Bethlehem, Pennsylvania: Wikis


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Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Downtown Bethlehem in 2007

Nickname(s): The Christmas City[1], The Steel City
Location in Lehigh and Northampton Counties, Pennsylvania
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania is located in Pennsylvania
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Location within Pennsylvania
Coordinates: 40°37′34″N 75°22′32″W / 40.62611°N 75.37556°W / 40.62611; -75.37556Coordinates: 40°37′34″N 75°22′32″W / 40.62611°N 75.37556°W / 40.62611; -75.37556
Country  United States
Commonwealth Pennsylvania
Counties Lehigh and Northampton
Founded 1741
 - Mayor John B. Callahan
 - Total 19.4 sq mi (50.3 km2)
 - Land 19.3 sq mi (49.9 km2)
 - Water 0.2 sq mi (0.4 km2)
Elevation 360 ft (109.728 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 71,329
 Density 3,704.4/sq mi (594.0/km2)
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP Codes 18015-18018, 18020, 18025
Graveyard with Bethlehem Steel in background, 1935. Photo by Walker Evans.
Main Street, downtown Bethlehem, 2007
South Bethlehem in 1935, looking north to houses and Bethlehem Steel

Bethlehem is a city in Lehigh and Northampton Counties in the Lehigh Valley region of eastern Pennsylvania, in the United States. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 71,329, (2008 estimate 72,241),[2] making it the sixth largest city in Pennsylvania, after Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Erie, and Reading.[3]

Bethlehem lies in the center of the Lehigh Valley, a region of 731 square miles (1,893 km²) that is home to more than 800,000 people. The Valley embraces a trio of cities (Bethlehem, Allentown and Easton) within two counties (Lehigh and Northampton), making it Pennsylvania's third-largest metropolitan area. Smaller than Allentown but larger than Easton, Bethlehem is the Lehigh Valley's second most populous city.

There are three general sections of the city, North Bethlehem, South Bethlehem and West Bethlehem. Each of these sections blossomed at different times in the city's development and each contains areas recognized under the National Register of Historic Places.

In July 2006, Money magazine included Bethlehem as one of its "Top 100 Best Places to Live."[4] It placed number 88.



The areas along the Delaware River and its tributaries in eastern Pennsylvania were long inhabited by indigenous peoples of various cultures. By the time of European contact, these areas were the historic territory of the Algonquian-speaking Lenape Nation, which had two main language families, the Unami and the Munsee. They traded with the Dutch and then English colonists in the mid-Atlantic area.

On Christmas Eve in 1741, David Nitschmann and Count Nicolaus von Zinzendorf, leading a small group of Moravians, founded the mission community of Bethlehem along the banks of the Monocacy Creek by the Lehigh River in the colony of Pennsylvania. They named the settlement after the town of Bethlehem in Judea, the birthplace of Jesus Christ. Originally it was a typical Moravian Settlement Congregation, where the Church owned all the property. Until the 1850s, only members of the Moravian Church were permitted to live in Bethlehem. The historic Brethren's House, Sisters' House, Widows' House and Gemeinhaus (Congregation House) with the Old Chapel are remnants of this period of communal living.

The Moravians ministered to regional Lenape Native Americans through their mission in the area, as well as further east in the New York colony. In the historic Bethlehem cemetery, converted Lenape were buried alongside the Moravians.

In 1762, Bethlehem built the first water works in America to pump water for public usage. While George Washington and his troops stayed in Valley Forge, his personal effects were stored at the farm of James Burnside in Bethlehem. This is now a historical museum (Burnside Plantation).[5]

The prosperous village was incorporated into a free borough in the County of Northampton in 1845. After the Unity Synod of 1848, Bethlehem became the headquarters of the Northern Province of the Moravian Church in North America.[6]

On March 27, 1900, the Bach Choir of Bethlehem presented the United States debut of German Lutheran Johann Sebastian Bach's Mass in B Minor in the city's Central Moravian Church.

