For decades known as Roosevelt tér after the long-serving (1933–45) American president, this square has now been renamed to honour the statesmen and developer of Chain Bridge, which it faces. The square offers one of the best views of Castle Hill in Pest.

The Hungarian Academy of Sciences, founded by Count István Széchenyi in 1825, is at the northern end of the square.

The art nouveau building with the gold tiles to the east is Gresham Palace, built by an English insurance company in 1907. It now houses a luxury hotel.

On the southern end of Széchenyi István tér is a statue of Ferenc Deák, the Hungarian minister largely responsible for the Compromise of 1867, which brought about the dual monarchy of Austria and Hungary.