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A pond at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum in Philadelphia. The pond is lined with many trees that have colorful leaves. Flickr user MissTessmacher

13 non-touristy places in Philly to take out-of-town visitors

Show them another side to the city

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With the end of summer in sight and Labor Day right around the corner, now is the prime time for some out-of-town guests who want to take in all Philly has to offer while it’s still warm.

While tourist-heavy places can be fun (people do visit them frequently for a reason, after all) there are a ton of gems in this city that are less well-known and less frequented.

We've nailed down 13 places that are much less touristy than your typical spots, but still offer that typical Philly experience. Bonus: Many of them are free, and they're all accessible via public transportation.

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John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge

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This one is a little out of the way, but it’s perfect if you're picking up your visitors from the airport and want to make a pit stop. John Heinz is the nation's first urban refuge and it features plenty of flat trails and opportunities for bird watching. Best of all, it's free.

University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

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It's easy to spend an entire day at Penn's Museum of Archeology and Anthropology, where there are, roughly, one million artifacts on display or being tended to on a daily basis. Bonus: You can buy a double ticket here, which also offers admission to the creepy but cool Mutter Museum.

Cira Green

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You don't have to try hard to get a great view of Philly. Take your folks up to the free Cira Green, a beautiful park on top of a parking garage in University City. You'll see views of the Schuylkill River and Center City, plus down to the art museum and back toward West Philly.

Awbury Arboretum

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This 55-acre arboretum is the largest open space in the historic Germantown neighborhood, so there's plenty to admire. There are more than 200 plant species, trails, ponds, woods, meadows, and lots of wildlife sightings.

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

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The PAFA boasts what is undoubtedly one of the most stunning interiors in the city. The historic landmark building, designed by Frank Furness, features an array of exhibits.

Wagner Free Institute of Science

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This historic museum dates back to 1855, when it began providing free education classes on science to Philly residents. Today, it remains relatively untouched and features a museum in a gorgeous 3-story space with natural artifacts gathered mostly by William Wagner himself.

Pennsylvania Hospital

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We know: A hospital is probably the last place you'd want to visit with your family. But consider this: It's steeped in history, given that it's the first hospital in the nation. Plus: It boasts the first surgical operating theater—yes, theater—in the country. It's a beautiful space to boot.

Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site

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Edgar Allan Poe spent six productive years living in Philadelphia at N. 7th Street. At this National Historic Site, you can tour the home he rented for what he's called some of the happiest years of his life. Just note: The house is only open Friday-Sunday.

Fabric Row

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If you want to avoid the shopping crowds on Chestnut Street, take your visitors to Queen Village's Fabric Row, where, as our friends at Racked put it, "you can find some of best vintage shopping on the East Coast." There are indie shops and boutiques, cute cafes, and it's a short walk to the popular South Street.

A row of colorful houses in Philadelphia known as Fabric Row. There are various fabric stores and shops on the ground floors of the buildings. Courtesy of Olga V Kulakova / Shutterstock.com

Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial

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Welcome to the smallest national park in the country. Kosciuszko was a good friend of Thomas Jefferson, who he entertained numerous times in this small brick corner home in Old City. It's one of the least visited parks in the U.S., so show it some love and take a tour.

Cherry Street Pier

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This vibrant and open pier is a new addition to the Old City landscape, and one that’s definitely worth checking out, especially if you’re planning more tourist-y stops in the area. It opened last year after a long renovation process, and offers vendors, an outdoor garden, and 14 artists working on site. Stop by and watch them go, buy a painting, grab a bite, and look out over the killer views of the Delaware and Ben Franklin Bridge.

An outdoor area in Philadelphia with lights and an arched skylight. Maria Young, DRWC

SS United States

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The SS United States ship has been docked at Pier 82 in South Philly for two decades, and plans to restore it to its former glory unfortunately fell through last year. But it's worth taking in the sights of what was once the fastest ocean liner in the world while it sits stationary. You can't go on board, but it's still an impressive site to behold.

