Allentown lies on the Lehigh River. It is 338 feet above sea level. It is 60 miles north of Philadelphia, 90 miles west of New York City, and 80 miles east of Harrisburg. Allentown is only 15 miles west of the New Jersey state line.
The climate in Eastern Pennsylvania is unique in that it can be up to and over 100 degrees in the summer and get snow in the winter. Summers are always hot, with temperatures in the upper 80s and humidity is usually high, above 80 or 85%. Winters can be cold, with ice on the roads being a worse problem than snow, but it does snow. Some years the area will only get a few inches all season, with the last major blizzard in 1996, when Lehigh Valley saw over 2 feet of snow.
Lehigh Valley Visitor Center, 840 Hamilton Street, +1 610 973-2140. January through April hours: 9:30AM - 5:30PM Monday - Friday. May through December hours: 9:30AM - 5:30PM Monday - Friday; 9:30AM - 2:30PM Saturday.
English is the dominant language in Allentown, but Spanish is also widely used. Outside of the area, you can find people speaking Pennsylvania Dutch. Other languages can be found here, such as Arabic, Portuguese and Vietnamese.
"Down the shore" is a common local reference to the New Jersey beaches, located approximately 75 miles southeast from Allentown.
"Hoagie" refers to a submarine or sub sandwich.
"Soda" is used to refer to cola, pop, or any soft drink.
"Youse" is used to say "you all", similar to "y'all" in the south.
Allentown is known nationally as the birthplace of several famous Americans, including:
Michaela Conlin, actress, Fox's Bones.
Devon, adult film actress.
Lee Iacocca, former chairman, Chrysler Corporation.
Keith Jarrett, jazz musician.
Michael Johns, conservative commentator and writer, former White House speechwriter.
Andre Reed, former professional football player, Buffalo Bills and Washington Redskins.
Amanda Seyfried, model and actress, The CW's Veronica Mars, HBO's Big Love and Mamma Mia!
Christine Taylor, actress, wife of actor Ben Stiller.
Lauren Weisberger, author, The Devil Wears Prada.
Carson Kressley, reality consultant on Bravo's Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.
Dana Snyder, voice actor, Aqua Teen Hunger Force.
Other interesting facts:
Allentown was the inspiration for the 1982 Billy Joel hit song "Allentown," which appeared originally on Joel's The Nylon Curtain album. The song was originally about Levittown NY but Joel said it was not interesting enough so he changed it.
The video for the song "Move Along" by The All American Rejects was shot in Allentown and at Dorney Park in the city.
The primary and most convenient point of airline entry to Allentown and Lehigh Valley is Lehigh Valley International Airport (IATA: ABE), which is less than 15 minutes away from most parts of the city. Various airlines operate out of this airport. Philadelphia International Airport (IATA: PHL) is a major international airport that is about 70 miles away. Since it is a hub for several national airlines, it is easy to obtain non-stop flights to Philadelphia International compared to ABE and usually cheaper.
US Highway 22 is a main thoroughfare, being a 4-lane limited-access highway with a speed limit of 55 miles per hour through all of Lehigh Valley except in Easton.
Drivers coming from points east will want to note that all of the major bridges across the Delaware River (from New Jersey) are free eastbound, but require tolls westbound. Locating the free bridge in Phillipsburg is possible, but not recommended to those unfamiliar with the area. It is called Northampton Street for the adventurous, and only adds about half a mile to the trip (assuming you don't get easily lost).
From the southeast and northwest, PA Route 309 provides fairly quick access and is a good road to travel.
Interstate 78 and Interstate 476 (PA Turnpike; tolled) intersect very close to the city of Allentown, going in all directions north, south, east, and west.
PA Route 33 is the best approach for travelers from I-80 in the Poconos and points east.
Trans-Bridge bus line offers daily service from downtown Allentown to and from New York City and Newark, New Jersey. There are several express buses per day into New York City.
Carl Bieber Tourways offers daily service to New York City, Atlantic City,Philadelphia and other regionally located cities leaving from Wescoesville. It also provides bus service within Lehigh Valley and its surrounding areas, including to and from Reading.
The city is served by a regional bus service, LANTA, whose transportation center is in downtown Allentown, providing convenient service to and from the center city. Every LANTA bus is equipped with a bike rack.