Bethlehem Steel works, May 1881. Watercolor by Joseph Pennell.

Christmas star

On December 7, 1937, at a grand ceremony during the Great Depression, Mrs. Marion Brown Grace pulled a large switch to turn on the new Christmas street lights and a large wooden star. Mrs. Grace was the daughter of former South Bethlehem burgess, Charles F. Brown, and wife of Eugene Grace, President of Bethlehem Steel Corporation. Hundreds of citizens attended the ceremony and thousands more listened to the speeches and musical performances on the radio. This was the first year the Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce adopted the nickname "Christmas City, USA".

The Bethlehem Globe-Times paid for the large wooden star erected on the top of South Mountain, at a cost of $460.

The star of Bethlehem viewed from Main Street at night

The star was attached to two wooden poles and was smaller than the current star. The star was created with four wooden planks, overlapped to create an eight point star. The dimensions were 60’ high, 51’ wide lit by 150 bulbs, 50 watts each. The installation of the star was done by PP&L and Bethlehem Water Department. The star was erected on the top of South Mountain, on property owned by the Water Department, located in Lower Saucon Township.

The Hotel Bethlehem was an appropriate location for such a ceremony, as it was the site of the first building in Bethlehem, a two-room log house. On Christmas Eve in 1741, the original settlers conducted their evening worship in this building. As their benefactor, Count Zinzendorf, observed the farm animals that shared the space and listened to their hymn, “Not Jerusalem, But Lowly Bethlehem”, he proclaimed the name of the settlement to be Bethlehem. The people gathered at the 1937 ceremony heard the same words when the Bach Choir sang the old German hymn, “Jesu, Rufe Mich (Jesus, Call Thou Me),” by Adam Drese.

In 1939 the wooden star was replaced with a star made of Bethlehem steel, at a cost of $5000. It had eight rays with the main horizontal ray extended eighty-one feet and the main vertical ray was fifty-three feet long. In 1967, the star was redesigned, and Plexiglas was installed to protect the 250 light bulbs, 50 watts each. It was installed on the old steel frame. This was ninety-one feet high and twenty-five feet wide at the base, with a depth of five feet, set in concrete. In the summer of 2006, the city repaired the base. A crew of municipal electricians changes the bulbs every two years. Beginning in the mid-1990s, the star was lit from 4:30 p.m. until midnight, every day of the year. This schedule continues today. During World War II, from 1941 to 1945 none of the Christmas decorations in Bethlehem were lit. City officials said the lit star made "too good of an air raid target" and “during the global strife it didn't seem right for the lights to be all lit up when our boys were out in the darkness fighting for us." When lit, the star can be seen from as far as Wind Gap, 20 miles (32 km) away. The star has become an important symbol for Bethlehem.

Center of United States heavy industry

Bethlehem became a center of heavy industry and trade during the industrial revolution. Bethlehem Steel, founded in 1857, began producing the first wide-flange structural shapes made in the United States. The company was the first to produce the now-ubiquitous "I-beam" used in construction of steel-framed buildings, including skyscrapers. It manufactured construction materials for numerous New York and other city skyscrapers, as well as major bridges.

The company was a major supplier of armor plate and ordnance products during World War I and World War II, including the manufacture of 1100 warships. After roughly 140 years of metal production at its Bethlehem plant, Bethlehem Steel ceased operations there in 1995. Overseas competition and declining demand had ended the business.


The Lehigh River in Bethlehem in 2007.
Monocacy Creek near downtown Bethlehem in 2007.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 19.4 square miles (50.3 km²), of which, 19.3 square miles (49.9 km²) of it is land and 0.2 square miles (0.4 km²) of it (0.88%) is water.

Because large volumes of water were required in the steelmaking process, the city purchased 22,000 acres (89 km²) of land in the Pocono Mountains, where its water is stored in reservoirs.


