Center City Philadelphia is one of the most important financial districts in the country and is home to a number of big name companies to show for it. though you shouldn’t let the big name companies fool you, Center City is a great place to take a vacation. Pennsylvania is one of the best states if you’re looking to get away from all the noise from big cities. Center City includes other neighborhoods in Philadelphia, the most notable of which is the central business district. Center City can be split into four different sections, South Street, and Vine Street covering the South and North borders of Center City. Delaware River covering the East, and the Schuylkill River to the west of Center City. In total, Center City is made up of about 7 different neighborhoods. Within this section of Center City is the home of multiple big named companies. Some of these companies include Sunoco, Aramark, Comcast, Lincoln National Corporation, and many more. There are also a number of Diplomatic offices in the neighborhood. Most of the Educational Institutions in Center City are private schools, and have been that way since even the 1940’s. Center City also has a number of hotels that one can stay at, not just the Marriott but beautiful hotels like The Bellevue Hotel, Sofitel Philadelphia, and many more.
Within Center City lies the historic Old City, one of the oldest cities in Philadelphia and used to be one of the most important neighborhoods in the U.S.. Old City is also where Quaker and William Penn first settled, and for a while was one of America’s most important financial centers. After the central business district moved west, the area became littered with warehouses and light industry. During the 20th century the area was restored thanks to the development of the Independence National Historical Park and United States Bicentennial. During the 1980’s the area went through some extensive gentrification, many warehouses were converted to art studios and galleries.
One of Old City’s best attractions is the Spruce Street Harbor Park, a colorful park filled with floating barges, craft beers, shuffleboard, a waterfront boardwalk and many more activities for any visitor to enjoy. Spruce Street Harbor Park has LED lights strung up as well, wrapping around trees to make the nightlife look spectacular.
Most of the park’s food and drink services are located at the boardwalk. Old City is also home to many boutiques, galleries, and even local businesses. Old City also hosts an event called First Friday, where art galleries and shops hold open houses for art, and fashion. Old City has a number of restaurants that are actually owned by some celebrity chefs. Some of these restaurants are Cuba Libre, Amada, Buddakan, and many many more.
Society Hill also holds many 18th and 19th century style homes and was named after the Free Society of Traders. The Free Society of Traders was a group of merchants and landowners with personal business in the area. Society Hill had direct access to the Delaware River meaning that it became one of the most populated areas in the state. The neighborhood became flooded with many churches, market halls, taverns, and brick houses.
Society Hill used to have a creek in it, Dock Creek, eventually it became polluted and was filled in by the city. Dock creek would eventually be renamed to Dock Street, which now houses its own brewing company! During the 19th century the area began to expand but at the cost of its quality, after the 1940’s Society Hill turned into a slum. Then in the 1950’s the neighborhood turned over a new leaf thanks to an urban renewal program.
Many houses were restored and bought out by the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority. Many new parks, walkways, and townhouses were built and replica 18th century streetlights and sidewalks were added to bring together the colonial aesthetic. Eventually the area was bought in the late 1950’s, this time by 3 separate companies looking to redevelop Society Hill.
The three companies looking to change the area are; The Redevelopment Authority, the Philadelphia Movement, and the Old Philadelphia Development Corporation. Certain parts of the neighborhood were demolished or relocated, the cleared up area was then used as the site for the Society Hill Towers.
During the mid 1960’s the area would go through another redevelopment, this time being led by architect I. M. Pei, a Chinese-American architect who was raised in Shanghai. Pei’s team would introduce a townhouses and towers project into the neighborhood; the plan was completed in 1977. Waverly Court and Penn’s Landing Square would eventually be built by architect Louis Sauer, an American architect. Louis Sauer’s team would eventually go on to design several row houses for the neighborhood. Louis Sauer’s team would eventually go on to design several row houses for the neighborhood. Louis Sauer’s team would eventually go on to design several row houses for the neighborhood.
Located West of Old City and Society Hill, Washington Square West is home to a diverse option of restaurants, cafes, and shops! Some of the wealthier visitors in the city may opt to contract a driver in order to avoid the hassle of public transport.
Washington Square park is mixed commercial, residential, and industrial, this is why most of their row-houses are either 3 to 4 stories high. Many of these buildings are Condominiums, Apartments, Hospitals, and even offices, they even sometimes include their own ground-level retail place.
Washington Square West is also known for being one of the most gay friendly neighborhoods in the area. The neighborhood constantly holds different LGBTQ+ friendly events, such as Outfest, Tabu Drag Brunch, Code:Black, and many more.
Washington Square West also holds some of the nation’s oldest buildings. Such buildings include one of Philadelphia oldest Jewish burial grounds, the oldest hospital in the nation, and even The University of the Arts. Washington Square West is also home to Thomas Jefferson University, one of the best medical universities in the country and the leading health care center.