Allentown is relatively easy to navigate. Most of the city is easily walkable or bikeable.
The main east-west streets are listed from north to south: Sumner, Whitehall, Greenleaf, Cedar, Washington, Green, Tilghman, Allen, Liberty, Gordon, Chew, Turner, Linden, Hamilton, Walnut, Hernan, Hanover, Tannery, Monique and Union. Numbered streets run from north to south. They begin towards the west at 1 and continue to 42.
Most visitors to Lehigh Valley will want to either rent a car or drive their own.
Due to the fact that 7th street in Allentown is one-way, if you aim to go north to Whitehall, you will want to be on 6th street. Be forewarned, Route 145 turns off 6th Street at Greenleaf Street for one block, and then joins 7th Street (begins as two ways). Continuing on 6th will bring you to the same place, but will not carry the PA-145 designation.
Hamilton Street is a continuation of US 222/ Hamilton Boulevard and provides easy access for travelers from Reading & Lancaster. Hamilton Street continues into nearby Bethlehem as Hanover Avenue, providing direct access to its downtown as well.
Tilghman Street is also a useful east-west urban thoroughfare that also provides access to Bethlehem, as Union Boulevard, and Easton as well.
US Route 22 is a 4 lane limited-access freeway across the north side of the city, and is often the best route of approach. However, this road is prone to minor traffic jams and accidents, especially during rush hour. Don't panic, though; most traffic jams are only a mile or so long, and usually take less than half an hour before opening up into freer travel.
Interstate 78 is a better bet during rush hours as it is as wide as eight lanes in some areas.
Riding a bike can also get you around in Allentown and its fabulous park system.
Allentown is a city. When you ride it and park it, make sure you lock it. A Bike Line of Allentown will rent bikes.
Little Lehigh Parkway and Jordan Creek Park are accessible to pedal through. Cyclists can access a trail head at Canal Park to get on the Tow Path to take them to Bethlehem and Easton.
Allentown is known for its extensive trail and park systems. Of special interest to visitors will be the Bridle Path in Lehigh Parkway (stop to feed the fish in the Fish Hatchery, go to the Museum of Indian Culture or pedal along a trail that takes you to a covered bridge).
Cedar Beach Park, W. Hamilton Blvd., ☎ +1 610 437-6900. edit
Great Allentown Fair, 302 N 17 Street (corner of 17th St. and Chew St.), ☎ +1 610 433-7541 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +1 610 433-4005), . Annually late August/early September - just before Labor Day. The Great Allentown Fair is an annual event that is over 150 years strong. It offers a unique experience that includes everything from family-owned food stands to a bill of national musical acts. The fair brings the world of the county fair and the street carnival together to provide visitors with an experience that helps to make Allentown a distinctive destination. At other times of the year, various events are held at the fairgrounds, including concerts, gigantic flea markets, antique sales, computer shows, and an assortment of many other shows and expos. edit
Mayfair, . Mayfair Festival of the Arts takes place over Memorial Day weekend. It brings outstanding performers and artisans to Allentown’s scenic Cedar Beach Park to put their talents on display. With six performance stages, over 100 artists and craftspeople, roving entertainers, and more than two dozen vendors offering authentic regional foods, Mayfair is a feast of sights, sounds, and smells. edit
America On Wheels Museum, 5 N. Front Street, ☎ +1 610 432-4200, . Museum showing the history of wheeled transportation.edit
Civic Theatre of Allentown, 527 N. 19th Street, ☎ +1 610 432-8943, . Great local theatre that shows art movies and foreign flicks in between productions.edit
Da Vinci Science Center, 3145 Hamilton Blvd., ☎ +1 484 664-1002, . edit
Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom, 3830 Dorney Park Road, ☎ +1 610 395-3724, . Located on the west end of Hamilton Boulevard near Interstate 78, this popular amusement park and water park is home to at least six world-class roller coasters, including the 200-foot-tall Steel Force, multi-looping coasters Talon and Hydra: The Revenge, and antique wooden roller coaster Thunderhawk. The park is open from early May to the end of October, and the waterpark is open from late May to early September. During the times that the waterpark is open, waterpark admission is included in the price of admission to the regular park, and guests can move freely back and forth between the two interconnected parks.(40.579721,-75.530180)edit
