Top 10 Reasons To Visit Lehigh Valley
Lehigh Valley, PA is steeped in history yet has quickly become a region known for its nightlife, entertainment, arts, and outdoor activities. Highlighted by its three cities—Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton—Lehigh Valley is one of the fastest growing areas in the state and only 90 minutes from New York City and an hour from Philadelphia.
Here are 10 great reasons to live, work, and play in Lehigh Valley.
1. Learn About History
Lehigh Valley’s historic Moravian Bethlehem, a tentative for World Heritage Designation, draws both U.S. and international visitors with sites demonstrating a unique, historically rich, and culturally significant way of life for over 300 years. Hundreds of thousands of visitors each year tour venues that tell stories of the cities colonial and modern-day impact on the world. Those wanting to explore the history of the former Bethlehem Steel won't want to miss a walk along the Hoover Mason Trestle, an elevated 1/3-mile walkway built along the railway that once hauled iron ore to Bethlehem Steel’s blast furnaces.
You can actually touch – and ring – a replica of the Liberty Bell that rests at the Liberty Bell Museum in Zion’s Reformed United Church of Christ in Allentown. The site was not only where America’s most famous symbol of freedom was hidden during the Revolutionary War, but it also served as a refuge during Indian raids, a hospital, and a meeting place for the reading of the Declaration of Independence. While these sites form a triple-crown for history lovers, the region offers much more for anyone fascinated by glimpses of the challenges, culture, and quirks of colonial and industrial life.
From cycling to skiing, if you like to be active, you’ll find a fit in Lehigh Valley. Some highlights of Lehigh Valley’s diverse sporting resume includes the Valley Preferred Cycling Center, affectionately known as “The Velodrome,” located in Breinigsville, Pa. Here, you can watch some of the best cyclists in the nation and also get involved in seasonal leagues designed for newbies to the sport.
Lehigh Valley is bookended by exceptional skiing facilities in Bear Creek Mountain Resort in Macungie, Pa. and Blue Mountain Resort in Palmerton, Pa. Both offer a variety of skiing and snowboarding options in the winter and mountain biking and even disc golf fun in the spring and summer. You can also hike, bike, and run along impressive trail networks throughout the region including the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor and the Appalachian Trail.
3. Locally-Sourced Food & Drink
Lehigh Valley is a foodie’s dream. No matter your taste in cuisine, there is something for you. So, before you head out to that concert, stop in at some of the best spots including Maxim’s 22 in Easton; Apollo Grill in Bethlehem; and The Hamilton Kitchen and Bar in downtown Allentown. Fine dining in Lehigh Valley has expanded greatly in the last few years with restaurants by celebrity chefs including Emeril Lagasse, Buddy Valastro, and Robert Irvine.
If you’re in the mood for a quick bite, Lehigh Valley is also home to the world-famous Yocco’s hot dogs and other fun fare. Check out our website listings for the best in Lehigh Valley dining, while also taking a look at the selection of wineries, breweries, and distillers from across the region.
4. Major Events & Festivals
If you live in Lehigh Valley, you’re going to grow accustomed to having a special event pop up seemingly every weekend. A few of the most popular events that occur annually include:
- Musikfest: Taking place in historic and south Bethlehem in August, Musikfest is one of the most attended, free music festivals in the United States. There are hundreds of free performances featuring artists who travel from around the world over the 10-day festival. You can also enjoy the best food from around the area (we recommend Aw Shucks Corn on the Cob and Take-a-Taco).
- Celtic Classic: Held in Bethlehem in September and affectionately referred to as “Celtic Fest,” Celtic Classic is one of North America’s largest Celtic Festivals. The event features the Highland Games Championships, a spectator favorite.
- PA Bacon Fest and Garlic Fest: The former taking place in November and the latter in October, both festivals make Easton the fun place to be for quirky festivals that keep you coming back for more.
5. Get Cultured
Lehigh Valley is rich in history and it’s easy to explore the multiple museums throughout the area. The Allentown Art Museum is the crown jewel of art in the area and is routinely home to special events including artist talkbacks, visiting exhibits, and more. Historic Bethlehem Museums and Sites is the umbrella under which many downtown Bethlehem historic sites operate including the Colonial Industrial Quarter, Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts, and more. The Sigal Museum in Easton is not only a visually striking building but is also home to the Northampton County Historical and Genealogical Society that chronicles the area’s storied past.
6. Take in a Game
Lehigh Valley is home numerous professional and semi-professional sports teams including the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, Triple-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies, and the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, AHL affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers. The IronPigs have been one of the most successful minor league baseball teams in history and play at Coca-Cola Park. Lehigh Valley is also home to 10 local colleges and universities that all have top-notch sports including Division 1 schools Lehigh University and Lafayette College.
7. Cool Off
Easton, Pennsylvania sits at the confluence of the Delaware and Lehigh Rivers. While both rivers are incredible to walk next to and take pictures of, they are even better to get into! There are many ways to get out on the water, but perhaps the most fun comes in the form of rafting and tubing adventures. The Wildlands Conservancy also offers numerous ways to get out on the water in a bit more of a relaxed fashion. Their “Bike and Boat” and “Lehigh River Sojourn” events are aimed at not only getting in a canoe or kayak of your own, but also enjoying the sites along the way.
8. A Night Out
The only problem you’re going to find with figuring out something to do at night in Lehigh Valley is deciding where to go. Start at the Wind Creek Bethlehem (formerly Sands® Bethlehem) campus where you can play the slots, eat at one of Emeril Lagasse’s restaurants, shop at The Outlets at Wind Creek Bethlehem, or take in the latest touring at the Wind Creek Bethlehem Event Center. It’s almost impossible to do everything at Pennsylvania’s most popular casino in one night!
Just down the street from Wind Creek Bethlehem is the ArtsQuest™ Center at SteelStacks™. Get to know this area as it is home to such events as Musikfest, Oktoberfest, and more. At night, the Musikfest Café hosts nationally-acclaimed musical and comedy acts in the glow of the illuminated blast furnaces of Bethlehem Steel. The State Theatre Center for the Arts in Easton, Pa. has some of the best performances in the area ranging from the top-tier comedy to touring Broadway musicals, and more. The Civic Theatre of Allentown provides independent movie showings and the best in community theater.
9. Farm Fresh
Interested in making your own food with local ingredients? Lehigh Valley has some of the best markets in Pennsylvania. The Easton Farmers’ Market goes year-round and is the oldest in the country, dating back to the 1700s when residents would converge on the center of town to share their wares and food. The Emmaus Farmers’ Market is proud to have some of the freshest produce around. For a unique indoor experience, shop the Allentown Fairgrounds Farmer's Market which features 30+ vendors each week.
10. Made in Lehigh Valley
Lehigh Valley is home to world-famous businesses and organizations—and some that you can even tour! Explore C.F. Martin & Co. in Nazareth, maker of the incredible Martin Guitars. Easton is home to the Crayola Experience™ and the National Canal Museum, where you can still take a mule-drawn canal ride. Bethlehem’s Just Born, Inc. makes the world-renowned Peeps and Mike & Ike candies (you can’t tour the factory, but you can head to the Peeps & Company store at The Promenade Shops at Saucon Valley to stock up).