The seat of Lehigh County, Allentown (pop. 118,032) spreads west of Bethlehem, across a bend in the Lehigh River. The downtown area has two worthwhile stops, the bigger and better of which is the Allentown Art Museum (31 N. 5th St., 610/432-4333, Wed.-Sun., $12 adults). After a recent expansion, you’ll find a good collection of paintings and photography as well as an entire library moved from the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Little House. Allentown’s other main attraction lies two blocks west at Church and Hamilton Streets: the Liberty Bell Museum (610/435-4232, Mon.-Sat. noon-4pm Feb.-Dec., $2), an old church that houses a replica of the famous bell that was hidden here for safekeeping during the Revolutionary War battles at Philadelphia.
Allentown boasts some great places to eat, thanks to the multiple branches of Yocco’s “The Hot Dog King” (3300 Lehigh St., 610/351-4222; 1930 Catasauqua Rd., 610/264-1884; 2128 Hamilton St.; 610/821-8488). These local landmarks have been serving up chili dogs (and a few burgers) bathed in a top-secret chili sauce since 1922. Allentown also has one of the country’s oldest, largest collections of roller coasters and a fine old carousel at Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom (610/395-3724, daily summer, around $50). There’s a water park too.