Reading (Pennsylvania)

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Reading (Pennsylvania)

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Reading is in the state of Pennsylvania, United States


Reading is a very old city in Pennsylvania. It used to be a profitable, industrious city with one of the largest railway systems in the county (where the familiar Reading Railroad from the Monopoly board comes from), but has declined dramatically in recent years. It has a good location, about an hour away from Philadelphia, which attracts many immigrants and citizens from New York. Recent efforts have been to try and revitalize the city's dwindling down-town area with such projects as the recently created Goggle Works Center for the Arts and a new Imax [4] cinema.

Get in

Most arrive if not by highway then by the Philadelphia airport. Reading has its own airport but is almost exclusively for private use.

By bus

Reading is served by many major bus services such as Greyhound, Bieber, and Trailways.

Get around

Berks Area Reading Transit Authority (BARTA) (610)921-0601 [5] runs buses in Reading and throughout the Berks Region. Base fare is $1.60, transfers are $.25.

By taxi

There are many taxi cab services that offer 24 hour transportation around Reading [6].

  • Reading Yellow Cab: +1 610 374-5111
  • Courtesy Transport Inc: +1 610 373-7886
  • Grab A Cab: +1 610 478-1111
  • Taxidermy Blue Marsh: +1 610 678-5916


Recently created is The Goggle Works Center for the Arts[7], a large arts center built out of a factory that used to manufacture goggles for WWII. It boasts frequent art exhibitions as well as a very wide variety of art studios and classes. It also has a small theater that shows independent films.

The Reading Museum[8] houses a modest collection of exhibits from around the world, most notably a mummy. There's also a planetarium on the grounds.

The Central Pennsylvania African-American Museum [9] is in the old AME Church (the sixth one in the world) and features an actual hide-out tunnel that was part of the Underground Railroad used by escaping slaves during the pre-Civil War era.

Mount Penn has atop of it skyline drive, which has many very scenic views of Reading. Along it are the fire tower, which has been recently restored and offers the best view of the city, and the trademark Pagoda[10], which also houses various artwork.

West Reading, across the river, has a thriving arts scene. Penn Avenue is host to many independent cafés and stores. Among the best are the Hard Bean Cafe, where you can sip a cup of coffee while sitting on a couch in the window display, listening to a poetry reading or open mic night, and viewing the monthly-changing local artwork on the walls. Below Hard Bean Cafe is Flashbacks, a pop shoppe featuring cultural paraphernalia ranging from Elvis and Marilyn Monroe collectables to vintage clothing to rare movie rentals. Don't miss Vertigo Music, where they sell used, new, and hard to find records and other music-related/novelty items. Other shops to be aware of: Repulsion (a punk shop), Celtic Myth and Moonlight (a Celtic/Pagan/Wiccan shop), Dragonfly Studio and Gallery (a spiritual items store and tattoo parlour), Haute Chocolate Cafe (everything chocolate you could ever want), Paisley Moon (hippie store), and so many more.

A new Imax theater has been built in Reading. R/C Theatres Located near the Goggle works on 30 North second street. It offers stadium seating with high back rocking chairs, Imax auditorium, online ticketing, game and party rooms, and free three hour parking [11].


There are a few clubs around, along with the Sovereign Center which houses many sporting events including the Reading Royals, the local hockey team. The center has also attracted many famous artists including Bob Dylan and Clay Aikan. The Sovereign Performing Arts Center also hosts many traveling productions and the Reading Symphony orchestra, a surprisingly excellent group given the town it's in.

The Reading Phillies play at Reading's baseball stadium, causing the town for a time to acquire the rather dubious title of "Baseball Town, USA".

There are also many golf courses in the Reading area. One inparticular is The Reading Country Club. It is 18 holes in the outskirts of Reading in Exeter Township. It is a challeneging public coure measuring 6,1612 yards and a par of 71. The course had been open since 1922 and in 1937 Byron Nelson, a Masters Champion, was the golf pro. Later in 1940 Henry Clay Poe became the golf pro at The Reading Country Club. Many more golf pro's cam after these tow, but these two are memorable enough to have a room named after each of them in the clubhouse, that is now a beautiful restaurant. Within the clubhouse, you can either enjoy the excellent food in the Grille Room or on the Porch. The Grille room is a casual atmosphere where there are 6 tvs to watch the latest sporting events and a beautiful bar where you can enjoy a drink after a round of golf or while you're waiting for your table. But if you'd rather a more romantic atmosphere try dining in the Porch.


Every October the Oktoberfest is held right near the historic Stokesay castle in Mount Penn. The Oktoberfest is put on by the Reading Liederkranz. It is a festival of culture, food, clothing, crafts, and dance. [12]

The Apple Dumpling festival and pageant is held every summer at Willow Glen Park. It includes a craft show, company picnics, food, pageants, and carnival rides. [13]

Every winter Reading hold the Jingle Bell Fest. A light display, Holiday Music, Childrens rides, and holiday food. Like the Apple Dumpling Festival it is held at Willow Glen Park. [14]

Every Fall Willow Glen Park holds Shocktober fest: Pennsylvania’s Premier Haunted Scream Park. It offers 4 different haunted attractions: the Toxic Asylum, Biohazard Hayride w/ The SawKill, Prison of the Dead, and Club Shock. According to the Travel Channel it is “one of the scariest places in America”. [15]

Every Spring the Cherry Blossom Festival of Greater Reading Pennsylvania is held at the River Place on the Schuylkill. It offers a guided bike ride, Japanese films, and dragon viewings. [16]


Reading still calls itself the outlet capitol of the world, though the name is a remnant of when it was one of the few cities to boast outlets. Still, the VF Outlet Complex [17] remains one of Reading's biggest draws with hundreds of out-of-town visitors shopping its dozens of discount stores daily. Another part of Reading's history is the store named Boscovs. Reading is home to Boscovs first store. Boscovs is now reowned by Albert Boscov. Boscov's has grown into a 39 sotre company throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. Boscov's is one of the largest family owned department store chains in the U.S. Boscov's used to sponsor the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade previous to its bankruptcy in August of 2008, but don't let that discourage you because Boscov's is back on its feet and reorganizing to save this family owned store and an asset to the community.

