Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia living means having easy access to arts and culture. Whether you’re into the arts, theater, or live music, there’s always something to do or see in the neighborhood. No need to be bored in this part of town! If you’re looking for a weekend activity, look no further than this guide to Rittenhouse. We have provided you with three diverse and interesting places to go to get your weekly dose of arts and culture. Why go to the same old bar every weekend when you could be seeing something new? (And of course, you can always go to the bar afterward.)
Gallery 339 is a simple, sleek, and modern gallery that showcases contemporary artwork, specifically photography, by both established and up-and-coming photographers from all over the world. This contemporary gallery is nestled away among some of the most beautiful red-brick townhouses that you’ll see anywhere in Rittenhouse Square. Be sure to take a walk around the area after you stop here. The gallery’s artistic focus is on thoughtful, carefully made work that spans the entire spectrum of contemporary photography. This is photography that makes you think. Gallery 339 opened in May of 2005 and is Philadelphia’s only fine art photography gallery.
The Rosenbach Museum and Library
The Rosenbach Museum and Library resides in an 1860s townhouse that provides the most beautiful and intimate setting for the brothers Rosenbach’s collections of rare books, manuscripts, furniture, silver, paintings, prints, drawings, and sculpture. You won’t find a more diverse collection in the city. The museum has many changing exhibitions, but selections from some of the best-known collections are always on view. One of the featured pieces is James Joyce’s manuscripts for Ulysses and the papers of Modernist poet Marianne Moore. The collection is strongest when it comes to American and British literature and history. You can find more than 100 personal letters from George Washington here, and not only that, but the decorative and fine arts collections are just as varied. They range from Egyptian sculpture to American portraiture. There is truly something for everyone at The Rosenbach Museum and Library.
Plays and Players
Plays and Players was built in 1912 and had many other names, but it was always a fantastic place for local theater. This intimate theater now showcases emerging and local playwrights, which is what makes it a truly unique space. The facade is immediately recognizable with its decorated brick and stone. The awning is crowned with a crimson, intricately carved frieze. The interior was painted with murals in 1932 and they remain splashed across the walls today. The balconied theater has the classic red fabric seating that all theater-goers know and love. In addition to the main stage, there is also an intimate basement theater for cabarets and other smaller productions. Plays and Players is actually one of the oldest theaters in continuous use in the United States—that’s some Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia culture that residents can be proud of.
Go out and explore one of these three cultural centers this weekend; you won’t be disappointed.