Reading is a very old and historic city in Pennsylvania. It was once home to one of the largest railway systems in the country (where the familiar Reading Railroad from the Monopoly board comes from) which radiated in all directions from the City of Reading. The construction of the railroad was probably the single greatest factor in the development of Berks county. While Reading has experienced an economic downturn, efforts are being made to try and revitalize the city's downtown area with such projects as the Sovereign Center, the Sovereign Performing Arts Center, the Miller Center and the recently created Goggle Works Center for the Arts, and the Reading Movies 11, which includes an IMAX theater. Today, Reading is a city pulsating with industrial life. It is also well equipped with agencies that represent civilization at it's best-churches, hospitals, clubs, fraternal societies, recreational centers, schools and colleges, a historical society, an art institute, and a daily newspaper. Reading claims the distinction of a symphony orchestra, two choral societies, a chamber musical ensemble, a civic opera company, and many other excellent music groups that have contributed to the city's prestige as a center of art and culture. Reading is not only an excellent place to visit because of what it has to offer but also because of its convenient location in relation to other popular destinations. Reading is centrally located, about an hour northwest of Philadelphia, 2 and 1/2 hours southwest of New York City, 3 hours north of Washington, DC, 40 minutes from the Amish country and about an hour from Hershey park and Dorney Park which offers a lot of opportunities for day trips for tourists staying in the area. Reading also lies only about 2 1/2 to about 3 1/2 hours from some beautiful shore resorts in New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland.
Most arrive if not by highway then by the Philadelphia International Airport. Although Reading has its own regional airport, commercial passenger service stopped in 2004. Lehigh Valley International Airport near Allentown, Harrisburg International Airport, and Philadelphia International Airport are within reasonable driving distance.
Also, there is a shuttle service to and from the Philadelphia airport.
Reading is served by many major bus services such as Greyhound, Bieber, and Trailways.
- Reading Yellow Cab: +1 610 374-5111
- Grab A Cab: +1 610 478-1111
Recently created is The Goggle Works Center for the Arts, a large arts center built out of a factory that used to manufacture goggles for WWII. It boasts frequent art exhibitions as well as a very wide variety of art studios and classes. It also has a small theater that shows independent films.
The Reading Museum houses a modest collection of exhibits from around the world, most notably a mummy. There's also a planetarium and a botanical garden on the grounds. Many brides from the area choose to have their wedding pictures taken in the gardens.
The Central Pennsylvania African-American Museum is in the old AME Church (the sixth one in the world) and features a hidden tunnel from the Underground Railroad used by escaping slaves during the pre-Civil War era.
The Golden Age Air Museum, in the far reaches of Berks County; nestled at the foot of the Blue Mountains in Bethel, Pa, features many antique airplanes, most built before 1930, and many still flown today. The museum offers Barnstorming Biplane rides and Flying Circus Air Show several times per year.
Every September, the Lions Club hosts an antique car show in Strausstown; Directly off of I-78.
Several attractions can be seen atop Mount Penn, overlooking the city. The fire tower, which has been recently restored, and the trademark Pagoda, which also houses various artwork. The Pagoda was originally intended to be a luxury hotel. Unfortunately, when the application for a license to serve alcohol was denied the luxury inn never materialized and the building went into the hands of a local bank.
West Reading, across the river, has a thriving arts scene and Penn Avenue is host to many independent cafés and stores.
A new Imax theater has been built in Reading. R/C Theatres Located near the Goggle works on 30 North second street. It offers stadium seating with high back rocking chairs, Imax auditorium, online ticketing, game and party rooms, and free three hour parking .
- Reading Pet Expo, 2525 N. 12th Street, Reading, PA 19605. Located in Berks County, the Greater Reading area is a convenient destination with easy access to major roadways I-78, Rt. 222, Rt. 422 and the PA Turnpike - a quick connect to Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Baltimore, and Allentown. The Greater Reading Expo Center is one of the largest privately owned expo facilities on the east coast with more than 225,000 sq. feet on one floor with over 3000 free on-site parking spaces. This show has brought to Pennsylvania a versatile show, which entertains, educates and offers opportunities for both the general public and pet enthusiasts.
Reading and the surrounding area of Berks County have a beautiful park system. They have 13 parks to visit and enjoy, including Gring's Mill Recreation Area, the Union Canal Walking & Bicycle Trail, Kaercher Creek Park, Antietam Lake and the Berks County Heritage Center. They offer recreation and educational programs year-round. Whether you enjoy summer concerts in the park, festivals, or historical programs; There is something for all ages!
