Weekend Getaway Ideas to Lehigh Valley
Bethlehem, PA: Where Industrial History Comes Alive
Head to Lehigh Valley to immerse yourself in Pennsylvania’s colonial and industrial history. Both eras are well represented in the thriving cities and charm-packed small towns here.
Put on your walking shoes and tour historic Bethlehem, also known as Christmas City, U.S.A. The town's Historic Moravian Bethlehem district includes a home dating to 1741, as well as numerous stone structures from the 18th century. Tour the industrial quarter, watch a blacksmithing demonstration or learn even more at the National Museum of Industrial History, located in what was once a Bethlehem Steel facility.
End your historic loop tour with an Instagram-worthy visit to the Hoover Mason Trestle overlooking the SteelStacks™ events venue for concerts and festivals. The elevated walkway, built along the railway that once hauled iron ore to the city’s blast furnaces, is ideal for either solo adventuring or guided tours.
After dinner, you’ll retreat to your room at Historic Hotel Bethlehem1, the #1 Historic Hotel in America by USA Today’s 10Best, and perhaps you’ll be lucky enough to score a view of the Bethlehem Star, lit up atop South Mountain.
You’ll rise in the morning to ring a replica Liberty Bell at the Liberty Bell Museum in Zion’s Reformed United Church of Christ in Allentown, the site where the actual bell was hidden during the Revolutionary War.
Catch your flight home from Lehigh Valley International Airport (ABE)
TIP FROM A LOCAL:
At ZEST bar+grille, your happy hour experience comes paired with rooftop views. This restaurant, located on the top floor overlooking Bethlehem’s SouthSide, offers wallet-friendly happy hour specials on beverages and appetizers including seasonal and daily features.
A Weekend in Allentown, PA
Old factories, former garment mills, and an old book bindery are among Allentown’s industrial artifacts – all being reclaimed and reborn as restaurants, retail space, and apartments to redefine the city’s skyline.
Home to three historic districts, one of the best park systems in the country, and hubs for health care and e-commerce, Allentown no longer relies on the power of the Lehigh River to drive industry and trade, but instead, it depends on devout hockey fans who flock to the PPL Center to see the Phantoms and fabulous concerts, diners willing to taste the culinary personalities of downtown restaurants, and visitors looking to spend the night in the aptly-named Renaissance Allentown Hotel or the newly renovated Americus Hotel
Nearly 2,000 years of cultural heritage and 17,000-plus works of art merge seamlessly at Allentown Art Museum, where contemporary artists riff on Renaissance and Baroque paintings and youngsters train as peer docents. Did we mention it’s free admission on Sunday’s? And you may just be lucky enough to catch a summer movie or concert in the ArtsWalk Pocket Park nearby.
Typically, in peak bloom in June and July, the Malcolm Gross Rose Garden off Ott Street in Allentown, is the perfect backdrop for summer strolls along the 1.3-mile walking loop with 10 wellness stations.
Lehigh Parkway’s six+ miles of maintained trails, tucked away from downtown Allentown along the Little Lehigh Creek, are often the site of many 5K runs, but you’ll also find fishing opportunities, covered bridge photo opps, the Museum of Indian Culture, and the Hunter’s Cabin which dates back to 1739.
You may need to rent an extra car to get home the great finds you’ll discover at Weil Antique Center. The center’s 150 dealers display furniture, lamps, jewelry, clocks, and rare kitchenware.
TIP FROM A LOCAL:
Rated as the best happy hour by readers of Lehigh Valley Style, Grille 3501 pours up innovative cocktails in addition to a wide selection of wines and beers. Happy hour appetizer specials include the crab and mango spring rolls—a favorite amongst regulars.
A Weekend in Easton, PA
A vintage box of CrayolaⓇ crayons contained red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet, brown, and black wax sticks. But that’s not the only colorful fact you’ll learn on a visit to Easton. At the confluence of the Delaware and Lehigh Rivers, visitors come to the charming riverside town to take in the vibrant greens of heirloom veggies at Easton Farmers’ Market, root for the Lafayette College maroon and white, and debate the age-old controversy about the Easton flag: did its 13 white eight-pointed stars and red and white stripes predate the one made by Betsy Ross?
You’re in for a treat at the new Townley House boutique hotel Downtown, exclusive amenities for guests include free parking, complimentary champagne upon arrival, personal concierge service, and guaranteed dinner reservations at any one of the Enjoy with Gusto restaurants, such as Three OAK Steakhouse.
Every Saturday morning the Easton Farmers’ Market commences in Centre Square. From blooms and botanicals to baked goods and beer, vendors peddle their fresh foods and local wares. With 265 years under its belt, that makes it the nation’s longest-running, continuously operating outdoor farmers’ market.
Easton is redefining the term “art trail.” Where most art trails are merely organized maps of neighboring studios you can visit, the Karl Stirner Arts Trail (KSAT) is actually a 1.75-mile paved art walk which follows the bucolic Bushkill Creek in downtown Easton. The KSAT showcases outdoor installations such as Willie Cole’s Grace Gate; Paul Deery’s Waterway, artwork you can actually walk through; local poet Beth Seetch’s wall poem Funeral at the trail’s mid-point tunnel; The Tree of 40 Fruit, a living piece of art by Sam Van Aken; and the Young Masters Wall, where school kids and adults alike have the opportunity to share their talents. The KSAT is also home to a dog park and hosts movie nights and other events.
An eclectic group of shows will entice audiences to Easton’s State Theatre. But before the show, grab a glass of wine or a pint of beer from the Easton Public Market, where the butcher, the baker, the wine, and cheese maker all got together. It’s a fun and vibrant metropolitan food hall with a fresh, local food market and artisanal grocery. From date nights to family outings, the market offers everything from Belgian chocolates and cappuccino to craft beer, wood-fired pizza, ramen, crepes, BBQ, and more.
TIP FROM A LOCAL:
Straightforward American seafood is on the menu at 3rd & Ferry Fish Market. Try the ceviche flight and pan-seared scallops with bacon onion marmalade. Save room for dessert: the pieshake is half a slice of pie with ice cream and to garnish it off , the other half slice of pie!