What's it like to live in Allentown, PA?


Joanna Ireland

Profile written by local expert:

Joanna Ireland

A quiet architectural renaissance has blossomed in Pennsylvania's third-largest metro area. Much of Allentown's charm comes from its vast collection of historic homes and buildings, commercial structures and century-old industrial buildings. Neighborhoods in the city center are a blend of Victorian and Federal-style row homes. Homes around West Park ooze Colonial Revival and Queen Anne charm. Architects have modernized and converted many of the closed mills and manufacturing buildings into apartments and lofts.

Several districts constitute Allentown proper – each with its own unique identity and flair. The Seventh Street business district features neighborhood living, as well as local restaurants and retail establishments. Allentown's theater district, in the West End, includes a black box theater and a civic theater, several popular restaurants, local retailers and an Arts Walk that leads to the Allentown Art Museum and Baum School of Art. Business is booming in the Hamilton Street business district, home of the PPL Center, where the Philadelphia Flyers hockey farm team, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, play.

Nestled within the Lehigh Valley, with the Blue Mountain range to the north and South Mountain to the southwest, Allentown offers hikers and skiers access to great trails and snow. Meanwhile, residents can drive to New York City or Philadelphia in roughly two hours. Allentown's convenient location, commitment to healthy living and celebration of the arts make it a great place for active folks to settle down.

Rankings

U.S. News analyzed 125 metro areas in the United States to find the best places to live based on quality of life and the job market in each metro area, as well as the value of living there and people's desire to live there.

Allentown, Pennsylvania is ranked:

#93 in Best Places to Live

#18 in Best Places to Retire

6.2

Overall

Scorecard

Best Places to Live

  • Desirability
    5.6
  • Value
    6.3
  • Job Market
    6.1
  • Quality of Life
    6.6
  • Net Migration
    6.1

Read how we rank places

Allentown, PA Quick Stats

  • 832,790

    Metro Population

  • $46,920

    Average Annual Salary

  • 61.4° / 40.8°

    Avg High/Low Temps

  • 41.3

    Median Age

  • $174,858

    Median Home Price

  • 45.4 inches

    AVG Annual Rainfall

  • 4.5%

    Unemployment Rate

  • $990

    Median Monthly Rent

  • 27.7 minutes

    Avg Commute Time

What's the cost of living in Allentown, PA?

The average home sale price in Allentown is below that of other major U.S. metro areas, and the many apartment and rental units average less than $1,000 a month. However, Allentown residents earn less than the average national salary.

Value Index

Index Score: 6.3 /10

How we calculate this.


Allentown offers a lower value than similarly sized metro areas when you compare housing costs to median household income.

Housing Costs 2018


Allentown
$174,858

USA
$227,025

Housing Costs Over Time

Data sourced from Zillow median home sale price data series. Additional data provided by the Austin Board of Realtors, Houston Association of Realtors, Intermountain MLS, Omaha Area Board of Realtors, San Antonio Board of Realtors, and the Salt Lake Board of Realtors.

Buying or selling a home? Find top real estate agents in Allentown, PA.

What's the weather like in Allentown, PA?

While the Lehigh Valley "enjoys" its recognition as one of the country's allergy capitals, those susceptible to allergens may have a tough time during pollen season. 

Seasonal Temperature (Avgs)

30.3°F


Winter

49.6°F


Spring

71.4°F


Summer

53.0°F


Fall

Seasonal Rainfall (Avgs)

3.6 in


Winter

4.1 in


Spring

5.0 in


Summer

4.6 in


Fall

Monthly High and Low Temperatures (°F)

Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center.

What's the best way to get around Allentown, PA?

Allentown residents tend to rely on their cars to get around. One of Allentown's biggest benefits is that its highway system makes it easy to reach any part of the Lehigh Valley. Many employment opportunities in Lehigh and Northampton counties and surrounding townships are less than 30 minutes by car.

The area is served by the Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority (LANTA) bus system, which provides routes through Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton and a number of other Lehigh Valley communities.

The Lehigh Valley International Airport, and several larger airports (including Philadelphia International Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport) are less than two hours away. Allentown also has a bus terminal for those seeking transportation to Philadelphia, Harrisburg, New York City and Pittsburgh.

Commuting in Allentown, PA

Means of Transportation
Driving
90%
Above national average

Bicycling
0%
Equal to national average

Walking
2%
Equal to national average

Public Transit
2%
Below national average
Average Commute Time

27.7 minutes

1.3 minutes more than national average

Average Commute Times by Zip Code

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

Who lives in Allentown, PA?

The average age of Allentown's residents may be higher than in other metro areas, but the boom in health care and tech jobs and the area's efforts to create more entertainment options are drawing more millennials. Family households outnumber nonfamily households, which is reflected by the number of family-centered activities at places like the Da Vinci Science Center and the America On Wheels museum.

Allentown is home to a surprising array of communities. A stroll through the neighborhoods at dinnertime invites tantalizing scents of Hispanic, Syrian and other cultural foods. 

Allentown's residents represent a wide variety of religions, with Catholicism being the most prominent. The metro area also has a thriving Jewish community – one of the largest in Pennsylvania. 

Age Distribution

Marital Status Breakdown


About the same number of single people in Allentown as national average

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

What is there to do in Allentown, PA?

Allentown offers a bit for everyone. Sports fans can enjoy college football and basketball games. The Phillies' AAA baseball team, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, plays at Coca-Cola Park, and the Flyers' hockey farm team, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, plays at the PPL Center.

Those who enjoy the arts can visit the Allentown Art Museum, Mack Trucks Historical Museum and America On Wheels Museum, and several theaters and clubs that feature local and national talent. For those who love amusement parks, Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom has been entertaining families since 1884.