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Lehigh Valley
PA–NJ Metropolitan Statistical Area
Clockwise from top left, Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton, and Phillipsburg
Map of the Lehigh Valley
Map of the Lehigh Valley
CountryUnited States
New Jersey
Largest cityAllentown
Other cities
Elevation2,180 ft (660 m)
 (2020 U.S. Census)
 • Total861,889[2]
Time zoneUTC−5 (ET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
Area code(s)570, 610 & 484, 908

The Lehigh Valley (/ˈlh/), known officially by the United States Census Bureau and the U.S. Office of Management and Budget[3] as the Allentown–Bethlehem–Easton, PA-NJ Metropolitan Statistical Area and referred to colloquially as The Valley,[4] is a metropolitan region officially consisting of Carbon, Lehigh, and Northampton counties in eastern Pennsylvania and Warren County in northwestern New Jersey.[5] The Lehigh Valley's largest city is Allentown with a population of 125,845 residents as of the 2020 census.[6]

The Lehigh Valley is Pennsylvania's third most populous metropolitan area, surpassed only by the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh metropolitan areas in total population, and the 68th largest metropolitan area in the nation with a population of 861,889 residents as of the 2020 U.S. Census. The Valley's population has grown 4.95% since the 2010 U.S. census.[2][7] Lehigh County, the most populated of the Valley's four counties, is among the fastest-growing counties in the state. The Lehigh Valley leads the state of Pennsylvania in terms of population growth in the 18-to-34 year old demographic according to 2020 Census data.[8] The Lehigh Valley's core population centers are located in southern and central Lehigh and Northampton counties along U.S. Route 22, Pennsylvania Route 309, Interstate 476, and Interstate 78.

The Lehigh Valley's total gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017 was $43.8 billion, driven heavily by manufacturing, health care, finance, and professional services industry components. It is one of the largest and fastest growing economies in Pennsylvania with a 5% increase in GDP between 2016 and 2017 alone.[9] The median household income for the region increased from $57,288 to $62,507 between 2015 and 2019.[10]

The Lehigh Valley played a central role in the American Industrial Revolution and subsequently was a global leader in heavy manufacturing advancements, contributing to the rise of the U.S. as a global industrial power from the mid-18th through the late 20th centuries.[11]

The Lehigh Valley is centrally located in the Northeast megalopolis with ease of access and close proximity to several of the largest markets, population centers, airports, terminals, railways and seaports, including New York City, which is 65 miles (105 km) to its east, and Philadelphia, which is 50 miles (80 km) to its southeast. The region is situated within a one-day drive to more than a third of the total population of the United States and more than half of the total population of Canada, which has made it an appealing location for warehousing, logistics, manufacturing, e-commerce, and distribution industries. The region is serviced by air by Lehigh Valley International Airport, which has experienced steady growth in passenger and air cargo traffic, flying more than 210 million pounds of cargo annually.[12][13]

Within the Lehigh Valley, Lehigh and Northampton Counties are part of Philadelphia's designated media market, Warren County is part of New York City's media market, and Carbon County belongs to the Wilkes-BarreScrantonHazleton media market.


Shelter House in Emmaus, constructed in 1734 by Pennsylvania German settlers, is believed to be the Lehigh Valley's oldest continuously occupied building structure.
Shelter House in Emmaus, constructed in 1734 by Pennsylvania German settlers, is believed to be the Lehigh Valley's oldest continuously occupied building structure.

Prior to the arrival of European settlers, predominantly Germans in the early 18th century, the Lehigh Valley was inhabited by Lenape Indian tribes, who hunted, fished, and quarried jasper in the region. Sons of provincial Pennsylvania founder William Penn acquired much of the Lehigh Valley in the Walking Purchase in 1737 during the colonial period. Lenape Indians subsequently retaliated with raids against European settlers throughout the 1750s and early 1760s but were moved out of the region by the mid-1760s. The entire region was initially established as in 1682 as part of Bucks County. In 1752, it became part of Northampton County, and in 1812 Lehigh County was established from it.[14] Shelter House in Emmaus, which was constructed in 1734 by Pennsylvania German settlers, is the oldest still-standing building structure in the Lehigh Valley.[15]

American Revolutionary War

Some of the first resistance to British colonialism, which led ultimately to the American Revolutionary War, began in present day Lehigh County in the Lehigh Valley. On December 21, 1774, a Committee of Observation was formed by local American patriot militias. With the Declaration of Independence, the Colonial British government in Allentown began to break down and patriot militias took control, pressuring Tories out of the Allentown area, and plans were made for the raising of a patriot militia. General George Washington and his Continental Army staff passed through the Lehigh Valley following the Continental Army's victory at the Battle of Trenton, traveling up Lehigh Street (then Water Street). They stopped at the foot of the street at a large spring on what is now the property occupied by the Wire Mill, where they rested and watered their horses, and then went their way to their post of duty.[16]

After Washington and the Continental Army's defeat at the Battle of Brandywine on September 11, 1777, the revolutionary capital of Philadelphia was left defenseless and Pennsylvania's Supreme Executive Council ordered that eleven Philadelphia bells, including the Liberty Bell (then known as the State House Bell), be taken down and moved to present day Allentown (then Northampton Town) and hidden in the basement of Zion Reformed Church on present day West Hamilton Street to protect them from being melting down by the British Army for use as munitions. The Liberty Bell Museum, located inside Zion Reformed Church in Allentown, commemorates the successful concealment of the Liberty Bell in Allentown during the American Revolution.

Industrial Revolution

Bethlehem Steel in Bethlehem was one of the world's leading steel manufacturers for most of the 19th and 20th century. In 1982, it discontinued most of its operations, declared bankruptcy in 2001, and was dissolved in 2003.
Bethlehem Steel in Bethlehem was one of the world's leading steel manufacturers for most of the 19th and 20th century. In 1982, it discontinued most of its operations, declared bankruptcy in 2001, and was dissolved in 2003.

