While the Rittenhouse Square shopping district certainly has its share of overpriced, trendy designer chain stores, there is something here for everyone—even if you don’t have a trust fund. This is the center of the shopping scene in Philly, so even if you just go to window-shopping at the one-of-a-kind boutiques or to see visit the Square decked out in lights it is a must-stop on the holiday shopping agenda. Roughly bordered by Broad and 20th streets, with the bulk of stores concentrated on Chestnut and Walnut, the area provides undeniably elegant gift options and offers as much variety as a mega-mall in a much more pleasant environment.
If you have the cash, check out unique boutiques like Asta de Blue (265 S. 20th St.) and Sophy Curson (122 S. 19th St.) for a positively swank selection ranging from designer dresses (Lacroix, Blumarine) to contemporary clothing (Zelda, Harari) to stylish shoes. Asta de Blue proudly boasts the largest collection of Arche footwear beyond Manhattan. For exquisite jewelry for that special someone, there is a much more original alternative to the generic designs of Kay Jewelers and Zales. Deborah Finn’s Rittenhouse Jewelers (220 S. 20th St.) provides a unique assortment of inventive and tasteful necklaces, bracelets, and rings.
Daffy’s (17th and Chestnut St.) offers the brand name clothes, shoes, ties, and apparel at discounts as high as 80% off for men, women, and children. They also have a house wares section with cheap offerings that don’t look cheap. City Sports (1608 Walnut St.) has the best jerseys, spots gear, and sneakers for those athletic types on your list. The Sharper Image (1518 Walnut St.) stocks endless amounts of random doo-dads and grown-up toys that are guaranteed increase comfort levels of recipients.
For the geek in all of us (and we all know it’s there), there’s Out Of Time (1410 Chestnut St.) & Fat Jack Comics (2006 Sansom St.). Both offer a Comic-Con’s ransom of graphic novels, action figures, and other memorabilia to entertain yourself (because we all know that the X-Men rock). For cheap music, check out Coconuts (1717 Chestnut St.) for great artists both old and new, popular and rare. You can even sell back those CDs you paid too much for at Tower for store credit.
But why settle for material gifts when you could give the memories of a great show? The Prince Music Theater (1412 Chestnut St.) offers a wide array of shows for any tastes with numerous discount tickets for students or rush seats (visit www.princemusictheater.org for box office hours and a show schedule).
f you still insist on visiting the huge chains, you’ll find Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Barnes & Noble, Williams Sonoma, Express, H & M, and the two Gaps (regular and Outlet) and many more. They are popular for a reason, you know.