There are a few sports clubs around, along with the Sovereign Center which houses many sporting events including the Reading Royals, the local hockey team and the Reading Express, an IFL indoor football team. It first opened its doors in September of 2001 and began hosting several different events. The center has attracted many famous artists including Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond, the Blue Man Group, Matchbox 20, the American Idol Tour, Rod Stewart, Kid Rock, and Clay Aikan. The Sovereign Performing Arts Center also hosts many traveling productions such as the Nutcracker around the holidays and the Reading Symphony orchestra, a surprisingly excellent group given the town it's in.
The Reading Comedy Outlet(Cleverly named for Reading's famous shopping centers), situated at Hiester's lanes Bowling and Billiards, has been serving the Reading area since 1992.
The Reading Phillies, the minor league affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies, play out of Reading Metropolitan Stadium. The stadium is one of the oldest minor league stadiums and is regarded as one of the finest facilities in the nation.
The Mid-Atlantic Air Museum, a diverse collection of military and civilian aircraft, as well as the active restoration of a WW2 P-61 Black Widow. Every June the museum hosts 'WWII Weekend', a traveling collection of wartime aircraft, weapons, and wartime vehicles.
There are also many golf courses in the Reading area. One in particular is The Reading Country Club. It is 18 holes in the outskirts of Reading in Exeter Township. It is a challenging public course measuring 6,1612 yards and a par of 71. The course had been open since 1922 and in 1937 Byron Nelson, a Masters Champion, was the golf pro. Later in 1940 Henry Clay Poe became the golf pro at The Reading Country Club. Many more golf pro's came after them, but these two are memorable enough to have a room named after each of them in the clubhouse, that is now a beautiful restaurant. Within the clubhouse, you can either enjoy the excellent food in the Grille Room or on the Porch. The Grille room is a casual atmosphere where there are 6 tvs to watch the latest sporting events and a beautiful bar where you can enjoy a drink after a round of golf or while you're waiting for your table. But if you'd rather a more romantic atmosphere try dining in the Porch.
Another great place that everyone will enjoy is Berks Lanes. It is located in Sinking Spring, PA at 3190 Shillington Road. Whether you want to join a league, glow bowl, have a birthday party, or just hang out with friends and family, Berks Lanes has something for everyone. They have an extensive food menu, an arcade, billiards, bumpers for kids, and a lounge.
Every October the Oktoberfest is held right near the historic Stokesay castle in Mount Penn. The Oktoberfest is put on by the Reading Liederkranz. It is a festival of culture, food, clothing, crafts, and dance.
Each March the Berks Jazz Fest comes to town for 10 days and offers many musical experiences for residents and visitors. Some past performers have included some well known names such as Chris Bottie, Betty Carter, the Dave Brubeck Quartet and Wynton Marsalis.
Every Fall Willow Glen Park holds Shocktober fest: Pennsylvania’s Premier Haunted Scream Park. It offers 4 different haunted attractions: the Toxic Asylum, Biohazard Hayride w/ The SawKill, Prison of the Dead, and Club Shock. According to the Travel Channel it is “one of the scariest places in America”.
Another popular festival is the Kutztown Folk Festival located about 15 miles northwest of Reading. The festival is very well known and allows visitors to immerse themselves in the culture of the Pennsylvania Dutch.
The Oley Valley Community Fair is a very unique true old fashioned, down home, country fair. In 2010, it marked the 64th anniversary. The fair promotes good, friendly competition among friends and neighbors of the surrounding area. Each year you can see a wide variety of local products from the farm and home that are entered in many different categories.
The Duryea Hillclimb, a biannual race held by the SCCA on Reading's famous Skyline Drive; Beginning at Reading Park, around a series of chicanes, and past the Pagoda has been held since 1951.
Another great event to attend in the area would be Reading Earth Day. On this day, there are many eco activities and presenters for people to enjoy. Also, plenty of entertainment, good food, and free activities for kids.
Reading still calls itself the outlet capitol of the world, though the name is a remnant of when it was one of the few cities to boast outlets. Still, the VF Outlet Complex remains one of Reading's biggest draws with hundreds of out-of-town visitors shopping its dozens of discount stores daily. Another part of Reading's history is the store named Boscovs. Reading is home to Boscovs first store. Boscovs is now re-owned by Albert Boscov. Boscov's has grown into a 39 store company throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. Boscov's is one of the largest family owned department store chains in the U.S. Boscov's used to sponsor the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade previous to its bankruptcy in August of 2008, but don't let that discourage you because Boscov's is back on its feet and reorganizing to save this family owned store and an asset to the community.
Shopping centers and malls
- Berkshire Mall is mid-range and Boscov's, The Bon-Ton, and Sears serve as anchors. It became world (in)famous a few years ago after a video of a woman falling into a fountain, while pensively texting on her cellphone went viral. Across the street are smaller outdoor shopping centers and restaurants. Berkshire sports a dated 1970s original interior, but the stores themselves are generally kept up to date.
- Fairgrounds Square Mall is Reading's second indoor mall. Anchors include Boscov's, JCPenney Outlet, Burlington Coat Factory, and a movie theater.
There are also many strip malls and one true mall in the Reading area. Exeter Commons shopping center, located in Reading's eastern suburbs, opened in the summer of 2009 and offers Lowe's, Target, Giant, Staples, Petco, Famous Footwear, Sonic, Five Guys, and Red Robin. The Shoppes at Wyomissing opened in 2007 and has slightly higher end shops such as Rack Room Shoes, Justice, New York & Company, Loft, J.Jill, Coldwater Creek, Chico's, Jos. A. Bank, Yankee Candle and Gymboree. Broadcasting Square, located in Spring Township in Reading's western suburbs, opened in 2000 and features stores such as Target, Ulta, Dick's, Marshall's, Famous Footwear, Petco, Ross, Barnes and Noble, Bed Bath & Beyond, as well as numerous chain restaurants like Buca di Beppo, Chili's, and Smoky Bones. Some of the stores at Broadcasting Square represent that chain's only store in the Reading market, such as Marshall's and Bed Bath & Beyond. The Berkshire Mall, opening in the early 1970s, is a medium scale mall, and features stores such as Hollister, American Eagle, Wet Seal, Christopher Banks, Pacific Sunwear, Bath and Body Works, and Victoria's Secret. Along Penn Avenue (US route 422 Business) in the separate borough of West Reading, you'll find numerous unique boutiques and restaurants, ranging from basic to urban chic. Specifically, Bella Jules has a great selection of items from different well-known designers along with a fabulous selection of prom dresses. You'll also find restaurants in West Reading that offer sidewalk seating along Penn Ave during the warmer months.
- Cabelas, situated in Hamburg, north of Reading, at the junctures of Route 61 and I-78 is a popular superstore, and tourist destination featuring large aquariums, animal mounts, as well as a shopping experience catering to those with a love of the outdoors. The business center surrounding Cabelas contains various restaurants and steakhouses, as well as Lowes, Walmart, and smaller strip mall shops.
Until the mid 1990's, Reading was the home of Joe's Restaurant - A humbly named eatery owned by Joe Czarnecki; Whose passion for fine wine and mushroom delicacies created a definitive cook book, "Joe's Book of Mushroom Cookery" and transformed the family business into a world renown institution of fine dining. It was in 1996, after Joe's passing, the family moved the restaurant to the Palmer House in Dayton, Oregon.
Reading has a resurging dining scene with many locally owned ethnic restaurants. Longstanding Jimmy Kramer's The Peanut Bar is the place where local reporters and politicians have often met. In existence for almost 100 years, the bar allows patrons to throw peanut shells on the floor.
There are many other wonderful dining options including but not limited to;
The recently expanded Mezcal's Mexican Restaurant is located at 150 N. 6th street and offers delicious traditional Mexican cuisine at competitive prices. Reservations are recommended on nights of performances at the Sovereign Performing Arts Center.
The Captains Cove Restaurant/Bar is located in Mount Penn at 2619 Hill Rd. It offers a pirate themed outdoor seating area as well as an indoor seating area. It also has several bar areas located inside and outside.
The newly renovated Stokesay Castle is Reading's newest, and arguably it's finest gourmet offering. Notable among the 13th century Scottish castle's architecture is Andrea Heinly, a 'Hell's Kitchen' contestant and chef on staff.
Another excellent option for fine dining is Judy's on Cherry
For Vietnamese food Hong Thahn is a delicious choice. Privately owned, the restaurant offers well prepared traditional dishes paired with a pleasant atmosphere.
Aashiana Indian Restaurant is your best choice for Indian food.
When you leave the city proper Penn Street continues under the name Penn Avenues and your dining opportunities do not stop either.
