Center City wants Philly to know it’s back in business

Center City District Restaurant Week, things to do in Philly
Neal Santos

Center City might be the hub for a lot of activity in Philadelphia, but with the pandemic effects still looming, the flourishing area of the city is kicking off the next couple of weeks with promotions and events to help support the recovery of the district.

According to a release, beginning Saturday, Sept. 18, dozens of local businesses, as well as national brands, will offer exclusive discounts and giveaways every Saturday for 5 weeks, ending on Oct. 16. These all-day shopping and dining promotions will be accompanied by larger-scale anchor events throughout the district. Philadelphia residents, workers and visitors will find curated in-store events at many locations, like one-day-only discounts and sidewalk sales. Offerings will vary from week to week, providing a unique experience for returning shoppers, built around major anchor events.

Don't miss the Reading Terminal Market Harvest Festival this weekend. | Provided

The schedule kicks off on Sept. 18 with one Philly favorite—Center City Restaurant Week. The promotion runs until the 30th and offers prix-fixe three-course dinners for $40, plus $25 lunches at over 60 Center City restaurants. A full list of participating spots is included online, but some standouts back for another round of this culinary celebration include Barbuzzo, Bleu Sushi, Devon Seafood Grill, Indeblue, La Viola West, Morea, SOUTH Kitchen & Jazz Club and much more. Most establishments will also feature signature Maker’s Mark and Hornitos cocktails.

Next up on the agenda is a huge launch in the world of creativity, specifically on the Avenue of the Arts. The Arts Launch 2021: A Return to In-Person Arts at the Kimmel Center kicks off on Sept. 18 and this free event will feature a series of performances for everyone to check out. Philadelphians can plan to head to the Kimmel Cultural Campus for a diverse sampling of live performances and fun activities, including some from world-renowned Resident Companies. Plus, those who head to the KC can connect with local arts organizations about their programs for the upcoming season. The event is planned from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. on that Saturday.

Also the weekend of the 18th includes the grand opening of one new retail destination, Primark, in the Fashion District.

The next weekend marks one of the city’s most popular festivals on Sept. 25 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Rittenhouse Row Festival takes over Walnut Street (from Avenue of the Arts to Rittenhouse Square) to showcase the neighborhood’s food, fashion, arts and entertainment. This also coincides with Philly Fashion Week happening around the city, where national and international designers and models will present exquisite garments, exhibits of luxury products and sublime entertainment.

The fun continues into the next month as well, with the Reading Terminal Market Fall Festival from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 2. According to a release, while there, visitors can explore food and beverage specials, take a photo at the iconic neon sign with scarecrow stilt walkers, participate in free arts and crafts in partnership with the Fabric Workshop and Museum and support over 70 small, family-owned businesses. Then the next weekend, Dilworth Park will be hosting its own Harvest Weekend starting Oct. 9 from noon to 8 p.m. on the west side of City Hall. This 3-day experience “embraces the best elements of autumn for visitors of all ages.”

The weekend of Oct. 16, Philadelphians can go to check out Rittenhouse Row’s Dogs Rule Day presented by Republic Bank (18th and Walnut from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.) for on-site raffles, a canine costume contest and giveaways. Then at the Fire and Ice in Jewelers’ Row District on the same date (from Walnut to Market and 7th to 9th streets from 3-6 p.m.) with details to be announced.

All throughout the featured events, Philadelphians can also participate in Shop Center City Saturdays. A few locations participating include Athleta, Heyday Facial Spa, Fogo de Chao, Joan Shepp, Macy’s, Shakespeare & Company and Sophy Curson. A full list of participating spots and what they’re offering is available online.

“Shop Center City Saturdays is an opportunity for residents from across the region to get reacquainted with the experiences many have been missing—shopping on Center City sidewalks rather than online, dining indoors and outdoors at Center City’s unique restaurants,” said Michelle Shannon, VP of Marketing for the Center City District in a statement. “Our Center City businesses and their staffs have been working hard to provide a safe, comfortable experience for shopping and dining and are excited to welcome customers back when they are ready.”

The current list of weekly participants and retail events can be found at