Bethlehem's climate falls in the humid continental climate zone. Summers are typically hot and humid, fall and spring are generally mild, and winter is cold. Precipitation is distributed throughout the year, with thunderstorms in the summer, showers in spring and fall, and snow in winter. The average high temperature varies widely, from 34 °F (1 °C) in January to 84.5 °F (29.2 °C) in July. The highest recorded temperature was 105 °F (41 °C), while the lowest recorded temperature was −16 °F (−26.7 °C).

Climate data for Bethlehem
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 72
Average high °F (°C) 35
Average low °F (°C) 19
Record low °F (°C) -16
Precipitation inches (mm) 3.50
Source: The Weather Channel[7] 2009-06-22



Bethlehem is divided into four main areas: Center City, West Side, East Side, and South Side, which is separated from the city's northern sections by the Lehigh River. The West Side, the only section of the city that lies in Lehigh County, begins at the city's western border with Allentown and continues east to the Monocacy Creek and north to Hanover Township (Lehigh County). Center City is bounded by the Monacacy Creek to the west, Hanover and Bethlehem townships (both Northampton County) to the north, and Stefko Boulevard to the east. The East Side is bordered to the west by Center City and to the east by Bethlehem Township and Freemansburg. The East Side includes the Pembroke Village area. The South Side's borders are Fountain Hill to the west, the Lehigh to the north, South Mountain to the south, and Hellertown to the east. The South Side has mostly older houses, and many of the poorer residents live there.

Neighboring municipalities


Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1850 1,516
1860 2,866 89.1%
1870 4,512 57.4%
1880 5,193 15.1%
1890 6,762 30.2%
1900 7,293 7.9%
1910 12,837 76.0%
1920 50,358 292.3%
1930 57,892 15.0%
1940 58,490 1.0%
1950 66,340 13.4%
1960 75,408 13.7%
1970 72,686 −3.6%
1980 70,419 −3.1%
1990 71,428 1.4%
2000 71,329 −0.1%
Est. 2008 72,368 [8] 1.5%

As of the 2008 United States Census Bureau estimates [9] Bethlehem had 72,368 residents. 82.3% of the population was White American, 4.9% African American, 3.5% Asian, 0.1% Native American, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 7.1% were of some other race, and 2% were of two or more races. Hispanic or Latino were 23.9% of the population.

As of the census[10] of 2000, there were 71,329 people residing in the city, including 17,094 families and 28,116 households. The population density was 3,704.4 people per square mile (1,429.9/km²). There were 29,631 housing units at an average density of 1,538.8/sq mi (594.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 81.85% White, 3.64% African American, 0.26% Native American, 2.22% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 9.44% from other races, and 2.56% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 18.23% of the population. The city was named "Pennsylvania's Fastest Growing City".[citation needed]

There were 28,116 households out of which 26.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.1% were married couples living together, 12.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.2% were non-families. 32.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.34 and the average family size was 2.95.

In the city the population was spread out with 21.0% under the age of 18, 14.4% from 18 to 24, 26.6% from 25 to 44, 20.1% from 45 to 64, and 17.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 91.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $35,815, and the median income for a family was $45,354. Males had a median income of $35,190 versus $25,817 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,987. About 11.1% of families and 15.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.7% of those under age 18 and 8.8% of those age 65 or over.

The city is served by Lehigh Valley International Airport, which also serves Allentown, Pennsylvania and the greater Lehigh Valley.


In December 2006, Las Vegas Sands Corp was awarded a Category 2 Slot Machine License by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. LVSC began work on the site, categorized as both the largest brownfield redevelopment project in the nation and the largest casino development investment made to date in the Commonwealth. Its mission was to create reinvestment and urbanization in the area. At a projected cost of $743 million, the historic Bethlehem Steel plant is being redeveloped as a fully integrated resort, to include 3,000 slot machines, over 300 luxury hotel rooms, 9 restaurants, 200,000 square feet of premium retail outlet shopping, and 46,000 square feet of flexible multi-purpose space.[11] In 2007, the casino resort company of Las Vegas Sands began the construction of Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem. The Sands Casino has been projected to bring in approximately one million dollars in revenue per day as of 2009.