The opening of the Lehigh Canal in 1827 transformed Allentown and the Lehigh Valley from a rural agricultural area dominated by German-speaking people into an urbanized industrialized area and expanded Allentown's commercial and industrial capacity greatly. With this, the Lehigh Valley underwent significant industrialization, ultimately becoming a major center of the American Industrial Revolution.

The Lehigh Valley is named for the Lehigh River, which runs through it, and owes much of its development and history to anthracite coal, timber, and ore that poured down the Lehigh Coal & Navigation Company's (LC&N) Lehigh Canal and railroads LC&N built or encouraged parallel to it. The lower Lehigh Valley is geologically part of the Great Appalachian Valley and is bordered on the north by the mineral-rich Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians, which define its rugged upper parts from White Haven and west of The Poconos, south through the Lehigh Gorge Trail to the Lehigh Gap near Palmerton. The upper drainage basin contains or shares[a] nearly half the southeastern Coal Region, which has the richest anthracite deposits in the world, while the lower valley holds valuable limestone, sandstone, and clay deposits. In the charter of March 20, 1818 for the Lehigh Navigation Company, the legislature gave virtually total control to the Canal Company[b] which it retained until 1964.

The Lehigh Canal operated into the Great Depression, feeding ports up and down the Delaware River, the Pennsylvania Canal, and transoceanic demand, and was integral to the regional industrial revolution in the greater Delaware Valley region. The Morris Canal and the 22–23 miles (35–37 km) anthracite coal feeder of the Delaware and Raritan Canal and locks at New Hope on the Delaware Canal were built to fuel the anthracite needs of Trenton, Newark, Jersey City, and New York City.

Consequently, culturally and historically, the Valley runs from the drainage divide in the Solomon Gap north of Mountain Top where coal flowed up the Ashley Planes from the Wyoming Valley coal beds in Luzerne County and across the divide, then downhill to White Haven and through the Lehigh Gorge, past the historic Jim Thorpe terminus of the Summit Hill & Mauch Chunk Railroad (SH&MC). The Lehigh Canal, the Delaware Canal, the Delaware and Raritan Canal, the Delaware and Hudson Canal and the Morris Canal all historically permitted industrial transport by boat or barge with crossings of or travel along the Delaware River, making the Lehigh Valley central to the 19th century Industrial Revolution. The Delaware and Hudson Railway offered access to the upper Hudson River in New York state while New Jersey canals joined Easton to New York Harbor. Coal-fired foundries bootstrapped the iron needed for railroads, and railroads accelerated movement of people, goods, and raw materials through the Lehigh Valley into New Jersey, New York City, and New England.

American Civil War

Following the Union Army's defeat at the Battle of Fort Sumter in the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln issued his April 15, 1861 proclamation, calling for state militia to provide 75,000 volunteer troops to defend Washington, D.C., the nation's capital. In response, Allentown sent the Allen Infantry. Also known as the Allen Guards, the unit mustered in for duty on April 18, 1861. As the Civil War progressed, multiple Union Army units were drawn from the Lehigh Valley, including much of the 47th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment.

Cities and location

Allentown, the largest city in the Lehigh Valley and third largest city in Pennsylvania, May 2010
Allentown, the largest city in the Lehigh Valley and third largest city in Pennsylvania, May 2010
The city skyline of center city Allentown, Christmas 2017
The city skyline of center city Allentown, Christmas 2017
The Easton–Phillipsburg Toll Bridge, connecting Easton, Pennsylvania and Phillipsburg, New Jersey in the Lehigh Valley, October 2009
Christmas lights at Lehigh Valley Zoo in Schnecksville, December 2020
Christmas lights at Lehigh Valley Zoo in Schnecksville, December 2020

The Lehigh Valley's principal cities are Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton, making up the Allentown–Bethlehem–Easton metropolitan area. The traditional bounds of the region are The Poconos to the north, Warren County, New Jersey to the east, the boundaries of Berks County and Montgomery County to the southwest, and the boundary with Bucks County to the south. More recently, however, parts of upper Bucks County around Quakertown, and portions of eastern Berks County and southern Carbon and Schuylkill counties in Pennsylvania are considered outer parts of the Valley.

The Lehigh Valley is located approximately 60 mi (97 km) north of Philadelphia, 80 mi (130 km) northeast of Harrisburg, and 90 mi (140 km) west of New York City, the country's largest city. The Lehigh Valley's population is more than 820,000 people as of the 2010 U.S. Census. Recent census studies show it to be the fastest-growing region in Pennsylvania, due in part to its growing popularity as a bedroom community for the highly populated neighboring regions of Philadelphia, New Jersey and New York City and a favorable business climate and cost of living.[18]

The Valley is geologically and geographically part of the Great Appalachian Valley, a region largely made up of limestone that stretches along the eastern edge of the Appalachian Mountains. The Lehigh Valley is so named because it is composed of an actual valley formed by the Lehigh River that lies between Blue Mountain to the north and South Mountain to the south. It is also part of Pennsylvania Dutch Country, which was settled by Germans in the second part of the 19th century.

