Reading, with an estimated population of 81,207, is the fifth largest city in Pennsylvania and the seat of Berks County. Reading became a center for rail and canal commerce early in the 19th century along with its own thriving iron industry. The city is most noted for lending its name to the Reading Railroad, which is one of four properties in the famous Monopoly board game. Also notable is the fact that Reading was the first location to make outlet shopping part of their tourist industry.
The city supports a thriving center for the arts and music with popular destinations and organizations like the Art Plus Gallery, ArtsQuest/Musikfest, the Berks Arts Council Gallery 20, the Berks Classical Children's Chorus, the Friends of Chamber Music, the Reading Community Players, Reading Pops, the Reading Philharmonic Orchestra, the Genesius Theatre, the Sovereign Center and Sovereign Performing Arts Center, the GoggleWorks Center for the Arts, the Community School of Music and the Arts, the Goodnites Nightclub, and the Reading Civic Theatre.
Festivals and attractions in the city include the 17th Annual FirstEnergy Berks Jazz Fest, the Blue Falls Grove, the Bower's Chile Pepper Festival, Cherry-Crest Farm, Crystal Cave Park, Grim's Fall Festival Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch, the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, Knoebels Amusement Resort, the Kutztown Festival, the Mushroom Festival, and the Pioneer Tunnel Coal Mine. Reading also has its share of history preserved at the Allentown Art Museum, the Berks County Genealogical Society, the Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles, the Central PA African-American Museum, the Conrad Weiser Homestead, and the Daniel Boone Homestead.
The Reading area is also known for several wineries and breweries, to include Bashore & Stoudt Country Winery, the Berks County Wine Trail, Clover Hill Vineyards & Winery, French Creek Ridge Vineyards, the Long Trout Winery, and Stoudt's Brewing Company. Visitors and residents to the Reading and Berks County area can also enjoy many outdoor recreational areas with facilities for hiking, biking, rafting, and camping at places like Bear Creek Mountain Resort, Berks County Parks & Recreation Dept./Heritage Center, Blue Marsh Lake Recreation Area, French Creek State Park, and the Nolde Forest Environment Education Center.