Your Destination Guide to Philadelphia

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Rittenhouse Row

Rittenhouse Row
Rittenhouse Row

© Lucius Kwok

Just West of Broad St. Avenue of the Arts, and catty-cornered southwest of City Hall, the blocks between Market St. and Pine St. (north and south respectively, stretching from 15th St. towards 21st St.) mark the region known as Rittenhouse Row. No one in this congested area of the city is safe from the watchful eye of ticket maids, haunting the two hour parking meters and graciously awarding "Tow Now" stickers to those who dare to tempt them. Amidst the sea of parking meters, this area of the city is also swamped with stores.

Designer brands such as Aerosoles, Armani Exchange, Brooks Brothers, Club Monaco, Diesel, and Polo Ralph Lauren dominate the streets. Various shops and boutiques selling eyewear, cigars, swimwear, furniture, jewelry, books, gowns, consignment, and stationery reside on nearly every street corner. Not to mention the Shops at Bellevue, with its big brassy revolving door, and the Shops at Liberty Place, which brags of hand tailored, custom fitted clothes for both sexes. Younger, slightly more affordable stores such as Urban Outfitters, American Apparel, H&M, and Express occupy the block around 16th and Walnut St. near the Art Institute of Philadelphia. Just down the street on Chestnut between 17th and 18th is the ever-changing and drastically cheaper Buffalo Exchange, where you can sell back your clothes for store credit or a little bit of cash. And, of course, no shopping district would be complete without an abundance of cosmetics stores and salons.

The prominent Rittenhouse Square itself is across from a three-story Anthropology store between 18th and 20th St., with Walnut St. to the north and Manning St. on the south. Its benches and trees provide a relaxing asylum from the exhausting consumerism that takes place across the sidewalk. Every May, Rittenhouse Row attracts crowds of thousands with its annual Spring Festival: Walnut St. is transformed into a carnival of stages with live music and food stalls and fashion shows. Rittenhouse Row also hosts a Christmas tree-lighting ceremony in early December, and a Halloween celebration where you can trick-or-treat from shop to shop. Also, the area thrives during Restaurant week, which takes place twice a year (in September and February), where local restaurants offer fixed-price three-course menus.

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