A thriving industrial center in the 19th century, its struggles in the "post-industrial" 20th century became the lyrics of a famous song by Billy Joel named after "Allentown," its biggest city. Lehigh Valley has begun to turn itself around with some success through tourism with several outlying ski resorts, an amusement park, a casino, concerts and cultural festivals year round. It also has become an increasingly popular bedroom community for those with pofessional jobs in New York City and Philadelphia.
Lehigh Valley is known nationally as the birthplace of several famous Americans, including:
Michael Andretti, professional racing team owner, former professional race car driver.
Chuck Bednarik, former professional football player, Philadelphia Eagles, Pro Football Hall of Fame member.
Stephen Vincent Benet, author.
Michaela Conlin, actress, Fox's Bones.
Jonathan Frakes, actor, Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Lee Iacocca, former chairman, Chrysler Corporation.
Keith Jarrett, jazz musician.
Michael Johns, conservative author and writer, former White House speechwriter.
Dwayne Johnson ("The Rock"), actor, former professional wrestler.
Daniel Dae Kim, actor, ABC's Lost.
Steve Kimock, rock musician.
Carson Kressley, actor, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.
Matt Miller, professional football player, Denver Broncos, San Francisco 49ers and Washington Redskins.
Marty Nothstein, professional cyclist, Olympic medalist and World champion.
Andre Reed, former professional football player, Buffalo Bills and Washington Redskins.
Daniel Roebuck, actor, ABC's Lost.
Brian Schneider, professional baseball player, New York Mets.
Christine Taylor, actress, wife of actor Ben Stiller.
Amanda Seyfried, model and actress, The CW's Veronica Mars and HBO's Big Love.
Jonathan Taylor Thomas, actor, ABC's Home Improvement.
Lauren Weisberger, author, The Devil Wears Prada.
"Down the shore" is a common local reference to New Jersey beaches, located approximately 75 miles southeast from the Lehigh Valley.
It's not a major airport like in New York City or Philadelphia, but it's larger than your average small airport. Airlines include Air Canada, Air Tran, Allegiant Air, Continental Express, Direct Air, Delta, Northwest, United Express and US Airways. When I called they said they don't get direct flights from any other countries besides the United States and Canada, but travellers can get to LVIA after switching flights at another airport.
There are a few different ways to travel throughout the valley. LANTA provides bus service to major areas. You can call for a taxi, although it is unlikely to find them just driving on the streets. Other ways are renting a car or walking.
Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom in South Whitehall Township in Allentown is one of the premiere amusement and water parks in the nation, known especially for its elaborate rollercoasters and large waterpark..
Lehigh Valley IronPigs. The AAA-level minor league team of the 2008 World Series champion Philadelphia Phillies plays their home games at Coca-Cola Park in Allentown from early April through early October.. Tickets: (610) 841-PIGS.
Philadelphia Eagles. The Philadelphia Eagles hold their twice-a-day summer training camp practices each August at Lehigh University in Bethlehem.. Admission is free.
Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem, Pennsylvania's largest casino built on the old site of Bethlehem Steel, in Bethlehem opened in 2009 .
Clothing and shoes are tax-free in PA!
The Lehigh Valley Mall is located north of Allentown in Whitehall just off US-22. Anchored by JCPenney, Macy's and Boscov's and includes nearly 130 stores. Indoor and outdoor shopping .
The Promenade Shoppes at Saucon Valley is located between Allentown and Bethlehem in Center Valley just off U.S. PA-309. Open-air, outlet-style shopping with approximately 82 stores. 
The South Mall, located between Allentown and Emmaus in Salisbury Township, is anchored by The BonTon, and includes approximately 30 other stores.
Lee Gribben's on Main, 2nd & Main Sts., Emmaus, (610) 967-4409. High-end dining establishment. Formal. Bar separate from restaurant. Exceptional food among the best in Lehigh Valley..
Volpe's Sports Bar, 501 Broad St., Emmaus, (610) 965-0311. Recently renovated sports bar with over 10 large screen plasma televisions, including all out of town games. Broad food and beer selections. Several large rooms, including the bar area. Formerly known as the Broad Street Saloon, the upper floors are apartments. Under new management, and still among the top places to go in the Valley for affordable drinks, cold beer and televised sports.
Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton all experience crime. Much of the crime is gang-related, so try to stay out of poor neighborhoods and housing projects. 18th Street, Black Dragons, Bloods, Crips, Latin Kings, Los Solidos, Mexican Mafia, and MS-13 are all gangs found in the area. They are the most violent gangs in the country.
Graffiti is also common, especially in Allentown and on Bethlehem's South Side. Theft is an issue, so be sure to lock cars and stay out of certain areas at night. Prostitution and street drag racing are also issues in Lehigh Valley. Don't walk alone late at night or on un-lit streets. Don't wander too far off the main streets. 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.
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 and Easton have crime rates almost twice the national average in every category, including rape, robbery, theft, auto theft, murder, assault, and burglary. Allentown is definitely the most crime-ridden city in Lehigh Valley.Rougher areas include: Northern Allentown, South Bethlehem, and Pembroke in East Bethlehem. Crime is more likely to happen here, but can happen anywhere.
I-476 - Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike (toll road). Northbound will take you toward Scranton and Wilkes Barre, in the Coal Region. Southbound will take you toward Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley, where you can catch I-95 and go all the way down the east coast to Florida.
also PA-309 - Northbound will take you to I-81, which runs north to Syracuse, New York and south to Roanoke, Virginia. Southbound will take you to I-276, which runs east to southern New Jersey.