Municipalities with more than 10,000 people

Municipalities with fewer than 10,000 but more than 5,000 people

Municipalities with fewer than 5,000 people

Census-designated places and villages

Metropolitan and Combined Statistical Areas

The United States Office of Management and Budget has designated the Lehigh Valley area as the AllentownBethlehemEaston PA-NJ Metropolitan Statistical Area.[19] It consists of:

As of the 2020 United States census the metropolitan area area had a population of 821,173, which increased in 2018 to 841,913, according to the U.S. Census Estimate.[7] The Lehigh Valley ranks as the third most populous metropolitan area in Pennsylvania and ranks 68th most populous in the United States. In 2018, the Office of Management and Budget removed the Allentown–Bethlehem–Easton, PA–NJ MSA from the New York–Newark, NY–NJ–CT–PA CSA, establishing it as a stand-alone CSA.[20]


The Lehigh Valley has four distinct seasons, which typically include humid summers, cold winters, and very short and mild springs and falls. It has a humid continental climate (Dfa/Dfb) and the hardiness zone ranges from 5b in the highlands of northern Carbon County to 6b (the principal zone in Lehigh, Northampton, and southern Warren Counties).[21]

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 72
Mean maximum °F (°C) 60
Average high °F (°C) 38.4
Daily mean °F (°C) 30.1
Average low °F (°C) 21.8
Mean minimum °F (°C) 4
Record low °F (°C) −15
Average precipitation inches (mm) 3.30
Average snowfall inches (cm) 9.8
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 11.4 10.1 10.9 11.8 12.4 11.4 11.0 10.2 9.6 9.9 8.9 11.5 129.1
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 5.1 4.3 2.6 0.3 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.5 2.9 15.7
Average relative humidity (%) 70 66 62 61 66 68 70 72 74 72 70 71 69
Percent possible sunshine 43 48 53 47 54 63 57 56 54 53 45 42 51
Source: NOAA (relative humidity 1981–2010)[22][23][24]


Historical population
Census Pop.

The Lehigh Valley has a total population of 861,889 residents as of the 2020 U.S. Census, making it the third largest metropolitan area in Pennsylvania and the 68th largest such area in the nation.[25]

According to the 2018 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, 87.1% of the population was White American, 4.6% were Black or African American, 0.1% were American Indian, 2.3% were Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Americans made up 0.1%, 4.3% were of some other race, and 1.5% belonged to two or more races. Hispanics and Latinos of any race made up 11.3% of the population. Hispanics of any race made up the fastest-growing demographic in the Lehigh Valley. Lehigh County is in the top 1% of all U.S. counties for inward migration from international locations, according to a Select USA, a program of the U.S. Commerce Department.[8] The Lehigh Valley as a whole also leads the state of Pennsylvania in terms of population growth in the 18-to-34 year old demographic, according to 2020 Census data.[8]

The Lehigh Valley is seeing an influx of residents coming from New Jersey and New York to take advantage of the greatly reduced cost of living, employment opportunities, and close proximity to two of the largest cities in the country, Philadelphia and New York City. The population of the area is expected to increase by 227,000 people by 2040, making it one of the fastest-growing areas in the state and country.[26]

The median household income in the Lehigh Valley is $62,507 as of 2019 and it has seen significant increases in recent years as the area continues to grow and attract new businesses to the region.[10]


The Lehigh Valley's current economy is unusually well balanced and multi-faceted compared to national averages and very different from the 20th century when it was based heavily on manufacturing, apparel, and the steel production. As of 2019, the top five industries in the region are 1.) finance, 2.) manufacturing, 3.) education, 4.) professional services, and 5.) health care. Other major industry sectors in the area include retail, transportation and warehousing, arts and entertainment, and information services. All of the top five largest industry sectors are fairly equally balanced in their contribution to the area's total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $43.8 billion as of 2017.[27]


Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom in Allentown in the Lehigh Valley, 1950

The Lehigh Valley is known historically for its production of steel, Portland cement and apparel. It had served as a major U.S. center of industrial manufacturing since the 1800s but this role had diminished significantly in the late 20th century and early 21st century as companies moved to offshore locations for these activities.

Once a formidable industrial and manufacturing powerhouse serving the United States and global economies, the nationwide decline of this industry in the late 20th century and early 2000s led the Lehigh Valley to shift its economic focus more towards financial services, health care, life sciences and technology and becoming a distribution hub for some of the largest U.S. markets due to its comparatively low cost of doing business and proximity to some of the nation's largest metropolitan areas and markets.[28]

However, a recent movement to reestablish manufacturing activities in the U.S., driven by customer demand for American-made products, faster product delivery, increased overseas wages, and inflated costs and extended timeframes for shipping has led to a increases in the local manufacturing base.[29] Several large companies from China and Germany have each invested tens of millions of dollars into establishing significant operations in the Lehigh Valley, which has generated thousands of new local jobs.[30]

Largest employers

As of 2019, the Lehigh Valley's top five employers are: 1.) Lehigh Valley Health Network, 2.) St. Luke's Hospital and Health Network, 3.) Amazon, 4.) Lehigh Valley Physician Group, and 5.) Mack Trucks.[31]

Business and economic environment

The Lehigh Valley's tallest building, the 24-story PPL Building in Allentown, January 2007
The Lehigh Valley's tallest building, the 24-story PPL Building in Allentown, January 2007
The global headquarters of Air Products in Allentown, March 2014
The global headquarters of Air Products in Allentown, March 2014

The Lehigh Valley is one of the fastest-growing and largest economies in Pennsylvania with a total GDP of $43.8 billion that saw a 5 percent increase between 2016 and 2017 alone driven by strong manufacturing, financial, health care, and professional services industry segments.[32] It is centrally located in the Northeast Megalopolis with ease of access and close proximity to several of the largest markets, population centers, airports, terminals, railways and seaports in the United States including both the New York City and Philadelphia metropolitan areas. The Lehigh Valley is also situated within a one-day drive to more than one third of the total population of the United States and more than one half of the total population of Canada.[33][34] The area has a lower cost of living, more affordable real estate, lower taxes, better access to institutions of higher education, and a larger and more affordable labor pool, however, than many other Northeastern US regions.[35] These attributes and others, such as sizable investments in business development incentive programs and a friendlier regulatory environment, provide the area with an attractive business climate in comparison to surrounding areas.[18][34][36][37][38][39]