Another major economic anchor to the city is Saint Luke's Hospital and Health Network located in the Fountain Hill section of the city. That Hospital and Health Network is the second largest of its type in the Lehigh Valley.

Politics and government

The city government is composed of a mayor and a seven-person city council. The current mayor of Bethlehem is John B. Callahan, who was elected to his second term in November 2005. His election marks the 10th consecutive year a Democrat has held the city's highest office.[12]

Callahan is a member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition,[13] a bi-partisan group with a stated goal of "making the public safer by getting illegal guns off the streets." The Coalition is co-chaired by Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Federally, Bethlehem is part of Pennsylvania's 15th congressional district, represented by Republican Charlie Dent, elected in 2004.

Crime rates (2008)
Crime type Rate*
Homicide: 0
Forcible rape: 16.5
Robbery: 147.5
Aggravated assault: 146.1
Violent crime: 310.2
Burglary: 550.1
Larceny-theft: 2,598.7
Motor vehicle theft: 190.2
Arson: 6.9
Property crime: 3,339.0
* Number of reported crimes per 100,000 population.
2008 population: 72,537
Source: 2008 FBI UCR Data


Colleges and universities

Moravian College's south campus in Bethlehem.

Bethlehem is home to two institutes of higher education. Lehigh University, located on South Mountain on the city's South Side, has 4,800 undergraduates and 2,100 graduate students.[14] The university, which was founded in 1865, was ranked #35 in U.S. News & World Report's 2010 ratings of America's best colleges.[15]

Moravian College, located in the center city area, is a small, highly respected liberal arts college. Founded in 1742 as Bethlehem Female Seminary, Moravian is the sixth oldest college in the nation.[16] Besides undergraduate programs, the college also includes the Moravian Theological Seminary, a graduate school with approximately 100 students from more than a dozen religious denominations.[17]

Northampton Community College is also located in neighboring Bethlehem Township.

Primary and secondary education

Bethlehem is home to the Bethlehem Area School District (BASD), which covers a 40 square-mile area that includes the city, the boroughs of Fountain Hill and Freemansburg, and Bethlehem and Hanover Townships.[18] The district operates two high schools for grades 9-12: Liberty High School near center city and Freedom High School in neighboring Bethlehem Township.

The district also has four public middle schools for grades 6-8: Broughal Middle School, East Hills Middle School, Nitschmann Middle School, and Northeast Middle School. In addition, BASD maintains 19 public elementary schools for grades K-5. Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Performing Arts (LVPA) is also operated by the district, though it accepts students in grades 9-12 from throughout Northampton and surrounding counties.

Bethlehem has two private high schools: Bethlehem Catholic High School, which serves grades 9-12, and Moravian Academy, which serves all primary and secondary school grades. Notre Dame High School, located just north of the city, also serves grades 9 through 12.

Bethlehem Catholic, Freedom and Liberty all compete athletically in Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley Conference.


Bethlehem's daily newspaper, The Globe-Times, ceased publication in 1991. The Morning Call, based in Allentown, and The Express-Times, based in Easton, are now the city's dominant newspapers. The newspapers used to have offices on Bethlehem's historic Main Street, separated by only a couple of buildings, but the Express-Times has moved several blocks away. Other smaller newspapers include the Bethlehem Press; an award-winning weekly, Pulse Weekly, based in Allentown; and the Eastern Pennsylvania Business Journal, based in Bethlehem.

Religious broadcaster WBPH is the only television station licensed in Bethlehem, though WLVT Channel 39, a PBS affiliate, has its operations in the city. WFMZ Channel 69, an independent station, is based in neighboring Allentown. Bethlehem is part of the Philadelphia DMA and its cable systems also receive select radio and television broadcasts from New York City.

