National Local Life

Philadelphia Neighborhood Guide

“Hey youse guys, jeet yet?” 

Welcome to Philadelphia, where asking whether you’ve eaten yet is a common greeting. Philly is the home of the hoagie. Home of wooder ice. Home of the roasted pork sandwich.

To outsiders, this city can seem anything but the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection (see: climbing up greasy poles on Broad Street after winning the Super Bowl), but spend just a couple of days here and you’ll quickly learn that Philadelphians just want to make sure that youse guys are having a good time and that yes, in fact, you did eat. A whole lot. 

But where exactly can you find that authentic Philly experience? Do yourself a favor and explore as many nooks and crannies of this old city as you can. After all, Philly is a city of many, many neighborhoods, each with their distinct customs, personalities, and pride, so you would be remiss to stay put in one spot. Also, this city is one of the most walkable in the country, making it a breeze to get from one good time to the next.

Philadelphia Neighborhood Map
Ben Franklin Bridge

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Philadelphia at a Glance

Here are a few helpful tips for navigating this city:

  • As mentioned, Philly is walkable, so exploring the city by foot is totally doable. Just wear comfy shoes—you might find yourself meandering down many cobblestoned streets.
  • If walking isn’t an option, try the subway, trolley, or bus. The subway system is easy to figure out—there are only two major lines, the Broad Street line that runs north to south and the Market-Frankford line (a.k.a. “The El”) that runs east to west.
  • Philly also has its own bike share rental program, Indego. Look for the blue bike stations throughout the city.
  • There’s no possible way that you’ll learn every neighborhood’s name, so at the very least, get to know the city’s general areas: West Philly is the section of the city that’s west of the Schuylkill River; South Philly makes up everything below South Street; and then there’s North Philly, Northwest Philly, and Northeast Philly.

West Philadelphia

West Philadelphia Neighborhood Map - Philadelphia
Photo courtesy of Melissa Romero

West is best—that’s how the saying goes around this side of the Schuylkill River, and for good reason. It doesn’t take long to fall for this leafy portion of Philly, from its stunning collection of Victorian rowhouses to its laid-back porch-life culture.

What to Do

1. Clark Park

This bowl-shaped park is beloved by its neighbors. For a true Clark Park experience, head here Saturday mornings, when you’ll find a year-round farmers market that draws all West Philly neighbors from their porches to the park.

2. Bartram’s Garden

Located south of West Philly in Kingsessing, Bartram’s Garden is a beautiful oasis that hugs the Schuylkill River. The 45-acre garden dates back to the early 18th century and features gorgeous gardens, a meadow, boat rides, a mile-long walking path, a community garden, and great views of the Philly skyline.

3. Stroll Baltimore Avenue

Baltimore Avenue is one of the main business corridors in West Philly—and a truly eclectic one at that. A stroll along it takes you past boutique shops, restaurants, and cafes offering a variety of cuisines for every palette. 

4. World Cafe Live

Located right on the edge of University City, World Cafe Live is the home of the local music radio station WXPN. With two stages, there are plenty of opportunities to catch a show here—especially for those looking for a more intimate experience. If you can sneak out of work on Fridays, World Cafe Live hosts Free at Noon performances.

Where to Eat and Drink

5. Fiume

What this bar lacks in size, it makes up in functionality: Fiume offers an impressive beer bottle collection and occasionally doubles as a live bluegrass music venue. Bonus: You can order delicious Ethiopian food at Abyssinia, the restaurant below, and bring it back up to Fiume to eat—if you’re lucky enough to snag a seat. 

6. Honest Tom’s Plant-Based Taco Shop

When that Mexican-food craving comes calling, head to this little brick-and-mortar for some honest-to-goodness tacos with a twist—100 percent of the menu is vegan.

7. Saad’s Halal Restaurant

This halal food truck-turned restaurant in Spruce Hill draws crowds to its corner at 45th and Walnut, thanks to the extensive menu with everything from falafel and shawarma to a surprisingly delicious Philly cheesesteak. The secret to Saad’s mouthwatering food? Every single dish is made from scratch. 

8. Dock Street Brewery

Ride the trolley down Baltimore Avenue to this 110-year-old firehouse-turned microbrewery—one of the first post-prohibition craft breweries in the country. Dock Street’s brews also pair perfectly with its extensive list of woodfired pizzas. 

