Bethlehem is a city in Pennsylvania, located along the Lehigh River 50 miles north of Philadelphia and 70 miles west of New York City. It is part of the Lehigh Valley metropolitan area, along with Allentown and Easton.
In 1741, the town was settled by a small group of Moravians (a persecuted Protestant religious group from modern-day Germany and Czech Republic) led by Count Nicolaus von Zinzendorf. Bethlehem was founded on Christmas Eve and named for Jesus' birthplace, Bethlehem, Israel – presumably because it was mentioned in the Christmas carols that were sung by the Moravians.
During the Industrial Revolution, Bethlehem Steel became one of the largest steel companies in the world; its principal rival at the time was Andrew Carnegie's U.S. Steel in Pittsburgh. San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge was built from Bethlehem steel, as were many of New York City's skyscrapers. Through two world wars, Bethlehem's steel was strategically vital for shipbuilding. By the early 1980s, local coal and steel makers were struggling as prices were undercut by imports; in 1982, Billy Joel sang "Out in Bethlehem they're killing time, Filling out forms, Standing in line" in a popular tune named for nearby Allentown. In a pattern typical of the US rust belt, huge factories built for economies of scale when times were good were being out-manoeuvred by smaller, more modern competitors with lower costs and more advanced technology. By 2001, the factories had closed; the bankrupt company was disbanded in 2003.
In 2019, the city had a population of about 76,000, and is a thriving with a beautiful historic district, many cultural events, two colleges, an industrial museum and a large casino/entertainment complex.
The official Visitor's Center is in the Historic District at 505 Main St., offering general information along with walking tours, literature, and the general gamut of tourist office services.
Lehigh Valley International Airport (ABE IATA) serves the greater Lehigh Valley metropolitan area and is located about 10 to 15 minutes north of downtown Bethlehem by car. It is served by several legacy carriers, including Delta Connection, United Express, and American Airlines. Each offers several daily flights from their Eastern U.S. hubs. Air Canada Express offers flights from Toronto, and the airport has low-cost service from Orlando-Sanford on Allegiant Air. The airlines flying this route tends to change fairly often; when one budget startup goes out of business, the airport tends to replace it with another one within a few months.
The airport is on the outskirts north of the town. Take Airport Road south and get on Route 22 east; get off at the next exit for Schoenersville Road. Make a left at the end of the ramp, and follow the road until it becomes Elizabeth Avenue, at which point you are now in Bethlehem. To get to the south side, take the Route 378 exit instead of Schoenersville. When the expressway ends, make a left at the light onto S. 4th St; you are now in the south side neighborhood.
Other airports in the general vicinity are Philadelphia International Airport (PHL IATA) and Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR IATA). As these are hubs for major airlines, and generally speaking much larger airports, flying into Philly or New York can save you a bundle. Expect a 90-minute drive from Philadelphia and about 2 hours from Newark, depending on traffic.
Bethlehem is easily accessible by car from virtually any direction.
- From New York City & Newark, NJ: Take I-78 East to Exit 67. Turn right into PA-412 North. PA-412 terminates four miles later in Bethlehem's South Side.
- From Philadelphia: Take I-476 (toll) to "Lehigh Valley Exit" to US-22 East, to PA-378 South. Expressway ends at bridge between Downtown & South Side Bethlehem.
- From Bucks County: Take PA-309 North to PA-378 North.
- From Harrisburg to the West: Take I-78 West to Exit 67. Turn right into PA-412 North. PA-412 terminates four miles later in Bethlehem's South Side.
- From the Poconos: Take PA-33 South to its terminus to I-78 East to Exit 67. Turn right into PA-412 North. PA-412 terminates four miles later in Bethlehem's South Side.
Several companies offer daily coach service to Bethlehem. Buses depart from the Park & Ride at I-78 and Route 412 in south Bethlehem, which can be reached by local mass transit.
- Bieber Tours, toll-free: . Bieber runs buses several times daily between Bethlehem and Philadelphia's Greyhound Bus Station.
- Trans-Bridge Lines, ☏ . Trans-Bridge operates buses from several points in New York. The "New York" bus stops at the Port Authority Bus Terminal, but there are also services to the major airports.
There are several ways to get around Bethlehem, depending on where you are and where you're intending to go. If you're sticking to the downtown areas, you can easily cover it on foot. It's important to realize that there are two downtown areas. "Downtown" usually refers to the historic district on the northern side of the River, centered along Main Street. However, it can also refer to the area on the south side along 3rd/4th St. on the other side of the Lehigh River, usually referred to as "South Side". Both can be covered on foot, but to go between them probably requires a car/bus. You can walk it, but it is a little more than a mile walk, most of it over the Hill-to-Hill bridge. Your best bet for parking downtown is the North Street garage, a short walk from the historic district (downtown). If your travel involves going to other residential neighborhoods or neighboring towns, it's probably best to go by car, bus, or taxi.
