Press release

New Report Documents Growth of Outdoor Seating in the Downtown

Linda K. Harris
T 215.440.5546


More than half of outdoor seating locations are located in Midtown Village, Old City and Rittenhouse Row

PHILADELPHIA (September 12, 2017) – Sidewalk seating at outside cafés in Center City has increased 383% since the Center City District began surveying in 2001, and the amenity has been adopted by a variety of other retail and non-retail venues throughout the downtown.

Outdoor seating enables businesses to expand their premises, creating places for patrons to eat, interact and enjoy the outdoors. It adds vitality to sidewalks, increases the opportunity for chance encounters and puts additional “eyes on the street.” Food establishments can show off their menus and give pedes­trians a visual sampling of the diversity of their offerings.

A new Center City District/Central Philadelphia Development Corporation report, based on CCD original surveys and research, documents the significant growth of sidewalk seating at restaurants, cafés, bakeries, and ice cream parlors and illustrates how this outdoor amenity has expanded to plazas and under-utilized parks, further enlivening Philadelphia’s downtown.

To get all the latest data on outdoor seating in Greater Center City, click here to download the new report, Outdoor Seating 2017.


The 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 regional destination for dining, shopping and cultural attractions. Find us at and on Facebook and Twitter.