High school athletics. Allentown's three high schools and most large Lehigh Valley high schools compete athletically in the Lehigh Valley Conference, widely recognized as one of the highest quality athletic divisions in the nation. The conference has produced numerous professional and Olympic athletes and is especially known for its quality football and wrestling programs.edit
Lehigh Valley Grand Prix, 649 S. 10th Street, ☎ +1 610 432-RACE, . Gas-powered go karts!edit
Lehigh Valley Heritage Museum, 432 W. Walnut Street, . Exhibit galleries, library and area archives.edit
Lehigh Valley IronPigs, 1050 IronPigs Way, ☎ +1 610 841-PIGS, . The AAA-level minor league team of the 2008 World Series champion Philadelphia Phillies play their home games from early April through early October at Allentown's Coca-Cola Park. Tickets: (610) 841-PIGS.edit
Liberty Bell Museum, 622 W. Hamilton St., . See special exhibits and ring a full-size replica of the Liberty Bell which was hidden from the British in this historic church during the Revolutionary War.edit
MunOpCo Music Theatre, 1544 Hamilton Street, ☎ 610-437-2441, . edit
Museum of Indian Culture, 2825 Fish Hatchery Road, . Museum that preserves the history of the Lenape tribe and other regional Native Americans.edit
Philadelphia Force, ☎ 610-841-SOFT, . Professional women's softball. Even though they have a Philadelphia name, they play their home games in Allentown.edit
Playdrome Rose Bowl, 801 N. 15th St., ☎ 610-437-4606, . Bowling. edit
Skiing. This is a popular activity in nearby mountains. Most skiing areas are closed seasonally, since snow can usually only be manufactured from about November to April. Bear Creek Mountain Resort and Blue Mountain Ski Area are a short drive away in Macungie and Palmerton, respectively. Larger, world-famous ski resorts, including Jack Frost & Big Boulder, are located in the Poconos, about 1 hour drive north on Interstate 476.edit
Lehigh Valley Laser Tag, 874 Marcon Blvd, ☎ 610-443-2230, . Multi level laser tag factility.(40.63831603288429,-75.45024991035461)edit
Allentown is home to Muhlenberg College, Cedar Crest College and the Donley Center, the downtown Allentown campus of Lehigh Carbon Community College (LCCC). Other colleges are located throughout Lehigh Valley.
The largest employer in Allentown is Lehigh Valley Hospital, with over 7,800 workers. Other companies headquartered here are Air Products & Chemicals, LSI, St. Lukes Hospital, Blue Cross and PPL. Allentown was once an important manufacturing center in the region. Today, small scale manufacturing is still an important part of the local economy.
Allentown is the county seat for Lehigh County. Downtown Allentown is an important employment center with approximately 15,000 people working there.
Much of the Allentown area's shopping is actually located in neighboring Whitehall, which is about five minutes north of downtown via PA Route 145, which is also Whitehall's main commercial street. Route 145, also known as MacArthur Road (7th Street in Allentown) is home to the Lehigh Valley Mall, anchored by Macy's, JCPenny, and Boscov's; a new upscale wing has been added to the mall with stores including Williams-Sonoma, J crew, Pottery Barn and Ann Taylor. There are other stores on MacArthur Road and also on the intersecting Grape Street, including Wal-Mart, Sam's Club, Best Buy, Kmart, Home Depot, Sports Authority, Dicks Sporting Goods, Burlington Coat Factory, Giant Food, Staples, and the smaller Whitehall Mall, anchored by Sears and Kohl's.
A second Allentown mall, South Mall, anchored by Bon Ton, Black Rose Antiques, Staples, Petco, and Stein Mart, is on Lehigh Street, in west Allentown's border with Salisbury Township and Emmaus..
The 19th Street area near Muhlenberg College is a funky little commercial district with a coffee shop and art house movie theatre.
A small commercial district is also available on the eastern portion of Union Boulevard, near Plymouth Street, Club Avenue, and Pennsylvania Avenue. This area houses Giant Food, Marshalls, Dan Schantz Greenhouse, Wells Fargo, Staples, HomeGoods, a Big Lots and other stores.
For an original shopping experience, try the Allentown Farmers Market. Located at 17th and Chew streets, this farmers market features everything from fresh meat and produce to local gifts.