Driving is relatively easy in the Allentown/Bethlehem area, when compared to Philadelphia or New York City roads. The highways and expressways can be very congested at rush hour, and local drivers on US 22, I-78, PA 33, PA 309 and PA 378 can be reckless and exceed the speed limit at times. Local streets can be clogged at rush hour, mostly on the South Side. Some roads are not for an inexperienced driver. Rental car companies can be found at the Lehigh Valley International Airport.
Bethlehem has many lots and a few public garages to park in. The North Street and Walnut Street garages are located in Center City, and the Riverport garage is on the South Side. The rate is $1 per hour, or $6 maximum rate (all day). For details, including directions and a complete list of parking lots and garages, the Bethlehem Parking Authority's website is listed here. In addition to garages and lots, metered parking is available throughout the city. The rate is $0.50 per hour from 8AM-9PM.
- Lehigh and Northampton County Transportation Authority (LANTA) provides affordable bus transportation in and around Bethlehem and the surrounding cities of Allentown and Easton. LANTA provides a Metro Plus service for those who are unable to ride the regular Metro due to disability or requirement of special attention. Schedules are available online. The majority of LANTA buses serve mainly to link the three downtown areas of Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton, and if you're not staying/going in these areas, the bus service can be impractical. Service centers around the main depot at Broad & Guetter Streets, and fans out in every direction. The cost is $2 a ride, $3 for a day pass, with discounts if you buy in bulk.
Several taxicab companies are in the Lehigh Valley. Taxis do not often drive around the streets, like in New York City. In the Lehigh Valley, you will often need to call ahead and arrange for the taxicab to pick you up.
- Quick Service Taxi Co. provides service throughout Allentown and Bethlehem. They can be called at +1 610 434-8132.
- Lehigh Valley Taxicab Co. operates out of Bethlehem and serves the Lehigh Valley. They can be contacted at +1 610 867-5855.
The best way to see Bethlehem's Historic District is on foot. Just about all its notable landmarks are on Main St., or close to it. When referring to places along Main, "the top" of Main is at the intersection of Main and Broad, which is on top of a hill; "the bottom" is at the Brethren's House, and all points past there. If you want to walk to the South Side (not recommended; save your feet by forking over the two bucks for the bus), go over the bridge at the bottom of Main next to the Hotel Bethlehem. Make a left when you reach another bridge, the Hill-to-Hill Bridge. When you get to the end of the bridge, turn left on 3rd or 4th St. to reach the South Side. There are also several pathways which lead to the Monocacy Creek from Main St.
- 1 Banana Factory, 25 W. 3rd St, ☏ . Gallery hours: 11AM-4PM. The Banana Factory is a community center for the arts located on Bethlehem's south side. What was once a banana warehouse has been renovated into space for two art galleries, classrooms and artists' studios. Offers daily guided tours and the Lehigh Valley's only glassblowing studio, and on the first Friday of every month there is an art showing. Unless you love art it's probably not worth a trip to the South Side by itself but if you're there already be sure to stop by.
- 2 Burnside Plantation, 1461 Schoenersville Rd, ☏ . This local plantation affords an excellent look at rural life in the Lehigh Valley beginning in the mid-18th century. The restored Moravian homestead highlights farm life and the region's industrial development through the mid-19th century. It not only makes the past come alive but provides a showcase for agriculture and craftsmanship of the era.
- 3 Central Moravian Church, 73 W. Church St, ☏ . Recognized as the country's oldest Moravian Church.
- 4 Colonial Industrial Quarter, 459 Old York Rd, ☏ . This area contains a few of Bethlehem's early buildings, like the 1761 Tannery, 1762 Waterworks (a National Historic Landmark), the 1869 Luckenbach Mill, and the Miller's House Garden (an 1870 Victorian garden). The area is right along the Monocacy Creek, so it's a great place to take a walk or even fish, right downtown (if you have a license). Free.
- Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts, 427 New St., ☏ . Th-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su noon-5PM. An interior designer's dream come true, the Kemerer Museum is dedicated to the history of decorating. There are various rooms dedicated to periods in history, with textiles, china, paintings and more. The Victorian gardens on the ground provide a welcome spot to relax.
- Moravian Museum of Bethlehem, 66 W. Church St.. F-Su noon-4PM. For those interested in learning a bit about the history of Bethlehem, or the Moravian people or faith, this should be a stop on your tour. It's housed in the oldest building in Bethlehem, the 1741 Gemeinhaus. It's only open on the weekends, however.
- 5 National Museum of Industrial History, 602 E. Second St, ☏ . W-Sa 10AM-5PM. A Smithsonian affiliate dedicated to preserving America's rich industrial heritage. Exhibits on steel-making and manufacturing. $12.
- 6 The Star of Bethlehem. The Star of Bethlehem on top of South Mountain is lit year-round. It is visible from most parts of Bethlehem.
- SteelStacks, 101 Founders Way, ☏ . A venue for performing arts and cinema on the former Bethlehem Steel property. Attractions include the ArtsQuest Center, the performing arts center; the Air Products Town Square, with over 400 free musical performances annually; PNC Plaza, which will host festivals, a farmers market, and will also serve as a stage for Musikfest; and the Levitt Pavilion, which will host free concerts.