Shopping centers and malls

  • Berkshire Mall is mid-range and Boscov's, The Bon-Ton, and Sears serve as anchors. Across the street are smaller outdoor shopping centers.
  • Fairgrounds Square Mall is Reading's second indoor mall. Anchors include Boscov's, JCPenney Outlet, Burlington Coat Factory, and a movie theater.

There are also many strip malls and one true mall in the Reading area. The Shoppes at Wyomissing are fairly new and have higher end shops, Broadcasting Square has your average stores such as Target, Ulta, Barnes and Noble. The Berkshire Mall is a medium scale mall, it includes stores such as Hollister, American Eagle, Wet Seal, Christopher Banks, and Victoria's Secret. Also along Penn Ave. in West Reading a lot of mom and pop boutiques that are one of a kind and are very interesting to walk through.


Reading has a few good places to eat including The Peanut Bar[18], The Ugly Oyster[19], Aashiana Indian Restaurant, Mezcal's Mexican Restaurant, and Canal Street Pub[20]; though like most of the shopping in town your options are rather limited. There is a fairly good selection of pizza shops & Chinese food, including Rocky's on fifth street, Pizza Italia on fourteenth street, and Russo's on Penn. Also try 3rd and Spruce [21], Judy's On Cherry [22], or The Speckled Hen and Pub [23].

The Tiki Bar is located just outside of Reading at 1150 Manatawny Rd, Boyertown Pa. It allows patrons to bbq outside during the summer enjoying the music of Jimmy buffet. [24]

The Captains Cove Restaurant/Bar is located in Mount Penn at 2619 Hill Rd. It offers a pirate themed outdoor seating area as well as a indoor seating area. It also has several bar areas located inside and outside. [25]

Go Fish! Is a great seafood market and sushi bar located in west reading. It allows you to dine in but it also allows you to order your food to go. 619 Penn Ave. [26]

Viva Good Life Bistro & Lounge. Located at 901 Hill Ave. French Cuisine that has room for meetings, banquets, and parties. Viva also offers a Take-Out Menu. [27]

Works. Located at 1109 Bern Road (610) 375-2700. Traditional American cuisine. The Works has an arcade, miniature bowling alleys, and real sports located inside the restaurant. [28]


Many corners of Reading house small bars and pubs, if you're feeling adventurous. A new addition to Reading's drinking atomosphere is the Winedown cafe & wine bar [29]. Winedown cafe is a very relaxed atmosphere for all wine lovers. winedown is located on Penn Ave in West Reading.[30]

  • Canal Street Pub & Restaurant Located: 535 Canal Street, Phone: (610) 376-4009. Offers billiards, darts, tv, and a private party room. [31]
  • The Speckled Hen Located: 30 South 4th street, Phone: (610) 685-8511. Speckled hen can accommodate private parties and offers a wide selection of traditional dishes. [32]


  • Sheraton Reading, 1741 Papermill Road [33] hotel offers double rooms, business suites in our Executive Club Tower, and Serenity Suites. The hotel also offers the area’s largest heated pool and Jacuzzi, an on-location Bell Tower Spa & Salon, and a 24-hour fitness center and sauna.
  • Comfort Inn & Suites Pottstown, 99 Robinson Road, Pottstown PA 19464, 610.326.5000, [1]. The Pottstown Comfort Inn and Suites is conveniently located hotel in Pottstown, PA. This hotel is a hub to many attractions and popular destinations in Philadelphia.
  • The Abraham Lincoln (A Wyndham Historic Hotel), 100 N 5th St, Reading, PA 19601, 610 372.3700, [2]. The Abraham Lincoln in Reading's business, entertainment and government district is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A business center, shuttle services, 9,491 square feet of functional event space, Restaurant L'Arte della Vita, Melody's Tavern, and a fitness center are all available at this historic hotel in Reading. The world-famous bandmaster John Philip Sousa died here after conducting Reading's Ringgold Band in 1932.
  • Reading Crowne Hotel, 1741 Papermill Road, 610-376-3811, [3]. Classy accommodations with in-hotel spa, lounge/jazz club, meeting and event areas, comedy club, and experience specialists.
  • Inn at Reading-Clarion located at 1040 N Park Road. (610) 372-7811. The Inn at Reading has been in reading for 40 years. It offers a space for conferences, banquets, and weddings. [34]
  • Homewood Suites by Hilton located at 2801 Papermill Road. (610) 736-3100. The Homewoodsuites offer complimentary breakfast and beverage areas, a fitness room, and a pool. [35]
  • Candlewood suites located at 55 south 3rd ave, West Reading. (610) 898-1910. The Candlewood suites offer a 24 hour health/fitness center and a convenience store. [36]

Stay Safe

Reading's crime rate is much higher than the national average. In 2006, Reading's theft was 2827.2 per 100,000 people, compared to the U.S. average of 398.4 per 100,000 people. Reading has experienced gang-related crime in the last several years. Reading had more murders, rapes, robberies, assaults, burglaries, thefts, auto thefts, and arsons than the U.S. average.

Get out

  • Allentown, 30 miles northeast, Pennsylvania's third largest city
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