Due in large part to the aforementioned comparably favorable business climate and mature business support programs, such as the state's Ben Franklin Technology Partners business incubator and investment fund,[40] the Lehigh Valley has been very successful in luring established businesses as well as new startup companies from higher cost areas such as New York and New Jersey, bringing with them thousands of new jobs and significant new investments to the region.[18][41] Large companies such as have also praised the region for its commitment to business support, infrastructure investment, and incentive programs, citing them as major reasons for their continuing expansions and increased hiring in the region[42][43] and Allegiant Air, a low-cost budget airline, is opening a new flight base at the Lehigh Valley International Airport in February 2020, noting the area's rapid growth, lower costs of doing business, and proximity to popular destinations as significant factors in its decision to do so.[44]

Other large national and international companies either based in the Lehigh Valley or with significant operations there include Broadcom Corporation (in Allentown), Avantor Performance Materials (Center Valley), Air Products (in Trexlertown), Crayola LLC (in Easton), Buckeye Partners (in Emmaus), Heidelberg Cement (in Fogelsville), Just Born (in Bethlehem, maker of the popular Peeps candies), Lutron Electronics (in Coopersburg), Mack Trucks (in Allentown), Martin Guitar (in Nazareth), Olympus Corporation USA (in Center Valley), OraSure Technologies (in Bethlehem), PPL Corporation (in Allentown), Wind Creek Bethlehem (in Bethlehem), Dun & Bradstreet (in Center Valley), Synchronoss Technologies (in Bethlehem), Victaulic (in Easton), and others.

Further reaffirming the area's advantageous business and economic environment, the Lehigh Valley was recognized by business publication Site Selection Magazine in 2014, 2017, 2018, and again in 2019 as being the second-best performing region of its size for economic development in the United States and the best performing region in the entire northeast.[45] It was also ranked by Fortune in May 2015 as one of the top 10 best places in the U.S. to locate corporate finance and information technology operations for companies, such as call centers and IT support.[46][47] Allentown, the region's largest city, was cited as a "national success story" in April 2016 by the Urban Land Institute for its downtown redevelopment and transformation that has resulted in US$1,000,000,000 ($1 billion) worth of new development projects there between 2015 and 2019 alone, one of only six communities nationwide to have achieved this distinction.[48][49]

The Lehigh Valley is also one of the largest areas on the East Coast for the location of warehouses and distribution centers. Because of this, it is sometimes referred to as the nation's "second Inland Empire" for freight.[50] Large national companies that own and operate warehouses and distribution centers in the Lehigh Valley include, B. Braun, Boston Beer Company (brewer of Samuel Adams brand beer), BMW, Bridgestone, FedEx SmartPost, FedEx Ground, Home Depot, J. C. Penney, Nestlé Purina, ShopRite, Stitch Fix, The Coca-Cola Company, Ocean Spray, Phillips Pet Food and Supplies, True Value, Uline, Zulily, and many others. Most of these warehouses and distribution centers are located along the U.S. Route 22, Interstate 78 and Interstate 476 corridors in the region which provide direct access to numerous major markets throughout the northeast and beyond.

Due to this direct access and proximity to major markets, FedEx Ground constructed their largest distribution hub in the country in the Lehigh Valley near Lehigh Valley International Airport. This new hub can process up to 45,000 packages per hour and currently employs over 2,000 people. By 2030, it will have a total size of 1,100,000 (1.1 million) square feet and employ over 3,000 people in total.[51] It opened in September 2018 at a cost of $335 million to build.[52] Furthermore, leverages the Lehigh Valley International Airport (LVIA) as one of only 11 locations in the country for their Amazon Air shipping service. LVIA was one of the first airports selected for the pilot concept of the Amazon Air program due to its close proximity to large population centers, cost-effectiveness, robust infrastructure, and comparative ease of use and access. This location now ships more merchandise, has more flights, and serves more people (over 75 million as of late 2016) for Amazon than any other facility in the country. Amazon and numerous other large companies continue to invest heavily in the region to better support the ever-increasing demand for efficient cargo transportation, driven in large part by the explosive growth of e-commerce and customer requirements for faster and more cost effective delivery of merchandise.[53]

The Boston Beer Company operates its largest production brewery facility in the country in the Lehigh Valley (in Breinigsville), which produces more than 2/3rds of all Samuel Adams beer in the world. The company continues to upgrade and expand operations at this facility and has cited the location as central to the company's success.[54] Additionally, Ocean Spray, a popular maker of juice drinks and other fruit products, produces 40 percent of its total national beverage volume at its Lehigh Valley plant in Breinigsville.[55] Due to Pennsylvania's lack of an excise tax on cigars and the Lehigh Valley's close proximity to major markets, the region is also home to some of the United States' largest cigar distributors and retailers.[56]

Retail shopping

Lehigh Valley Mall in Whitehall Township, the Lehigh Valley's largest indoor shopping mall, October 2011
Lehigh Valley Mall in Whitehall Township, the Lehigh Valley's largest indoor shopping mall, October 2011

The Lehigh Valley is home to many retail establishments. The largest retail area of the Lehigh Valley is the Pennsylvania Route 145/MacArthur Road Corridor, just north of Allentown. It is anchored by the Lehigh Valley Mall and the Whitehall Mall.

Other malls in the region include Palmer Park Mall (in Easton), South Mall (in South Whitehall Township), and the Westgate Mall (in Bethlehem). In October 2006, a new Valley-based shopping mall, The Promenade Shops at Saucon Valley, was opened. Located off Route 309 in Upper Saucon Township, The Promenade is roughly half the size of the Lehigh Valley Mall, but features more upscale stores. In 2011, The Outlets at Sands Bethlehem (now The Outlets at Wind Creek Bethlehem) opened at the Sands Casino in Bethlehem, becoming the first outlet mall in the Lehigh Valley.[57]

Yocco's Hot Dogs, the regionally-famous fast food establishment known for their hot dogs and cheesesteaks, maintains six locations, all of which are based in the Lehigh Valley. Its original restaurant, founded in 1922, is still located at its original center city Allentown location on West Liberty Street. The remaining five additional locations in the Lehigh Valley are located in west-side Allentown, east-side Allentown, Emmaus, Fogelsville, and Wescosville.

