The Lehigh Valley, colloquially called The Valley, is a region in eastern Pennsylvania. With a population of 861,889 people as of 2020, the Lehigh Valley is the third-most populous metropolitan region of the state after the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh regions. The Lehigh Valley includes both Lehigh and Northampton Counties and is part of the Great Appalachian Valley.
The region's most populous city is Allentown, the third largest city in Pennsylvania with a 2020 population of 125,845. The Valley's two other major cities are Bethlehem and Easton. The Valley borders Blue Mountain to its north, South Mountain to its south, Lebanon and Berks Counties to its west, and the Delaware River and the Skylands region of northwest New Jersey to its east.
- 1 Allentown
- 2 Bangor
- 3 Bethlehem
- 4 Easton
- 5 Emmaus
- 6 Fogelsville
- 7 Hellertown
- 8 Nazareth
- 9 Slatington
- 10 Whitehall Township
A thriving industrial center for most of the 19th and 20th centuries, Lehigh Valley's struggles in the "post-industrial" late 20th century became the lyrics for Billy Joel's hit song, "Allentown", released in 1982. Since then, the Lehigh Valley has begun to mount a comeback, turning itself around with some success through growth in other sectors, including tourism. The region's tourism appeal includes several outlying ski resorts, a nationally-renowned amusement and water park with some of the nation's most elaborate roller coasters, the AAA Minor League Baseball affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies, the American Hockey League team affiliated with the Philadelphia Flyers, a new casino in Bethlehem that includes table and sports betting, and regional concerts and cultural festivals in the area year round. The Lehigh Valley also has become an increasingly popular bedroom community for commuting professionals working in Manhattan and Philadelphia.
- Discover Lehigh Valley, ☏ , toll-free: , firstname.lastname@example.org. The official destination marketing organization for Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton, and has a comprehensive list of places to stay in Lehigh Valley.
- 1 Lehigh Valley International Airport (ABE IATA), 3311 Airport Rd. Allentown, ☏ . This airport lies in the center of the Lehigh Valley and has nine gates, six aircraft holding spots, and two runways. Allegiant Air, American Eagle, Delta Connection, and United Express offer direct flights to Lehigh Valley International from Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Detroit, Nashville, Fort Lauderdale, Myrtle Beach, Orlando, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, and other domestic locations. Car rental services and commercial and public bus services are available for ground transportation from the airport.
- A second option is Philadelphia International Airport, which is 71 miles (114 km), or a little more than an hour's car drive, south of the Lehigh Valley. An extensive number of domestic and international carriers offer direct flight service to PHL from most U.S. cities, Canada, and a number of Caribbean, European, and Latin American destinations. Cars are available for rent at the airport.
- 30th Street Station in Philadelphia, the third busiest Amtrak station in the nation, is 62 miles (100 km), or a little over an hour's drive, south of the Lehigh Valley. Cars are available for rent inside the station.
The Lehigh Valley's primary bus terminal is the Allentown bus terminal, located at 325 Hamilton Street in Center City Allentown, and several commercial bus companies offer transportation to Allentown, including:
- Trans-Bridge Lines offers daily service to Allentown from New York City and Newark, New Jersey. There are several express buses per day into New York City.
- Trailways offers service from most major Northeastern cities.
- OurBus offers daily service from New York City and weekend service from Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Binghamton, and Ithaca, arriving at the I-476 Allentown Service Plaza near Wescosville.
The Lehigh Valley is easily accessible by several major highways. The two interstates most commonly used in driving to the area are:
- Interstate 78, a major east-west highway that runs from central Pennsylvania in the west to the Holland Tunnel and Manhattan in the east. Lehigh Valley exits from I-78 include exits 57, 58, and 59.
- U.S. Route 22, 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 Lehigh Valley-area exits.
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.
- Burnside Plantation in Bethlehem is an historic farm-in-the-city that opens doors to early American agricultural life. Bethlehem is known as *"Christmas City": discover the city’s history on an “Old Bethlehem Walking Tour”, experience the annual Christmas concert of the Bach Choir of Bethlehem, or see the city’s sights and lights on the popular “Bethlehem by Night Bus Tour”.
- The George Taylor House in Catasauqua near Whitehall Township is one of the last remaining homes of the original signers of the Declaration of Independence.
