The tree-lined streets, immaculate townhomes and brick sidewalks of Rittenhouse come with a price tag—it’s currently the wealthiest neighborhood in the city. It’s is also home to the William Penn-designed Rittenhouse Square. The grassy, shaded park is a beloved hangout spot for locals, who love to languish in the sun with a picnic lunch and some of the best people-watching in the city. If that’s not your thing, grab an outdoor table at nearby Parc, a Stephen Starr-helmed French bistro that would make Toulouse Lautrec lose his mind. Rittenhouse is also home to some of the city’s poshest shopping. You can pick up Marni and Balenciaga at Joan Shepp and drool over Tom Ford and Paul Smith at Boyd’s.
A simple neon diamond in the window alerts you to the presence of this all-day BYO cafe, unassuming and slick as it is. Res Ipsa quietly opened in 2017 and has since become one of the most buzzed-about new restaurants in Philadelphia, which seamlessly transitions from housemade English muffins and locally roasted coffee in the morning to octopus bucatini and whole roasted chicken after 5pm. The rustic Sicilian food contrasts nicely with the minimalist interior—think fresh preserved citrus fazzoletti against shiny white marble tabletops.
Do you like beer? Of course you do. At Monk’s Cafe, there’s 25 beers on a rotating tap list and an even longer bottle list, with a heavy emphasis on Belgian varieties. Dark wood panelling at the bar, weird old tapestries on the walls and soft, yellow lights from the ceiling transport you to a cozy, northern pub. And even with its globally inspired suds offerings, there’s a friendly, convivial vibe that gives the bar a totally locals-only feel. You’ll assuredly have one too many, in which case, we recommend a steaming bowl of Monk’s moules and frites.
How many times have you started Ulysses (and not made it past page twelve)? Don’t worry, the Rosenbach won’t judge you—though the renowned rare books museum will show you its prized first-edition of the classic James Joyce novel, along with an extensive collection of Charles Dickens’ treasures, a rare first edition of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and a whole host of art and furniture that once belonged to the Rosenbach family. The museum offers tours at their Rittenhouse and Art Museum locations, as well as lectures, special events and film screenings.
If you’ve ever dreamed of living in an apartment building with a doorman, you can live out your luxe fantasies for a weekend at the Rittenhouse Hotel. With modern-glam furnishings (think gold bathroom fixtures and super plush duvets), an in-house spa, fine dining restaurant, tea room and cozy bar, the Rittenhouse satisfies the Marie Antoinette in all of us.
If you do just one thing…
Hop over to Long in the Tooth to peep its extraordinary and extensive vinyl collection.
Photograph: Courtesy Visit Philly/M. Edlow