11 Best Things To Do In Allentown, PA

Trip Ideas May 7, 2024

Allentown holds a special place in the heart of American history, being the home of the Liberty Bell Museum, where America's symbol of freedom was hidden during the Revolutionary War. This is just the beginning of the journey through time that Allentown offers. The city's historic sites tell stories of industrial prowess, community spirit, and the American dream, making it a must-visit for history enthusiasts.

For art lovers, the Allentown Art Museum presents a splendid collection ranging from Renaissance masterpieces to contemporary works. The museum is not only a treasure trove of visual art but also a center for community events and educational programs, enriching the cultural landscape of the city.

Allentown
Source: Visit PA

Nature and recreation find a special place in Allentown as well, with parks like the Cedar Beach Park offering serene landscapes and outdoor activities. This park, along with others like the Trexler Nature Preserve, provides a green escape within the city, where visitors can hike, picnic, and connect with nature.

Innovation and science are celebrated in Allentown, too, with institutions like the Da Vinci Science Center. Here, hands-on exhibits and educational programs spark curiosity and wonder, making science accessible and exciting for everyone.

Allentown, PA, is a city that invites exploration, learning, and enjoyment. Its blend of historical sites, cultural institutions, natural beauty, and modern attractions makes it a unique destination, offering something for everyone. The city's welcoming spirit and diverse offerings ensure that a visit to Allentown is not just a trip through its streets and landmarks but an experience that enriches and delights in every possible way.

1. America On Wheels Museum: Discover a vast collection of historic vehicles  

Exploring the rich tapestry of American history and culture often takes one on a journey through various forms of art, traditions, and innovations that have shaped the nation. Among these explorations, the development and evolution of transportation hold a significant place, telling stories of progress, ingenuity, and the drive towards the future. A visit to the America On Wheels Museum offers a unique opportunity to delve into this aspect of American heritage, presenting an engaging narrative on the evolution of on-road transportation in the U.S. This museum, located in the vibrant city of Allentown, provides an insightful experience for anyone looking to uncover the milestones of transportation history, from the earliest horse-drawn carriages to the sleek automobiles of the modern era.

America On Wheels Museum
Source: Discover Lehigh Valley

The museum's collection is not merely an exhibition of vehicles; it's a carefully curated journey through time that showcases the technological advancements, design innovations, and cultural shifts that have influenced the way Americans travel. Each exhibit is a window into the past, offering visitors a chance to understand the societal impacts of transportation developments and the role they played in shaping the nation’s economy, lifestyle, and identity. Through interactive displays, informative placards, and an array of historic vehicles, the museum brings to life the stories of inventors, adventurers, and everyday individuals who have contributed to this fascinating chapter of American history.

Visiting the America On Wheels Museum is among the enriching Things To Do In Allentown, appealing not just to car enthusiasts but to anyone with a curiosity about American history and culture. It's a place where the past meets the present, inviting reflection on how far we've come in our journey towards mobility and how these advancements have bridged distances, connecting us in ways once unimaginable. The museum also offers educational programs and special events, making it a dynamic space for learning and engagement for all ages.

2. Liberty Bell Museum: Ring a replica of the iconic Liberty Bell and immerse in the revolutionary history of Allentown 

In the heart of Allentown, Pennsylvania, a city rich in revolutionary history and brimming with activities for all ages, the Liberty Bell Museum stands as a beacon of American independence and ingenuity. This unique museum not only offers visitors a chance to ring a replica of the iconic Liberty Bell, a symbol of freedom and liberty recognized around the world, but also dives deep into the revolutionary history of Allentown and its critical role during the formative years of the United States.

The Liberty Bell Museum, located in downtown Allentown, is more than just a historical site. It is a gateway to exploring the vibrant city of Allentown and its surrounding areas, from the scenic parks and nature trails like the Hassen Creek Nature Trail to the adrenaline-pumping Lehigh Valley Grand Prix. Allentown, with its elevation offering breathtaking views and a climate that fosters diverse outdoor activities, is a city that captivates visitors and residents alike.