Awards and recognition

In 2014, 2017, 2018, 2019, and again in 2020, the Lehigh Valley was recognized by Site Selection Magazine as the one of the top five best-performing regions of its size (up to 1,000,000 residents) for economic development in the country and the best-performing region in the entire Northeastern United States.[45][58] It was also ranked by Fortune in May 2015 as being among the top 10 best places in the U.S. to locate corporate finance and information technology operations, such as call centers and IT support.[59][47] Allentown, the Lehigh Valley's largest city, was cited as a "national success story" in April 2016 by the Urban Land Institute for its downtown redevelopment and transformation that has resulted in $1 billion worth of new development projects there between 2015 and 2018, one of only six communities nationwide of any size to have achieved this distinction.[60][61]



The Lehigh Valley is part of the Philadelphia television market, and also receives television stations from New York City and Scranton/Wilkes Barre. Lehigh Valley-based stations include WBPH-TV, an affiliate of FamilyNet, a Christian network licensed to Bethlehem with studios in Allentown; WFMZ-TV, an independent commercial television station atop South Mountain in Allentown; and WLVT-TV, a PBS station licensed to Allentown with studios in Bethlehem.


In recent years the Lehigh Valley has become an increasingly sought after destination for motion pictures filming on location. It has provided the backdrop to multiple motion pictures including M. Night Shyamalan's film Glass, indie dark-comedy Getting Grace helmed by character actor Daniel Roebuck, and Taylor A. Purdee's folk rock musical Killian & the Comeback Kids.[62]


The Lehigh Valley is home to over 35 radio stations, spanning multiple formats, including tropical (Spanish radio) news, talk, and sports, CHR/pop music, rhythmic contemporary, country music, National Public Radio, sports radio, oldies, polka, hot adult contemporary, soft rock, classic rock, hard rock, and a variety of college radio stations.

Print media

Lehigh Valley-based daily newspapers include The Morning Call (based in Allentown) and The Express-Times (based in Easton), both with rich traditions dating back to the mid-1800s. The Lehigh Valley has two magazines, Lehigh Valley Style (a regional lifestyle publication based in Easton), and Lehigh Valley Magazine (the region's oldest lifestyle publication based in Harrisburg).


Alumni Memorial Building at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, August 2005
Alumni Memorial Building at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, August 2005

Colleges and universities

The Lehigh Valley is a center of post-secondary education, with several four-year colleges and universities. These include:

The Lehigh Valley is also home to two two-year colleges:

High school education

Allen High School, one of Allentown's two large public high schools, July 2008
Allen High School, one of Allentown's two large public high schools, July 2008

The Lehigh Valley is the third most populous metropolitan region in Pennsylvania and served by numerous school districts, public and private high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools, including:

The largest Lehigh Valley high schools (18 in all) compete athletically in the East Penn Conference. Smaller Lehigh Valley high schools compete in the Colonial League. In addition to its exceptional high school athletic teams, the Lehigh Valley is known nationally for its excellent math team, the Lehigh Valley Fire, which has won the American Regions Mathematics League competition in 2005, 2009, 2010, and 2011 and placed in the top 10 teams nationally every year since.[63]

Miscellaneous education

The nearest weekend school for Japanese national children and children of Japanese heritage, known as Hoshū jugyō kōs, is the Japanese Language School of Philadelphia (JLSP, フィラデルフィア日本語補習授業校 Firaderufia Nihongo Hoshū Jugyō Kō) located in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania. The government of Japan funds this school through its Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.[64]


Coca-Cola Park in east Allentown, home of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies, April 2009
Coca-Cola Park in east Allentown, home of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies, April 2009
Club League Sport Venue Established Championships
Lehigh Valley IronPigs IL Baseball Coca-Cola Park 2008 0
Lehigh Valley Phantoms AHL Ice hockey PPL Center 1996 2
Lehigh Valley Steelhawks NAL Indoor football PPL Center 2011 0
FC Sonic Lehigh Valley NPSL Soccer Ulrich Sports Complex 2009 1 (2012)
Lehigh Valley Rollergirls WFTDA Roller Derby Hamburg Field House 2006 0


National Football League

From 1996 until 2012, the Lehigh Valley was the home of pre-season training camp for the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles, which was held each summer on the football fields of Lehigh University in Bethlehem. On August 5, 2012, Garrett Reid, the 29-year-old son of then Eagles head coach Andy Reid, was found dead in his Lehigh University dorm room during training camp from a heroin overdose.[65] In 2013, following the Garrett Reid overdose and with the hiring of new head coach Chip Kelly, the Eagles chose to move their training camp to the NovaCare Complex in South Philadelphia, where it has been held since.

College football

The Fisher Stadium scoreboard in Easton following Lafayette College's victory over Lehigh University in the 142nd edition of "The Rivalry" in 2006. The series between the two colleges, which are 17 miles (27 km) away from each other in the Lehigh Valley, is the most-played rivalry in college football history with 157 meetings since 1884.
The Fisher Stadium scoreboard in Easton following Lafayette College's victory over Lehigh University in the 142nd edition of "The Rivalry" in 2006. The series between the two colleges, which are 17 miles (27 km) away from each other in the Lehigh Valley, is the most-played rivalry in college football history with 157 meetings since 1884.

The Lehigh Valley is home to the nation's longest-standing collegiate football rivalry in the nation. Known simply as "The Rivalry," Lafayette College in Easton and Lehigh University in Bethlehem have played each other 157 times since 1884, making it the most-played rivalry in college football history.[66] In addition to Lafayette College and Lehigh University, two other Lehigh Valley colleges, Moravian University in Bethlehem and Muhlenberg College in Allentown also have competitive collegiate athletic programs, including football, basketball, wrestling, and other athletic teams.


