Let’s go counter-intuitive this Labor Day day-trip weekend. Avoid the shore traffic and head north, because between Allentown, Bethlehem, Saucon Valley and everything in between, the Lehigh Valley has a lot to offer — especially when it comes to food and drink.

So it’s the perfect place for an end-of-summer day trip, especially since warm weather is sticking around and you can enjoy Dorney Park, Wildwater Kingdom and everything summery that the region has.

Here’s how to plan your Lehigh Valley day trip:

How to get there

We’d recommend starting your day in the Lehigh Valley at Dorney Park, which takes about an hour and 15 minutes to get to by car from Center City. It’s an easy drive up route 476. Here’s a map of how to get there:


If you order your Dorney Park tickets online ahead of time, you can save a little bit of cash on tickets. You can get a single-person, one-day ticket to the park for $44, and you can also save a few bucks if you order four or more at a time. To get the most bang for your buck, get to the park early (10 a.m. on weekends) to get your full day’s worth.

While you’re in the Lehigh Valley, it’s worth checking out an Iron Pigs game — they’re the area’s minor league baseball team. Tickets are cheap, and are usually in the ballpark of $20 or less.

What to Do

Dorney Park

thunderhawk Credit: DorneyPark.com

Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom are located just outside Allentown in Lehigh Valley, and the park boasts more than 100 rides, including eight roller coasters. The park’s theme is the Peanut gang, so don’t be surprised to see Snoopy and Charlie Brown all over the place. Its most famous coaster is probably the Steel Force, which is the ninth longest steel roller coaster in the world and feels something like this:

YouTube video

IronPigs game

5613372345_e8b8725a20_o (1)
Credit: Flickr

The IronPigs are awesome for two reasons: 1. They’re affiliated with the Phillies and 2. They have *bacon* on their caps. A literal slice of bacon is on their cap. It’s amazing. Anyway, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs are the Phillies’ triple-A affiliate and are a great, cheap time. Certainly worth checking out in the evening during your day trip to the Lehigh Valley. Here’s how to get tickets.

The Da Vinci Science Center

The Da Vinci Science Center
The Da Vinci Science Center Credit: Flickr

This museum in Allentown isn’t far from Dorney Park and is perfect for anyone interested in science — especially if you’ve got little ones with you. It costs about $15 to go through the science center located at 3145 Hamilton Blvd. Bypass in Allentown, and it’s well worth it. Current exhibits are about everything from National Geographic to earthquakes to space travel to honeybees.

Where to eat and drink

Hot wings from Red Hot
Hot wings from Red Hot Credit: Yelp

Mary Ann Donut Kitchen – Get into Allentown a bit early and stop by 1601 Liberty St. for a donut or six. They’re sweet, soft and perfect.

Apollo Grill – Frequently voted the best restaurant in the Lehigh Valley, the Apollo Grill in Bethlehem is a refined bar and grill known for top-notch food and service. Find it at 85 W. Broad St.

Red Hot – This Asian fusion restaurant at 2126 W. Union. Blvd. is one of the top-rated restaurants in Bethlehem and offers some of the best Sichuan Chinese food in the region.

Grill 3501 – This sophisticated restaurant in Allentown serves Asian, French and Mediterranean food and even has a ~martini sampler~. Find it at 3501 Broadway in Allentown.

Bolete – Foodies will love this chic farm-to-table spot. The chef/owner was up for a James Beard award this year, and its roasted cauliflower and wild mushroom soup has been featured on the Food Network. Stop by Bolete at 1740 Seidersville Rd. in Bethlehem.

Billy’s Downtown Diner – Yeah, it’s a diner, but you go for atmosphere and great breakfasts and lunches. They have an Allentown spot, but Bethlehem has more character. It’s located at 10 E. Broad St.

White Orchids – Located at 2985 Center Valley Parkway at the Promenade in Saucon Valley, this place is known for its superb Thai cuisine.

Anna Orso was a reporter/curator at Billy Penn from 2014 to 2017.