If the word “Reading” looks familiar to you, it is probably because you have played Monopoly before. The Reading Railroad is one of the four railroad properties you can purchase – though you may have been pronouncing it wrong. Reading (Redding) was once known as the outlet capital of the world. Many of the outlets have since closed, but you can still see the old mills and buildings that have been transitioned into stores, offices, and even private residences.
Reading is an older city with many ties to the rest of the region. Surrounded by mountains, Reading hosts some of the most interesting and diverse residents in the area. Reading High School, which sits in the shadow of the Reading Pagoda, is one of the biggest high schools in the country. Interestingly enough, Reading, PA is also the only city in the world where you can go from elementary school all the way through college all on the same street. Thirteenth Street boasts 13th and Union Elementary School, Northeast Middle School, The Citadel (Reading Intermediate School), Reading High School, and Albright College.
The Pagoda is the most striking feature of the city. Nestled atop a mountain, this Japanese building was supposed to be part of a retreat on the mountain. Though the retreat was never completed, the building stands tall. At night, the Pagoda shines a brilliant red color and, on Christmas, blinks so children know that Santa has been spotted.
There are many different things to do in Reading, whether you are there for a lifetime or for a day. The Sovereign Center, the Sovereign Performing Arts Center, the Miller Center and the recently created GoggleWorks Center for the Arts all host different events on a weekly basis. Some of the biggest names in music, theater, and dance come here for performances.
Reading is also home to the Reading Museum, Reading Historical Society, Smalltown USA, a planetarium, Mid-Atlantic Air Museum, Reading Expo Center, and The Reading Comedy Outlet.
For a night of fun, the Reading Fightins’ ballpark (the minor league affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies) has been named one of the best ballparks in America. Catch a flying hotdog, participate in a vegetable race, or just watch a great game. If you want something a little colder, the Reading Royals, a minor league hockey team, has games that are just as fun and eventful.
Reading, PA is the hometown of one of the most famous singers of our generation – Taylor Swift. She was born at the Reading Hospital in 1989 and grew up in a Reading suburb, Wyomissing, until she was a teenage. In fact, she learned to play guitar and write songs from a local computer repairman. She still does good deeds for the Reading area, including donating library books and calling sick children.
Artist Keith Haring is also from the Reading area and if you drive around, you may spot some of his art on walls, murals, and water towers. John Updike, author of Rabbit, Run is from Reading as well and you can pay a visit to his home.
A few different movies have been shot in Reading, including Girl, Interrupted and The Last Airbender. Recently, Reading set the stage of the Pulitzer Prize winning play Sweat, which was written by Lynn Nottage who visited Reading and talked to steelworkers and citizens about the changing demographics of the city.
Fun Fact: The baseball stadium is one of the only stadiums in the world where you can recline in a swimming pool while watching the game.
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