Parkettes National Gymnastics Training Center, which has been the training ground for numerous Olympians and U.S. national gymnastics champions, is based in Allentown. In 2003, CNN aired a documentary on Parkettes, Achieving the Perfect 10, which depicted it as a hugely demanding and competitive training program.

High school athletics

J. Birney Crum Stadium, a 15,000 capacity high school stadium in Allentown, is the second largest high school stadium in Pennsylvania and the home field of three Eastern Pennsylvania Conference high school football teams, Allen High School, Central Catholic High School, and Dieruff High School.
J. Birney Crum Stadium, a 15,000 capacity high school stadium in Allentown, is the second largest high school stadium in Pennsylvania and the home field of three Eastern Pennsylvania Conference high school football teams, Allen High School, Central Catholic High School, and Dieruff High School.

The 18 largest high schools in the Lehigh Valley and Pocono Mountain region compete athletically in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference (EPC), one of the nation's premier athletic divisions. An additional 14 Lehigh Valley high schools too small to compete in the EPC compete in the Colonial League.

The EPC has produced numerous professional and Olympic athletes, including many who have gone on to compete in Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, and the National Football League. The EPC's football, basketball, field hockey, and wrestling teams are often ranked among the best in the nation.[67] In high school field hockey, Emmaus High School has won 33 consecutive EPC championships.[68]

The Lehigh Valley's high school wrestling programs have been labeled "among the nation’s best in the sport for nearly three decades"[69] and WIN magazine has ranked the region's wrestling programs best in the nation.[70]

Professional baseball

In 2008, Coca-Cola Park, an 8,100-seat Minor League baseball stadium, opened in east-side Allentown.[71] The stadium is the home field for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies of Major League Baseball. The team previously played as the Ottawa Lynx (1993–2007).[72] The club's move to the Lehigh Valley brought the franchise closer to Philadelphia and the Phillies' large Lehigh Valley fan base. The team's name is a reference to pig iron, which is used in steelmaking for which the Lehigh Valley area is known worldwide. Groundbreaking ceremonies for Coca-Cola Park were held September 6, 2006, and construction was completed in December 2007. The stadium's first game was on March 30, 2008, featuring the Phillies major league team playing the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.

Professional ice hockey

PPL Center in Allentown, the home arena of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, the primary development team of the Philadelphia Flyers
PPL Center in Allentown, the home arena of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, the primary development team of the Philadelphia Flyers

On September 10, 2014, the PPL Center, an 8,500-seat arena in center city Allentown, was opened as the new home arena for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers, and for other sporting and entertainment events. The Phantoms began play at PPL Center with their 2014–15 season. The arena is located in center city Allentown, taking up the entire block between Seventh and Eighth Streets and Hamilton Boulevard and Linden Street.[73]

Roller derby

Lehigh Valley Roller Derby (LVRG) is a Women's Flat Track Derby Association league based in the Lehigh Valley and its teams compete against national and international teams. The league now hosts home games at Bethlehem Municipal Ice Rink in Bethlehem.

Running events

The Lehigh Valley Health Network Via Marathon, which features a certified marathon, a five-person team relay, a 20-mile (32 km) training run and 5K walk is held annually in September. The 42.195-kilometre (26.219 mi) course follows the Lehigh River Canal Towpath from Allentown to Easton. The marathon came under scrutiny in 2015 when Mike Rossi achieved viral fame after allegedly cheating in the marathon to qualify for the Boston Marathon. In response, Via Marathon organizers added timing mats and video surveillance on-course.[74]

Lehigh University's Paul Short Run is held annually at the Goodman Cross Country Course and participation has climbed to over 5,000 runners spread throughout 14 college and high school races. The Emmaus 5K race is held annually in mid-October, coinciding with Emmaus' annual Halloween parade.[75]

Track cycling

The Lehigh Valley is home to the Valley Preferred Cycling Center, a cycling velodrome that hosts professional and amateur cycling competitions, including Union Cycliste Internationale-sponsored competitions. Valley Preferred Cycling Center has given rise to several Olympian cycling medal winners.


Rock band Weezer plays Musikfest in Bethlehem, August 2019
Rock band Weezer plays Musikfest in Bethlehem, August 2019

2019 marks the 36th year of the annual music festival, which ran from August 2 to 11. The Allentown Art Museum, based in center city Allentown, is the Lehigh Valley's largest museum. The museum's collection includes more than 11,000 works of art. Lehigh University's Zoellner Arts Center and Lafayette College's smaller Williams Center for the Arts host a wide variety of plays, concerts and performances throughout the year. The Allentown Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Diane Wittry since 1995, performs fall through spring at the historic Miller Symphony Hall.

Musikfest, the nation's largest non-gated music festival, is held annually each August in Bethlehem. The festival attracts over a million domestic and international visitors. Musikfest is sponsored by ArtsQuest, a non-profit that promotes visual and performing arts in the Lehigh Valley. The ArtsQuest center and Steelstacks campus, located on the site where Bethlehem Steel was based prior to its 1995 closure, have several performing arts venues, including the Levitt Pavilion and the Musikfest Cafe. The Banana Factory in Southside Bethlehem has several art studios and galleries open to the public.

Mayfair, a multidisciplinary arts festival, is held annually at Cedar Crest College in Allentown.


The Lehigh Valley is home to Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom, a popular amusement and water park. Located in South Whitehall Township, Dorney Park is known nationally for its elaborate roller coasters and water rides.

