Vestiges of its former manufacturing glory remain, along with the magnificently historical homes that went along with it, and the city is endeavoring to restore it all . This may sound like the plot line to a Charles Dickens novel, but what it translates into for you, the renter, is a bargain paradise. This is a small city of 122,000. Allentown has properties galore ranging from Victorian to Craftsman to row house to bungalow and back again for an average of $700 in monthly rent. Gloriously, they all place you a short distance from both the bright lights of New York City and the cheese steaks of Philadelphia. Can a better deal be had for night-clubbing cheese steak lovers on a budget? Decidedly not.
Allentown’s historical epicenter and modern commercial center is Center City. The historical districts of Old Allentown and Old Fairgrounds are here, but though blessed with some amazing architecture.
Downtown Center City is somewhat more livable, and can now boast loft apartments in converted old mills and high-rise buildings. They ring in around $700 for a 1BR or up to $1300 for a luxury 2BR. Also nearby, the 7th street district offers a decent amount of housing with eateries lining the streets. There are plenty of studio spaces here starting as low as $500 for efficiencies, ranging to around $800 for 3BR apartments, all typically in larger, renovated buildings.
West End Allentown is a major bright spot. The West End primarily includes neighborhoods west of 15th Street and houses here are mostly of the historical variety from the 1920s and 40s. The 19th street Theatre District is here as well as the popular weekend Farmer’s Market. If you’re looking for adorable sidewalk cafes, boutiques, and quirky bars, West End is as close as it gets - and its offerings are growing steadily. Hamilton and Trexler parks are nearby, as well as Union Terrace and the West Park historical district, meaning you’re never too far away from frolicking in the grass, gaping at stately mansions or taking in the latest regional theatrical production of Cats, performed solely by real, trained housecats (one can dream). One-bedroom apartments average around $550, with 2BR and 3BR apartments and townhouses ranging from $700 - $1400 depending on size and historical value. Single family homes can be had in the area for around $1500, varying up to $2,000 for the larger historical mansions.
Allentown is well connected to New York and Philadelphia by interstates. Though Allentown is not currently connected by train, there are plans in the works for that and for now, there are multiple private bus lines running frequent routes into both Philadelphia and New York. Lehigh and Northampton counties are also served locally by the LANTA bus system. Unlike other parts of the East coast, having a car in Allentown is still incredibly convenient, if not necessary.