Liberty Bell Museum
Source: National Park Service

For families looking for kid-friendly things to do, Allentown does not disappoint. Beyond the educational journey through history at the Liberty Bell Museum, Allentown boasts a plethora of activities and attractions. From the exciting rides at Dorneyville, just a stone's throw from Allentown, to engaging in the vibrant Allentown events today, there's no shortage of adventures. The city's parks, such as those in and around Allentown PA, provide lush, green spaces perfect for picnics, play, and relaxation.

3. Allentown Art Museum: Marvel at a mix of fine art, including a piece by Rembrandt, and quirky collections.

In the heart of Pennsylvania, Allentown emerges as a vibrant hub of culture and history, offering a rich tapestry of attractions and events that cater to all ages and interests. Among its jewels, the Allentown Art Museum stands out, a testament to the city's dedication to the arts and education.  

At the Allentown Art Museum, visitors are greeted with an eclectic mix of fine art that spans several centuries and continents. It’s a place where a piece by the legendary Rembrandt lives in harmony with modern American art, providing a fascinating juxtaposition that speaks to the museum's diversity. This diversity is not just in the art it houses but also in the stories these pieces tell, stories of different times, cultures, and perspectives. It’s a place where every visit is a new adventure, a new opportunity to learn and to marvel.

Allentown Art Museum
Source: Discover Lahigh valley

Beyond the world-class art, the museum offers a variety of quirky collections that add a unique flavor to the visitor experience. These collections range from decorative arts to textile pieces, each with its own tale of craftsmanship and tradition. It's this mix of the traditional fine art and the unconventional collections that sets the Allentown Art Museum apart, making it a beacon of creativity and imagination in Allentown.

4. Museum of Indian Culture: Learn about Native American traditions and history through a robust collection of artifacts

Exploring the Museum of Indian Culture in Allentown, Pennsylvania, opens a vibrant window into the rich traditions and history of Native American peoples. This museum, an essential part of Allentown attractions, showcases a robust collection of artifacts that narrate the stories and lifestyles of the indigenous cultures long before European settlers arrived.  

Visiting the museum offers a unique opportunity to delve into Native American traditions through an array of artifacts that include tools, pottery, textiles, and more.  

Allentown itself is a hub of activity, with events, parks, and attractions that cater to a wide range of interests. From the exciting Lehigh Valley Grand Prix to serene nature trails like the Hassen Creek Trail, there's something for everyone.  

Museum of Indian Culture
Source: USA Today

For those interested in the broader cultural and natural offerings of the area, Allentown does not disappoint. The city's calendar is filled with events that reflect its diverse community and heritage. This includes everything from music festivals in downtown Allentown to educational workshops and exhibitions.  

5. Malcolm Gross Rose Garden: Take a romantic stroll among colorful blooms in a classic rose garden setting

In the heart of Allentown, Pennsylvania, amidst the bustling life of the city and its myriad attractions, the Malcolm Gross Rose Garden stands as a testament to timeless beauty and romance. This classic rose garden, with its colorful blooms and meticulously maintained pathways, offers a perfect setting for a romantic stroll, distinguishing itself as one of the premier attractions in the region. Allentown, known for its rich history and vibrant cultural scene, adds another layer of charm to the experience of visiting the garden, integrating nature's beauty with the city's heritage.

A visit to the Malcolm Gross Rose Garden is not just about admiring the roses. It's an immersion into an environment where every turn reveals a new hue, a different fragrance, and a fresh perspective on the beauty that nature can offer. For couples, families, or anyone seeking a peaceful retreat from the pace of daily life, this garden provides an idyllic backdrop. It's a place where the simple act of walking hand in hand among the blooms can become a cherished memory.

Malcolm Gross Rose Garden
Source: Pocono Records

6. Trexler Memorial Park: Enjoy a picnic and explore the walking paths beside Little Cedar Creek 

Trexler Memorial Park in Allentown, Pennsylvania, is a picturesque escape that invites locals and visitors alike to enjoy the serenity of nature, engage in recreational activities, and unwind in an idyllic setting. The park, with its sprawling green landscapes, serves as a tranquil retreat in the heart of the city, offering a perfect blend of leisure and adventure for people of all ages.