Bethlehem has two licensed commercial radio stations, variety WGPA AM, and hard rock WZZO FM (though the latter's facilities are in Whitehall Township). There is also one non-commercial station, WLVR FM, operated by Lehigh University. In addition, public radio station WDIY FM, while licensed in Allentown, maintains its facilities in Bethlehem. There are numerous other stations broadcast from Allentown and Easton representing a variety of commercial formats, as well as several translators of public stations from Philadelphia and New Jersey.


In the early part of the 20th century, Bethlehem was a hotbed of American soccer, with the corporate Bethlehem Steel team, named Bethlehem Steel F.C. after the company, winning the 1918-19 championship in the National Association Football League (NAFL), and then winning what amounted to national championships three more times during the next decade (1920-21 in the NAFL; 1926-27 in the American Soccer League I; and in 1928-29 winning the EPSL II). The Bethlehem Steel sides consisted largely of British imported players and also had the distinction of being the first American professional soccer team to play in Europe, which it did during its tour of Sweden in 1919. The team also won the U.S. Open Cup, now called the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup after billionaire sports franchise owner Lamar Hunt, five times beginning in 1915, and for the last time in 1926.

Club League Venue Established Championships
Lehigh Valley Outlawz CIFL, Indoor football Stabler Arena 2004 0

The Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League hold their pre-season training camp each summer at the football facilities of Bethlehem's Lehigh University. The Eagles camp in Bethlehem is among the most highly-attended training camps in the entire NFL, drawing thousands of fans to each practice. During training camp, Eagles' practices typically are held twice daily (at 8:45am and 2:45pm) and are usually open to the public. An estimated 10,000 fans attended Eagles practice daily, the highest of any NFL team's training camp, in the summer of 2006.[19][20]

Bethlehem also is home to Lehigh University's Stabler Arena, which hosts numerous athletic and music events. Stabler is home to the Continental Indoor Football League's Lehigh Valley Outlawz and to Lehigh University collegiate basketball.

Bethlehem Steel F.C., founded in 1911, was one of the most successful early American soccer clubs. Bethlehem Steel won the American Cup in 1914, 1916, 1917, 1918, 1919 and 1924. Additionally, they won the National Cup, currently the U.S. Open Cup, in 1915, 1916, 1918, 1919, and 1926, the Allied Amateur Cup in 1914 and the Lewis Cup in 1928. The team folded in 1930.

The Lehigh Valley RFC rugby union team play their matches in Bethlehem at Monocacy Park.

Recreation and entertainment

The city is famous for its annual Musikfest, a largely free, ten-day music festival that draws over a million people to the city each August. Other festivals include The Celtic Classic, which celebrates Celtic culture, food and music[21], and the SouthSide Film Festival, a non-competitive, not-for-profit film festival. The city has also been the past, and current host of the North East Art Rock Festival, or NEARFest, a popular 3-day Progressive rock music event.

The Bethlehem Area Public Library is a popular destination for recreation and entertainment[22]. The Banana Factory houses studios of area artists and is open to the public every first Friday of the month.[23] Touchstone Theatre, also on the SouthSide, houses the Valley's only professional resident theatre company, producing and presenting original theatre performances[24].

Historic Bethlehem features many specialized boutiques, spas and clubs along its main streets. The Boyd and Club 40 Below[25] are among the prominent spots to hang out among local college students. The Boyd Theatre, originally a movie theatre, boasts a phenomenal sound system and classic 1920s architecture. Club 40 Below has recently been renovated and features the largest dance floor in the Lehigh Valley.

Lehigh University's Zoellner Arts Center offers a variety of musical and dramatic events through the year.

The city is the location of Pennsylvania's largest casino, the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem, located on the former Bethlehem Steel property.

The Lehigh Canal provides hiking and biking opportunities along the canal towpath which follows the Lehigh River in Bethlehem.

