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Old 05-15-2018, 05:23 PM
 
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Hi All,
New college grad with a job offer in Allentown. Looking for advice on good locations around the area for housing. Single, 22 yo, looking for a safe, affordable area with decent nightlife and entertainment. Working downtown and I'm willing to commute to find the right spot. Can anyone recommend areas to look, to avoid, maybe other towns nearby. Ideally a safe, walkable area, plenty of outdoor activities too, other young people to meet. I would start with an apartment and maybe a roommate depending on the cost of living. Beginning target would be not more than $1000/month. Thanks.
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Old 05-16-2018, 01:00 PM
 
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Just saw this list so let's try again:

When are you moving? Next few months
Where are you coming from? Florida
Why are you moving? Work
Where will you be working? Downtown Allentown
Have you been here yet? just for the interview

Will you buy or rent? rent
If buying, are you looking for a house or a condo? How much can you spend?
If renting, are you looking for an apartment, a townhouse or loft? How much can you spend? any of the three I guess, $1200
Do you prefer hi-rise or walk up? walk up, but not a deal breaker

Are you married or single? Do you have children? Single, no
Do you prefer public or private schools? N/A
Do you have pets? No
Do you want or need a yard? No
Are you keeping a car? yes
Do you prefer bustling activity or calm and quiet? some mix, would like a vibrant neighboorhood with good walking and activities

What do you want to be closest to?
Work
Shopping
Basic services (supermarket, drugstore, etc.)
Nightlife
Near Bus stop? Please note that there is NO rail service in the Lehigh Valley.

Do you want to live with people of a similar age, race, religion or sexual preference or do you prefer a diverse neighborhood? divers, but I would like the chance to be around and meet other young people

Phillies or Mets? Phillies, if I had to choose

thanks
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Old 05-16-2018, 03:34 PM
 
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I would suggest looking in either the historic area of Bethlehem near the Main Street (google Hotel Bethlehem) or on the area South of the Lehigh River, near Lehigh University. Alternatively, if you like Hockey maybe stay in downtown Allentown at one of the new apartments near the PPL center, where the Flyers farm team plays. $1,000 might be a little low for a nice place, but if you can find a roommate, and pay twice as much together, you can get a really nice place.
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Old 05-16-2018, 05:05 PM
 
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Thanks,
Anyone aware of any roommate search sites, or apartments. Searching Craigslist now, just wondering if there are any others.
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Old 05-17-2018, 11:37 AM
 
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Are there any recommended towns between Allentown and Philadelphia? If I needed to go farther out.
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Old 05-17-2018, 01:47 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia
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Hello-

I hesitated to reply since my information on the Lehigh Valley is limited and a bit out of date, but since you’re broadening your search, let me offer you my two cents.

In general, I’d agree with toobusytoday’s assessment. If you want walkability and nightlife, downtown Allentown or Bethlehem are the only places you should really be considering.

But let me give you a bit of historical context (LV long timers, feel free to chime in if I’ve gotten any details wrong): Like many mid-sized industrial cities across the Northeast, downtown Allentown suffered greatly through the sustained suburban push of the ’50s through the ’80s. Many of the city’s long-time residents left and a growing number of Puerto Rican newcomers moved in, many of them having been priced out of New York and northern New Jersey.

About fifteen years ago, I worked in downtown Allentown for a year and lived in suburban Whitehall. At that time, downtown was nearly deserted with countless vacant storefronts—and those that weren’t vacant were filled by low-end neighborhood grocers and shabby dollar stores. And of the people that I knew in my time in the Lehigh Valley, many were entirely suburban: They lived in the suburbs, shopped in the suburbs, entertained themselves in the suburbs, and even worked in the suburbs. Excepting formalities like jury duty, many of them never had a reason to go into Allentown...and seemingly wouldn’t have cared if downtown burned down overnight.

Fast-forward a decade and a half, and downtown has made a remarkable turnaround—and the Puerto Rican community would seem to be a part of the revitalization, their already sizable numbers having more than doubled since 2000. I haven’t had occasion to spend much time in the Lehigh Valley lately, but I’ve driven through downtown Allentown a few times in the past year, and it’s barely recognizable from the ghost town I remember. I’m impressed by the new vitality I see there, and I’m definitely interested in spending some time in Allentown when I get the opportunity.

When I lived in the area, downtown Bethlehem was much more active with a much more active arts/culture scene than downtown Allentown. Suburbanites who’d never set foot downtown in Allentown would go for a night out or a weekend visit to downtown Bethlehem. Assumably the number of festivals in Bethlehem has helped keep it more vital, and I’m sure the proximity of Lehigh University has been a positive influence as well. I don’t think downtown Bethlehem ever bottomed out as low as Allentown, and of course its revitalization hasn’t been as dramatic.

Outside of these two major downtowns, most everything else is pretty auto-dependent and filled with suburbanites living auto-dependent lives—which is fine if that’s what you want, but I gather that’s not what you want. Sure, most Pennsylvania towns (of any size—including small Lehigh Valley towns like Emmaus and Hellertown) have a walkable town center area, but if you’re looking for nightlife, you may find them thin on things to do.

As to your question about looking for other towns between Allentown and Philadelphia, I’d advise against it. First, I can’t think of any hip or vibrant small towns on that route until you get much closer to Philadelphia, and then you’d be forced to contend with both a long commute (that you could accomplish only by car) plus higher rents through the demand from all of the young Philadelphia-area professionals who are also looking for a walkable town with nightlife.

My advice: Check them out first, but if you think you might be happy there, rent a place in either downtown Allentown or Bethlehem, and you can be a part of this revitalization that’s still unfolding.

Good luck in your search, and let me know if I can be of any further help!
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Old 05-18-2018, 07:26 AM
 
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Excellent write up! I really appreciate the input.
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Old 05-18-2018, 02:50 PM
 
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I very much agree with that assessment. I have three kids and one of them is close to your age. None of them would really consider any of the towns between the Lehigh Valley and Philadelphia as young singles. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy to live here in my small town and glad I raised my family here, but the activities on the weekends are centered around either hanging at home or going out with friends, often to Allentown or Bethlehem, sometimes NYC or Philadelphia.

Between Allentown and Bethlehem, my preference is still Bethlehem. They have a lot of festivals and because of Lehigh and Moravian College, a pretty good music and bar scene.
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Old 05-18-2018, 03:53 PM
 
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It would be a longer commute, but downtown Easton would fit the bill. Tons of restaurants, a theater, farmer's market, and lots of higher end apartments that you could afford.
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Old 05-19-2018, 01:09 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ringler24 View Post
It would be a longer commute, but downtown Easton would fit the bill. Tons of restaurants, a theater, farmer's market, and lots of higher end apartments that you could afford.
Easton is a good suggestion, and at first glance an advantage would be that it's closer to NYC for fun visits. Personally though, I think Bethlehem has more going for it and it's easy enough to get the Bieber bus from Hellertown. That's a non-stop to NYC in about an hour and a half. I appreciate you bringing it up though because every time I go to Easton, I think how nice a city it is.
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