Why Locals Live Here

West Philly is made up of a number of smaller neighborhoods, each with their own identities. But overall, the area offers locals a slower pace than Center City with more greenery and breathing room. Home to a trio of universities and two big hospitals, West Philly is growing and changing day by day, which is why homes are a hot commodity here.

Chestnut Hill

Chestnut Hill Neighborhood Map - Philadelphia
Photo courtesy of Melissa Romero

Arguably one of the most photogenic neighborhoods in the city, Chestnut Hill is a National Historic District and considered Philadelphia’s Garden District, thanks to its plentiful tree-lined streets and open spaces. Located in Northwest Philadelphia, the neighborhood is only 25 minutes from Center City, but its old-world mansions and stone Victorian homes make it feel a world away.

What to Do

9. Stroll Germantown Avenue

Be prepared to be charmed: A stroll down the Chestnut Hill portion of Germantown Avenue will introduce you to mom-and-pop shops, trendy boutiques, and local restaurants. Once you’ve walked the 10-block stretch you can say that you’ve strolled one of the oldest streets in the country.

10. Morris Arboretum

There’s a reason why Chestnut Hill is called Philadelphia’s Garden District. This 92-acre green oasis began as a summer home in 1887, but the Victorian arboretum is now home to some of the oldest and rarest trees in all of Philadelphia

11. View Iconic Architecture

For all of the historic, stone homes that dot Chestnut Hill’s landscape, the neighborhood is also home to some of the most iconic midcentury modern architecture in the country. Architecture nerds flock here to see two homes in particular: The Esherick House by Louis Kahn and the Vanna Venturi House by Robert Venturi. Even better—they’re located a block away from each other. 

12. Skyspace

Skyspace is where you go when you need a moment of quiet and reflection. Located in the Chestnut Hill Friends meetinghouse, Skyspace is a contemporary art installation by artist James Turrell that invites people to sit and take in the changing light from sunrise to sunset.

Where to Eat and Drink

13. Cake

The appeal of dining at Cake is two-parts: food and experience. You can enjoy breakfast or lunch—the menu ranges from a mushroom risotto cake to a decadent grilled cheese with pistachio-basil pesto—all while under the roof of a beautiful conservatory.

14. Bredenbeck’s Bakery

This bakery has been satisfying neighborhood sweet tooths since 1889, so you can trust that they know how to bake a mean cake. And right next door is Bredenbeck’s equally adorable and delicious ice cream parlor.

15. Market at the Fareway

Market at the Fareway, which calls itself a “modern general store,” has more than a dozen vendors offering everything from Korean tacos to chicken curry. Once you’ve pleased every palate, cheers with a beer from Chestnut Hill Brewery.

16. Paris Bistro and Jazz Bar

There are no views of the Eiffel Tower from this corner restaurant in Chestnut Hill, but step inside and it’ll feel like an authentic 1930s Parisian experience. Once you’ve finished your soup de jour or foie gras burger, head downstairs for a live jazz performance in the bistro’s basement cafe.

Why Locals Live Here

Originally a summer escape for Philadelphia’s well-to-do, Chestnut Hill today remains one of the most affluent and high-income neighborhoods in the city. It offers more greenspace—including front and backyards—plus a small-town vibe that you’re less likely to find in other spots across Philly. But living in such a lush, affluent, and historic area comes at a premium: In 2018, the average sales price of a home in this neighborhood clocked in at $799,619, making it one of the priciest neighborhoods in Philadelphia.

Rittenhouse Square

Rittenhouse Square Neighborhood Map - Philadelphia
Photo courtesy of Melissa Romero

Home to classy condos, historic brownstones, al fresco dining, and nightlife smack-dab in the center of Philadelphia, Rittenhouse Square is considered one of the ritziest and most sought-after neighborhoods in the city.

What to Do

17. Rittenhouse Square

Rittenhouse Square, the neighborhood, wouldn’t exist without Rittenhouse Square, the park. One of the five original public squares of Philadelphia, Rittenhouse Square is best experienced when there’s time to lounge by the fountain or recline on a park bench under the shade of the trees. 

