county seat city in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, United States

For other places with the same name, see Allentown (disambiguation).

Allentown is the largest city in the Lehigh Valley region of eastern Pennsylvania, the county seat and largest city in Lehigh County, and the third-largest city in Pennsylvania after Philadelphia and Pittsburgh with a population of 125,845 as of 2020.

The Allentown skyline in May 2010

Understand edit

In the Lehigh Valley, Allentown borders South Whitehall Township to its northwest, Emmaus to its southeast, Whitehall Township to its north, and Bethlehem to its east. The city lies in the center of the highly populated U.S. Northeast megalopolis region, 19 miles (31 km) west of the Skylands and the New Jersey state line, 63 miles (101 km) north of Philadelphia, and 93 miles (150 km) west of New York City.

History edit

Allentown was founded in 1762 by William Allen as "Northampton Towne." It was renamed Allentown in 1838, and was incorporated as a city in 1867.

Founded in 1762, Allentown has deep roots in American history. The city was among the first to support American independence, establishing a Committee of Observation as early as 1774. During the American Revolutionary War, the Liberty Bell was hidden under the floor boards of an Allentown church for nine months from September 1777 to June 1778 to avoid its capture by British troops. In the 19th century, following the Confederate victory at Fort Sumter in April 1861, Allentown deployed the Allen Infantry to aid the Union Army and protect the nation's capital from Confederate attack. Allen Infantry and its associated regiment proved among the Union Army's most effective and bold fighting forces, leading some of the Union Army's most daring attacks against Confederate bases in the deep southern states of Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina.

In the early part of the 19th century, Allentown was among the first U.S. cities to emerge as a hub for industrialization with significant mining and heavy manufacturing industries, including anthracite coal, iron, and other minerals, that helped spark America's Industrial Revolution. In the early 20th century, the city blossomed as a national hub for heavy manufacturing. The late 20th century erosion of these industries in the area was captured in the 1982 Billy Joel single "Allentown," which elevated the city globally as a symbol of industrial decay and the devastating social impact associated with the Rust Belt.

Geography edit

Allentown lies on the Lehigh River, and the river has historically been a centerpiece of the city's economy and culture, serving as a means of transport for its mining and manufacturing products and closely associated with its rise as an industrial city. Allentown is 338 ft (103 m) above sea level. It lies along the Lehigh River in the Lehigh Valley, which is so named because of the prominence of the river and because it is located in an actual geographic valley between two Appalachian mountain tips, South Mountain and Blue Mountain.

Climate edit

 
A winter snow storm in Allentown

Allentown's climate is highly seasonal. July is the warmest month with an average high-temperature of 83.8°F (28.8°C). January is the coldest month with an average low-temperature of 21.6°F (-5.8°C).

The city experiences an annual average of 145.1 days of rain with 27.24 inches (692mm) of average annual rain precipitation and 20.4 days of snowfall with an average of 13.82 inches (351mm) of annual snow accumulation. July is the month with the most rain with a monthly average of 15.7 days of rain and monthly rain precipitation of 3.03 inches (77mm). March has the most snow with a monthly average of 5.3 days of snowfall and 4.37 inches (111mm) of snow precipitation.

September is the driest month in Allentown with 11.5 days of rain and a monthly average of 1.61 inches (41mm) of precipitation.

Tourist information edit

Talk edit

English is the dominant language and accents and tones are sometimes rough-edged and blunt as you might find in New York City or Philadelphia. Spanish is used by roughly five percent of the city's population. On the outskirts of Allentown, you may find people speaking Pennsylvania Dutch, a German dialect, that was the initial language at the time of the city and region's settlement but is vastly less common today. Other languages found here include Arabic, Portuguese, and Vietnamese.

  • Down the shore is used locally to describe the New Jersey beaches, approximately 75 miles southeast.
  • 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.