The western part of the former Bethlehem Steel site was selected as a filming location for the movie Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen, which was released in 2009. In the film, the Steel's blast furnaces and surrounding area are used for the opening sequence of the film to represent Shanghai.

City parks

Bethlehem owns 39 park sites, encompassing 568 acres (2.3 km2). Among the city's parks are Buchannan Park, Elmwood Park, Illick's Mill Park, Johnston Park, Monocacy Park, Rockland Park, Rose Garden, Sand Island, Saucon Park, Sell Field, South Mountain Park, Triangle Park, West Side Park, and Yosko Park.[26][27]

Notable natives and residents

Related communities

Sister cities

Twin cities


  1. ^ "Welcome to the Christmas City". website. Retrieved 2009-03-22. 
  2. ^ "Population Finder: Bethlehem, Pennsylvania". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2009-10-28. 
  3. ^ Table 4: Annual Estimates of the Population for Incorporated Places in Pennsylvania, Listed Alphabetically: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2007, U.S. Census Bureau, 2007. Retrieved 09 February 2009.
  4. ^ MONEY Magazine: Best places to live 2006: Top 100 76-100
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ "Moravian Church in North America: Our History"
  7. ^ "Monthly Averages for Bethlehem, PA". 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-22. 
  8. ^ "2008 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates". Retrieved 2009-10-18. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Mayor's Biography: John B. Callahan". City of Bethlehem website. Retrieved 2008-11-22. 
  13. ^ "Coalition Members". Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition web site. Retrieved 2008-11-22. 
  14. ^ "About Lehigh". Lehigh University. Retrieved 2009-08-29. 
  15. ^ "Best Colleges 2010". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved 2009-08-29. 
  16. ^ "About Moravian College"". Moravian Colege. Retrieved 2009-08-29. 
  17. ^ "About MTS". Moravian Theological Seminary. Retrieved 2009-08-29. 
  18. ^ "Citylife: Education". City of Bethlehem website. Retrieved 2009-08-29. 
  19. ^ Philadelphia Eagles Training Camp
  20. ^ "Ins, Outs, All Arounds of an Eagles Camp", by Dave Spadaro, July 24, 2005.
  21. ^ Celtic Cultural Alliance - Celtic Classic
  22. ^ Welcome to Bethlehem Area Public Library
  23. ^ The Banana Factory - Bethlehem's Community Cultural Arts Center & Gallery
  24. ^ Touchstone Theatre
  25. ^ Club 40 Below
  26. ^ "Parks and Recreation, Comprehensive Plan 2008". City of Bethlehem. Retrieved 2008-11-22. 
  27. ^ "Parks, Recreation & Public Property". City of Bethlehem website. Retrieved 2008-11-22. 

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Bethlehem (Pennsylvania) article)

From Wikitravel

View from Bethlehem's City Hall during the holiday season.
View from Bethlehem's City Hall during the holiday season.

Bethlehem [1] 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.


The town was originally 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 in 1741. As the story goes, Bethlehem was founded on Christmas Eve, and the town was named for Jesus' birthplace, Bethlehem, Israel, because it was mentioned in the Christmas carols that were sung by the Moravians. During the Industrial Revolution it became home to one of the largest steel companies in the world, Bethlehem Steel, and its main manufacturing plant. Alas, the company went bankrupt in the 1990s, closing the steel plant and setting off a temporary local downturn. Today, the town has a population of about 73,000, and is a thriving town with a beautiful historic district, many cultural events, two colleges within center city, and a large casino/entertainment complex.

The Visitor's Center is located in the Historic District at 505 Main St., offering general information along with walking tours, literature, and the general gamut of tourist office services.

Get in

By plane

Lehigh Valley International Airport (IATA: ABE) [2] 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, [3], Continental Express [4], Northwest Airlink [5], United Express [6], and US Airways [7]. Each offers several daily flights to their Eastern U.S. hubs. Air Canada Jazz [8] offers flights to Toronto, and the airport usually has at least one low-cost airline with service to Orlando-Sanford. At present, there are two; Allegiant Air [9] and Direct Air [10]. The airline(s) 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 (IATA: PHL) and Newark International Airport (IATA: EWR). 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.