Dorney Park's Steel Force and Thunderhawk roller coasters in South Whitehall Township in the Lehigh Valley. Steel Force is the tenth tallest steel roller coaster in the world with a first drop of 205 feet (62 m) and a top speed of 75 miles per hour (121 km/h).[76]
Dorney Park's Steel Force and Thunderhawk roller coasters in South Whitehall Township in the Lehigh Valley. Steel Force is the tenth tallest steel roller coaster in the world with a first drop of 205 feet (62 m) and a top speed of 75 miles per hour (121 km/h).[76]

The region's ski resorts are Bear Creek Ski and Recreation Area and Blue Mountain Ski Area. Bear Creek is a 21 slope resort located outside of Macungie, Pennsylvania. Blue Mountain is located near Danielsville, Pennsylvania. The Poconos, which feature some of the East Coast's best-known ski resorts, is approximately 30 miles (48 km) north of the Lehigh Valley. Several large lakes used for boating and fishing also are located there. Pocono Raceway in the Poconos holds two NASCAR race weekends a year along with an IndyCar race. The region also hosts some of the best hiking in eastern Pennsylvania, including 30 miles of trails at the Trexler Nature Preserve.

Dutch Springs, the nation's largest SCUBA amusement park, is in Bethlehem and Lower Nazareth Township. Over 40,000 divers annually utilize the facilities, which have sunken "treasures" to enhance the underwater experience. In addition to scuba diving, kayaking and paddle boats are available. The facility has a water park, camping grounds, and picnic areas.

In 2009, Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem (now Wind Creek Bethlehem), an $879 million casino, hotel and apartment complex owned by the Las Vegas Sands, opened in Bethlehem, bringing legalized gambling to the Lehigh Valley for the first time. In 2019, Wind Creek Hospitality, an entity of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, acquired the casino and it gained its current name. It is one of only 13 authorized gaming sites in Pennsylvania.

Many large festivals are held each year in the Lehigh Valley. Musikfest, a large, 10-day music festival, is held in Bethlehem each August. In September, one of the largest Celtic heritage festivals in America, The Celtic Classic, is held in Bethlehem. The Great Allentown Fair has been held on the grounds of the Allentown Fairgrounds in Allentown annually in late August through early September for more than 150 years. Das Awkscht Fescht is an antique car festival that is held annually the beginning of August in Macungie's Memorial Park. "Blues, Brews, and Barbeque," which launched in 2014, is held annually at Cedar Beach Park on Lake Muhlenberg.[77][78][79]

Ice skating (including ice hockey, figure skating and speed skating) is popular in the Lehigh Valley and the region has three facilities. The Steel Ice Center is the premier ice skating facility, in Bethlehem on East 1st Street, not far from the Sands Casino. The Rink, formerly Lehigh Valley Ice Arena, is in Whitehall (north of Allentown) just off MacArthur Road (Route 145) on 7th Street. Each facility has two ice surfaces and public skate times are available at both facilities. The City of Bethlehem also opens a covered outdoor rink (one ice surface) annually from November through March. The Bethlehem Skateplaza, located on Steel Avenue in Bethlehem, is a city park for skateboarding and freestyle BMX.


Air transportation

The Lehigh Valley's primary airport is Lehigh Valley International Airport (IATA: ABE, ICAO: KABE), located in Hanover Township, three miles (5 km) northeast of Allentown. The airport was utilized by 911,970 passengers in 2019, which represents an increase of 15.01% over its use the previous year, in 2018. Much of this growth has been driven by Allegiant Air's expansion at the airport.[80][81][82][83][84] utilizes Lehigh Valley International Airport as one of only 11 locations in the country for their Prime Air shipping service. LVIA was one of the first airports selected for the pilot concept of the program due to its close proximity to large population centers, cost effectiveness, robust infrastructure, and comparative ease of use. This location now ships more merchandise, has more flights, and serves more people (over 75 million from Boston to Washington, D.C. as of late 2016) for Amazon than any other facility in the country. Both Amazon and Lehigh Valley International continue to invest heavily in the local area to better support the ever-increasing demand for air cargo driven in large part by the explosion of e-commerce and the need for faster, more efficient delivery of merchandise.[85] LVIA has seen rapid growth in the transportation of air cargo; as of 2020, it flew more than 210 million pounds of cargo annually with an increase of nearly 166% in tonnage shipped between 2015 and 2016 alone.[12][13]

Due to the same aforementioned reasons for Amazon increasing its operations at the airport, FedEx Ground selected an area near LVIA to construct its largest terminal in the country.[86] Companies such as and FedEx Ground are increasingly using the airport for these purposes, which is a major factor in Lehigh Valley International's growth.[87]

The Valley is also served by Allentown Queen City Municipal Airport, a two-runway general aviation facility located off Allentown's Lehigh Street. Queen City is used predominantly by private aviation. Other general-aviation airports include Braden Airpark (also owned by the Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority) in Easton, Hackettstown Airport in eastern Warren County, New Jersey, and Jake Arner Memorial Airport in Lehighton.

Bus transportation

LANta bus in Easton, June 2005
LANta bus in Easton, June 2005

Public bus service in Lehigh Valley is available through the Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority, known as LANTA. In New Jersey, bus service is provided by NJ Transit including to Centre Square in Easton. Carbon Transit provides service within Carbon County.

The Lehigh Valley's inter-city bus links are to New York City, Reading, and Harrisburg, served by Klein Transportation, Fullington Trailways, Greyhound Lines, and Trans-Bridge Lines. The region has direct bus service to Philadelphia via OurBus. Martz Trailways stops in Allentown and at the Pocono interchange of Interstate 476 with service to Scranton via Wilkes-Barre and to Philadelphia. This is an Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach route connecting to Amtrak at 30th Street Station in Philadelphia. Chinatown bus lines operates multiple roundtrip bus lines daily between Manhattan and the Wind Creek Bethlehem casino in Bethlehem; more than 3,000 passengers use this service daily as of 2014.[88]

Commercial rail

The Lehigh Valley is a major national thruway for commercial rail transport with roughly 65 commercial trains passing through the Valley daily. The region's largest freight rail operator is Norfolk Southern Railway, which uses two former rail lines, Lehigh Valley Railroad's Lehigh Line and Reading Railroad's Reading Line. Norfolk Southern Railway has major classification rail yards in both Allentown and Bethlehem.