Washington Square Park came to be as recently as the 1950’s, this was because of Edmund Bacon’s redevelopment program in Center City. Multiple neighborhoods were redeveloped including Washington Square West and even Society Hill. The plan was unfortunately put on hold due to a massive decline in the early 20th century.
After this the area would be redeveloped anyway, city officials had hoped that by redeveloping the area, it would lead to a boost both economy and citizen morale. The main authority that was pushing for the redevelopment of the area was the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority. However the agency would act like a double edged sword for the neighborhood. During the beginning years of the 1970’s, the redevelopment agency owned almost 20% of the neighborhood, but with the purchases of so many properties they began to run out of money.
In the mid 1970’s the federal fund that was used to redevelop the area had run out, and the agency simply stopped building. This left a ton of empty lots and the neighborhood was once again left to rot. During the late 70’s to the 80’s the area would slowly build itself back up. Then in the 1990’s the area began to see a complete economic boom thanks to its new mayor. The new mayor at the time, Ed Rendell, helped bring investment into Center City. Gentrification took over the neighborhood, and by the 2000’s Washington Square West had turned itself around. Washington Square West is known for its very gay friendly attitude, even having an area in the neighborhood called The Gayborhood. The Gayborhood has been around since the 70’s, and throughout this time it was even a red-light district. The area actually went through several attempts of rebranding and gentrification however despite all of these attempts it still remains the Gayborhood. Washington Square West was also home to a few pop culture figures as well, one of which was director M. Night Shymalan.
As is implied by the name, Market Street is one of the most important locations for Philadelphia’s commerce and business. Market Street actually has a rich history, with various famous historical figures having lived on Market Street. Some of these famous figures include both political figures, actors, and even directors!
Benjamin Franklin had a house on one of the intersections, and would perform his kite flying experiment there. Thomas Jefferson had actually drafted the Declaration of Independence in the Graff on Market Street. Robert Morris also lived on Market Street, Robert Morris helped fund the Revolutionary War. For a while, the President’s House was once located on Market Street; it was used by both George Washington and John Adams. Now a days some of the most well known agencies and companies in the United States are located on Market Street. These companies have either constructed new buildings or overturned old buildings to meet new requirements.
Market Street is also home to the National Museum of American Jewish history. Market Street also houses the Fashion District Philadelphia Shopping Mall. There is also a former railroad station, Reading Terminal, that now serves as an entrance to the Pennsylvania Convention Center. The first International Style building built in the U.S is located on Market Street, named the PSFS Building. Philadelphia City Hall is also located on Market Street, along with One Liberty Place and many more historic buildings.
Chinatown is made up of Asian Americans and is actually still growing in size! As of 2018 Philadelphia’s Chinatown has continued to grow mainly due to large migration from New York City. The area is supported by Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation, PCDC for short. Chinatown came to be when in the mid-late 19th century, Cantonese immigrants moved near Philadelphia’s commercial wharves. The first business was opened by Lee Fong in 1871, a laundry mat, and soon after the rest of ethnic Chinese followed. Throughout the Early 1900’s the area began to consist mainly of restaurants, and one grocery store. In the mid 60’s a large number of families began to move to Chinatown, this led to the area going up for a renewal program.
This led to the creation of the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation which gave local businesses a say in local development matters. In the late 90’s, Chinatown began to expand, including not only Chinese immigrants but also Korean, Vietnamese and even Taiwanese. Soon Chinatown became more commercially viable, However this led to an unforeseen issue.
The commercial success caught the eye of the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team who began to run a campaign to try to build a new area where they could play baseball. For a while they were planning on demolishing several buildings in Chinatown to make room for this new ballpark. This proposal was met with strong opposition from the PCDC, who felt that a ballpark would destroy Chinatown. Multiple rallies and protests were held by many different ethnic and religious groups in order to help stop the ballpark from being constructed. Eventually the ballpark was built south of Philadelphia instead of in Chinatown. This ballpark was opened in 2004 in the South Philadelphia Sports Complex. Chinatowns most recent addition was in 2012, with the addition of an Eastern Tower Community Center. It was quickly approved by the city, construction began in 2017 and it was officially opened 2 years later on November 8th.
Chinatown had to deal with constant renovation programs, highway proposals, and demolishing plans trying to get rid of the neighborhood. Despite this, the area is thriving and is still growing to this day! Today, Chinatown is filled with shops, restaurants, factories, and other industrial businesses.
If you’re looking for a drink you can go to Dragon Beer Garden or to the famous David’s Mai Lai Wah. While the area may be called Chinatown it is far more diverse than the name would have you believe. Chinatown is filled with Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, and many more diverse Asian cuisine restaurants. Chinatown is also lucky in that it is near many of Center City’s hotels, making it an ideal area to visit. Chinatown also hosts events, one of the most well known being “Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival”, an illuminated fest where lantern artisans come together to present their work. Their work includes handcrafted lanterns, pandas, whales, dragons, and many more. The event also includes performances of acrobatics, martial arts, folk dancing, and more. Chinatown is also home to one of the oldest public markets in the United States, Reading Terminal Market. Reading Terminal Market is filled with many different cuisines, such as soul food, Asian cuisine, Middle Eastern cuisine, and even authentic Philly Cheesesteaks.