Get in edit

By plane edit

The primary and most convenient point of airline entry to Allentown and other Lehigh Valley locations is Lehigh Valley International Airport, but three primary options exist:

  • Philadelphia International Airport PHL IATA, the busiest airport in Pennsylvania, is not nearly as close as ABE but offers an even greater selection of international and domestic flights to the area. PHL is 71 miles (114 km) south of Allentown. Cars are available for rent at PHL, and roughly a dozen buses a day depart for Allentown from the airport or from Philadelphia Greyhound Terminal at 1001 Filbert St. in Center City Philadelphia. Phone: 1-800-PHL-GATE

By train edit

 
30th Street Station in Philadelphia
  • 30th Street Station, a major East Coast United States train station at 2955 Market Street in Philadelphia, is the third busiest Amtrak station in the U.S. and the closest commercial rail station, 61 miles (98 km) south of Allentown. Cars are available for rent inside the station. +1-800-872-7245

By bus edit

The Allentown bus terminal is at 325 Hamilton Street in center city Allentown, and several commercial bus companies offer transportation to Allentown, including:

By car edit

Allentown is easily accessible by several major highways. The two interstates most commonly used are:

  • Interstate 78, which is a major east-west highway that runs from central Pennsylvania in the west to the Holland Tunnel and Manhattan in the east. Allentown-area exits are 57, 58, and 59.
  • U.S. Route 22, which is a major freeway that runs from Cincinnati, Ohio in the west through Newark, New Jersey in the east. Exits 45, 49A, and 49B (Fogelsville) are all Allentown or Allentown-area exits.
  • If you are driving to Allentown from New Jersey, note that all of the major bridges across the Delaware River are free eastbound, but some 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 and adds only about half a mile to the trip.
  • From points southeast and northwest of Allentown, PA Route 309 provides fairly quick access and is a good road to travel.
  • PA Route 33 from I-80 is the best approach for travelers coming to Allentown the Poconos.

Get around edit

 
Map of Allentown

Once in the city, Allentown is relatively easy to navigate and most of it is even 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, and Union. Numbered streets run from north to south. They begin towards the west at 1 and continue to 42.

By bus edit

Extensive public bus service in Allentown and South Whitehall Township is provided by Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority (LANTA).

By cab edit

Multiple cab and limousine companies operate throughout Allentown and Lehigh Valley, including:

By limo edit

By car edit

Most visitors to Lehigh Valley will want to either rent a car or drive their own.

  • Because 7th street in Allentown is one-way, if you aim to go north to Whitehall Township, you will want to be on 6th street. Route 145 turns off 6th Street at Greenleaf Street for one block, and then joins 7th Street (beginning 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 and 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 and Easton as Union Boulevard.
  • US Route 22 is a four-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.

By bike edit

Riding a bike can also get you around in Allentown and its fabulous park system. The city is known for its extensive trail and park systems, especially 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).

On foot edit

The main Allentown downtown area is small and easy to walk. You may want to park your car in one of the many garages and walk downtown.

See edit

 
The Liberty Bell Museum
  • 1 Allentown Art Museum, 31 N 5th St, +1 610-432-4333. W-Sa 11AM-4PM, Su noon-4pm, third Thursday each month: Open until 8PM. World-class permanent art collection with changing exhibits. Adult $12; senior (60+), student $10 or child 6 and older $10, child 5 and under free; free admission Su noon–4PM and 3rd Th 4PM–8PM.    
  • 2 America On Wheels Museum, 5 N Front Street, +1 610-432-4200. Museum showing the history of wheeled transportation, largely inspired by the historical role Mack Trucks, based in Allentown from 1905 until its move to North Carolina in 2005, played in the city and region for a century.    
  • 3 Da Vinci Science Center, 3145 Hamilton Blvd Bypass, +1 484 664-1002. M-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su noon-5PM. Da Vinci is a hands-on children's science center featuring two stories of interactive activities to teach visitors about the world in which we liv. Highlights include a dark tunnel, shadow-room, seawater touch tank, and Keva building blocks. Ages 3+ $12.95, Toddlers free.    
  • 4 Lehigh County Historical Society, 432 W Walnut St, +1 610-435-1074. Tu-Sa 10AM-4PM. Exhibit galleries, library and area archives.    
  • 5 Mack Experience Center, 2402 Lehigh Pkwy. S, +1 610-351-8800. The Mack Trucks Historical Museum is the repository of historical documents and artifacts from Mack’s long and storied history as the leading American truck manufacturer and world-renowned brand name. There are more than 80,000 photos in the collection, many dating back to Mack's 1905 founding in Allentown. Mack has records for nearly every chassis it manufactured since 1905, all of which appear in this Allentown-based museum.
  • 6 Museum of Indian Culture, 2825 Fish Hatchery Rd, +1 610-797-2121. Museum that preserves the history of the Lenape Indian tribe, who occupied the region before its settlement by German immigrants in the early 1700s.    
  • There are several covered bridges in South Whitehall Township.
 
