Square embodies William Penn’s dream of a “Green Country Towne.”