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The Lehigh Valley, often 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 is comprised of 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 New Jersey to its east.

The Lehigh Valley is located 92.2 miles (148.4 km) west of New York City, the nation's largest city, and 60.6 miles (97.5 km) north of Philadelphia, the nation's sixth largest city.

Cities[edit]

Map of Lehigh Valley

Understand[edit]

The now dormant but still standing steel stacks of Bethlehem Steel in Bethlehem

History[edit]

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 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 Minor League Baseball team, an American Hockey League team, a casino, concerts and cultural festivals year round. It also has become an increasingly popular bedroom community for those with professional jobs in New York City and Philadelphia. The Lehigh Valley comprises 730 square miles.

Visitor information[edit]

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

By bus[edit]

The Lehigh Valley's largest bus terminal is the Allentown Bus Terminal at 325 Hamilton St. in center city Allentown. Multiple bus companies provide transport throughout the day to and from New York City, Philadelphia, and other regional cities, including Trans-Bridge Lines and Trailways.

By train[edit]

The closest major train station is 30th Street Station in Philadelphia, where Amtrak provides transport to and from Philadelphia and major cities. The station is roughly 60 miles south of the Lehigh Valley. Commercial bus service is available from 30th Street Station to Allentown, and cars are available for rent at the station.

Get around[edit]

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.

See[edit]

Allentown Art Museum at 31 N. 5th St. in Center City Allentown
  • 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.

Do[edit]

Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom's Steel Force and Thunderhawk roller coasters outside Allentown. Steel Force is the tenth 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).
Coca-Cola Park in East Allentown, home of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies
Musikfest, the nation's largest non-gated music festival, in 2019 in Bethlehem
PPL Center at 701 Hamilton St. in Allentown, the home arena of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms of the American Hockey League, the primary development team of the Philadelphia Flyers
  • You can visit Crayola Factory, where crayons are manufactured, in Easton.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Theater[edit]

  • 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.

Annual events[edit]

  • Christkindlmarkt in Bethlehem showcases aisles of exquisite handmade works by artisans, live Christmas music, delicious food and more.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Buy[edit]

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 over 140 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 sits between Allentown and Bethlehem just off U.S. PA-309. Open-air, outlet-style shopping with approximately 82 stores.

Stay safe[edit]

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 issues in Lehigh Valley. Avoid walking alone late at night or on unlit streets or wandering too far off the 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.

Rougher areas include East Allentown, South Bethlehem, and Pembroke in East Bethlehem. Crime is more likely to happen in those areas but can happen anywhere else.

Go next[edit]

This region travel guide to Lehigh Valley is a usable article. It gives a good overview of the region, its sights, and how to get in, as well as links to the main destinations, whose articles are similarly well developed. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.