- 1751 Old Chapel, Church St. & Heckewelder Pl., ☏ . This Moravian Chapel was the second place of worship in Bethlehem's colonial era.
- 1758 Sun Inn, 564 Main St., ☏ . The 1758 Sun Inn is a restored 18th-century inn that once hosted guests such as George Washington and Marquis de Lafayette. It has been fully restored and now offers guided tours, which provide a rich history of 1700s Bethlehem. It can also can be rented and catered for private gatherings. The courtyard also hosts a summer concert series.
- 1810 Goundie House, 501 Main St., ☏ . If you're on Main St., you'll probably walk by here. A nice little place to stop by with a few rotating exhibits, but not a destination itself. Beer enthusiasts take note though - Goundie was the town brewer back in the day.
- Self-guided tour books are available for purchase at the Visitor's Center at 505 Main St.
- Historic Bethlehem Walking Tours, 505 Main St.. Apr-Nov 24: Tu-Su 2:30PM. Tours begin at the Visitor's Center and highlight the important historic sites.
- First Friday Southside Tours, Banana Factory. May-Oct: First F 6PM. Tours begin at the Banana Factory and highlight the churches, architecture, and multiculturalism of the South Side.
- Segway Tours. Apr-Oct: Sa 9AM.
- Bethlehem by Night Bus Tour, 505 Main St., ☏ . This seasonal tour runs throughout December on Th F Sa and Su at 5:30PM, 6:30PM, and 7:30PM. Tour includes a display of the Christmas City by bus.
- Old Bethlehem Walking Tour, ☏ . Tours run Nov 26-Dec 30. Sights include 18th-century buildings and other historic sites.
- Old Fashioned Horse Drawn Carriage Rides. Carriage rides last about 15 minutes and run from Nov 27-Dec 30.
If you were to give a typical building in each of Bethlehem's two main destinations, the Historic district would be "18th-century industrial museum" and the South Side would be "college bar" (or as of late, "casino"). If you don't fit either of those (and especially if you have kids) you'll still find stuff to do; you'll just need a car and maybe a GPS to get there. Most of the city's parks, recreational facilities, sports teams, etc. are on the outskirts of the city, and the bus system leaves a lot to be desired here.
- Bethlehem Municipal Golf Club, 400 Illick's Mill Rd, ☏ . Public golf course within the city. For those looking for just a round on the links on the cheap, the city course will do the trick. Also see Saucon Valley Country Club below.
- [dead link] Bethlehem Skateplaza, 1325 Steel Ave.. A 750-ft-long skateplaza offers BMX riders and skateboarders a safe place to ride across from the Sands Casino.
- 1 Dutch Springs, 4733 Hanoverville Rd, ☏ . Dutch Springs is an water/adventure park located on a 50-acre lake. It offers scuba diving, an Aqua Park filled with large inflatable objects, and rock climbing. There are campgrounds on-site and they host picnics and parties.
- Illick's Mill Park. One of Bethlehem's city parks, Illick's Mill Park offers ice skating (seasonal), pool (seasonal), the Bethlehem Municipal Golf Club (see above), a driving range, baseball fields, and a nature trail that runs along the Monocacy Creek.
- Local High School Athletics. Bethlehem's three largest high schools, Bethlehem Catholic, Freedom, and Liberty, all participate in the Lehigh Valley Conference, a highly competitive athletic division often ranked among the best in the state and nation. In 2008, Liberty High School won Pennsylvania's Division AAAA state championship in football. Although Liberty won in 2008, Freedom Football and Freedom Family have raised some of the biggest football stars, including Joe Young and Dwyane Johnson, and have beat Liberty for many years in a row. In addition to football, Bethlehem's girls and boys basketball and wrestling events are also very highly attended. Free-$2.
- Rose Garden Park, 8th Ave. & Union Blvd.. Rose Garden Park is on 8th Ave and offers playgrounds, a bandshell where the Music in the Park concerts are held, and the DAR House, a replica of the first log cabin built in Bethlehem.
- Sand Island Park, River & Main Sts.. Sand Island Park is along the Lehigh River and offers playgrounds, hiking trails, basketball and tennis courts, and plenty of room for fishing.
- 2 Wind Creek Bethleham (formerly Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem), 77 Sands Blvd, ☏ . A casino (established 2009) with 3,000 slot machines, 89 tables, a 300-room hotel (May 2011) and 200,000 square feet of retail space on the formerly-industrial South Side. Part of a larger complex which includes the Museum of Industrial History (opened mid-2016) and which, when completed, will have over 40 stores at The Shoppes at Sands, 6 restaurants, 2 night clubs, a cineplex, 46,000 square feet of convention space, 18 meeting rooms and a concert hall.
- 3 Saucon Valley Country Club, 2050 Saucon Valley Rd, ☏ . Saucon Valley Country Club is a world-class golf course just south of the city. The club's courses have been named among the best in the state, and the Old Course played host to the 2009 U.S. Women's Open. Inquire within for information on tee times and greens fees.
- Steel Ice Center, 320 E. 1st St, ☏ . The Steel Ice Center houses daily public indoor ice skating on the South Side, along with open hockey sessions. $3-6.
- Annual Bethlehem Bach Festival, Lehigh University, toll-free: . Takes place during the first weekends in May. Free.
- Bethlehem Restaurant Week, Downtown Bethlehem, ☏ . January 31 through February 6.
- Blueberry Festival, Burnside Plantation, ☏ . The Blueberry Festival is held each July and features a classic car show and various products made from blueberries. $8.
- Celtic Classic. Celtic Classic is an annual festival in Bethlehem celebrating Celtic heritage. The festival is host to the U.S. National Highland Games and provides an environment filled with a wide variety of traditional elements. Included are traditional musicians, food vendors, clothing vendors, artists, and more. If you have a kilt, wear it. For the adventurous, taste the haggis, a traditional Scottish dish.
- Christmas in July Sidewalk Sale, Historic District & South Side, ☏ . July 23–25, 2010. Stores feature many discounts and bargains during this 3-day event.
- Fireworks, Sand Island Park, ☏ . Fireworks are shot off from Sand Island Park on July 4th, the end of Musikfest, and New Year's Eve.
- Greater Lehigh Valley Auto Show, Stabler Center, ☏ . The Greater Lehigh Valley Auto Show runs from March 31-April 3, 2011. It is an annual display of over 200 vehicles. $8.
- Harvest Festival, Downtown Bethlehem, ☏ . Takes place at the beginning of October. Free.
- Historic Bethlehem ArtWalk, Downtown Bethlehem, ☏ . Held on the last Saturday of the month, May–August. Local artists and musicians line the sidewalks during each ArtWalk.
- Historic Haunts of Downtown Bethlehem, 428 Main St., ☏ . Held Saturdays and Sundays in October. Hour-long ghostly walking tour.
- Lehigh Valley Food & Wine Festival, 77 Sands Blvd., toll-free: . Held in June.
- Lehigh Valley Home Show, Stabler Center, ☏ . The Lehigh Valley Home Show features builders and other home improvement ideas. It runs annually in early April. $6.
- Loop-a-palooza, City-wide, ☏ . September. Hop-on and off the Bethlehem Loop and enjoy refreshments and music.
- 4 Musikfest, Downtown Bethlehem. Musikfest is an annual 10-day music festival that takes place in the beginning of August. Over 1 million people visit the festival every year. All of the hundreds of concerts, save the headlining acts, are free of charge, and take place at various "platzes" set up around the historic district. Past performers include Ray Charles, The Beach Boys, Lynyrd Skynyrd, George Clinton and Ludacris. The food is top-notch (if expensive) as well, with everything from fried oreos to gyros, and there are activities for children as well. Check out the polka tent for the festival's only dance floor and the famous "Chicken Lady," a local legend. Free.
- Philadelphia Eagles Training Camp. Philadelphia Eagles Training Camp is located at Lehigh University in South Bethlehem from July through August. Spectators can watch the Eagles practice and meet players on special autograph days. There are also activities for kids. Bring a cooler; temperatures reach into the 90s (F), and do not wear any other team's jersey unless you like getting heckled (or hospitalized) by notoriously rowdy Eagles fans. This is the best opportunity to see the Eagles close up, and it attracts thousands to each practice. Admission is free.
- Rooftop Beach Party, North St Parking Garage, ☏ . Tickets are $10 to get you into this party, bringing the beach to Bethlehem.
- Rooftop Fancy Flea Market, North St Parking Garage, ☏ . This flea market, in July, features many items at a small price.
- Russian Days Festival, 980 Bridle Path Rd., ☏ . Celebrated at the St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, this festival includes Russian food and beer, arts and crafts, and desserts. Admission is free. Held September.
- SouthSide Film Festival. The South Side Film Festival started in 2004, and takes place every June. Films of all genres are accepted from any type of filmmaker. The film screenings are at several venues on the Lehigh University campus.
- St. Nicholas Fall Greek Food Festival, 1607 W. Union Blvd., ☏ . Local church festival featuring authentic Greek food. Held in September.
Shopping (at least the outdoor, non-chain store variety) in Bethlehem centers on two streets; Main Street in the Historic District and 3rd Street on the South Side. Expect a fair share of mom-and-pop stores and art galleries. If you're just looking for a mall, Bethlehem has two, the Promenade Shops and the Westgate Mall. The former is new and somewhat ritzy; the latter is dead most of the time.
- Apotheca Salon & Boutique, 101 E. Third St., ☏ . M 9AM-5PM; Tu-Th 9AM-8PM; F 9AM-6PM; Sa 9AM-3PM. Features facials, waxing, a color bar and products from Somme Institute, Davines, and USpa, and other accessories.
- Christkindlmarkt. Th-Sa 10AM-8PM; Su 10AM-6PM. Christkindlmarkt is a holiday market, named among the world's best, open on weekends during the Christmas season. Handmade arts and crafts are for sale, as well as German and Austrian food, a celebration of the town's heritage. $8; 12 and under admitted free.
- Donegal Square, 534 Main St., ☏ . M-Th 10AM-5:30PM; F 10AM-8PM; Sa 10AM-6PM; Su 11AM-4PM. Celtic jewelry, music, food and other Irish and British items.
