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Society Hill is one of Philadelphia’s most sought-after neighborhoods. While mostly residential, the community, which lies between the Delaware River on the east, 8th St. on the west, Walnut St. on the north and Lombard St. on the south, boasts a comfortable combination of restaurants, historic attractions and shops that meet the needs of residents and visitors alike.
Following an era when the neighborhood was home to a number of luminaries — Samuel Powel, the first mayor of the city after independence was declared, future first lady Dolly Todd Madison and Revolutionary War hero Thaddeus Kosciuszko, among others — the neighborhood slipped into a state of decline by the late 19th and early 20th century. Known as the 7th Ward, the slum was populated by a mix of Jewish and African immigrants and African-Americans. Despite its slump, many of the historic buildings remained, which inspired city planners — chief among them famed Philadelphia architect Edmund Bacon — to craft a plan that would revive Society Hill and help residents rediscover the conveniences of city living. And that it did.
Society Hill is part of Historic Philadelphia, which spans from the Delaware River to 7th Street and from Vine Street to Lombard Street.
Historic Philadelphia is the birthplace of the nation and the first World Heritage City in the U.S., as designated by the Organization of World Heritage Cities (OWHC). It’s also home to buzzed-about restaurants and beer gardens, owner-operated boutiques, pushing-the-boundaries art galleries and more.
For our complete guide to Historic Philadelphia, click here.
Washington Square, one of Philadelphia’s five public squares laid out by William Penn in his original plan for the city, has been a scenic modern-day park for 200 years. Its proximity to Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell and the Independence Visitor Center make it hard for visitors and locals to resist the appeal of walking the same land and streets the nation’s founders once strolled. Today’s beautiful park setting and the lovely homes and buildings that surround it complete the experience.
With its cobblestone streets and original 18th- and 19th-century buildings that line the streets, Headhouse Square remains as picture-perfect today as it was hundreds of years ago. It’s also home to Headhouse Square Farmers’ Market, the oldest farmers’ market in Philadelphia. Held every Sunday May through December, the market boasts more than 25 farmers and producers, all displaying their fresh produce, baked goods and local meats, cheeses and wines.
Though just a short street in Society Hill, the cobblestoned Dock Street area is home to a number of the city’s best restaurants and entertainment. Look no further than the modern-yet-traditional cuisine at Zahav, Mediterranean treats at Positano Coast and the Ritz Five, which screens independent and foreign films.
Many SEPTA buses make stops in Society Hill, and both the 2nd Street and 5th Street subway stations are located a couple of blocks away in Old City.
The Sheraton Philadelphia Society Hill Hotel, Morris House Hotel and the Hyatt Regency Philadelphia are located in Society Hill. A number of Old City hotels, including the Omni Hotel, Penn’s View Hotel and the Hotel Monaco, are located mere blocks away. For more hotels in the area, click the button below.