A day at Trexler Memorial Park can start with a picnic beside the gently flowing waters of Little Cedar Creek. The park's well-maintained picnic areas provide an ideal backdrop for families, friends, and couples to share meals and create memories amidst the beauty of nature. The sounds of the creek and the rustling leaves create a melodious soundtrack to the laughter and conversations that fill the air, making every picnic here a special occasion.

Trexler Memorial Park
Source: Trip

Beyond picnicking, Trexler Memorial Park is renowned for its walking paths that meander through diverse landscapes. These paths are not just routes; they are gateways to discovery, leading explorers through lush woodlands, open meadows, and alongside the babbling creek.  

7. Cedar Creek Park: Experience a high-tech playground and enjoy various amenities including a municipal pool

Cedar Creek Park, a gem located in the heart of Allentown, Pennsylvania, stands out as a premier destination for those seeking both relaxation and adventure. This expansive park is not just another green space but a high-tech playground that caters to all ages with its diverse amenities, including a notable municipal pool that is a hit during the summer months. The park's blend of natural beauty and technological enhancements makes it a unique spot for locals and visitors alike, offering a wide range of activities that ensure a fun-filled day out for everyone.

For families, Cedar Creek Park is a treasure trove of activities. The playground is a futuristic haven for kids, with equipment that integrates physical activity with digital interactive elements, fostering both physical and mental engagement. It's a place where laughter and joy are in abundant supply, as children navigate through the innovative play structures, slides, and swings. The municipal pool, another highlight of the park, serves as a cool oasis on hot summer days. With its well-maintained facilities, it provides a safe and enjoyable swimming experience for all ages.

Beyond the playground and pool, Cedar Creek Park boasts a range of amenities that cater to a variety of interests. For the outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers, the park offers scenic walking trails that meander through lush landscapes and by tranquil streams, providing a perfect backdrop for a leisurely stroll or a vigorous hike. These trails are also popular among local bird watchers and nature photographers, who find the park's diverse ecosystems teeming with wildlife and natural beauty.

Cedar Creek Park
Source: I Love NY

8. Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom: Get your adrenaline pumping with over 60 rides, including the famous Hydra roller coaster 

Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom stands as a premier destination for thrill-seekers and families alike, located in the vibrant area of Allentown, Pennsylvania. This amusement and water park combo packs over 60 rides, catering to all adrenaline levels, from the serene to the extreme. Among its crowd-pullers is the Hydra roller coaster, famed for delivering heart-stopping excitement. This ride, unique for its floorless design, offers a feeling of flying as it twists and turns through its course, making it a must-try for coaster enthusiasts.

Allentown, enriched with a variety of attractions and activities, positions Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom as a jewel in its entertainment crown. The city, known for its blend of cultural, historical, and recreational offerings, makes the park not just a visit but an experience. Families visiting can dive into a range of activities, from exploring the immersive Wildwater Kingdom on a hot summer day to enjoying the various seasonal events the park hosts, ensuring that every visit offers something new and exciting.

Dorney Park
Source: Weekend Jaunt

9. Da Vinci Science Center: Engage with hands-on science exhibits and educational fun for children 

In the heart of Allentown, Pennsylvania, the Da Vinci Science Center stands as a beacon of educational fun and interactive learning, offering an engaging sanctuary for children and adults alike who have a keen interest in the wonders of science. This remarkable institution brings science to life through hands-on exhibits, live demonstrations, and a plethora of educational programs that ignite curiosity, foster innovation, and inspire learners of all ages to explore the world of science in profound and tangible ways.

A visit to the Da Vinci Science Center is more than just a day out in Allentown; it's an adventure into the realms of physics, biology, chemistry, and beyond. The center's exhibits are designed not only to educate but to create memorable experiences through interactive engagement. From engineering challenges that invite you to think like a problem solver to live science shows that dazzle with experiments, every corner of the center buzzes with the potential for discovery.

Da Vinci Science Center
Source: Wikipedia

10. Mack Trucks Historical Museum: Admire a vast collection of antique Mack trucks and memorabilia 

In the heart of Allentown, Pennsylvania, a city rich with history and bursting with activities for all ages, lies a gem for automotive enthusiasts and history buffs alike: the Mack Trucks Historical Museum. This unique museum offers a deep dive into the legacy of Mack Trucks, showcasing an extensive collection of antique trucks and memorabilia that charts the company's evolution from its early days to its current status as a global leader in truck manufacturing.

