Downtown Reading, PA

Downtown is generally between Walnut to the north and Chesnutt to the south and from the River east to about S 8th St. Penn and 5th Avenue are the main Dwtn Thorofares with Penn being primarily retail and commercial and 5th very mixed-use and institutional.

Downtown Reading represents eastern Pennsylvania development patterns well… dense attached buildings developed in a mixed-use pattern before more seperated business districts gained momentum in the early 20th century. And due to Reading’s post War II economic slump, urban renewal was limited in Downtown Reading, leaving most of its historic and dense fabric intact. Downtown Reading is one of most dense Mid-sized Downtowns in America! But it still remains pretty economically depressed and therefore trendy restaurants, bars, shops, and entertainment venues in more successful dwtns don’t exist here. Instead many Hispanic restaurants and grocerias exist along with lowerend shopping options. I hope the fabric doesn’t change much for Downtown Reading, but I do hope more revitalization occurs bringing more economic diversity and amenities to the district.

Click here to view my Downtown Reading Album on Flickr


* Around 10K per square mile, very dense for a Dwtn district.
* Very mixed use Dwtn.
* Great historic architecture.
*  Pretty good cultural amenities including a lot of ethnic restaurants, some bars, a cineplex, several performing arts centers, a hocky arena, and convention center.
* Good amount of retail but more working class stores. No supermarket by lots of ethnic grocerias and clothing joints.


* Plenty of grit and buildings needed revitalizing in parts. Some vancancies.
* Limited surface parking and dead spaces.
* Missing higher end restaurants and bars of more revitalized Dwtns.
* Nice bike trail along the river but very limited within Dwtn and within Reading neighborhoods. Also no bike share in the City.