Welcome to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, a historic city located in the heart of the Lehigh Valley. Known as the “Christmas City” due to its Moravian heritage and annual holiday celebrations, Bethlehem offers a unique blend of history, arts, and culture. From its rich industrial past to the thriving arts scene, Bethlehem has something for every traveler. This comprehensive travel guide will help you plan your visit and make the most of your time in this charming city.
Historical Sites and Attractions:
Historic Moravian Bethlehem: Explore this UNESCO World Heritage site and learn about the city’s Moravian roots by visiting the Moravian Museum of Bethlehem, the Single Sisters’ House, and the 1741 Gemeinhaus.
SteelStacks: This former Bethlehem Steel plant has been transformed into a dynamic cultural center featuring arts, entertainment, and educational programming. Tour the iconic blast furnaces and learn about the city’s industrial history.
The National Museum of Industrial History: Housed in a restored building that once was part of the Bethlehem Steel plant, this museum showcases the history of American industry and highlights the contributions of Bethlehem Steel.
Museums and Cultural Institutions:
The Banana Factory Arts Center: A vibrant arts center offering galleries, studios, and art classes for all ages. Explore the works of local artists and participate in workshops and events throughout the year.
The Moravian Book Shop: The oldest continuously operating bookstore in the United States, offering a wide selection of books, gifts, and Moravian-themed items.
The Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts: This museum features a collection of decorative arts, including furniture, textiles, and glass, in a beautifully restored Victorian home.
Parks and Outdoor Spaces:
Monocacy Park: A scenic park located along the Monocacy Creek, featuring walking trails, picnic areas, and a playground.
Sands Bethlehem Event Center: A multi-purpose venue hosting concerts, comedy shows, and other special events.
Bethlehem Golf Club: A public golf course offering an 18-hole championship course, as well as a 9-hole executive course and a driving range.
Universities and Colleges:
Lehigh University: A prestigious private research university known for its strong programs in engineering, business, and the arts. Visit the beautiful campus, explore the galleries at the Zoellner Arts Center, and attend sporting events and performances.
Moravian College: A private liberal arts college with a strong commitment to its Moravian heritage. Take a tour of the historic campus and attend cultural events and concerts throughout the year.
Food and Dining:
Fegley’s Bethlehem Brew Works: A local brewery and restaurant offering a selection of craft beers, along with delicious pub fare.
The Mint Gastropub: A contemporary restaurant serving innovative dishes made with locally-sourced ingredients.
Molinari’s: An Italian eatery offering authentic cuisine and a warm, welcoming atmosphere.
The Goosey Gander: A local favorite for sandwiches, salads, and homemade soups.
Shopping and Services:
The Promenade Shops at Saucon Valley: An outdoor shopping center featuring a mix of popular retail stores, dining options, and entertainment venues.
Westgate Mall: A shopping mall offering a variety of stores, services, and dining options.
Bethlehem Farmers’ Market: A seasonal outdoor market featuring fresh, locally-sourced produce, meats, and artisanal goods.
Lehigh Valley Heritage Trail: A network of walking and biking trails connecting Bethlehem with neighboring cities and parks.
Bethlehem Skateplaza: A state-of-the-art skate park designed for skaters of all ages and skill levels.
South Mountain Park: A popular destination for hiking, mountain biking, and enjoying panoramic views of the Lehigh Valley.
Fitness and Recreation:
Steel Fitness Riverport: A comprehensive fitness center offering exercise equipment, group fitness classes, and personal training services.
Lehigh Valley Yoga: A welcoming yoga studio offering classes for all levels and abilities.
Events and Festivals:
Musikfest: A ten-day music festival held each August, featuring hundreds of live performances on multiple stages throughout the city.
Christkindlmarkt: An annual holiday market showcasing local artisans, live entertainment, and delicious food in a festive, European-inspired setting.
Celtic Classic: A popular annual event celebrating Celtic culture, including music, dance, sports, and food.
Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority (LANTA): The city’s public transportation system, providing bus services throughout the Bethlehem area.
Taxis and rideshares: Readily available throughout the city.
Biking: Bethlehem features numerous bike-friendly routes and trails, making it easy to explore the city on two wheels.
Historic Hotel Bethlehem: A beautifully restored historic hotel located in the heart of downtown Bethlehem, offering elegant accommodations and exceptional service.
The Sayre Mansion: A charming bed and breakfast situated in a restored Victorian mansion, providing a luxurious experience and personalized service.
Hyatt Place Bethlehem: A contemporary hotel offering comfortable accommodations, modern amenities, and easy access to local attractions.
Whether you’re drawn to the rich history of the Moravian community, the lively arts and cultural scene, or the charming downtown area, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania offers something for everyone. With its diverse range of attractions, dining options, and accommodations, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience in this enchanting city.