Passenger rail

Passenger train service in the Valley is available at the Hackettstown station in Warren County. Outside the Valley but within proximity, passenger rail is available at Doylestown, roughly 31 miles (50 km) southeast, and at Annandale, roughly 42 miles (68 km) west. The Valley's closest Amtrak station is the Bryn Mawr SEPTA stop about 48 miles (77 km) miles south.

Two major passenger rail hubs, 30th Street Station in Philadelphia and Newark Penn Station in Newark, are roughly 58 miles (93 km) south-southeast and 82 miles (132 km) west, respectively.


US 22 eastbound in Whitehall Township in the Lehigh Valley, October 2011
US 22 eastbound in Whitehall Township in the Lehigh Valley, October 2011

The Lehigh Valley has four major highways: Interstate 78, a major east-west highway, runs through the southern part of the Valley, duplexed with Pennsylvania Route 309. I-78 runs from Lebanon County in the west, where Interstate 81 provides a connection to Harrisburg, to the Holland Tunnel and New York City in the east.

U.S. Route 22 is a major freeway that runs through the Valley from Kuhnsville in the western part of the Valley to Easton in the eastern part of the Valley. U.S. Route 22 starts in Cincinnati, Ohio in the west, running through the Valley to Newark, New Jersey in the east. A third highway, Pennsylvania Route 33, runs north-south through the Lehigh Valley, from the Poconos in the north to Northampton County in the south.

The fourth major highway in the Valley is Interstate 476, the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. It stretches 131 miles (211 km) from Chester in the south to the ScrantonWilkes Barre area in the north.

Other major roads in the Valley include MacArthur Road (PA 145), a divided local road that leads to the Lehigh Valley Mall and its surrounding commercial district. Cedar Crest Boulevard, a north-south highway, runs from North Whitehall Township, Pennsylvania in the north through west-side Allentown to Emmaus in the south. Lehigh Street runs from northeast to southwest, originating in downtown Allentown and ending in Emmaus. Tilghman Street runs from Fogelsville in the west to continue as Union Boulevard into Bethlehem in the east. Tilghman Street runs through most of Allentown and also intersects with Cedar Crest Boulevard, Pennsylvania Route 100, Pennsylvania Route 309 and several other major Lehigh Valley highways.


The Lehigh Valley area initially was served only by the 215 area code from 1947 (when the North American Numbering Plan of the Bell System went into effect) until 1994. With the region's growing population, however, Lehigh Valley areas were afforded area code 610 in 1994. Today, the Lehigh Valley is mainly covered by 610. An overlay area code, 484, was added to the 610 service area in 1999.[89] A plan to introduce area code 835 as an additional overlay was rescinded in 2001.[90] Area code 570 serves the majority of Carbon County and the Portland exchange in Northampton County. Area code 908 serves Warren County, New Jersey and area code 215 serves the portion of extreme southern Lehigh County in the Pennsburg exchange.


The Lehigh Valley AVA was designated an official American Viticultural Area in March 2008. The wine region includes 230 acres (93 ha) of vineyards, planted to several Vitis vinifera and French-American hybrid grape varieties. Blue Mountain Vineyards in New Tripoli accounts of over 50 acres in the region and has won national and international awards. Fifteen to twenty percent of the wine produced commercially in Pennsylvania is made from grapes grown in the Lehigh Valley AVA.[91] The Warren Hills AVA includes all of Warren County southeast of Paulins Kill.

Notable people from the Lehigh Valley

The Lehigh Valley is the birthplace or home to a number of famous Americans, including:

County statistics

Geographic area July 1, 2005 Census 2000 1990 Census 1980 Census 1970 Census
Allentown–Bethlehem–Easton, PA–NJ MSA 790,535 740,395 686,688 635,481 594,382
Carbon County, Pennsylvania 61,959 58,802 56,846 53,285 50,573
Lehigh County, Pennsylvania 330,433 312,090 291,130 272,349 255,304
Northampton County, Pennsylvania 287,767 267,066 247,105 225,418 214,368
Warren County, New Jersey 110,376 102,437 91,607 84,429 73,960
Allentown, Pennsylvania 105,231 106,632 105,301 103,758 109,871
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 68,114 71,329 71,428
Easton, Pennsylvania 26,263 26,276 26,234


  1. ^ Technically, the Panther Creek Valley sandwiched between the coal-bearing valleys of Broad Mountain/Nesquehoning Creek/Nesquehoning Ridge and Pisgah Ridge/Mauch Chunk Creek is part of the Schuylkill River watershed. However, culturally, highway and railroad connections influenced the LC&N Co. company towns east of Tamaqua and the Little Schuylkill River are strongly tied to the historic Mauch Chunk and the Canal operations of the LC&N Company.
  2. ^ In the 1840s the LC&N established the railroad subsidiary Lehigh and Susquehanna Railroad (LH&S) and had already backed quite a few others, or mining companies with company railroads. About six or more of these investment railways were bought out and consolidated, including the Summit Hill and Mauch Chunk Railroad (SH&MC), into the LH&S which became an operating company. In the 1871, the founders having left, the new generation of LC&N management decided to lease the LH&S properties out to the Central Railroad of New Jersey, the CNJ or Jersey Central, which operated them into the 1960s. The CNJ sought and received permission to sell the historic SH&MC to a private operator, who continued to operate it as a tourist railway into the late 1930s. Today, the railroad routes built by the LC&N are still major regional transportation arteries,[17]
  3. ^ Mean monthly maxima and minima (i.e. the highest and lowest temperature readings during an entire month or year) calculated based on data at said location from 1981 to 2010.
  4. ^ Official records for Allentown were kept at Allentown Gas Company from March 1922 to December 1943, and at Lehigh Valley Int'l since January 1944. For more information, see ThreadEx.


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