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. The park is widely considered one of the finest urban public spaces in the United States.
The tree-filled park is surrounded by high rise residences, luxury apartments, an office tower, a few popular restaurants, a Barnes & Noble bookstore, a Barneys Co-Op, 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.
The Rittenhouse neighborhood is also home to many cultural institutions, including the Curtis Institute of Music, the Ethical Society, the Philadelphia Art Alliance, the Rosenbach Museum & Library, Plays & Players, and the Civil War and Underground Railroad Museum. The Square is home to many works of public art.
Residents are in the Albert M. Greenfield School catchment area for grades kindergarten through eighth and South Philadelphia High School for high school. The University of the Arts and Peirce College are both in the Rittenhouse Square neighborhood.