Reading is a very old city in Pennsylvania. It used to be a profitable, industrious city with one of the largest railway systems in the county (where the familiar Reading Railroad from the Monopoly board comes from), but has declined dramatically in recent years. It has a good location, about an hour away from Philadelphia, which attracts many immigrants and citizens from New York. Recent efforts have been to try and revitalize the city's dwindling down-town area with such projects as the recently created Goggle Works Center for the Arts and a new Imax  cinema.
Most arrive if not by highway then by the Philadelphia airport. Reading has its own airport but is almost exclusively for private use.
Berks Area Reading Transit Authority (BARTA) (610)921-0601  runs buses in Reading and throughout the Berks Region. Base fare is $1.60, transfers are $.25.
Recently created is The Goggle Works Center for the Arts, a large arts center built out of a factory that used to manufacture goggles for WWII. It boasts frequent art exhibitions as well as a very wide variety of art studios and classes. It also has a small theater that shows independent films.
The Reading Museum houses a modest collection of exhibits from around the world, most notably a mummy. There's also a planetarium on the grounds.
The Central Pennsylvania African-American Museum  is in the old AME Church (the sixth one in the world) and features an actual hide-out tunnel that was part of the Underground Railroad used by escaping slaves during the pre-Civil War era.
Mount Penn has atop of it skyline drive, which has many very scenic views of Reading. Along it are the fire tower, which has been recently restored and offers the best view of the city, and the trademark Pagoda, which also houses various artwork.
West Reading, across the river, has a thriving arts scene. Penn Avenue is host to many independent cafés and stores. Among the best are the Hard Bean Cafe, where you can sip a cup of coffee while sitting on a couch in the window display, listening to a poetry reading or open mic night, and viewing the monthly-changing local artwork on the walls. Below Hard Bean Cafe is Flashbacks, a pop shoppe featuring cultural paraphernalia ranging from Elvis and Marilyn Monroe collectables to vintage clothing to rare movie rentals. Don't miss Vertigo Music, where they sell used, new, and hard to find records and other music-related/novelty items. Other shops to be aware of: Repulsion (a punk shop), Celtic Myth and Moonlight (a Celtic/Pagan/Wiccan shop), Dragonfly Studio and Gallery (a spiritual items store and tattoo parlour), Haute Chocolate Cafe (everything chocolate you could ever want), Paisley Moon (hippie store), and so many more.
There are a few clubs around, along with the Sovereign Center which houses many sporting events including the Reading Royals, the local hockey team. The center has also attracted many famous artists including Bob Dylan and Clay Aikan. The Sovereign Performing Arts Center also hosts many traveling productions and the Reading Symphony orchestra, a surprisingly excellent group given the town it's in. The Reading Phillies play at Reading's baseball stadium, causing the town for a time to acquire the rather dubious title of "Baseball Town, USA". There are also many golf courses in the Reading area. One inparticular is The Reading Country Club. It is 18 holes in the outskirts of Reading in Exeter Township. It is a challeneging public coure measuring 6,1612 yards and a par of 71. The course had been open since 1922 and in 1937 Byron Nelson, a Masters Champion, was the golf pro. Later in 1940 Henry Clay Poe became the golf pro at The Reading Country Club. Many more golf pro's cam after these tow, but these two are memorable enough to have a room named after each of them in the clubhouse, that is now a beautiful restaurant. Within the clubhouse, you can either enjoy the excellent food in the Grille Room or on the Porch. The Grille room is a casual atmosphere where there are 6 tvs to watch the latest sporting events and a beautiful bar where you can enjoy a drink after a round of golf or while you're waiting for your table. But if you'd rather a more romantic atmosphere try dining in the Porch.
Reading still calls itself the outlet capitol of the world, though the name is a remnant of when it was one of the few cities to boast outlets. Still, the VF Outlet Complex  remains one of Reading's biggest draws with hundreds of out-of-town visitors shopping its dozens of discount stores daily. Another part of Reading's history is the store named Boscovs. Reading is home to Boscovs first store. Boscovs is now reowned by Albert Boscov. Boscov's has grown into a 39 sotre company throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. Boscov's is one of the largest family owned department store chains in the U.S. Boscov's used to sponsor the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade previous to its bankruptcy in August of 2008, but don't let that discourage you because Boscov's is back on its feet and reorganizing to save this family owned store and an asset to the community. There are also many strip malls and one true mall in the Reading area. The Shoppes at Wyomissing are fairly new and have higher end shops, Broadcasting Square has your average stores such as Target, Ulta, Barnes and Noble. The Berkshire Mall is a medium scale mall, it includes stores such as Hollister, American Eagle, Wet Seal, Christopher Banks, and Victoria's Secret. Also along Penn Ave. in West Reading a lot of mom and pop boutiques that are one of a kind and are very interesting to walk through.
Reading has a few good places to eat including The Peanut Bar, The Ugly Oyster, Aashiana Indian Restaurant, Mezcal's Mexican Restaurant, and Canal Street Pub; though like most of the shopping in town your options are rather limited. There is a fairly good selection of pizza shops & Chinese food, including Rocky's on fifth street, Pizza Italia on fourteenth street, and Russo's on Penn. Also try 3rd and Spruce , Judy's On Cherry , or The Speckled Hen and Pub .
Many corners of Reading house small bars and pubs, if you're feeling adventurous. A new addition to Reading's drinking atomosphere is the Wine Down wine bar . Wine Down is a very relaxed atmosphere for all wine lovers.
- Sheraton Reading, 1741 Papermill Road  hotel offers double rooms, business suites in our Executive Club Tower, and Serenity Suites. The hotel also offers the area’s largest heated pool and Jacuzzi, an on-location Bell Tower Spa & Salon, and a 24-hour fitness center and sauna.
- Comfort Inn & Suites Pottstown, 99 Robinson Road, Pottstown PA 19464, ☎ 610.326.5000, . The Pottstown Comfort Inn and Suites is conveniently located hotel in Pottstown, PA. This hotel is a hub to many attractions and popular destinations in Philadelphia.
- The Abraham Lincoln(A Wyndham Historic Hotel), 100 N 5th St, Reading, PA 19601, ☎ 610 372.3700, . The Abraham Lincoln in Reading's business, entertainment and government district is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. All 104 guest accommodations include high-speed wireless Internet access, oversized work desks, refrigerators, microwaves, coffee makers, irons, ironing boards, individual climate control, hairdryers, and cable television. A business center, shuttle services, 9,491 square feet of functional event space, Restaurant L'Arte della Vita, Melody's Tavern, and a fitness center are all available at this historic hotel in Reading.
- Reading Crowne Hotel, 1741 Papermill Road, ☎ 610-376-3811, . Classy accommodations with in-hotel spa, lounge/jazz club, meeting and event areas, comedy club, and experience specialists.
Reading's crime rate is much higher than the national average. In 2006, Reading's theft was 2827.2 per 100,000 people, compared to the U.S. average of 398.4 per 100,000 people. Reading has experienced gang-related crime in the last several years. Reading had more murders, rapes, robberies, assaults, burglaries, thefts, auto thefts, and arsons than the U.S. average. Reading, like Allentown, has a large Hispanic population. Many of them are involved with gangs. To be safe in reading, don't walk on dark or empty streets and stay out of neighborhoods, like northeast of Buttonwood Street.
This page was last edited at 02:42, on 12 March 2009 by Wikitravel user Margaret.morgan. Based on work by Rain and Evan Prodromou, Wikitravel user(s) LtPowers, Jonboy, Nzpcmad and Chris j wood and Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel.