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SideTour: use this online events marketplace to explore Philadelphia

Already in New York City (its headquarters), Chicago and Washington, D.C., Sidetour offers a variety of events -- from tasting dinners to walking tours to mural paintings -- that aim to let you see the city through someone else's eyes, as Sidetour puts it.

Full Disclosure: This reporter attended the Russet Sidetour Philly preview event to report on the organization's launch and strategy.

SideTour launches in Philadelphia today and it wants to help you explore the city.

Already in New York City (its headquarters), Chicago and Washington, D.C., SideTour offers a variety of events — from tasting dinners to walking tours to mural paintings — that aim to let you see the city through someone else’s eyes, as Sidetour representatives tend to put it at a recent launch event.

(And no, don’t confuse SideTour with Sidecar, a transportation startup that launched in Philly recently on more controversial footing.)

Events are small and intimate, said spokeswoman Joanna Ehrenreich, from as small as four people to up to fourteen. Sidetour’s three preview events ranged in price from $25 to $60.

Check out the Philly events here.

Events are guided by the host’s interests.

For example, at a recent SideTour Philly preview event, Andrew Wood, chef of Center City BYOB Russet, hosted guests for a four-course charcuterie tasting dinner because of his passion for the cured meats. Sidetour also seems to place importance on letting its guests have access to event hosts.

Wood spoke about each course, took questions from guests about the meal and gave them a tour of his charcuterie cellar. He even offered up a plate of (cooked, of course) pig ears to a few guests who were curious about them (Wood had placed a pig head at the center of the table during the meal).

SideTour expanded to Philly because of its rich cultural scene, Ehrenreich said. But also, Ehrenreich, a Penn grad, said she was “rooting for Philly” because of her ties to it. The company has two part-time community managers in the city.

Though more in the local discovery and tourism spirit than distinctly technology, the effort has found early adopters in the urban creative class and bills itself as something of a scalable startup.

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