By car

Bethlehem is easily accessible by car from virtually any direction.

  • I-78 is the main interstate through Bethlehem, connecting it with New York City to the east and Allentown and Harrisburg to the west. The Bethlehem exit is Route 412; turn right at the bottom of the ramp, regardless of which direction you came from.
  • I-476, locally referred to as "The Turnpike", is the main interstate and toll road traveling North-South, going from outside Philadelphia to the Poconos. Get off at the Lehigh Valley Interchange (Exit 56) and continue east on Route 22, which runs through the town. Be aware that this not the Pennsylvania Turnpike, but the Northeast extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, but you can go between the two roads without paying the toll. Do not lose your ticket; you will be charged the maximum toll.
  • US-22, colloquially "22," is the main highway through Bethlehem and the rest of Lehigh Valley. It runs parallel to I-78 for its length through Bethlehem. Rush hour traffic can be a hassle and the road is altogether congested, and there are local efforts to expand the road, which have not yet resulted in any construction.
  • PA-378 runs from US-22 in the north to PA-309 in Center Valley. The portion north of the Lehigh River is a freeway, but it turns into a congested city street on the South Side. After Bethlehem, it is a 2 to 3 lane road.

By bus

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, 1 800 BIEBER 4, [11].  edit Bieber runs buses several times daily between Bethlehem and Philadelphia's Greyhound Bus Station.
  • Trans-Bridge Lines, 1 610 868 6001, [12].  edit Trans-Bridge operates busses to 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.

Get around

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.

By car

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 unexperienced 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 located 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.[13]

  • 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[14]. 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, $2.50 for a day pass, with discounts if you buy in bulk.
  • The Bethlehem Loop is a shuttle bus from Center City to the South Side, including the Sands Casino Resort. The prices for each ride are the same as LANTA's bus fares. This will probably be the only bus you'll need if you're just touristing. [15]

By taxi

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 (610) 434-8132.
  • Lehigh Valley Taxicab Co. operates out of Bethlehem and serves the Lehigh Valley. They can be contacted at (610) 867-5855.

On foot

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.

  • Banana Factory, 25 W. 3rd St., 1 610 332 1300, [16]. Gallery hours: 11-4. 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.  edit
  • Burnside Plantation, 1461 Schoenersville Road, 1 610 691 6055, [17]. 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.  edit
  • Colonial Industrial Quarter, 459 Old York Road, 1 610 691 6055, [18]. This area contains a few of Bethlehem's early buildings, like the 1761 Tannery, 1762 Waterworks (a National Historic Landmark) and the 1869 Luckenbach Mill. 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.  edit
  • Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts, 427 New St., 1 610 691 6055. Thu-Sat. 10-5; Sun 12-5. 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.  edit
  • Moravian Museum of Bethlehem, 66 W. Church St., [19]. F-Su 12PM-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.  edit
  • 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.  edit
  • 1758 Sun Inn, 564 Main St., 1 610 866 1758, [20]. 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.  edit
  • 1810 Goundie House, 501 Main St., 610-691-6055, [21]. 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.  edit