- 1 Moravian Book Shop, 428 Main St., ☏ , fax: . M-W 10AM-6PM, Th-Sa 10AM-8PM, Su noon-5PM. Moravian Book Shop is the oldest bookstore in the country, open since 1745. They sell mostly books, but also souvenirs and Moravian stars, which are popular during the Christmas season.
- 2 The Promenade Shops at Saucon Valley, 2845 Center Valley Parkway, ☏ . M-Sa 10AM-9PM, Su 11AM-6PM. The Promenade Shops is an outdoor mall and "lifestyle center." The stores are located just south of Bethlehem in a wealthy suburban area. The stores cater to an upscale taste and budget, with stores such as Coldwater Creek, Banana Republic, Brooks Brothers and Fresh Market. The complex also contains restaurants and a movie theater.
- Seasons Olive Oil & Vinegar Taproom, 504 Main St., ☏ . Carries a collection of olive oils and vinegars that you can taste before you buy.
- 3 Westgate Mall, 2285 Schoenersville Rd., ☏ . M-Sa 10AM-9PM, Su noon-5PM. Westgate Mall is an indoor shopping mall, hosting anchors Bon-Ton and Weis Markets. It features over 40 stores and services. It is, to put it lightly, undercrowded, and probably not worth your time.
Downtown is where most of Bethlehem's most popular restaurants are located, but for the best bargains, you'll have to venture into the residential neighborhoods of the town. Generally speaking, the closer to the Historic District, the more expensive the restaurant, although you will find a few quirky cafes on Main St. Bethlehem's most popular upscale restaurants can be found on W. Broad St., known as "Restaurant Row."
- Becky's Corner Deli, 3 W. Broad St, ☏ . A deli inside the Plaza Mall that has coffee, tea, and deli sandwiches. $3-10.
- Bethlehem Book Loft & Caffeine Cafe, 501 E. Fourth St, ☏ . A great place on the South Side to read and drink a cup of coffee. $2-6.
- Billy's Downtown Diner, 10 E. Broad St, ☏ . One of the best diners in Bethlehem and the Lehigh Valley, located in Center City. $5-15.
- Black Forest Deli, 745 7th Ave, ☏ . Sandwiches as well as a Russian and Ukrainian menu. $6-13.
- The Cup at the Bethlehem Dairy Store, 1430 Linden St, ☏ . The Dairy Store, sometimes called "The Cup" is the hot spot for ice cream, with 80 years of history and over 25 flavors. Lines can get long in the summertime, but it's well-worth the wait. $2-5.
- Carl's Corner, 2 W. Elizabeth Ave, ☏ . M-Sa 10:30AM-9PM. Located down the street from Moravian College's football field, steak sandwiches and subs offer an inexpensive postgame (or anytime) meal.
- Carlos's Spanish & American Food, 515 Keystone Ave, ☏ . M-Sa 9AM-9PM, Su 9AM-6PM. Carlos's features Puerto Rican cuisine at a budget price. Located on the West Side, 2 blocks from Allentown.
- Darto's Restaurant, 46 W. North St, ☏ . Simple breakfasts and lunches. Limited seating. $5-10.
- Deja Brew, 101 W. 4th St, ☏ . M-Sa 10AM-7PM, Su 10AM-6PM. Deja Brew is Lehigh U's local coffeeshop, frequented by students and staff alike. Penn State fans, watch the football game here; the owners are die-hard fans. $2-8.
- Francisco's Salvadoreño Restaurant, 100 E. Broad St, ☏ . M-F 8AM-8PM, Sa 10AM-8PM, Su 2-8PM. Francisco's Salvadoreño Restaurant features Salvadoran food at a lower price. $2-9.
- Fu Lai, 1903 W. Broad St., ☏ . Small neighborhood Chinese restaurant with good but inexpensive eats. $6-9.
- George's Light Lunch, 308 W. Broad St, ☏ . Known for steak sandwiches and cheeseburgers.
- Goosey Gander II, 102. W. 4th St, ☏ . A student favorite, the Goose offers delicious subs at great prices. Make sure to look at the various "specials" posted on signs behind the counter. $4-6.
- Hard Bean, 201 E. Third St, ☏ . $2-7.
- Java's Brewin', 1 E. Broad St, ☏ . Located in Center City in the newly built East Broad Building. $2-9.
- The Java Mill, 81 W. Broad St, ☏ . Located in Center City, just east of Main Street. $2-6.
- La Lupita, 4 W. 4th St, ☏ . 11AM-10PM. Located on the South Side near Lehigh University, this family-run Mexican restaurant is known for guacamole and tortillas. $2-9.
- Lehigh Pizza, 13 W. 3rd St, ☏ . Lehigh Pizza is one of many Bethlehem pizzerias, but it is one of the best on the South Side. Located next to the Banana Factory. $7-21 per pie.
- Mayflower Lunch, 622 W. Broad St, ☏ . Located on the West Side, just a few blocks west of the Downtown area. Offers breakfast and lunch in a "Brooklyn Diner" type setting. $5-15.
