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Time Out: Philadelphia

Photo: Jon12 / Stockimo / Alamy

Photo: Jon12 / Stockimo / Alamy

The 2,000-foot-long Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk.

Once an underappreciated city, Philadelphia has experienced a sea of change in recent years—for the better. Even The New York Times gave credence to this revival, naming the nation’s fifth-largest city one of its “52 Places to Go in 2015.” Fiercely loyal locals never lost faith, not even in their long-suffering pro sports teams. Nowadays, there’s much more to this city than historic landmarks and museums. There’s a new generation of young maverick chefs and mixologists, and locally owned shops abound, especially along North 3rd Street. All signs indicate that, finally, Philly is having its moment.

Local bar royalty Leigh Maida, Brendan Hartranft and Brendan Kelly tap 20 craft brews at Strangelove’s, while on weekends, Yards Brewing Company offers free tours—with samples throughout. Beer not your thing? The young and well-heeled head to Stratus Rooftop Lounge atop Hotel Monaco for small-batch bottled cocktails and a bird’s-eye view of the city.

At The Fat Ham, Top Chef’s Kevin Sbraga serves pure Southern comfort; try the pork rinds with ranch dressing during happy hour. Dishes such as crispy halloumi and grilled duck hearts are what put modern Israeli cuisine on the map at chef Michael Solomonov’s restaurant Zahav. Meanwhile, Marc Vetri’s latest addition, Lo Spiedo, is a Navy Yard hit, turning out slow-roasted and rotisserie meats.

With 80 merchants, Reading Terminal Market is a food-lover’s nirvana—and no visit is complete without trying the roast pork sandwich at DiNic’s. Walk it off on East Passyunk Avenue, the “it” stretch of the city, where deep Italian roots meld with an influx of swank shops and restaurants. Or take a tour of the Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site, a house where the author lived from 1843 to 1844.

People-watch at revamped Dilworth Park and enjoy pop-up shops, an 11,160-square-foot fountain and free outdoor concerts. Another low-key option: coffee at La Colombe’s flagship café in Fishtown; the roastery-meets-rum distillery was cofounded by Todd Carmichael of Travel Channel’s Dangerous Grounds. For something active, run the Schuylkill River Loop, an 8.4-mile paved route along Kelly Drive to Falls Bridge, returning on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

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