Old Pine Street Presbyterian Church cemetery

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Tucked away on 4th and Pine, in the heart of the historic part of Philly, it’s a surprise this cemetery isn’t a more popular spot to visit. Many of the graves date back hundreds of years, and plenty of Revolutionary War soldiers are buried here. Take time to read the plaques at the graves; there are tons of fascinating stories.

John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge

This one is a little out of the way, but it’s perfect if you're picking up your visitors from the airport and want to make a pit stop. John Heinz is the nation's first urban refuge and it features plenty of flat trails and opportunities for bird watching. Best of all, it's free.

University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

It's easy to spend an entire day at Penn's Museum of Archeology and Anthropology, where there are, roughly, one million artifacts on display or being tended to on a daily basis. Bonus: You can buy a double ticket here, which also offers admission to the creepy but cool Mutter Museum.

Cira Green

You don't have to try hard to get a great view of Philly. Take your folks up to the free Cira Green, a beautiful park on top of a parking garage in University City. You'll see views of the Schuylkill River and Center City, plus down to the art museum and back toward West Philly.

Awbury Arboretum

This 55-acre arboretum is the largest open space in the historic Germantown neighborhood, so there's plenty to admire. There are more than 200 plant species, trails, ponds, woods, meadows, and lots of wildlife sightings.

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

The PAFA boasts what is undoubtedly one of the most stunning interiors in the city. The historic landmark building, designed by Frank Furness, features an array of exhibits.

Wagner Free Institute of Science

This historic museum dates back to 1855, when it began providing free education classes on science to Philly residents. Today, it remains relatively untouched and features a museum in a gorgeous 3-story space with natural artifacts gathered mostly by William Wagner himself.

Pennsylvania Hospital

We know: A hospital is probably the last place you'd want to visit with your family. But consider this: It's steeped in history, given that it's the first hospital in the nation. Plus: It boasts the first surgical operating theater—yes, theater—in the country. It's a beautiful space to boot.

Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site

Edgar Allan Poe spent six productive years living in Philadelphia at N. 7th Street. At this National Historic Site, you can tour the home he rented for what he's called some of the happiest years of his life. Just note: The house is only open Friday-Sunday.

Fabric Row

A row of colorful houses in Philadelphia known as Fabric Row. There are various fabric stores and shops on the ground floors of the buildings. Courtesy of Olga V Kulakova / Shutterstock.com

If you want to avoid the shopping crowds on Chestnut Street, take your visitors to Queen Village's Fabric Row, where, as our friends at Racked put it, "you can find some of best vintage shopping on the East Coast." There are indie shops and boutiques, cute cafes, and it's a short walk to the popular South Street.

A row of colorful houses in Philadelphia known as Fabric Row. There are various fabric stores and shops on the ground floors of the buildings. Courtesy of Olga V Kulakova / Shutterstock.com

Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial

Welcome to the smallest national park in the country. Kosciuszko was a good friend of Thomas Jefferson, who he entertained numerous times in this small brick corner home in Old City. It's one of the least visited parks in the U.S., so show it some love and take a tour.

Cherry Street Pier

An outdoor area in Philadelphia with lights and an arched skylight. Maria Young, DRWC

This vibrant and open pier is a new addition to the Old City landscape, and one that’s definitely worth checking out, especially if you’re planning more tourist-y stops in the area. It opened last year after a long renovation process, and offers vendors, an outdoor garden, and 14 artists working on site. Stop by and watch them go, buy a painting, grab a bite, and look out over the killer views of the Delaware and Ben Franklin Bridge.

An outdoor area in Philadelphia with lights and an arched skylight. Maria Young, DRWC

SS United States

The SS United States ship has been docked at Pier 82 in South Philly for two decades, and plans to restore it to its former glory unfortunately fell through last year. But it's worth taking in the sights of what was once the fastest ocean liner in the world while it sits stationary. You can't go on board, but it's still an impressive site to behold.

Old Pine Street Presbyterian Church cemetery

Tucked away on 4th and Pine, in the heart of the historic part of Philly, it’s a surprise this cemetery isn’t a more popular spot to visit. Many of the graves date back hundreds of years, and plenty of Revolutionary War soldiers are buried here. Take time to read the plaques at the graves; there are tons of fascinating stories.