Rittenhouse Square is the name of both the public park in the middle and the neighborhood around it. The neighborhood is one of the highest income neighborhoods in the country, and forms a historic district with Fitler Square. Rittenhouse Square is maintained by a non-profit group, The Friends of Rittenhouse Square.
Rittenhouse Square was renamed in 1825 after David Rittenhouse, a clockmaker, and someone who lent a great hand in the American Revolution. David Rittenhouse was also a descendant of William Rittenhouse, the first paper-maker in Philadelphia. William Rittenhouse’s Paper-mill is still standing in Philadelphia to this day, now it’s known as Rittenhousetown. At the start of the 19th century Rittenhouse Square would become a very sought after neighborhood, thanks in large part to one man, James Harper.
James Harper was recently retired from U.S. congress and had been a merchant and brick maker before that. James Harper decided to use his wealth to set the tone for Rittenhouse Square; he would proceed to buy most of the north side and begin construction on his own house. James Harper would keep buying land in Rittenhouse Square, dividing it up and then reselling them.
After his death, the James Harper house would become the home of the Rittenhouse Club. From the late 1800’s to early 1900’s a number of well known and well off families would live in Rittenhouse Square. Such families include John Wanamaker, Edmund Bacon, and even his son at one point, Kevin Bacon.
In 1913, Rittenhouse Square would begin to add French architecture to the neighborhood. Thanks to Paul Philippe Cret, a French architect, who redesigned parts of the square to resemble Paris and French gardens. Paul added stone additions to pools and fountains, and constructed new entryways that had a much more classical look. Post World War II Rittenhouse Square began to add modern architecture to its neighborhood. Apartment complexes, office spaces, and condominiums began to pop up around the neighborhood, along with shopping malls and high-rise buildings. Rittenhouse Square would still keep most of its Italianate, and Art Deco styles, but the majority of its Victorian mansions were replaced by residential buildings.
Paul Cret’s redesign was well received among the community, despite how many additions he made the park still remained largely the same, just more modern. His redesign was so popular that it actually caught the attention of several journalists who sought to interview him. Rittenhouse Square would become much more Centered and intricate, and despite many proposed changes, has stayed this way ever since.
Rittenhouse Square is littered with luxury apartments, an office tower, and restaurants scattered around. The park itself has many benches where people can eat, fountains, statues and even doggie bag dispensers. Rittenhouse Square has many historical and cultural institutions around the neighborhood. Among these institutions are many civil war and underground railroad museums in the area. Along with the Curtis Institute of Music, the Philadelphia Art Alliance and even the Wine School of Philadelphia! The neighborhood is also lined with many different Civil War-Era style mansions, oftentimes being used for the set of Hollywood movies. Rittenhouse Square features a number of events throughout spring, These events typically start at the beginning of May.
Fitler Square is the name of a public park in Philadelphia and the neighborhood around it. Named after Philadelphia’s 19th century mayor, Edwin Henry Fitler. The park is maintained by both the Fitler Square Improvement Association and the Department of Parks and Recreation. Fitler Square is located west of Rittenhouse Square, oftentimes both neighborhoods are associated with one another, eventually garnering the nickname “Rit-Fit”.
Before the 50’s the neighborhood had fallen on harsh times, much of the city was overwhelmed by urban blight, and the park itself was just a wasteland of drunks and druggies. Finally the city managed to get Mayor Joseph S. Clark Jr to help improve the neighborhood through a petition. Mayor Clark began to free up money that allowed for the construction of new homes. At one point the neighborhood was almost removed in order to add a new crosstown expressway. Fitler Square also has a river to the west, Schuylkill River. Today, the neighborhood is mainly residential and houses single families that moved to the area.
Center City Philadelphia is packed with activities for any visitor, whether you want to visit its historic monuments or astonishing skyscrapers. Though getting around the city is often going to be your biggest issue. This is why its important to have a good transportation service that can get you around Center City hassle free. Often times you’ll find car services scattered throughout the city but it’s always good to know the good car service from the best car service. A good driver will even know the history of the city like the back of his hand!. One of the best wats to find an elite car company to drive you around is to narrow down your search. It’s best to look up black car services or luxury transportation services in Philadelphia, this way you can always find the best car services to get you around town. One of the best transportation services is My Destiny Limo, they can not only get you some of the best chauffeur service around but they also do long distance transportation. so next time you’re looking to visit Center City, don’t hesitate to book with a good car service to get you around.