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Philadelphia

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Philadelphia is famous for its colonial history. The city, founded in 1682, can rightly be credited as the site of America's birth -- the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution were created here. So was the first American flag. Visitors can explore Independence Mall, gawk at the Liberty Bell and wander along streets lined with old colonial homes.

But to think Philadelphia's only attraction is its historic sites is to miss out on a huge part of the city's appeal. Don't miss its vibrant art scene, from major museums to contemporary galleries and colorful murals, or the thriving -- but not over-commercialized -- waterfront, Penn's Landing, which hosts numerous festivals and attractions. Feeling hungry? Philly's food landscape goes far beyond the humble cheese steak, with restaurants and food trucks offering tastes from around the world.

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Philadelphia, which lies at the confluence of the Delaware and Schuylkill River, also has amazing green spaces -- of particular note is Fairmount Park, one of urban America's largest parks. And just outside the city limits are whole other worlds to explore, from the country's most prominent Amish settlement to the battlefields of Gettysburg and the Atlantic beaches of South Jersey.

--written by Carolyn Spencer Brown and Sarah Schlichter

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