- MachPiccu Peruvian Restaurant, 1330 E. 4th St, ☏ . Located on the South Side, MachPiccu brings a piece of Peru to Bethlehem with this authentic restaurant. $3-9.
- Potts' Hot Dogs, 114 W. Fairview St, ☏ . Potts' (pronounced "Pott-zees") is, as anyone in Bethlehem will tell you, probably the best hot dog in the Lehigh Valley. The dogs are super cheap too. $1-5.
- Tasty Garden, 524 W. Broad St, ☏ . Very inexpensive Chinese cuisine. Exceptionally fresh and delicious.
- Tulum, 17 W. Morton St, ☏ . M-F 11AM-9PM, Sa noon-9PM. Tulum is good for Mexican eats on the cheap, and they also have many vegetarian options.
- Wired Gallery and Cafe, 520 Main St, ☏ . M-Th 7AM-9PM, F 7AM-11PM, Sa 9AM-11PM, Su 9AM-6PM. Cafe featuring drinks an desserts.
- The Wise Bean Coffee & Espresso Bar, 634 N. New St, ☏ . The Wise Bean is a very relaxed coffeehouse downtown. It's a great place to get some work done; they'll even pop in your favorite CD if you ask. $1-6.
- 1 Vegan Treats, 1444 Linden St, ☏ , toll-free: . 10AM - 9PM. Bakery offering 100% vegan fare. $4-10.
- Alando, 520 Main St, ☏ . M-Th 11AM-9PM, F Sa 11AM-11PM, noon-8PM. Alando features Kenyan cuisine. Also offers catering. $10-19.
- Anna Bella Ristorante, 4505 Bath Pike, ☏ . Anna Bella's has some pretty darned good Italian food on the outskirts of town. The pizzas are recommended, and they do takeout too. $13-23.
- Old Belmont Inne, 3750 Old Philadelphia Pike, ☏ . $15-25.
- Bethlehem Brew Works, 569 Main St, ☏ . 11AM-2AM. The Brew Works is an industrial-themed restaurant with its own microbrewery on site. Serves standard American fare, but with a German influence, such as Wiener schnitzel and sauerkraut. $9-20.
- Cactus Blue, 2915 Schoenersville Rd, ☏ . M-Th 11AM-9PM, F Sa 11AM-10PM, closed Sunday. Cactus Blue has been voted as one of the best Mexican restaurants in the Lehigh Valley. $9-15.
- Confetti Cafe, 462 Main St, ☏ . Confetti Cafe is a traditional cafe featuring soups, lunch and dinner entrees, and 28 flavors of ice cream. $7-15.
- Europa Barbeque, 954 Pembroke Rd, ☏ . 10AM-9PM. Europa Barbeque features Portuguese cuisine. $7-14.
- The Greek Isles Cafe Restaurant, 1267 Birchwood Dr, ☏ . 7AM-11PM. The Greek Isles Cafe has an extensive all-Greek menu. $9-20.
- [dead link] Hibachi Grill & Supreme Buffet, 3811 Nazareth Pike, ☏ . Fantastic buffet and hibachi at an inexpensive price. $10.
- The Melting Pot, 1 E. Broad St. Suite 100, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Th 5-10PM, F 5-11PM, Sa 4-11PM, Su 4-9PM. Popular chain of fondue restaurants.
- Nawab Indian Restaurant, 13 E. 4th St, ☏ . 11:30AM-7:30PM. Nawab is one of only a handful of local Indian restaurants. Eat in at the buffet, or takeout if you prefer. $9-15.
- Petra Mediterranean, 81 W. Broad St, ☏ . Features moderately prices Mediterranean cuisine.
- [formerly dead link] Starter's Pub & Grille, 3731 Route 378, ☏ . Starter's original location on route 378, just over the South Mountain. Offering sports bar atmosphere and pub fare. Also has another location at the Bethlehem Golf Club. $8-25.
- The Vineyard Restaurant, 605 Fiot St, ☏ . Italian restaurant. Don't let limited parking, limited seating, and a not-so-pretty neighborhood fool you; the food here is worth it.
- Apollo Grill, 85 W. Broad St, ☏ , fax: . 11AM-10PM. The Apollo Grill has been consistently rated as one of the Lehigh Valley's top restaurants. They serve contemporary American cuisine, and reservations are recommended. $20-40.
- blue Grillhouse, 4431 Easton Ave, ☏ . M-Th 11:30AM-10PM, F 11:30AM-midnight, Sa 4PM-midnight, Su noon-9PM. blue Grillhouse is an upscale-casual restaurant with an extensive wine bar, serving steaks and seafood. Located outside of Bethlehem in neighboring Bethlehem Township, it is a 15-minute drive from city center which will lead you to its strip-mall location. Don't be fooled by the surroundings; it is one of the best. Patio seating available. $20-30.
- Edge, 74 W. Broad St, ☏ . M-Sa opening at 5PM, bar opens at 4PM. Asian fusion is what's on the menu at Edge, a great place for a swanky dinner date. Or, grab a martini at the lounge. Located inside the Liberty Place building at Broad and Main Streets. $26-30.
