Rittenhouse Square/ Fairmount

2009 Notebook Homepage

Rittenhouse Square/Fairmount * Center City West

10 minutes away from Drexel University

Rittenhouse Square and Fairmount both have top-quality restaurants, great shopping, whether it’s the designers on Walnut Street or the local boutiques. These neighborhoods are also home to various museums and of course, the parks.

More Information:



Insider Tips:

Both Rittenhouse and Fairmount are better seen on foot; in a car, you are more likely to miss what the small side streets have to offer.

Local celebrities, like members of the Philadelphia Phillies, frequent the many restaurants of Rittenhouse, like Parc and Lacroix.

Primarily residential, Fairmount is a close knit neighborhood where residents make every corner eatery and watering hole their own.

Rittenhouse is the place for sweet treats in small shops like Capogiro Gelato and Yogorino, while Fairmount is a coffee lovers paradise with off-beat cafes like The Flying Saucer and Coffee Room.

Both neighborhoods are SEPTA accessible.

Broke and on a Budget

Grab some food at Darling’s Café (404 S. 20th St.) and follow it up with a piece of delicious cheesecake—or skip lunch and go right to dessert. A slice of cheesecake can cost you about $5, but you can get a whole cake, starting at $15. You’re not subjected to just plain (though it’s very tasty)—you can pick something like white chocolate raspberry, Belguim chocolate or even perfect pumpkin. C, $$

Bookhaven (2202 Fairmount Ave.) is a literary maze for book lovers. There are books on the shelves and on the floor. While the place can be a challenge when crowded, it has two floors full of great finds. If you’re looking to get rid of books, you can even try to sell them here for store credit or cash. C, $$

Head over to the Rodin Museum (22nd and the Parkway), where the suggested donation is only $3. Learn more about Auguste Rodin and his works. You may know the Gates of Hell and the Thinker, but what about his other great pieces? You can get a free guided tour on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays at 1:30 p.m. C, $

Study Spots

We can’t get enough of Mugshots Coffeehouse and Café (21st & Farimount), which is located across from Eastern State Penitentiary. This place is a perfect study retreat. It’s very spacious, the music isn’t obnoxiously loud and the fair-trade coffee is quite delicious. The food is amazing—try the tuna melt, the vegan BLT, the Bonnie and Clyde or maybe the Capone—and it’s vegan-friendly. With free wi-fi, we suggest you just go. Now. C, $

If you’re looking for a good, cheap cup of coffee, don’t worry; it does exist! Try Good Karma Café (331 S. 22nd St.), where you can get organic fair-trade coffee without breaking the bank. Try a bagel with organic PB&J or the biscotti. You can get food and a coffee for about $5. Plus, it also has the potential to be a great study spot, with free Wi-Fi. C, $

Outside Itch

A lot of people reference Rittenhouse Square (18th & Walnut sts.) as a great park to relax and people watch. The park is always bustling with activities. Whether you want to walk the dog, have a picnic or go and read, Rittenhouse Square is a great option. Plus, the park often hosts different events, like live music performances and flea markets. C, free

Take a walk around Rittenhouse on your own little architecture tour. Travel up Chestnut, Walnut, Spruce, Pine (the streets with the tree-sounding names) and look at the various architectural components on the houses—some of them are simply astounding, whether you’re an architecture fiend or a novice. There’s something to be said for the feel of the neighborhood. Plus, by doing so, you’re bound to run into some other awesome places! C, free

Arts & Culture

Check out Eastern State Penitentiary (20th and Fairmount). The National Historic Landmark dates back to 1829, as solitary confinement for prisoners, a new and radical idea. The prison has seen a lot of jailbirds, including Al Capone, Willie Sutton and Pep the Dog. During Halloween, check out Terror Behind the Walls or go on one of the tours throughout the rest of the year. The halls are supposedly haunted by previous inmates, having been featured on “Ghost Hunters,” “World’s Scariest Places,” “Most Haunted Live” and “Fear.” C, $$

Having announced it’s new season, InterAct Theatre Company (2030 Sansom St.) offers various independent productions dealing with social issues affecting society. The prices are really good, so you can go out for a night and not feel bad afterwards. The place is a bit smaller than some theaters around the city, but it’s rather cozy and charming. C, $$

You can learn to rumba, tango, waltz and jive at the Academy of Social Dance (2009 Sansom St). Arrange to have a complimentary dance analysis before diving into your first dance lesson. Open Monday to Friday from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m., the Academy of Social Dance is sure to help you work on your dance moves—or help you find some. C, $$


Rosie’s Yarn Cellar (2017 Locust St.) specializes in, yep, you guessed it, yarn. This place is great for those that knit and crochet; it has a lot of different brands and colors of yarn in stock. You can take a class if you want to learn the art of knitting or read up on the project of the week on Rosie’s blog. C, $$

The first thing you notice at Julius Scissor (2045 Locust St.) is the Tim Burton-esque art in the window. But Julius is a hair salon. Prices depend on what you’re looking to get done and by whom; if you’re paying to have Julius cut your hair, expect to pay more. If you’re just not sure what to do with your hair, have a free 15 minute consultation. C, $$$

The lamps in < ahref=http://www.bulblighting.net/>Bulb (2056 Locust St.) look like something out of a Dr. Suess book. Each lighting fixture is a unique piece of hand-crafted art that you’d expect to find in a gallery. Bulb was one of Philadelphia Magazine’s top five lighting stores in the city—pretty impressive. C, $$$

Don’t Miss:

Academy of Music

C, $$$

Broad and Locust sts.



Helium Comedy Club (21+)

C, $$

2031 Sansom St.



London Grill

C, $$

2301 Fairmount Ave.



Long in the Tooth

C, $

2027 Sansom St.


Remedy Tea Bar

C, $

1628 Sansom St.



Sabrina’s Café

C, $

1802 Callowhill St.



Scoop Deville

C, $

1734 Chestnut St.




C, $$

1927 Walnut St.


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