A day trip from Allentown must include the Historic Bethlehem area. There are ton of things to do when you visit. The location is just west of New York City. Immersed in history, art, microbrews, architecture, and tourism, this is an East Coast day trip you can’t miss.
A Day Trip From Allentown, Pennsylvania
I stayed at the Comfort Suites on a layover in the southern part of the Bethlehem Historic District. This is where our day trip from Allentown begins. Our layover hotel is nestled at the base of the hills to the south of town and the Lehigh River, a tributary to the Delaware to the north. On the south side of the Lehigh River is the Southside Arts and Shopping district. Across the river to the north is the Historic Moravian and Shopping District. There are plenty of greenways, paths, parks, and friendly streets to walk on throughout Historic Bethlehem. Nearby, you can visit both Allentown and Easton, PA.
Important Links Before Your Visit
Things To Do In Allentown Pennsylvania
There are a ton of things to do during your stay in Allentown, but make sure to hit the ones listed below.
The Southern Arts District
From sculptures to large painted murals, and microbreweries to hookah shops, this town is thick with young minds and expression. While visiting the South Side Arts District, make sure to walk the South Bethlehem Greenway, which runs from the Hill to Hill Bridge on the West end and winds East throughout the district past the Sands Casino Resort. The Greenway parallels the main street in the Southern Arts District and is a great way to get through town without dealing with traffic.
Along the South Bethlehem Greenway (as well as many other streets) you will see whole buildings painted as murals. The area is lined with street art, sculptures, and performance areas built into the parks to visit. Directly to the south, Lehigh University’s majestic buildings are like jewels on the Eastern Pennsylvania hills.
A Walk Through The Historic Moravian and Shopping District.
The southwest corner of the Historic Moravian and Shopping District is the epicenter of historical architecture, but a simple walk through the city will bring you to some other interesting neighborhoods and historic architecture as well.
I started my walk by crossing the Fahy Bridge to the north side of the Lehigh River. This bridge brings you directly to the public library. When you get there, take a right and the road will make a lazy turn to the north up a little hill. There is a beautiful cemetery you can visit as your first stop on the walk. It is a very peaceful place and the somberness of the cemetery and gentle breeze through the trees was a very relaxing place to start the journey through Bethlehem.
Walk north on Center Street and you will enjoy towering hardwood trees lining each side of the street and old Victorian and other historic homes. I had never found the East Coast to be a particularly charming place until I spent a day here. This is just a taste of the many wonderfully built homes with their manicured gardens and pathways.
Turn west on Broad Street. The sidewalks are beautiful. They are full of color from both the buildings and the gardens. The street has many restaurants, shops and places to visit. I loved the rose gardens!
Save the best for last at Main Street. Make sure to walk south back toward the river. It is mostly downhill and the views of the hill down the street make a gorgeous background to the historic street.
I stopped in a few shops to get a little better experience of the rich history. One recommendation I have is the Bethlehem Brewworks on the corner of Main and Broadway. The street is filled with outdoor patios, gardens, and tourists.
Other notable places on this strip are the Sun House, the Hotel Bethlehem, and the Central Moravian Church. Finishing out the walk on Church Street will lead you by the Monrovian Museum of Bethlehem and back toward the public library. Many of these buildings date back to the early to mid-1700’s.
Walking Historic Bethlehem was an interesting mix of history, architecture, East Coast charm, and hipsters. From a simple outdoor patio on the street front of Main Street, you could enjoy a nice patio in a building that was 200 years old. A place where Patriots could have gathered during their fight against the Red Coats is now a place that welcomes human and pet-kind alike on outdoor patios that have water dishes for pet dogs, and tables where friends can gather and enjoy gourmet food and microbrews. This is one city I would like to return to.
You may like our other East Coast Day Trip Reviews:
Other day trips:
- Sioux Falls, South Dakota
- Dickinson, North Dakota
- Great Falls, Montana
- Grand Junction, Colorado
- Gunnison, Colorado
- Amarillo, Texas
- Vancouver, British Columbia