Homes for Rent in Allentown, PA: What You Need to Know
Allentown (population: 121,442) is the third-largest city in Pennsylvania, behind Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. The city holds a historical significance related to the famous Liberty Bell.
William Allen, chief justice of Colonial Pennsylvania's Supreme Court, founded a village called Northamptontown in 1762. But everyone referred to it as “Allen’s town.” In 1838, Northamptontown officially changed its name to Allentown. The city is known as the place where the Liberty Bell was hidden from the British during the American Revolution. In 1777, the revolutionary capital of Philadelphia was preparing for British attack. The Liberty Bell at the State House and a number of church bells were hidden in Allentown to prevent the British from melting them down to make cannons.
Many Germans settled in the Lehigh Valley in the 1730s, most of them Protestants and members of the Lutheran and Reformed faith. They became known as the Pennsylvania Dutch or Pennsylvania Germans. Today many of their descendants, including Amish and Mennonites, still speak the Pennsylvania Dutch dialect, which was spoken by immigrants from southwestern Germany and Switzerland. This heritage is also evident in Allentown's cuisine, including scrapple (meat stewed with cornmeal), chow chow (pickled vegetables), and shoofly pie (molasses crumb pie).
Cost of Living
Perhaps Allentown’s proximity to Philadelphia and New York City make it slightly expensive. Its cost of living rate is 6.7% higher than the national average. On the bright side, food and housing costs are 27.1% and 9.5% lower than the national average respectively. Allentown’s median gross rent is $968. Residents of the Keystone State pay a flat income tax rate of 3.07% and 6% to 8% in sales tax.
Know Your Neighborhoods
A major development effort reinvigorated downtown Allentown as a place to live and work. City Center offers high-rise apartments and historic buildings that have been converted into residential units. In all, 58% of Allentown residents rent. In the suburbs, Wescosville is popular among families for its excellent schools, affordability, and it’s only six miles from Allentown. Breinigsville has superb schools and many parks and trails. If you like biking, you’ll find a bike-friendly community in this suburb.
Things to Do in Allentown
Allentown is part of the picturesque Pennsylvania Dutch Country, where you can visit a number of covered bridges that evoke a simpler way of life. Bogert’s Bridge in Allentown, built in 1841, is one of the oldest in the state. It’s a great spot for a long walk or a run. You can’t touch the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, but you can ring the replica at Allentown’s Liberty Bell Museum. A mural by Pennsylvania artist Wilmer Behler depicts the story of the hiding of the bells. The museum is located in Zion’s Reformed United Church of Christ, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.