18. One Liberty Observation Deck

To get the lay of the land, take the elevator up 57 floors to One Liberty Observation Deck. The tippy-top floor of this skyscraper offers 360 degree views of Philly (and beyond).

19. Mütter Museum

Visiting the country’s first museum of medical history may not sound like the best way to spend your afternoon, but it’s certainly an experience unlike any other. The Mütter Museum features preserved collections of anatomical models, medical instruments, and specimens. (Think skulls. Lots of skulls.) You’ll leave with a better understanding of the human body and all the mysteries that come along with it. 

20. Rittenhouse Row

Welcome to shopping spree central. This stretch from Broad to 21st street and Spruce to Market features some 200 shops and businesses, from high-end retailers to local boutiques and bookshops. Head here when you need some retail therapy.

Where to Eat and Drink

21. Parc Rittenhouse

After an afternoon lounging in Rittenhouse Square, hop across the street and keep the French theme going at Parc Rittenhouse. This restaurant offers an al fresco experience right on the Square—plus a good dose of Champagne and croissants.

22. Monk’s Cafe

Not a fan of beer? Monk’s will likely change that. Take a seat at one of the bars and pour over the bar’s bible of beer selections. Their collection of Belgian beer is most impressive and one of the reasons why people come from all over the world for a taste. 

23. Dizengoff

You won’t know what it’s like to crave a plate of hummus until you’ve had one at Dizengoff. This tiny hummus shop on Sansom Street offers a small menu of various hummus bowls topped with everything from pickled vegetables to tahini to chicken. Too crowded? Hop across the street to one of its sister restaurants, Goldie, for falafel and tahini milkshakes. 

24. Oyster House

When you just want to toss back some raw oysters, do it at the Oyster House. This seafood and raw oyster restaurant has been serving up the best since 1947, so you know they know what they’re doing.

Why Locals Live Here

Rittenhouse Square has it all: greenspace, history, art, culture, and nightlife. Even better? Its location in the heart of Center City makes it one of the most walkable neighborhoods in the city. That’s why locals and tourists alike flock here: The next best thing is just a short walk away—for those who can afford it. 


Manayunk Neighborhood Map - Philadelphia
Photo courtesy of Melissa Romero

The Lenni Lenape had the right thinking when they named this area Manayunk, which translates to “where we go to drink.” At the time, it was named due to its location next to the Schuylkill River. Today, the name still fits since there are plenty of places to grab a drink along the neighborhood’s thriving Main Street. But while there’s plenty of nighttime action to be had, this hilltop neighborhood also offers lots of daytime fun, from hiking in nearby parks to bike-friendly trails that hug the Schuylkill.

What to Do

25. Manayunk Canal Towpath

After fueling up on Main Street, make your way down to the towpath, a 2-mile stretch along the Manayunk Canal. Walkers, joggers, and cyclists enjoy this pedestrian path all day long, thanks to the picturesque views, art installations, and lack of cars. 

26. Main Street

Manayunk’s Main Street has played a huge part in the neighborhood’s renaissance. Lined with historic mills which now house restaurants, local boutiques, bars, and breweries, Main Street is the place to eat, drink, and play.

27. Wissahickon Valley Park

Wissahickon Valley Park is an 1,800-acre urban park that features more than 50 miles of hiking, biking, and equestrian trails, winding high above the gorge of the Wissahickon Creek. Head to this park when you want to enjoy some nature without leaving city limits.

28. The Locks

One of Philly’s newest music venues is also one of its most intimate. Located on the second floor of Sona Pub & Bar, the Locks is a small listening room that draws acoustic acts to Manayunk nearly every night of the week.

Where to Eat and Drink

29. Lisa’s Kitchen

Lisa’s Kitchen is one of those blink-and-you-might-miss-it restaurants. The tiny spot on the edge of the neighborhood is a grab-and-go breakfast sandwich shop. While there’s a long list of breakfast meats to choose from, every sandwich comes with one secret ingredient: fried hash browns.

30. Manayunk Brewery

A visit to Manayunk isn’t complete without a pint—after all, Manayunk does translate to “a place to drink.” For a true ‘yunk experience, enjoy a brew with a view at Manayunk Brewery, preferably on the outdoor patio that overlooks the Schuylkill River. 