Visitors to the museum can explore an array of exhibits that detail the technical advancements and design innovations that have defined Mack Trucks over the years. The collection includes everything from early 20th-century models, which played a pivotal role in America's industrial growth, to the modern Titans of the road, demonstrating the brand's enduring significance in the transport industry. Each truck on display is meticulously preserved, providing a rare glimpse into the engineering and craftsmanship of bygone eras.

11. Merchants Square Model Train Exhibit: Witness the intricate detail of model trains and miniature landscapes

The Merchants Square Model Train Exhibit in Allentown, Pennsylvania, stands as a testament to the magic of miniature world creation, capturing the hearts of both young and old. As one enters this remarkable space, they're greeted by an expansive layout that intricately details model trains whizzing through a myriad of landscapes, each meticulously crafted to reflect both the realism and the whimsy of the scenes they depict.  

Set against the backdrop of Allentown's rich history and its vibrant community events, the exhibit finds itself perfectly at home. Allentown, known for its lively cultural scene and family-friendly activities, provides an ideal setting for the train exhibit, offering an engaging indoor alternative to the city's many parks, museums, and historical sites. The exhibit, while an attraction in its own right, complements the city's diverse array of things to do, from exploring the downtown area to participating in the numerous events that dot Allentown's calendar.

Merchants Square Model Train Exhibit
Source: The Sayre Mansion

Conclusion: Allentown's Diverse Attractions

In exploring the rich tapestry of attractions Allentown, Pennsylvania, offers, one can't help but marvel at the diversity and vibrancy of experiences available. From the adrenaline-pumping races at the Lehigh Valley Grand Prix to the serene walks along the Hassen Creek Nature Trail, Allentown emerges as a destination with something for everyone.

For families looking to create memorable experiences, Allentown is a treasure trove of activities. Kid-friendly destinations like Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom offer thrilling rides and water fun, while the Da Vinci Science Center brings science to life through interactive exhibits. These activities underscore Allentown’s commitment to providing engaging experiences for the young and the young at heart.

The city's calendar is bustling with events, ensuring that visitors and residents alike have ample opportunities to partake in communal celebrations. From the vibrant scenes of downtown Allentown, where festivals and events breathe life into the streets, to the seasonal festivities that draw crowds, these gatherings highlight the community spirit and diversity of Allentown. They offer a glimpse into the local culture and traditions, making every visit a chance to experience something new and exciting.

FAQ

1. What’s a hidden gem in Allentown that most tourists overlook?

The Liberty Bell Museum is a lesser-known gem where you can explore the city's rich history and connection to the American Revolutionary War. It's a quaint spot often missed by tourists.

2. Can I experience any unique local cuisines in Allentown? What should I try?

Yes, Allentown is home to various unique local cuisines, reflecting its diverse cultural heritage. Be sure to try the Pennsylvania Dutch specialties, such as scrapple and apple butter, or explore the city's burgeoning food truck scene for modern takes on traditional dishes.

3. Are there any off-the-beaten-path outdoor activities in Allentown?

Beyond the popular parks, try exploring the Ironton Rail Trail for a less crowded outdoor experience. It offers scenic views and a peaceful setting for walking, biking, and observing local wildlife.

4. Where can I find the best view of Allentown?

For a breathtaking view of Allentown and the surrounding area, head to the lookout point on South Mountain. It’s especially stunning during the fall when the foliage is changing colors.

5. Is there a place in Allentown where I can learn about the local art scene?

The Baum School of Art offers galleries and exhibitions showcasing local artists. Additionally, the Allentown Art Museum frequently features works by Pennsylvania artists, providing a deep dive into the local art scene.

6. What’s the best time of year to visit Allentown for cultural festivals?

Summer is a great time to visit Allentown for cultural festivals. The Great Allentown Fair, held from late August to early September, is a highlight, showcasing local agriculture, food, and entertainment.

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Emily Carter

With over 10 years of experience, Emily has extensive experience planning bespoke tours across the United States and Canada, specializing in eco-tourism and adventure travel.