Update: Downtown Allentown

Update: Downtown Allentown

In recent months, Allentown has taken on a fresh look – and fresh life – thanks to the introduction of several new restaurants and businesses in the downtown area.

The central attraction in the newly emerging downtown area, the PPL Center is part of an overall $1-billion-dollar revitalization plan – a plan that is already garnering noticeable results. The opening of the center brought with it a host of new restaurants, many of which are within walking distance of the complex (see some of the highlights on the next page), as well as new businesses like the recently opened Renaissance Allentown Hotel and the Lehigh Valley Health Network’s Sports Medicine and Fitness Destination Center, both of which flank the center.

Plans for future development in the surrounding area continue to take shape. The hope is that they will help stimulate other local businesses by drawing new residents, increased tourism and additional businesses to the area. So far, the results seem positive; this past summer, two months before the PPL Center even opened, Fortune Magazine named Allentown number three in its top five list of “cities with up and coming downtowns”.

 

THING TO DO

PPL Center
Home to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, the center is located in the heart of downtown Allentown at 701 Hamilton Street. In addition to ice hockey games, the center will also host more than 140 different events, including concerts by well-known performers, family-centric shows and collegiate sporting events throughout the year. Check out their full schedule at pplcenter.com for details.

Allentown Art Museum
Open Wednesday though Sunday, the museum is located at 31 North 5th Street. In addition to their permanent collections, they also offer a range of rotating exhibits and programs, so be sure to check their schedule prior to planning a visit.

Miller Symphony Hall
A historic 1,200-seat symphony hall that dates back to the late 19th Century, the Miller Symphony Hall has famously hosted musical and theatrical performances by the likes of Bing Crosby, George Burns and the Marx Brothers. Today, the hall is home to the Allentown Symphony Orchestra and offers a range of concerts, dance and theatrical productions. Located at 23 North 6th Street.

Liberty Bell Museum
Located in the historic Zion’s Church at 622 West Hamilton Street, the museum is home to a collection of Revolutionary War and Colonial America exhibits, as well as an exact replica of the Liberty Bell. (During the American Revolution, the real Liberty Bell was brought here from Philadelphia and hidden beneath the church’s floorboards to protect it from the British.) Be sure to also check their calendar for seasonal exhibits and events.

 

NEW EATS

ROAR Social House
Located on Hamilton, directly across the street from the PPL Center, ROAR mixes a 1920s vibe with modern style and cuisine. Known for its 20s inspired drinks and cocktails, as well prime cuts of locally-sourced meats and a raw bar that features oysters, clams and prawns, ROAR is owned and operated by locally famous restaurateurs Don and Diane Saylor. Be sure to also check out “Hush” – an intimate, dimly lit speakeasy located in the back of the restaurant with its own separate bar and drink menu.

The Hamilton Kitchen & Bar
Under the supervision of general manager Jason Lonigro, who spent 13 years working for Emeril Lagasse and oversaw the opening of his three Sands Casino restaurants, The Hamilton Kitchen & Bar (which is not associated with Lagasse) offers upscale American cuisine and cocktails. Stop in at 645 West Hamilton Street and enjoy the modern vibe created by its high brick ceilings, stylish leather booths and large wooden bar. Come back in warmer weather and you can have a seat at their outside patio.

The Dime
Located above the curved entrance to the PPL Center, diners at the Dime can enjoy a picturesque view of Seventh and Hamilton Streets through the restaurant’s large, floor to ceiling windows. Featuring locally inspired, upscale American cuisine and Pennsylvania beers, wines and liquors, it is named in honor of the historic Dime Bank Building.

Chickie’s & Pete’s Crab House and Sports Bar
A Philadelphia sports classic, Chickie’s & Pete’s was voted ESPN’s #1 Sports Bar on the East Coast.  Located in the same complex as the PPL Center, you can access the restaurant internally through the center or externally through its street side entrance. Their famous Crabfries® are a must try.

Tony Luke’s
Another South Philly classic, Tony Luke’s is known for its signature cheesesteaks and pork sandwiches. Located a block away from the PPL Center at 806 Hamilton Street, it’s a must stop for any sports fans.

 

MAKE IT A WEEKEND

Renaissance Allentown Hotel
Located next door to the PPL Center at 12 North Seventh Street, the new 200-room Renaissance is a luxurious, boutique hotel that’s perfect for a weekend get-away.  Its unique lobby incorporates much of the restored entrance to the historic Bank Street Building.

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