Press release

Animated and Safe Public Spaces Create A Lively and Competitive Downtown

JoAnn Loviglio
T 215.440.5546


Center City parks, cafés, plazas, pop-ups foster vibrant sidewalks and businesses

PHILADELPHIA (September 6, 2018) – From sidewalk cafés and well-managed parks to seasonal pop-up gardens and reclaimed office plazas, outdoor seating in Center City continues to expand and now numbers 428 locations with 6,743 seats from Vine Street to South Street, river to river, according to a new report from the Center City District/Central Philadelphia Development Corporation.

Outdoor seating has increased 391% since the Center City District (CCD) began its annual surveys in 2001. Restaurants, coffee shops, juice bars, retail establishments and formerly barren office plazas have all contributed to the increase in outdoor seating from zero locations in 1995 to 428 in 2018.

Full service restaurants and other eateries provide the majority of outdoor seating throughout Center City. Almost half (47%) of all outdoor seating locations are full service restaurants, and over three-quarters are cafés and food and beverage retailers. Of note, too, is the increase in quick-service establishments with outdoor seating; in 2017, they comprised 19% of all seating locations, and in 2018, jumped to 22%.

Seating areas on sidewalks blur the line between indoor and outdoor, encourage more customers to enter businesses, increase the number of customers businesses can serve, create additional opportunities for social interaction, add more eyes on the street and improve public safety. Well-managed spaces continue to foster a vibrant Center City and provide places for people to gather, rather than simply pass through.

To download the new report, Outdoor Seating 2018, click here


About Center City District

Center City District, a private-sector organization dedicated to making Center City Philadelphia clean, safe and attractive, is committed to maintaining Center City’s competitive edge as a regional employment center, a quality place to live, and a premier destination for dining, shopping and cultural attractions. For more, visit