- [dead link] Emeril's Chop House, 77 Sands Blvd., ☏ . Daily 6-10PM. Emeril Lagasse's first restaurant in the Northeast features steaks, seafood, and signature appetizers and sides. Despite all the glitz and the big name, the food isn't exactly worth all you pay for it. Take note, if you are under 21 you will be escorted to the restaurant and from the restaurant by security, since the restaurant is located inside the Sands Casino Resort. $26-40.
- Shula's Steak House, 2960 Center Valley Pkwy., ☏ . Daily 4-11PM, Lunch Sundays 11:30AM-4PM.. Don Shula's famous steakhouse is located at the Promenade Shops. Great for beef and football lovers, but otherwise a "pay-for-the-name" sort of place. $27-35.
- Starfish Brasserie, 51 W. Broad St, ☏ . M-Th 5-9:30PM, F Sa 5-10PM, Su 5-8PM. Starfish serves up seafood like no other spot in the Valley, as evidenced by its many local awards. $21-30.
If you're new to Pennsylvania, you will learn that there is always a place to drink, no matter where you are. There are many more bars than those listed here. With thousands of college students attending Lehigh University, Moravian College, and Northampton Community College, Bethlehem has its fair share of bars. Most are located on the South Side (close to the school) on 3rd and 4th Sts. You can find places to have a drink downtown too, but these cater more towards a more touristy, older crowd. The Historic District, particularly Main St., is well-preserved and clean, and the city government prefers to keep it that way; head to the South Side for a more uptempo scene, and stick to downtown for a more relaxed atmosphere.
- Beef Baron, 2366 Catasauqua Rd, ☏ . Simple bar known for their roast beef sandwiches.
- Essence Hookah Lounge, 203 E. 3rd St, ☏ .
- The Funhouse Pub, 5 E. 4th St, ☏ . For the best local bands, The Funhouse Pub is the place to go. Located a block down from Lehigh University.
- Godfrey Daniels, 7 E. 4th St, ☏ . Godfrey Daniels is a non-profit, member-supported listening club on the south side. The acts focus on folk, but jazz, early rock-and-roll, and blues are also sometimes offered.
- The Happy Tap, 601 E. 4th St, ☏ . Ironic name, located in one of the worst areas of the city.
- Hookah Turka, 44 W. Broad St, ☏ .
- JP McGrady's, 117 E. 3rd St, ☏ . JP McGrady's is a popular bar for Lehigh students to grab a drink; expect crowds on weekends.
- Keystone Pub, 3259 Easton Ave, ☏ . 11AM-2AM. A pub remodeled from a historic inn. Monday night is Wing Night, featuring 40 cent wings. Good bar food. Great place for a drink.
- Looper's Bar and Grille, 313 E. 3rd St, ☏ . Looper's is a golf-themed, business casual upscale bar with cigar and wine bars, and over 150 martinis available. $5-10.
- New Street Pub, 728 N New St, ☏ .
- Old Brewery Tavern, 138 W Union Blvd, ☏ . If you are looking for a dive, this is definitely the place.
- Pacino's Cigar Bar, 515 Main St, ☏ . M Su 7AM-midnight, Tu-Sa 7AM-2AM.
- Ripper's Pub, 77 W. Broad St, ☏ . 11AM-2AM. If you're just looking for a hole-in-the-wall to grab a beer near Main St., Ripper's is probably your best bet. Average drink: $2.
- Roosevelt's 21st, 21 E Elizabeth Ave, ☏ .
- [dead link] Sands Casino Resort, 77 Sands Blvd, ☏ . The Sands features the Molten Lounge, St. James Gate, Coil, and Infusion.
- Steelgaarden, 569 Main St. Steelgaarden is a lounge located inside the Bethlehem Brew Works, with a large drink menu and six beers brewed onsite. $4-16.
- Sultana Hookah Lounge, 3 E. 3rd St. Extensive hookah tobacco flavors.
- Tally-Ho Tavern, 205 W. 4th St, ☏ . The Tally-Ho's motto is "We try to be all things to all people," and they cater to locals, Lehigh students, and everyone else at this charming pub. While anyone is admitted at the Tally-Ho, this place is best if you are drinking shots. Lots of them. $9-15.
- Your Welcome Inn, 325 S. New St, ☏ . Your Welcome Inn is the local scene/dive bar, close to downtown.
A number of hotels are located on Airport Road near LVIA and the immediate areas surrounding it. Most hotels are located on the outskirts of town along Route 22. If you're going downtown figure about a 10-15 minute drive, cab, or bus ride. For those who would prefer to stay downtown, the Comfort Suites on the SouthSide of downtown Bethlehem and the Hotel Bethlehem on the North side are your two options; the locations are great and are some of the best places to stay in the entire city.
- Golden View Motel, 5090 Bath Pike, ☏ . $80.
- Best Western Lehigh Valley Hotel & Conference Center, 300 Gateway Dr, ☏ , fax: . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. $99.
- Bethlehem Inn, 476 N. New St, ☏ , fax: . Check-in: 4PM, check-out: 11AM. $99-175.
