Don't Eat A Foot-Long Sub On Skyline Drive
Not long after I first moved to this area I took a drive on a sunny Spring day. I stopped at Subway for lunch and then pulled over on Skyline Drive to eat. I sat on the stonewall (constructed by CCC workers I think) and chomped on the end of this big, thick sub. I was surprised at how friendly people were as many slowed down to look and wave. I waved right back and kept eating. Only later (several years later!) did I learn that sections of the drive are known for gay cruising. Moral of the story: Do not eat phallic-shaped food on Skyline Drive at lunchtime! Other than that, the view is amazing and you can zip on over to the Pagoda and its gift shop.
Reading PA, more than just outlet shopping
"What to see."
You wouldn't think of Reading PA as an exciting tourist destination, but it actually is a great starting point for some great sight seeing, if you know what you are looking for.
Most folks will tell you the Pagoda is a must see for any visit to Reading. the Pagoda, is basically the remnant of a hotel/roadside attraction that was built on Mt Penn in the early 1900's. It was turned over to the city and was refurbished over time to the condition it is currently in. There is a museum covering Reading's history and a view of the city. Skyline drive, is an attractive road that leads from the Pagoda to route 12 and can be attractive on nice days. To be honest, if you are not interested in the city's history, I'd skip it. There are better sights to see. And the Pagoda is not, in my opion, interesting enought to miss something else.
A must see in the area is Hawk Mountain, which is a major stop for birds migrating south for the winter. If you happen to be in Reading in the fall, you can't miss Hawk Mountain. You will not be able to see such a variety of birds and birders (sometimes more interesting) without extensive travel.
Another good stop is Blue Marsh recreational area. If you enjoy hiking, biking, canoeing or fishing, Blue Marsh has hundreds of acres of public land and a rather large man made lake that is free to use. In some areas you have to pay to park, but there are literally dozens of other access points if you do not require the use of a boat ramp.
I also recommend taking route 61 or 183 north out of the city, this will take you to the top of the Blue Mountain, where you will find one of the most beautiful sections of the Appalacian Trail. From 183, its about 5 miles to Round head, which is a rather impressive lookout. It will take your breath away on a clear day.
If you are not into the outdoors and appreciate air and culture, the Reading Museum can offer an afternoon of discovery and learning. It's not the Smithsonian, but every now an then, there is an interesting collection or discussion that is worth catching. The last time I was there, we were lucky enough to have a Keith Harring collection in town. Keith was born and raised in locally, so it was very exciting to see.
Reading also is lucky enough to have the Sovereign Center, which houses notable performances from folks like Seinfeld, Stevie Nicks, Bill Cosby, the WWE, and Marilyn Manson to name a few. The Reading Royals also play there, which is our minor league hockey team. I'm not much of a hockey fan, but from what I hear, if you like hockey fights, the Royals is the team to see. I'm more of a baseball fan, and we spend a lot of afternoons watching the Reading Phillies team plan here in Reading. They are a farm team for the Philadelphia Phillies, so we often get to see up and coming players before they become super stars and stars that are rehabing from injuries. The most recent being Chase Utley back in 2007.
"Where to eat"
We have a lot of restaurants in Reading. I'm not a expert, so don't take this as the gospel, but here are some places that I enjoy going to.
My all time favorite is the Ugly Oyster. It's in Reading at the corner of third and Cherry I think. Great food, great atmostphere and easy to get to. If you like the traditional Irish Pub environment then you should check this out.
My second favorite is an Indian restaurant called Aashiyana. It's byob, so bring your wine if you plan on drinking alchohol. They have a number of traditional Indian beverages as well as your standard softdrinks if you don't want alchohol. Everything on the menu is great and they are very careful with explaining what is hot and what isn't, so no fear.
If you like seafood, the Crabbarn is worth checking out. Obviously Crab is their speciality, but the entire menu is great.
If you want steak, I reccommend Stoudt's Black Angus and Brew Pub in Adamstown. It's basically one or two exits past Reading on Rt 222 heading towards Lancaster. They have beer brewed on site and probably the best steak in the area.
This is not an inclusive list. And certainly don't reject a restaurant because I haven't endorsed it. These are just the places that I love and go to. And I'm local!!!
"Where to Stay"
The best place to stay in the Reading area is in one of the hotels in the West Wyomissing area, near the Broadcasting Square Shopping center. The Hampton Inn, on Papermill Rd, is probably the best as they provide free breakfast and you are within 2 minutes of the 222/422 interchange which can take you anywhere you want to go. There is also a Country Inn and Suites further down Papermill, but it is considerably more expensive and really no nicer. I would avoid the Sheraton. They have a pretty popular night club in the hotel that sees a lot business during the weekends. Its a nice hotel, if you're young and don't mind a lot of activity on weekend nights. One word of caution, avoid the Inn at Reading. It used to be a very nice hotel on 422 and very easy to get to. With the creation of the 422/222 interchange it is now hidden on a back street. Honestly, I don't know how anybody would ever find it if they aren't from the area.
Readingnigga's new Reading Page
Reading,PA Is honestly a dangerous place to live (use to it) not really good place to pick a fight in,but other than that theres really nothing to see but the "Pagoda" or the "Skyline" which is also located at the Pagoda and theres alot of history buildings and stuff like that but other than that........theres killings to look at but not a very positive thing......