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Revision as of 20:55, 23 December 2008
Allentown  is a city in the Lehigh Valley region of eastern Pennsylvania, in the United States. It is the third largest city in Pennsylvania, after Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
The main point of airline entry to the Lehigh Valley is at the Lehigh Valley International Airport (ABE), which is less than twenty minutes away from most parts of the city. Various airlines operate out of this airport. Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) is a major airport that is about 90 minutes away. As it is a hub for several national airlines, it is easy to get from many airports to Philadelphia non-stop, although it is sometimes cheaper to fly directly to the Lehigh Valley.
- 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 the 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 Mount Pocono and points east.
- Trans-Bridge bus line offers daily service to and from New York City and Newark, New Jersey.
- Carl Bieber Tourways offers daily service to New York City, Philadelphia and other regionally-located cities. It also provides bus service within the Lehigh Valley and its surrounding areas, including to and from Reading.
By bus or cab
Extensive bus services are provided by LANTA (Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority), however, the bus system tends to be stereotypical of most larger-city bus systems. Several cab companies also operate in the Lehigh Valley.
Most visitors to the Lehigh Valley will want to either rent a car or drive their own. Traffic can be heavy and perhaps slightly intimidating to those who are unfamiliar with driving through heavy traffic, but here are a few things to take note of.
- 7th Street in Allentown is a three-lane-wide one-way street, and can be challenging for novice or rural drivers. Use Cedar Crest Boulevard or Airport Road if this could be a problem for you.
- 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, it does look a little bit un-city-like (going through a grove of trees with a couple houses scattered about) for a while, but you are on the right road.
- Hamilton Street (PA 222) is a continuation of US 222/ Hamilton Boulevard and provides easy access for travelers from Reading & Lancaster and vicinity. Hamilton 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 which 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 8 lanes in some areas.
- Great Allentown Fair, 302 N 17 Street (corner of 17th St. and Chew St.), ☎ +1 610 433-7541 ([email protected], 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.
- 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.
- Cedar Beach Park on Hamilton Blvd. 610-437-6900.
- 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.
- Allentown Art Museum , 31 N. Fifth Street, 610-432-4333, . World-class permanent art collection with changing exhibits.
- Lehigh Valley Heritage Museum, 432 W. Walnut Street, 610-435-1074, . Exhibit galleries, library and area archives.
- Liberty Bell Museum, 622 W. Hamilton St., 610-435-4232, . 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.
- 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."
- Skiing. This is a popular activity in nearby mountains. Most skiing areas are closed seasonally, as snow can usually only survive from about November to April. Ski Blue Mountain is located a short drive away, in Palmerton. Larger ski resorts are located in the Pocono Mountains, including Jack Frost/Big Boulder Ski Area, a drive of about 1 hour north on I-476.
- Much of the Allentown area's shopping is actually located in the town of Whitehall, PA, which is about five minutes north of the city 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 Boscovs (which opened late 2006). A new upscale wing is begin added to the mall with stores including Williams-Sonoma, Pottery barn and Ann Taylor slated to open in fall 2007. There are other stores on MacArthur Road, and the intersecting Grape Street, including Wal-Mart, Sam's Club, Best Buy, and the smaller Whitehall Mall, anchored by Sears and Kohl's.
- For a more quaint, outdoor walking experience, the former hotspot of Downtown (Hamilton Street from 6th to 10th streets) is in the midst of a revitalization project, to once again create a family friendly shopping area. Currently free from major construction, this area is home to a number of interesting local shops.
- A small commercial district is also available on the eastern portion of Union Boulevard, near Plymouth Street, Club Avenue, and Pennsylvania Street.
- More shopping is available on the west side of Allentown, on Cedar Crest Boulevard, including Target.
- The Promenade Shoppes at Saucon Valley is a newer upscale shopping destination, which also includes restaurants and the Lehigh Valley's largest movie theater.
- 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.
- Grille 3501, 3501 Broadway, 610-706-0100, . Fine fusion cuisine with an eclectic martini bar.
- King George Inn, 3141 Hamilton Blvd. at Cedar Crest Blvd., 610-435-1723, . Friendly atmosphere.
- Louie's Italian Restaurant, 12th and Chew Streets, 610-434-2340, . Family-owned traditional Italian food since 1958.
- Mango's Coastal Cuisine, 3750 Hamilton Street, 610-432-4420, . Mediterranean Rim cuisine with Latin American influences. Known for their tapas menu.
- Ragona's Lighthouse, 1547 Lehigh Street, 610-791-4220, . Signature seafood entrees.
- Foo Joy Chinese Restaurant. A family owned Chinese food restaurant near Dorney Park (Hamilton Blvd. & Cedar Crest) Free delivery 610-432-1800 
- Gregory's. A local restaurant just north of the airport, at the junction of Airport Road (Old Airport Road) and Catausauqua Road.
- Allentown Brew Works, 812-816 Hamilton Street, 610-433-7777, . Just opened in June 2007, this restaurant is a take-off of the Bethlehem Brew Works also owned by the Fegley Family. A micro brewery, the four-level restaurant serves upscale bar fare.
- Jack Creek Steakhouse & Cantina, 1900 Catasauqua Road, 610-264-888, . Family-owned casual Southwest steakhouse.
- Pistachio's, In the King's shopping center on Cedar Crest Blvd., across the street from the Da Vinci center on Cedar Crest Collge Campus. Martini bar, and Italian-fusion food, modern-looking dining area, a bit loud and busy on weekends, but for a reason!
- 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 located on 17th street.
- 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.
- A variety of casual dining and fast food restaurants are available around the Whitehall and Cedar Crest Blvd. business districts, as well as in Center City.
- Allentown Brew Works (same listing as above) has bars on three levels including the Silk lounge onthe lower level.
- The Brass Rail, 3015 Lehigh St., ☎ +1 610 797-1927 ([email protected]), . M-Th 7AM-midnight, F-Sa 7AM-1AM, Su 8AM-10PM.
- Quality Inn & Suites, 1715 Plaza Lane (15th St Exit Off Rt 22), ☎ +1 610 435-7880, .
- Best Western Inn & Suites, 5630 Tilghman St, ☎ +1 610 530 5545 (fax: 610 530 5546), .
- Days Inn, 2622 Lehigh St., ☎ +1 610 797-1234.
- Econo Lodge, 2115 Downeyflake Ln., ☎ +1 610 797-2200, .
- Holiday Inn Conference Center Lehigh Valley, 7736 Adrienne Drive, ☎ +1 610 530 5545 (fax: +1 610 391-1664), .
- Super 8 Motel, 1033 Airport Rd, ☎ +1 610 434 9550, .
- Wingate Inn, 4325 Hamilton Blvd., ☎ +1 610 366-1600, .
Allentown is known for being the birthplace of several famous Americans, including:
- Michaela Conlin, actress, Fox's Bones.
- 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.
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