You’ve probably heard enough about Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, and even seen numerous lists about Pennsylvania’s most charming or most under-appreciated small towns. It’s the mid-size cities, though, that don’t get any love, and why not? They often provide all of the basic amenities and entertainments without overwhelming with their size. Check out some of the best mid-size cities in Pennsylvania. Each of them has a population between 15,000 and 100,000 residents.
Easton is one of three cities that comprise the Lehigh Valley, the other two being Allentown and Bethlehem. At 26,800 residents, Easton is the smallest of the three. The most well-known attraction in Easton is the Crayola Factory.
Wilkes-Barre sits in the Pocono Mountains, not far from the Lehigh Valley. The city, with a population of 41,498 is home to several distinct neighborhoods and has a particularly impressive skyline given its medium size.
Even if you've never been to Reading, chances are you've seen a picture of the famous Reading pagoda. At 88,082 residents, Reading derives its name from the historic Reading Railroad. John Updike's novel "Rabbit Run" takes place in a fictionalized version of Reading.
Of course you've heard of Harrisburg: it's the state capitol. Have you ever thought about going here to visit? It is a pleasantly mid-size city, at only 49,528 residents. Aside from touring the capitol, you can learn about America's rich industrial history here, in which Harrisburg played an important part. It was at one time one of the most industrialized cities in the northeastern region of the country.
Altoona is located in central Pennsylvania and has a population of 46,320 people. Though the city is not very large, it contains many neighborhoods and over twenty parks. Currently, Altoona is in recovery mode caused by a long period of industrial declne.
6. West Chester
West Chester, located near Philadelphia, is known for its fun bar and club scene and thus is popular with college students and young adults. It is also home to West Chester University and has a population of 18,461 people, making it one of the smaller cities on our list.
7. State College
Most of State College's population of 42,034 is comprised of Penn State students, as you might imagine. It is actually a borough rather than a city and makes up an area often called Happy Valley. In 2013, QC Press rated State College as the third safest metropolitan area in the entire country.
Bensalem Township is one of the less talked about cities on our list. At 58,434 people, though, it is by no means tiny. The township is very old, almost as old as Pennsylvania itself, in fact; it was founded in 1692. Bensalem is known for its large Jewish population and also the nearby Andalusia estate, pictured above.
Bethlehem, like Easton, is also located in the Lehigh Valley, but is larger than its counter part with a population of 74,982. Bethlehem is known as Christmas City because it is famous for its unbelievable Christmas decorations and also the numerous holiday events that occur here each winter. At any time of year, though, Bethlehem is a fun place to visit, with its gorgeous historic district that includes the Moravian Bookstore.
There's no place in the world that has more Amish people than Lancaster. In fact, it's become a town emblematic of Amish culture. Tourism is a huge industry for the town, which has 59,322 residents. It is home to many historic landmarks, including the country's oldest continuously running farmers market, the Fulton Opera House which is the oldest continuously running theatre in the country, and the estate of U.S. president James Buchanan.
What other towns would you add to this list? Share your ideas below.