Center City’s Outdoor Dining Now Surpasses Pre-Pandemic Levels

The latest State of Center City report unveils positive trends for the district, encompassing key landmarks such as City Hall, the Pennsylvania Convention Center, and the Ensemble Arts campus. Retail occupancy surged to 84.5% in September 2023, marking a remarkable rebound from the 54.5% low in June 2020 and nearing the 89% pre-pandemic level of September 2019. Weekend foot traffic has also rebounded, surpassing January 2019 levels, with an average of 330,000 pedestrians in January 2024 compared to 312,000 previously.

However, the standout success story post-2020 lies in outdoor dining, with Center City restaurants boasting over 4,500 outdoor seats in September 2023, a notable increase from approximately 3,500 in September 2019, albeit slightly lower than the peak in 2021.

The Center City District (CCD) credits part of the recent retail resurgence to “click to brick” companies like Glossier and Joybird, transitioning from online-only to physical stores on Walnut Street. Aritzia and Figs are set to join this trend soon. Notably, two-thirds of Center City’s retailers are local or independent businesses, underlining the importance of small business owners in the district’s revitalization.

*Article courtesy of PhillyVoice

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