- The Covered Bridge Tour takes you to seven excellent examples are community treasures in Lehigh Valley. Five of these, which are open for traffic, often are taken for granted when crossed by busy travelers every day. It is approximately 50 miles long.
- Allentown has several museums to explore. The Allentown Art Museum has about 14,000 works of art from nearly 2,000 years of cultural heritage. America On Wheels celebrates motorized and non-motorized over-the-road transportation. The Da Vinci Science Center is a hands-on children's science center featuring two-stories of interactive activities to teach visitors about the world we live in. At Mack Trucks Experience Center, you can learn about Mack’s history through a collection of restored and preserved vintage trucks and abundant memorabilia. And at the Liberty Bell Museum in Allentown, you can visit the location where the Liberty Bell was hidden for nine months to avoid it being seized by the British during the Revolutionary War.
- Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom in South Whitehall Township is known especially for its elaborate rollercoasters (including Steel Force, the eighth longest steel roller coaster in the world) and its large waterpark.
- The Lehigh Valley IronPigs are a AAA-level minor league team of the Philadelphia Phillies. They play their home games in Allentown from early April through early October.
- The Lehigh Valley Phantoms, an American Hockey League team and the primary development team for the NHL's Philadelphia Flyers, plays its home games at PPL Center in center city Allentown, which also hosts concerts and other events.
- Wind Creek Resort in Bethlehem, a large casino with restaurants and shopping, was built on the grounds of the now defunct Bethlehem Steel, once one of the world's largest manufacturers of steel.
- You can visit Crayola Factory, where crayons are manufactured, in Easton.
- The Lehigh Valley Zoo in Schnecksville is a small yet affordable attraction.
- The Lehigh Valley is known nationally for its elite high school athletic programs, which are among the nation's best and have produced dozens of professional athletes and Olympians. The Eastern Pennsylvania Conference, which includes the 18 largest high schools in the Lehigh Valley and Poconos, is the region's best conference and its athletic events are open to the public throughout the school year throughout the region.
- Civic Theater in Allentown provides professionally-produced theatre with a community feel and is the valley’s only year-round home for foreign, independent and arthouse cinema. Allentown also has the Pines Dinner Theater.
- State Theater in Easton is an historic 1500-seat performance hall that hosts musical performers that range from rock to country, along with many shows and musicals.
- Zoellner Arts Center at Lehigh University in Bethlehem presents a variety of high-quality performing arts events.
- The Great Allentown Fair, held annually at the end of August and beginning of September since the mid-19th century at the Allentown Fairgrounds, offers a fun and educational experience. The fair is known for its food, shopping, animal expos, and concerts.
- Musikfest is a 10-day festival held in August in Bethlehem. It is the nation’s largest free, non-gated music festival and showcases more than 450 performances on 14 stages, 11 of which require no admission charge.
- Mayfair Festival of the Arts in early May in Allentown has six performance stages, over a hundred artists and crafts people, entertainers and more than two dozen vendors offering regional foods.
- Christkindlmarkt in Bethlehem showcases aisles of exquisite handmade works by artisans, live Christmas music, delicious food and more.
Clothing and shoes are tax-free in Pennsylvania.
- Lehigh Valley Mall in Whitehall Township just off US-22 is anchored by JCPenney, Macy's and Boscov's and has 146 stores.
- South Mall, located between Allentown and Emmaus, is anchored by the BonTon, and includes approximately 30 other stores.
- The Promenade Shoppes at Saucon Valley is located between Allentown and Bethlehem just off U.S. PA-309. It is an open-air, outlet-style shopping mall with approximately 82 mostly high-end stores.
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. The main gangs are 18th Street, Black Dragons, Bloods, Crips, Latin Kings, Los Solidos, Mexican Mafia, and MS-13 in the area. They are the most violent gangs in the country.
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 prevalent in the Lehigh Valley. Avoid walking alone late at night or on unlit streets or wandering too far off main streets. If homeless approach you for change, just keep walking if you do not want to give anything. Pickpocketing is not a large problem, but still do not flash around your money.
The region's roughest areas include East Allentown, South Bethlehem, and the Pembroke region of East Bethlehem.
- New York City, 92.2 miles (148.4 km)
- Philadelphia, 60.6 miles (97.5 km)
- Reading, 37.5 miles (60.4 km)
- The Poconos, 51.4 miles (82.7 km)