Another great place for a sushi lover to visit is the Tokyo Hibachi and Bar which has a large variety of Asian cuisine options. Whether it is Hibachi, Sushi, or traditional Chinese cuisine this restaurant will please everyone.
Reading also has Panda Heaven in its area. Located at 350 N. Park Rd, Wyomissing, PA 19610, is a great Chinese Food Restaurant. Their menu consists of miso soup, chicken teriyaki, sushi tuna, and so much more. They have a sushi bar, hibatchi steak house, a conference room available, and they also provide take-out.
For Mexican food in the more suburban areas you should definitely check out the locally owned chain, Alebreje. There are 3 locations for this restaurant but the most popular is located on the 4th street highway.
For italian food you're best options are the family owned G.N.A. Ristorante Pizzeria and Toscani which both offer a large variety of delicious Italian dishes, a family friendly atmosphere and are open for brunch on sundays.
Aladdin is a great option for anyone interested in Mediterranean cuisine.
The area also offers many diners that are favorites of the local residents. These include the West Reading Diner, Wyomissing Family Restaurant, Mount Penn Diner, Exeter Family Restaurant, and Queen City Restaurant
- Austin's Restaurant & Bar, 1101 Snyder Road, West Lawn, ☎ +1 610 678-5500. At Austin's, they strive for excellence in their food, service, and atmosphere. Their high quality of food begins by using the freshest ingredients. Austin's clean open kitchen and warm classic restaurant is combined with outstanding food and service to give you a truly enjoyable experience.
- The World Famous Pike Cafe, 930 Pike Street (corner of Pike & Moss), ☎ +1 610 373-6616. The address of 930 Pike Street started as a row-home, then a mom and pop pretzel store, then a small bakery, until it began its claim to fame as the Pike Cafe in the 1940's. Starting as a corner bar in the city of Reading, the Pike was a popular favorite for locals from the 1940's until 1985. The Pike Cafe became "the place to be" in the eighties. In 1992, they began to start serving wings, which was the original Wing Night in Berks County. The Pike Cafe has become known as one of the best locally owned establishments for dining, drinking, and having fun. Super food and super prices, that's their goal.
- Esposito's Restaurant & Pizza, 1540 Friedensberg Road, Reading, PA 19606-1017, ☎ +1 610 779-9333. Esposito's is another great restaurant in Reading, PA for Italian food. Eat in or take out. They have a full bar service. So whether you are looking for pizza, sandwiches, or a great Italian dish, Esposito's is a great place for the whole family.
- Schell's Fast Food Restaurant & Miniature Golf, 4625 5th Street Hwy, Temple, PA 19560 (North of Reading), ☎ +1 610 929-9660. If you are looking for a quick, easy, delicious meal, ice cream, and a game of mini golf, Schell's is the place to go. Schell's is casual dining, great for groups and children, and provide outdoor seating. It's not just a restaurant but also a dairy stand and a 27 hole miniature golf course. They have been around for quite a while. Their original menu featured 20 cent hot dogs and 15 cent french fries. Schell's is definitely an oldie, but a goodie!
- Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, 4559 Perkiomen Ave, ☎ +1 484 334-8000. Red Robin Gourmet Burgers has been the Gourmet Burger expert since 1969, when the first Red Robin restaurant opened in Seattle. Now, with more than 450 restaurants across the U.S. and Canada, Red Robin offers craveable, high-quality menu items including innovative, signature Gourmet Burgers and Chicken Sandwiches, as well as salads, entrees, and signature Bottomless Beverages™ all made with fresh, Honest-to-Goodness ingredients. If you are looking for a fun atmosphere and a great burger, Red Robin is the place to go in Reading, PA.
Many corners of Reading house small bars and pubs, if you're feeling adventurous. A new addition to Reading's drinking atomosphere is the Winedown cafe & wine bar . Winedown cafe is a very relaxed atmosphere for all wine lovers. winedown is located on Penn Ave in West Reading.
- Canal Street Pub & Restaurant, 535 Canal Street, ☎ +1 610 376-4009. Offers billiards, darts, tv, and a private party room.
- The Speckled Hen, 30 South 4th street, ☎ +1 610 685-8511. Speckled hen can accommodate private parties and offers a wide selection of traditional dishes.
- 3rd & Spruce Cafe, 238 South 3rd Ave, West Reading, PA, ☎ +1 610 376-5254. 3rd & Spruce is a bar and restaurant in Reading which has been a local landmark for over 60 years. Offering a casual atmosphere with daily food and drink specials, their kitchen is open seven days a week until midnight.