31. Taqueria Feliz

Treat yourself to tacos and margaritas at La Feliz Tacqueria, located near the end of Main Street. This isn’t your typical taco joint: Delicacies like crispy grasshoppers are on the menu, along with cocktails like the Kombucharita, a margarita made with, you guessed it, kombucha. 

32. Winnie’s

On the hunt for a brunch? Head to Winnie’s, a family-friendly restaurant that offers delicious and hearty comfort food for the indulgent as well as meals for the health-conscious. It’s not often that you find dishes like biscuits and chorizo gravy alongside green egg-white omelettes on the same menu.

Why Locals Live Here

Longtime Manayunk residents, called ‘Yunkers, give this neighborhood its blue collar roots. And due to its proximity to local universities, the neighborhood also attracts a younger crowd. But in recent years, millennials have been looking to Manayunk, thanks to its affordable housing stock and, as the town’s tagline puts it, the “urban experience, small town charm.” 

Old City

Old City Neighborhood Map - Philadelphia
Photo courtesy of Melissa Romero

It says it in the name: This Philly neighborhood is old. Its streets are steeped in the history of our country’s founding and lined with idyllic 18th- and 19th-century architecture. Today, those historic structures are filled with galleries, local boutiques, and restaurants, adding a modern touch to the neighborhood’s old-world charm

What to Do

33. Independence National Historical Park

Walk in the founding fathers’ footsteps through all 50-plus acres of Independence National Historical Park. Tour Independence Hall, take a “bellfie” in front of the Liberty Bell, or check out the tub where Ben Franklin once bathed.

34. Ben Franklin Bridge

For a bird’s eye view of Old City and the Delaware River, take a walk (or bike ride or run) across this iconic bridge. Open daily in the spring and summer months, the bridge’s pedestrian walkway is a great way to see the city.

35. Gallery Crawl

Old City is home to dozens of artist studios and galleries. Want to experience Old City’s vibrant arts scene? Do it on the first Friday of the month when the neighborhood’s galleries and studios welcome visitors for drinks and refreshments.

36. Elfreth’s Alley

One of the most iconic streets in the country is right in Old City. Lined with 18th-century brick rowhomes, Elfreth’s Alley is the nation’s oldest residential street—and one of the most photogenic.

Where to Eat and Drink

37. The Bourse

This isn’t your average food concourse. Located in what was originally the first commodities exchange in the U.S., the Bourse is a food hall for the modern ages. You’ll find a wide variety of food and drink, including Filipino cuisine, draft kombucha, and Korean tacos.

38. Zahav

Disclaimer: Zahav is one of those restaurants with such a long waiting list that you have to set an alarm at midnight just to try to snag a reservation four months from now. But it’s worth it. The James Beard award-winning Israeli restaurant is on a whole other level of delicious.

39. Franklin Fountain

Franklin Fountain is an old-timey ice cream shop with sundaes, soda, and overstuffed waffle cones. Just try not to drool when pouring over its long list of ice cream flavors, both original and unusual. 

40. High Street on Market

High Street on Market prides itself on fresh, artisanal dishes served for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But no matter the meal, say yes to the bread—it’s made in-house and oh so delicious.

Why Locals Live Here

History, architecture, lively atmosphere both day and night, and accessibility—that’s why people have been drawn to this neighborhood for decades, whether they live in a historic rowhome, a new apartment, or a loft condo with industrial vibes. Be aware: All that, combined with easy access to Center City and the Delaware River, means you may have to pay a pretty penny to live here.


Fairmount Neighborhood Map - Philadelphia
Photo courtesy of Melissa Romero

Located just off the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the leafy and handsome neighborhood of Fairmount is also sometimes referred to as the Art Museum District—rightly so, since it’s home to a number of famous cultural institutions like the Philadelphia Museum of Art. 

What to Do

41. Philadelphia Museum of Art

You know the iconic set of stairs that Rocky Balboa runs up and down during one of the most famous movie montages in cinematic history? Those are outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The landmark building houses an astonishing collection of over 240,000 works, from Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers to Grace Kelly’s wedding dress.