Wehr Covered Bridge
 
Manasses Guth Covered Bridge

Do edit

 
The 1,200-seat Miller Symphony Hall, home of the Allentown Symphony Orchestra
 
Coca-Cola Park, the home field for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, the AAA Minor League affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies
 
Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom's Steel Force and Thunderhawk roller coasters in Allentown. Steel Force is the eighth-tallest steel roller coaster in the world with a first drop of 205 feet (62 m) and a top speed of 75 miles per hour (121 km/h).
  • 4 Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom, 3830 Dorney Park Rd (on the west end of Hamilton Boulevard near Interstate 78), +1 610-395-3724. This popular amusement park and water park is home to at least six world-class roller coasters, including the 200-foot-tall Steel Force (the eighth longest steel roller coaster in the world), 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.    
  • 5 Haja Rose Bowl, 801 N. 15th St, +1 610-437-4606. 36 bowling lanes. Also hosts bowling leagues. Attached to the Mixx Nightclub & Lounge, a self-described "high-energy haunt," with live music, karaoke, and high resolution televisions for sporting events.
  • 6 High school athletics. Allentown's three high schools compete athletically in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference, which includes the 18 largest high schools from the Lehigh Valley and Poconos and is widely recognized as one of the highest quality high school 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. All three of Allentown's large high schools play their home football games at J. Birney Stadium, the largest high school football stadium in Pennsylvania, located at 2027 Linden Street in Allentown.    
  • 7 Lehigh Valley Grand Prix, 649 S. 10th St, +1 610-432-RACE (7223), toll-free: +1 866 577-5278, . Indoor karting with vehicles that reach speeds nearing 45 mph on an indoor 1/4 mile road course style track.
  • 8 Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Triple A Minor League affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies), 1050 Ironpigs Way, +1 610-841-7447, . The AAA-level minor league baseball team of the 2008 World Series champion Philadelphia Phillies play their home games from early April through early September at Allentown's Coca-Cola Park.    
 
PPL Center hosts the Lehigh Valley Phantoms of the American Hockey League in addition to major concert and entertainment events
  • 9 Lehigh Valley Phantoms (American Hockey League affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers), 701 Hamilton St, +1 610-224-4625. The primary development team of the Philadelphia Flyers, competing in the American Hockey League, and playing at the PPL Center in center city Allentown from September through May.    
  • 10 MunOpCo Music Theatre, 1533 Hamilton St, +1 610-437-2441. Allentown's Municipal Opera and community theatre.
  • 11 Nineteenth Street Theatre (Civic Theatre of Allentown), 527 N. 19th St, +1 610-432-8943. Oldest cinema theatre with art movies and foreign films in between productions.    

Events edit

 
Entrance to the Allentown Fairgrounds
  • 12 Great Allentown Fair, 302 N 17th St (at Chew St), +1 610-433-7541, . Annually late August/early September - just before Labor Day. Annual event since 1852. It 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. 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.    
  • 13 Mayfair, 100 College Dr, toll-free: +1-800-360-1222. Mayfair Festival of the Arts takes place over Memorial Day weekend. It brings performers and artisans to 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.    
  • 14 PPL Center, 701 Hamilton St (Center city Allentown on Hamilton St. between 7th and 8th Sts.), + 1 610-224-4625. Known more for being the home arena of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms ice hockey team, this 10,000-seat arena hosts regular major concerts and other entertainment events. Also has various indoor stadium food locations.    

Learn edit

Allentown is home to two four-year colleges, Muhlenberg College and Cedar Crest College, and Lehigh Carbon Community College-Allentown campus, a two-year satellite campus of Lehigh Carbon Community College.