- Comfort Inn, 3191 Highfield Dr, ☏ , fax: . Check-in: 2PM, check-out: noon. $90.
- Comfort Suites, 120 W. 3rd St, ☏ , fax: . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. $129. The Comfort Suites is one of the few hotels on the South Side, and it is located close to Lehigh University.
- Courtyard Marriott Allentown Bethlehem/Route 22, 2160 Motel Drive, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 18018, ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. $132-169.
- Courtyard Marriott Bethlehem/I-78, 2220 Emrick Blvd., ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Courtyard by Marriott Bethlehem Lehigh Valley / I-78 is a hotel in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania with deluxe lodging and suites, indoor swimming pool, wireless Internet access and meeting space. Located at the Route 33 and Freemansburg Ave. interchange, close to Interstate 78. $140-190.
- Extended StayAmerica, 3050 Schoenersville Rd, ☏ . $119. Extended StayAmerica is located close to the Lehigh Valley International Airport.
- Fairfield Inn & Suites, 2140 Motel Dr, ☏ . $119.
- Fifth Street Hotel, 716 E. 5th St, ☏ , fax: . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. $109.
- Hampton Inn & Suites, 200 Gateway Dr, ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. $99-159.
- Holiday Inn Express and Suites Bethlehem (firstname.lastname@example.org), 3375 High Point Blvd, ☏ , fax: . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. Opened in 2007, this hotel is one mile from Lehigh Valley International Airport (ABE). Complimentary airport shuttle available. Hotel features an adjacent restaurant and lounge.
- Holiday Inn Express and Suites, 2201 Cherry Ln, ☏ . $110.
- Homewood Suites by Hilton, 2031 Avenue C, ☏ . $110.
- Residence Inn by Marriott Allentown Bethlehem/Route 22, 2180 Motel Dr, ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. $167.
- Value Place, 4016 Christian Spring Rd. Located just off the 22/191 interchange.
- Wydnor Hall Inn, ☏ . $75-150.
- 1 Hotel Bethlehem, 437 Main St, toll-free: , ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: 4PM, check-out: noon. Hotel Bethlehem is downtown Bethlehem's largest hotel. Its prime location means it fills up quickly in the wintertime, so book well in advance. $169.
- 2 Hyatt Place Bethlehem, 45 W North St, ☏ , fax: . Hyatt Place is a new addition to Downtown Bethlehem. It is located only 2 blocks from Main Street, at the corner of North and Guetter Streets. $140+.
- 3 The Sayre Mansion, 250 Wyandotte St, toll-free: . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. The Sayre Mansion is a quaint former mansion that has been refurbished into a 21-room bed-and-breakfast in the city's Fountain Hill section. Meals are included in the room rates. $160.
Bethlehem by most accounts is relatively safe for a city of its size. Most visitors to the downtown areas or the Sands Casino won't encounter any sort of crime or danger. Some areas of the Southside off of 3rd St. can be sketchy at night, and Lehigh students have a notorious reputation for drinking, so be wary of visiting at night if you'd rather not deal with inebriated college kids. The same type of drunken misconduct can also break out late at night during Musikfest as patrons make more trips to the beer tent, and it occasionally results in scuffles on and around Main St. (which gets extremely crowded around at closing). If you use common sense and don't stray from the main attractions you should have no problems, and Bethlehem is far safer than neighboring Allentown or Easton.
- Seasonal greeting cards may be sent with a "Bethlehem" postmark, one of about a hundred US towns with Christmas or holiday-themed names (others include places like "Antler", "St. Mary" and "North Pole"). Holiday wellwishers outside the Bethlehem community can get the postmark by affixing postage to individual cards and then placing them all in a larger stamped envelope addressed to “Christmas Re-Mailing, Bethlehem, PA 18016". The cards must arrive in Bethlehem by December 15 to be postmarked and get to their destinations before Christmas.
Bethlehem's central location in the Lehigh Valley make it a good starting point for exploring the region and visiting other cities in the US Northeast.
- Allentown, Pennsylvania's third-largest city, located 3 miles west. Home of Dorney Park, one of the biggest amusement parks on the East Coast, and the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, the AAA-level minor league team of the Philadelphia Phillies.
- Philadelphia, the largest city in Pennsylvania and the sixth-largest in the United States, located 50 miles to the south.
- Easton, located 9 miles east of Bethlehem.
- Phillipsburg, 15 miles to the east in New Jersey.
- New York City, the largest city in the United States, located 80 miles to the east.
- Reading, 40 miles to the southwest.
- The Poconos, skiing and snowboarding resorts in Eastern Pennsylvania, mostly 60-90 minutes north of Bethlehem by car. Outlet mall, casinos, waterpark in summer.
- Scranton, 70 miles to the north.
- Harrisburg, the state's capital, 85 miles west.
- Atlantic City, a popular seaside resort known for its beaches and casinos, located 120 miles south of Bethlehem.
- The American Industry Tour from Boston to Chicago passes through Bethlehem.
|Routes through Bethlehem|
|Allentown ← Hellertown ←||W E||→ Easton → New York City|