42. Eastern State Penitentiary

At the heart of the Fairmount neighborhood sits Eastern State Penitentiary. At one point, it was one of the most famous and most expensive prisons in the world, known for housing the infamous mobster Al Capone. Today, the staggering fortress is open year-round for audio-led tours by actor Steve Buschemi. For a real scare, head here during the Halloween season when the penitentiary transforms into a haunted attraction

43. Fairmount Park

Nearly three times the size of New York’s Central Park, Fairmount Park offers 2,050 acres of lush greenspace, hiking and biking trails, and historic houses. Split into two sections by the Schuylkill River, the East Fairmount Park portion is right in the neighborhood’s backyard.

44. The Barnes Foundation

Originally located in a house on the outskirts of Philadelphia, the eclectic art collection of Dr. Albert C. Barnes is now located in the stunning limestone museum designed by architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien. Head a few blocks south of Fairmount to Logan Square and view the Barnes collection inside the museum before taking a moment to enjoy the zen-like fountain garden on the grounds. 

Where to Eat and Drink

45. Sabrina’s Cafe

Grab a bottle of your favorite bubbly and head to Sabrina’s Cafe in Logan Square for a boozy BYOB brunch. Pop the Champagne, then eat yourself into a food coma with Sabrina’s decadent cream cheese-filled French toast. 

46. Whole Foods

This isn’t your average Whole Foods. The flagship location is a staggering 62,000 square feet and offers more than just its standard salad bar—big name chefs have opened satellite locations here, including Michael Solomonov’s Dizengoff, Goldie, and Federal Donuts.

47. Zorba’s Tavern

When you just want a good gyro sandwich, go to Zorba’s Tavern on Fairmount Avenue. You can count on an authentic Greek experience, since the owners are part of a long lineage of Greek restaurateurs—the family’s first restaurant was a tavern in Thessaloniki, Greece.

48. A Mano

The gist of A Mano is in its name, which translates to “by hand” in Italian. The small restaurant dishes out delicious handcrafted Italian meals—think less bowls of spaghetti and meatballs and more plates of cavatelli with escargot and bone marrow. It’s BYOB too, so bring your favorite bottle (or two!) of vino. 

Why Locals Live Here

Fairmount is perfect for folks who want a little bit of everything in a major city: arts, culture, greenspace, good eats, and walkability. Strollers and dogs are a common sight around here, and there’s a nice, mixed housing stock of charming rowhomes, condos, and rentals for those who can afford them.

South Philadelphia

South Philadelphia Neighborhood Map - Philadelphia
Photo courtesy of Melissa Romero

South Philly is a catch-all term for many smaller neighborhoods that make up the lower half of the city. They each boast their distinct personalities and customs, which is what makes South Philly such a melting pot worth visiting—and staying.

What to Do

49. Italian Market

Lined with vendors and shops offering Italian delectables such as cured meats, rounds of Parmesan, and fresh, handmade pasta, a visit to the Italian Market is never wasted time—even just to take in all the authentic Italian charm.

50. FDR Park

Spanning 350 acres, FDR Park is South Philadelphia’s only major greenspace and an impressive one at that. Home to large lakes, historic structures, and native wildlife, FDR Park is the place to go in South Philly when the weather’s fine.

51. Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens

It doesn’t take much time to notice that South Philly’s walls are gleaming with colorful, mosaic murals. That’s thanks to artist Isaiah Zagar, who for decades has been leaving his mark on South Philly via these works of art. To see one of his most dazzling displays of work, head to the Magic Gardens on the iconic South Street, where you’ll find an outdoor maze that doubles as a sculpture garden.

52. South Philadelphia Sports Complex

Football, basketball, baseball, ice hockey—the stadium complex in South Philly offers whatever sport speaks to you. This enclave of ballparks and stadiums is located right off the final stop on the Broad Street subway line, so catching a Phillies, Eagles, Flyers, or Sixers game is a cinch.

Where to Eat and Drink

53. Perla

In South Philly, you can’t go wrong on East Passyunk Avenue, which is lined with top-rated restaurants, including Perla. One of the first and few Filipino restaurants in the city, Perla is best experienced with a group during Kamayan dinners. During Kamayan, which means “with hands,” in Tagalog, you eat a feast of rice, fish, pork, vegetables, and more off big banana leafs sans utensils. 

