Philadelphia’s oasis of calm

Hang out in Philadelphia’s most popular town square, and one of five original public spaces planned by city founder William Penn in the late 17th century. Wander through some of the most desirable streets in the city or sit in the shade of the park – an oasis of relaxation in the middle of the bustling city.

Hop-off the Philadelphia bus tour to enjoy a picnic on the manicured lawn. Peruse the sculptures. Or simply stroll the tree-lined avenues of the park. Discover one of the most peaceful places in the city. Visit during the annual flower market or frequent art exhibitions – or simply when the flowerbeds are in full bloom.

The history of relaxation

Rittenhouse Square was originally surrounded by brickyards in the late 1700s – which made use of the clay soil. Renamed in 1825, it became a fashionable residential neighborhood and home to Victorian aristocracy – with several period mansions still surviving.

The present layout, with diagonal walkways and reflecting pool, dates to 1913 when it was redesigned by French architect, Paul Philippe Cret.

Other interesting facts about Rittenhouse Square

  • The square is named after astronomer and clockmaker David Rittenhouse, a descendant of the city’s first paper maker, William Rittenhouse
  • The park is popular with dog walkers and featured in a scene depicting as much in the film In Her Shoes
  • The park is also a popular night spot, with a number of top restaurants sprouting up along the east side on 18th Street
  • The popular Lion Crushing a Serpent sculpture was originally created by the French artist Antoine-Louise Barye in 1832 (the version in the park is a bronze cast from 1890)
  • Other popular artworks include Paul Manship’s Duck Girl and Albert Laessle’s Billy – a 2 foot (60 cm) high bronze goat.