For local produce, go to the Plaza Growers Market on Wednesdays at lunch over the growing season, May through October. It's located on Hamilton Street in the downtown between 8th and 9th.
Merchants Square Mall features antiques and collectibles. Located at 1901 South 12th Street.
More shopping is available at Crest Plaza' on the west side of Allentown, on Cedar Crest Boulevard, including Weis Markets, Fashion Bug and Target Greatland.
The Promenade Shoppes at Saucon Valley, located outside of Allentown in Upper Saucon Township, is a newer and very upscale shopping destination, which also includes restaurants and Lehigh Valley's largest movie theater. Anchor stores include Ann Taylor, Sage, Banana Republic, and Brooks Brothers..
Two new shopping centers are being built on the East Side of Allentown. On Airport Road, there is large shopping center, Airport Center, currently housing The Christmas Tree Shop, A.C. Moore, Golf Galaxy, Five Guys Burgers & Fries, Target, Ross, Zoup!, GameStop, Sleepy's, and a few more. Future plans include Sam's Club and a few others. The other shopping center, Hanover Commons, is on Hanover Avenue and recently went under renovations. The only current stores are Popeye's, Philly Pretzel Factory, and Family Dollar.
Valley Plaza, on Catasaqua Road, houses Ollie's Bargain Outlet and smaller stores. Carmike Cinemas and BJ's are located nearby.
A shopping center on South 4th Street has a Kmart and a PriceRite, with most other stores being vacant. The center has a few armed security guards on patrol. There is higher security in the area due to the proximity of the Cumberland Gardens housing projects and the crime from the area.
Weil's Antique Center, 2200 31st St., ☎ 610-791-7910, . edit
Josh Early Candies, 4640 W. Tilghman St., ☎ 610-395-4321, . Family owned & operated. Home-made chocolate and other sweets.edit
Dan's Camera City, 1439 W. Fairmont St., ☎ 610-434-2313, . Get film developed. Print digital prints while you wait. Create cool gifts using your own photos. Camera equipment for sale and rent.edit
From the area of Cedar Beach Park to Dorney Park there are a slew of shops along Hamilton Street/Hamilton Boulevard/PA-222 (same street, three names). Heading from downtown Allentown going north toward Interstate 78, there's Phoebe Floral & Home Decor, PopCorn To Go, and the shops at 3900 Hamilton Center, like a Robbin's Jewelers, just to name a few.
Warner Stained Glass, 795 Roble Road, ☎ 610-264-1100, . edit
Allentown offers numerous family-run eateries featuring authentic ethnic cuisine. These include Japanese, Chinese, Lebanese, Mexican, Jamaican, Dominican and Puerto Rican restaurants. A variety of casual dining and fast food restaurants are available around the Whitehall and Cedar Crest Boulevard business districts, as well as in Center City. You can even catch a hot dog on the street from a vendor on Hamilton Street or 7th Street.
La Dolce Vita Italian Bakery, 5531 Hamilton Boulevard, ☎ 610-395-8875, . Reasonably priced Italian.edit
Vince's Cheesesteaks, 1091 Mill Creek Rd., ☎ +1 610 395-6500, . Well known shop serving their famous cheesesteaks as well as pizza and subs.edit
Wally's Deli, 711 N. 17th St., ☎ +1 610 435-7177, . M-W 7AM-6PM, Th-F 7AM-7PM, Sa 7AM-6PM. A popular, locally owned place with several Lehigh Valley locations. In Allentown, it is on 17th street.edit
Willy Joe's, 2407 Lehigh Street, ☎ 610-797-7009. A local favorite for hot dogs, steak sandwiches, fries. Family dining. edit
Yocco's. This small hot dog chain is considered to be a local favorite, and is a must-try for first time visitors to Allentown. There are six Yocco's locations in Allentown and its surrounding suburbs.edit
