I go to school here in the Lehigh Valley, but I am also a native here and have been my whole life. Not all of us, of course, could be so lucky, so here is a list of what you should do if (and when) you find yourself in the area.
- Spin Radio 107.1 (94.7 in Allentown)
Of course it’s number one on this list, because it’s my personal favorite. The Valley's Alternative Station keeps you up to date with the hottest tracks on the alternative chart, especially with Riley Reed’s Spin Forward show at 8am and 8pm on Sundays. Plus they’re commercial free at 9am.
If you are looking for a top 40 station, then the Valley’s #1 Hit Music Station is for you. For quality entertainment, aside from popular music, check out Mike and Steph in the Morning.
- Uncle Buck’s Diner, Belvidere NJ
This is one of the few true diners still around. I have spent a great deal of birthday breakfasts, delayed school openings, and Sunday family breakfasts here. The food is great, the staff is friendly, and the prices can’t be beat. When I tell you Sunday mornings are packed, I mean it. This is a spot loved by people of all ages.
2. Easton Public Market, Easton PA
If they took Pard Dollars here, I would be out of flex in the first month of each semester. I describe it as a glorified food court; it is a giant room with 14 vendors, plus a farmer’s market with local produce (and the best organic milk around). You are guaranteed to find something for everyone to enjoy.
3. The Bethlehem Dairy Store Bethlehem, PA
(The Cup if you’re asking a local.) There are two locations for the locals’ favorite ice cream shop: one on Lehigh University’s campus and one down the road by Moravian’s. If you want great ice cream, lots of choices, and the old fashioned parlor feel, check this place out.
1. Merril Creek Reservoir Harmony, NJ
Another personal favorite and one of the highlights of my hometown. It has a giant lake and 290-acre nature preserve, perfect for hiking, running, fishing, and kayaking. They also have a great visitors’ center with lots for the kids to learn and play with. Catch me there Thanksgiving morning with my best friend or Memorial Day with the family.
2. Karl Stirner Arts Trail, Easton PA
This 2.5 mile trail is perfect for a run or a casual stroll. It winds along Bushkill Creek, has the city’s first dog park, and has sculptures and other art situated along it. Also a secret of the Arts Trail is that it is one of the few homes to a Samuel Van Aken’s “the 40 Fruit Tree.”
3. Steel Stacks, Bethlehem, PA
A historic spot to the city of Bethlehem, before it became the hub of art and culture in the Lehigh Valley, the Steel Stacks are what brought a lot of families to the area. Bethlehem Steel was the second largest steel manufacturer in the nation. Now this is a ten acre campus dedicated to serving and educating the community and saving the arts.
Be Entertained at:
1. The Ironpigs Allentown, PA
You cannot have more fun for a lower price, I promise. The Iron Pigs aren’t only for baseball fans, they are for everyone. The Phillies’s farm team is housed in Coca-Cola Park where they have the largest jumbo-tron in minor league baseball as of this season. General Admission/Grass seats are a great view, spacious, and only $8. Plus the park always has great events going on from free bobble heads to fireworks after the game.
2. Dorney Park, Allentown
Yep, the Lehigh Valley even has an amusement park. It is big enough to be entertained for a full day (there’s even a water park section) but small enough to hit every ride. As a New Jersey resident, the best time I say to go is a weekday at the end of August when all the PA kids are back in school.
3. PPL Center, Allentown
One of the Valley’s youngest attractions, the PPL Center has it all. The Lehigh Valley Phantoms ice hockey team and the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks arena football team call this building home, and just like the Ironpigs’ stadium, there are no bad seats, and tickets are cheap. The PPL Center also shows other events, like Monster Jam, Professional Bull Riders, and musicians like Florida Georgia Line and Twenty-One Pilots.
Get Creative at:
- The Artsy Palette Lopatcong, NJ
Talk about a place that does it all; the Artsy Pallet holds classes in a variety of art mediums and hosts kid’s parties and wine and paint parties for adults. They also hold art camps and other art education programs. They have a schedule for classes that you can drop into and they sell gift cards!
2. Color Me Mine Bethlehem, PA
Pottery painting is such an underrated activity. At color me mine you pay a studio fee and and pay for your piece of pottery (of which there are so many to choose from) and then use as much paint and tools as you want. They also have a calendar which features all kinds of deals and special events each month. Pictured above is the cute small cup I made at my own excursion to Bethlehem.
3. Crayola Factory Easton, PA
My last trip to the Crayola Factory will forever be tainted by the decisions of a stupid boy, but that does not mean I can’t wait to go back. The Crayola Factory is fun for everyone; there are crafts on every floor, and you get to take home everything you make. There are so many things to play with, from melted crayons, to model magic; you can even name your own crayon! A trip worth every penny!