The People's Guide is a series examining Philly's many, many neighborhoods, led by luminaries of Curbed's choosing. This time around, we welcome Monica Jindia, vice chair of the Urban Land Institute Philadelphia and 11-year resident of Rittenhouse Square.
We caught up with Jindia just before the big ULI Spring Meeting in Philly from April 19-21 and asked her to explain what her neighborhood is all about.
What do you like best about the neighborhood? I love that the heart of the city is right outside my door. My favorite places to eat, shop, my office, and gym are all within a 10-15 minute walk without having to take public transportation or a cab.
What do you like least about it? Congestion during rush hour can be a big headache if I have to travel by car, but I think the same goes for any major city. There are a lot of bars and restaurants in the neighborhood, which is a good thing, and also sometimes a bad thing.
How has it changed since you moved there? It has changed a lot—the variety of retail and restaurants gets better and better. I’ve noticed more families with young children, especially if you walk over to Rittenhouse Square on any nice day. And, overall, the city seems cleaner and more organized.
What's the neighborhood housing stock like? There are mostly multi-family or condo buildings in this neighborhood.
Better for buyers or renters? That depends on the individual. Due to the large number of higher educational institutions, there is constant turnover so rentals see a lot of change in tenants. It is also an excellent place to buy something if you plan to hold on to it for the long term.
How would you describe the type of people who live here? Rittenhouse Square residents are very multigenerational and urban. The residents run the gamut – everyone from art students to doctors to young professionals to citizens who have lived here over decades – it really is a diverse group.
Any local customs of note? Festivals! Spring is a great time to enjoy an excellent variety of festivals in the area. There's also an abundance of al fresco dining.
Do you need a car to get around? Definitely not. Rittenhouse is extremely walkable and transit oriented. Plus, the addition of bike lanes has added a nice alternative for getting around.
Is the neighborhood good for kids? With more family-friendly activities and more open spaces and parks (especially in the surrounding neighborhoods), Rittenhouse is attracting more kids. However, schools remain a challenge.
Where are the best places to chill or experience the outdoors in your neighborhood? Obviously, Rittenhouse Square is a wonderful place along with all of the outdoor cafes on the Square and on Walnut Street. The reconstruction of Dilworth Park into a more inviting space is also a fantastic addition to the area.
Who wouldn't be happy here? I suppose someone that prefers a lot of greenery, open space, and the quiet.
The final word on your neighborhood: Rittenhouse Square is the pinnacle of city living—a great place to live, work, and play.