Zandy's Steak Shop, 813 St. John Street, ☎ +1 610 434 7874, . Another must try for anyone coming to Lehigh Valley. A local version of the Philly steak sandwich.edit
The Brass Rail, ☎ 610 797-1927, . The "Something for Everyone Restaurant", an Allentown tradition, is known for their cheesesteaks and Italian American fare. Established in1931, it provides a casual family friendly dining experience 362 days of year.M-Th 7AM-11PM, F-Sa 7AM-MIDNIGHT, Su 8AM-10PM. edit
Bull & Bear Restaurant, 462 Union Blvd, ☎ 610-432-5230, . American style foodedit
Damascus, 449 N. 2nd St.. Authentic Middle Eastern cuisine.edit
Foo Joy Chinese Restaurant, 3229 Hamilton Blvd., ☎ 610-432-1800, . A family owned Chinese food restaurant near Dorney Park with free deliveryedit
Gregory's, 2201 Schoenersville Rd., ☎ 610-264-9301, . A local restaurant just north of the airport, at the junction of Airport Road (Old Airport Road) and Catausauqua Road. Gregory's is famous for its 120-ounce steak, the largest in the world.edit
Pistachio Bar & Grille, 341 S Cedar Crest Blvd, ☎ +1 610 435-7007 (email@example.com, fax: +1 610 782-0660), . Su-Th 1130AM-12AM, F-Sa 1130AM-2AM. Martini bar, and Italian-fusion food, modern-looking dining area, a bit loud and busy on weekends.edit
PJ Whelihan's, 4595 Broadway, ☎ +1 610 395-2532, . M-Sa 11AM-2AM, Su 11AM-12AM. Famous for wings and pub fare.edit
Bacio Italian Restaurant, 1259 South Cedar Crest Blvd., 610-821-1102, . Upscale Italian cuisine.
Bay Leaf, 935 W. Hamilton Street, 610-433-4211,  - New American and Asian cuisine. Highly recommended, very good, complete menu and great service.
Bellissimo Ristorante, 1243 W. Tilghman St, ☎ 610-770-7717, . edit
Cosmopolitan Restaurant, 22 N. 6th St, ☎ 610-435-3540, . M-Th 11AM-10PM, F 11AM-1AM, Sa 4PM-1AM, Su 10AM-3PM. Located in the Arts District, the Cosmopolitan features contemporary American cuisine with European influences. Also features a lounge, a ballroom and a rooftop lounge.edit
Grille 3501, 3501 Broadway, 610-706-0100, . Fine fusion cuisine with an eclectic martini bar.
Louie's Italian Restaurant, 2071 31st St SW, (610) 791-1226, . Family owned traditional Italian food since 1958.
Mango's Coastal Cuisine, 3750 W. Hamilton Street, 610-432-4420, . Mediterranean Rim cuisine with Latin American influences. Known for their tapas menu.
Sangria, 840 W. Hamilton Street. New local hotspot, features eclectic Mediterranean cuisine such as paella. Cocktail bar, lots of outdoor seating.
Allentown is well known for its nightlife, and many Allentown clubs feature major New York City, Philadelphia and Allentown DJs and live bands. They include:
Allentown Brew Works, 812-816 Hamilton Street, ☎ 610-433-7777, . This restaurant is a second location modeled after the Bethlehem Brew Works also owned by the Fegley Family. A micro brewery, the four-level restaurant serves upscale bar fare, with bars on three levels, including the Silk Lounge on the lower level. Live comedy.edit
3400 W Tilghman St, ☎ +1 484 223-2020, . Su-Th 11AM-12AM, Fr-Sa 11AM-2AM. The newest Brew Works in the area with views of the golf course.
B&B Piano Bar, 248 N. 9th Street, (484) 221-8278. Piano bar.
BPM Club, N. Race and W. Court Street, (610) 433-0503. Nightclub.
Big Woody's, 1202 W. Liberty Street, ☎ +1 610 820-3866, . 11am-2am. edit
702 Hanover Avenue, ☎ +1 610 770-1020. 11am-2am.
1841 S 4th Street, ☎ +1 610 289-4444. 11am-2am.
Bull and Bear Restaurant, 462 Union Blvd., (610) 432-5230. Restaurant and bar. Live music. 
Candida's Bar, 247 N. 12th St., (610) 434-3071. Tavern, serves the local GLBT crowd, but all are welcome.
Chess N' Checkers Pub, 1801 Airport Rd., (610) 264-4131. Restaurant and pub bar. 
Chicken Lounge, 3245 Hamilton Blvd., (610) 439-1707. Lounge and bar.
Club Horizon, 1221 Airport Rd., (610) 841-7000. Nightclub.