- Building 24 Kitchen & Bar, 1115 Bern Road, Wyomissing, PA 19610, ☎ +1 610 375-2700. Set in a renovated turn-of-the-century factory is a dining and entertainment hot spot. The restaurant features upscale cuisine, classic cocktails, an excellent microbrew selection, a diverse wine menu, and open air dining with an expansive covered deck and bar area. Building 24's entertainment area features a cutting edge light and sound system, four bars, VIP section, with regional and national entertainment.
- Brewer's Bar & Grill, 101 South 3rd Avenue, West Reading, PA 19611, ☎ +1 610 375-8760. Brewer's Bar & Grill is a hoppin' sports bar and restaurant in West Reading. Brewer's takes you back deep into the history of Reading Brewery's before & after prohibition. Memorablia from these decades can be found hanging on every wall. Formerly known as Kaley's Korner, a complete renovation of both inside and out has made Brewer's Bar & Grill a great place to be!
- Legends, 5th Street Hwy. Legends is open 365 days a year. Their kitchen serves lunch and dinner and is open until 11pm. The bar is open until 2am every night. Their goal is to give you a good time and keep you coming back for more. Legends is not your typical casual cuisine hotel bar, they try to keep the atmosphere fun and entertaining for everyone. You never know what to expect from their talented staff! Each Legends employee brings their own unique personality to the table or bar. Team work enables Legends to consistently ensure more than satisfactory service for everyone. Be prepared to see bartenders flipping bottles, throwing glasses, riding unicycles, or even dressing up in ridiculous costumes for holidays and special events. Legends is the creation of a group of friends that wanted something different, something that would leave a lasting impression on each and everyone that came through the door.
- Crowne Plaza Reading, 1741 Papermill Road. Hotel offers double rooms, business suites in our Crowne Club Tower. The hotel also offers the area’s largest heated pool and Jacuzzi, an on-location Goodnites Lounge and Nightclub as well Prime Steak and Wine Restaurant, and a 24-hour fitness center and sauna.
- The Abraham Lincoln (A Wyndham Historic Hotel), 100 N 5th St, Reading, PA 19601, ☎ +1 610 372-3700. The Abraham Lincoln in Reading's business, entertainment and government district is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A business center, shuttle services, 9,491 square feet of functional event space, Restaurant L'Arte della Vita, Melody's Tavern, and a fitness center are all available at this historic hotel in Reading. The world-famous bandmaster John Philip Sousa died here after conducting Reading's Ringgold Band in 1932.
- Reading Crowne Hotel, 1741 Papermill Road, ☎ +1 610-376-3811. Classy accommodations with in-hotel spa, lounge/jazz club, meeting and event areas, comedy club, and experience specialists.
- Inn at Reading-Clarion located at 1040 N Park Road. +1 610 372-7811. The Inn at Reading has been in reading for 40 years. It offers a space for conferences, banquets, and weddings.
- Homewood Suites by Hilton located at 2801 Papermill Road. +1 610 736-3100. The Homewoodsuites offer complimentary breakfast and beverage areas, a fitness room, and a pool.
- Candlewood suites located at 55 south 3rd ave, West Reading. +1 610 898-1910. The Candlewood suites offer a 24 hour health/fitness center and a convenience store.
For visitors interested in a more intimate experience Reading offers some very quaint bed and breakfasts which are in close proximity to many of the most visited attractions.
One of these is the Overlook Mansion Bed and Breakfast which aside from being located in one of the most historic areas of Reading offers complimentary beverages and snacks throughout the day and beautiful grounds where visitors can sit outside on warm days.
Another option is Bed and Breakfast on the Park which is located in a historic Victorian style mansion in one of Reading's oldest neighborhoods. Every room is uniquely and beautifully decorated and there are many activities offered on the grounds daily.
Reading's crime rate is much higher than the national average. In 2006, Reading's theft was 2827.2 per 100,000 people, compared to the U.S. average of 398.4 per 100,000 people. Reading has experienced gang-related crime in the last several years. Reading had more murders, rapes, robberies, assaults, burglaries, thefts, auto thefts, and arsons than the U.S. average.
- Allentown, 30 miles northeast, Pennsylvania's third largest city
|Routes through Reading|
|Lancaster ← Jct ←||S N||→ Allentown → END|
|Harrisburg ← Lebanon ←||W E||→ King of Prussia → Philadelphia via|
|Shamokin Dam ← Pottsville ← Jct ←||N S||→ END|