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Explore the attractions in "The City of Brotherly Love"

While history has been the city's calling card since the Founding Fathers sowed the seeds of revolution at the First Continental Congress in 1774, Philadelphia offers much more than its National Parks and costumed colonial figures. From its vibrant, eclectic neighborhoods — 152 in all — to its burgeoning downtown, awash in trendy restaurants, bars and boutiques, the city buzzes with energy and vigor. Yet much of the city's charm lies in its lesser-known enclaves. Stay three days or three weeks, and you'll find that Philadelphia possesses dynamism and enough off-the-beaten path discoveries to keep you guessing.

With a thriving café culture, a nationally lauded beer scene, major sports teams, museums, buzzing rock venues, some of the best vegan restaurants in the country and a truly international population, this city has something for everyone. Mid-sized with a very small-town vibe, Philly's high culture and fine dining thrive beside neighborhood bars and verdant green space. Residents and visitors know that Philly has an intimacy New York can never hope to achieve, along with a creative edge that gets lost in glossier metropolises. Young people are coming here in droves because it's a fresh and forward-looking place to be — and it's still relatively affordable among major cities.

As in many East Coast cities, you don't need a car to get around in Philadelphia. If you choose to forego the rental, there are public transportation options provided by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA). Though you should have a clearer picture of the many sides of Philly at the end of your stay, you may also find that your appetite for exploration has only been stoked by its many fun finds. The beauty of Philadelphia is that it is a small metropolis, but there's a lot to absorb and many reasons to book a return visit.

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GAYOT's guide to Philadelphia