Work edit

The largest employer in Allentown is Lehigh Valley Hospital, Pennsylvania's third-largest hospital, with over 7,800 workers. Other companies headquartered here are Air Products & Chemicals, St. Lukes Hospital, Capital Blue Cross, and PPL. Throughout most of the 20th century until the 1980s, Allentown and the Lehigh Valley were globally-recognized leaders in heavy manufacturing, especially steel, coal, and iron. But those industries faced multiple challenges and diminished or dissolved completely beginning in the late 1970s,. Today, small scale manufacturing is still an important part of the local economy.

Allentown is the county seat for Lehigh County. Center City Allentown is an important employment center with approximately 15,000 people working there.

Buy edit

  • 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. Shopping malls in and around Allentown include:

Other shopping locations include:

  • 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 Blvd., 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 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 on Hamilton Street in the downtown between 8th and 9th.
  • 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.

Eat edit

 
Yocco's, a regionally famous hot dog and cheesesteak restaurant chain founded in 1922, has four Lehigh Valley locations, including two in Allentown (Yocco's West at 2128 Hamilton St. and Yocco's Valley Plaza at 1930 Catasauqua Rd.

Allentown offers numerous family-run eateries featuring various authentic ethnic cuisine, including Japanese, Chinese, Lebanese, Mexican, Jamaican, Dominican, and Puerto Rican restaurants. A variety of casual dining and fast food restaurants are available around the Whitehall Township 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. A good number of national chain restaurants also exist in the city.

Budget edit

  • 1 Cali Burrito, 3104 Hamilton Blvd, +1 610-351-1791. California-style Mexican cuisine. Organic, vegetarian, vegan. Laid-back vibe.
  • 2 Charles Pizza, 2102 Union Blvd. # 5, +1 610-435-9990. 10AM-9:15PM daily. Pizza.
  • 3 China Moon, 2102 Union Blvd, +1 610-439-8883. Chinese cuisine.
  • 4 Kids Castle, 1193 Airport Rd, +1 610-435-1432. Kid-friendly fast food.
  • 5 La Dolce Vita Italian Bakery, 5531 Hamilton Blvd, +1 610-395-8875. Reasonably priced Italian.
  • 6 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.
  • 7 Willy Joe's, 446 N 16th St, +1 610-435-3260. A local favorite for hot dogs, steak sandwiches, fries. Only the original location remains.
  • 8 Yocco's West, 2128 Hamilton St. 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.    
  • 9 Zandy's Steak Shop, 813 St. John St, +1 610-434-7874. 10AM-10PM daily. Another must-try for anyone coming to Lehigh Valley. A local version of the Philly steak sandwich from a restaurant that has been an Allentown institution since 1940.

Mid-range edit

Splurge edit

Drink edit

 
Center City Allentown at night

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:

Sleep edit

Budget edit

Mid-range edit

Splurge edit

Stay safe edit

Allentown has a crime rate 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. and the area between the American Parkway and Lehigh River, just east of Center City. Random acts of violence and crime against visitors are rare; most of the crime in the city and region involves drugs, gang rivalries, and 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. Car and other forms of theft are issues, so be sure to lock cars and stay out of poorer areas at night. Prostitution and street racing are also very prevalent 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, and many officers in Center City Allentown patrol by bicycle.

Stay healthy edit

If you are in need of medical attention, here are the primary hospitals in the area:

Respect edit

As in many parts of the country, residents may not want to share religious or political views.

Connect edit

Tourist information edit

Phones edit

In Allentown, you must dial an area code when you place a call. Area codes in Allentown and the Lehigh Valley are 610, 484, and (since 2022) 835.

Cope edit

Religious services edit

Catholic churches:

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints:

Episcopal churches:

Hindu:

Jewish:

Lutheran:

Muslim:

Go next edit

Other Lehigh Valley locations edit

Regional cities and locations edit

Routes through Allentown
HarrisburgFogelsville  W   E  HellertownNew York City
ScrantonLehighton  N   S  KulpsvillePhiladelphia
ReadingKutztown  S   N  END



This city travel guide to Allentown is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.