Crocodile Rock Cafe, 520 W. Hamilton St., ☎ +1 610 434-4600, . A popular night spot on Hamilton St. in Center City. Nationally known rock, metal, and hip-hop artists perform at "Croc Rock." One of the premier live music venues in eastern Pennsylvania. Headline performers have included Snoop Dogg, Hollywood Undead, Sean Kingston, Chris Cornell, and Dropkick Murphys. edit
Greg's West End Saloon, 1839 W. Tilghman St., (610) 351-9366. Bar.
Liberty Street Tavern & Pizzeria, 2246 Liberty Street, ☎ 484-221-8765, . Bar food and Italian cuisine, Taco Tuesdays, Wide selection of bottled microbrews and imported beers.edit
Jack Callaghan's Ale House, 2027 Tilghman St., (610) 432-5797. Restaurant and pub..
Maingate Nightclub, 448 N. 17th Street, (610) 776-7711. Large and festive nightclub with modern dance and hip hop music, large dance floor, outside bars open in summer. Dance and hip hop music spun by top New York City, Philadelphia and Allentown DJs. Also has periodic under 21 nights.
MIXX Nightclub and Sports, 801 N. 15th Street, (610) 437-3970. Major sports bar with multiple televisions. Jam-packed for most Philadelphia Eagles games. DJs and periodic live bands.
Opa Bar & Grill, 2204 Union Blvd., M-F 11AM-2AM, Sa 3PM-2AM, Su 3PM-12AM, (610) 776-0299. . Tavern.
Pitchers Sports Bar & Grille, 570 Union Blvd, ☎ 610-841-4001. Sports bar.edit
Holiday Inn Allentown Center City, 904 W Hamilton St., ☎ +1 610 433-2221, . edit Within a short walk of Allentown Brew Works, Liberty Bell Shrine and other downtown museums and attractions. Hotel just underwent major renovation. Made in Brazil, a Brazilian Steakhouse is its newly-opened restaurant. Plentiful parking.
Holiday Inn Conference Center Lehigh Valley, 7736 Adrienne Drive, ☎ 610-391-1000 (fax: +1 610 391-1664), . Holiday Inn Conference Center Lehigh Valley is a full-service PA hotel near downtown Allentown with conference rooms and vacation packages.edit
Holiday Inn Express, 3620 Hamilton Blvd, ☎ +1 610 437-9255, . edit
Much of the crime in Allentown is gang related, so it is advisable to avoid poor neighborhoods and housing projects. Active gangs in the city include 18th Street, Black Dragons, Bloods, Crips, Latin Kings, Los Solidos, Mexican Mafia, GGU and MS-13. Thus, Graffiti is very widespread.
In 2006, Allentown had 16 murders, 42 rapes, and 6059 property crimes. The crime index was 6667.5 per 100,000 in 2006, while the national average was only 4479.3. Allentown has a crime rates almost twice the national average in every category, including rape, robbery, theft, auto theft, murder, assault, and burglary. Rougher areas include parts of East Allentown and some neighborhoods of Center City north of Linden St. and south of Tilghman St. as well as the area between the American Parkway and Lehigh River, just east of Center City. Random acts of violence and crime against visitors is rare - much of the crime in the area involves people involved in drugs, gangs, or other illicit activities. It would be unwise to try to buy drugs or other contraband in the city.
It is fairly easy to stay safe by following common sense. Theft is an issue, so be sure to lock cars and stay out of poorer areas at night. Prostitution and street racing are also issues in Allentown. Don't walk alone late at night or on dimly lit streets. The most likely victim of a mugging on an Allentown street is someone who is alone and intoxicated, so keep your wits about you. If homeless approach you for change, just keep walking if you don't want to give anything. Pickpocketing is not a large problem, but don't flash around your money.
There is a large police presence in the neighborhoods most frequented by visitors, especially Hamilton Street. Many officers in Center City use bicycles.
As in many parts of the country, citizens may not want to share religious or political views. The city in recent years has seen an influx of Spanish speakers, mainly from Puerto Rico and The Dominican Republic.
In Allentown one must dial an area code when you place a call. Area codes in the Lehigh Valley are 610 and 484. Another overlay, 815, is planned, but is not active yet. You may still find some payphones on the street.
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!