54. South Philly Barbacoa

Sound familiar? South Philly Barbacoa has been in the national spotlight for not only chef’s tasty tacos but also her personal story as an immigrant. But the little shop’s fame doesn’t take away from this intimate dining experience.

55. Mike’s BBQ

Philly has been jonesing for a good barbecue joint for a long time, so it’s about time for Mike’s BBQ to arrive. This newish spot in South Philly is a no-frills operation, serving smoked meats and sides on serving trays. Get here early though—Mike’s closes whenever they run out of meat.

56. Palizzi Social Club

You can’t visit South Philly without experiencing a legit Italian meal, and Palizzi Social Club is the place to do it. Tucked into a traditional South Philly rowhome, this Italian restaurant serves “best red-sauce Italian-American classics in the country,” as Bon Appetit put it, crowning it one of the best restaurants in the U.S. The catch? It’s a members-only restaurant.

57. John’s Roasted Pork

There’s so much more to Philly than its penchant for cheesesteaks. But when you need to quench that cheesesteak craving, head to this tiny shop on the edge of South Philly. John’s sandwiches are James Beard award-worthy—no seriously, John’s won the award in 2006.

Why Locals Live Here

Spanning the the lower half of Broad Street and stretching from the Schuylkill to the Delaware River, there are plenty of places to put down roots in the sea of South Philly rowhomes. And families have been doing it for decades—it’s not uncommon to meet a born-and-raised South Philadelphian whose mother, grandmother, and even great grandmother lived in the same house. It’s not often you find a place in one of the largest cities in the country where everybody knows your name, but that’s what makes South Philly so darn special. 


Fishtown Neighborhood Map - Philadelphia
Street corner on Girard Avenue at sunset

What was once a working class neighborhood, named after its ties to the area’s shad-fishing industry, has become one of the hottest neighborhoods in Philadelphia, attracting young professionals, restaurateurs, and independent businesses owners. The question here is not what to do in Fishtown, but how to do and see it all.

What to Do

58. Johnny Brenda’s

You can’t miss Johnny Brenda’s glowing neon sign on the corner of Frankford and Girard avenues, beckoning passersby to come inside and enjoy live music. This neighborhood staple is the place to catch Philly’s thriving indie rock scene. (The flowing drafts of local beer and great food are just a bonus.)

59. Penn Treaty Park

Fishtown’s biggest neighborhood park is Penn Treaty Park on the Delaware River. Locals head here for a breath of fresh air along the waterfront while appreciating some of the best views of the city skyline.

60. Franklin & Poe

Fishtown’s main avenues are lined with an array of local boutiques, but you’ll appreciate Franklin and Poe’s curated collection of handmade clothing and goods made right here in the U.S.

61. Wild Mutation Records

Take a deep dive into the Philly music scene at Wild Mutation Records, a vinyl record shop that specializes in, but is not limited to, punk rock music. 

Where to Eat and Drink

62. La Colombe

This coffee roaster may be spread across the U.S., but its hometown roots are right here in Philly. Its Fishtown location is the largest in the city, and it offers a whole lot more than most locations. In addition to a full coffee bar, there’s a tasting room, a bakery, and a distillery for La Colombe’s rum.

63. Suraya

This brand new restaurant burst onto the Fishtown dining scene to rave reviews, thanks to its delicious Lebanese offerings. The surroundings—delightfully warm interiors and a stunning garden patio out back—add to the atmosphere, as does the in-house market where you can take some spices and baked goods home. 

64. - 66. Brewery Tour

Fishtown is home to an impressive collection of local craft breweries. If you’re willing and able, take the day to tour them all, from St. Benjamin’s Brewery to Philadelphia Brewing to Evil Genius and many more. 

67. Cheu Noodle Bar

Housed in an old fire hall, Cheu Noodle Bar keeps the heat alive with its spicy ramen bowls. Slurp down the noodles and enjoy the twinkling paper lanterns above you in this deliciously hip restaurant. 

What Locals Live Here

Fishtown is at a crossroads right now, as longtime residents adjust to newcomers and many changes to the community. Still, there’s no doubt that it’s an exciting time to live in this neighborhood on the rise, with something to do and a new restaurant to check out almost every day. But with that comes skyrocketing home values. That, combined with a tight housing market means finding an affordable Fishtown home is a diamond in the rough—and still an expensive diamond at that.

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