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 Road, 1 610 865 7079, [22]. 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.  edit
  • Dutch Springs, 4733 Hanoverville Road, 1 610 759 2270, [23]. 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, rock climbing and more. There are campgrounds on-site and they host picnics and parties.  edit
  • 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.  edit
  • Lehigh Valley Outlawz, 1 484 585 1081, [24]. The Outlawz are a minor league arena football team that plays in Stabler Arena. The team plays its season in the spring from March-June, and is the only minor league team in the city in any sport.  edit
  • Local High School Athletics, [25]. 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. In addition to football, Bethlehem's girls and boys basketball and wrestling events are also very highly attended. Free-$2.  edit
  • Sands BethWorks, 77 Sands Blvd, 1 484 777 7777, [26]. Sands BethWorks is a casino that has recently opened on the South Side. The under-construction casino complex will not be completely finished for a few years. The complex includes 3,000 slot machines, a 300-room hotel (future), 200,000 square feet of retail space, over 40 stores at The Shoppes at Sands, restaurants, night clubs, a cineplex, 46,000 square feet of convention space, 18 meeting rooms, a concert hall, and a National Museum of Industrial History when everything is complete. The casino opened on May 22, 2009, but the entire complex opening is still far off.  edit
  • Saucon Valley Country Club, 2050 Saucon Valley Road, 1 610 758 7150, [27]. 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.  edit
  • Steel Ice Center, 320 E. 1st St, 1 610 625 4774, [28]. The Steel Ice Center houses daily public indoor ice skating on the South Side, along with open hockey sessions. $3-6.  edit
  • Blueberry Festival, Burnside Plantation, ''1'' 610 882 0450, [29]. The The Blueberry Festival is held each July and features a classic car show and various products made from blueberries. $8.  edit
  • Celtic Classic, [30]. 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.  edit
  • Greater Lehigh Valley Auto Show, Stabler Center, ''1'' 610 758 9691, [31]. The Greater Lehigh Valley Auto Show runs from March 26 to March 29, 2009. It is an annual display of over 200 vehicles. $8.  edit
  • Lehigh Valley Home Show, Stabler Center, ''1'' 610 432 4101, [32]. The Lehigh Valley Home Show features builders and other home improvement ideas. It runs annually from April 3 to April 5. $6.  edit
  • Musikfest, Downtown Bethlehem, [33]. 12-10. 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, Ludacris and much more. 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.  edit
  • Philadelphia Eagles Training Camp, [34]. Philadlelphia 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, 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.  edit
  • SouthSide Film Festival, [35].  editThe 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.


Bethlehem is home to two major institutions of higher learning. The larger of the two is Lehigh University, with a student population of 6,500. It is largely known as an engineering school, and in athletics it has a storied wrestling program. The smaller is Moravian College, located in downtown. It is now a small liberal arts college, but it was once the first seminary for women in the U.S. when it was founded in 1742, making it the 6th oldest college in the country.


The closure of Bethlehem Steel has left many workers to find new jobs in the past few years. The Sands Casino Resort offers many different jobs at its casino complex. Lehigh Valley Hospital and St. Luke's Hospital also provide many jobs.


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.

  • Christkindlmarkt, [36]. Thurs-Sat. 10-8; Su. 10-6.. 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.  edit
  • Main Street Commons, Main St., [37]. A small, indoor shopping mall located at the corner of Main Street and West Broad Street. It features local crafts and stores. Parking is available via a parking deck or on the street.  edit
  • Moravian Book Shop, 428 Main St., ''1'' 610 866 5481 (fax: ''1'' 610 868 8330), [38]. M-W 10-6, Th-Sa 10-8, Su 12-5. 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.  edit
  • The Promenade Shops at Saucon Valley, 2845 Center Valley Parkway, 1 610 791 9707, [39]. Mon-Sat. 10-9. Sun. 11-6. 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.  edit
  • Westgate Mall, 2285 Schoenersville Rd., +1 610 867-3333, [40]. Mon-Sat. 10-9. Sun. 12-5.. 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.  edit


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 resaurants can be found on W. Broad St., known as "Restaurant Row."

  • Becky's Corner Deli, 3 W. Broad St, ''1'' 610 317 8077. A deli located inside the Plaza Mall that has coffee, tea, and deli sandwiches. $3-10.  edit
  • Bethlehem Book Loft & Caffeine Cafe, 501 E. Fourth St, ''1'' 610 865 5989. A great place on the South Side to read and drink a cup of coffee. $2-6.  edit
  • Billy's Downtown Diner, 10 E. Broad St, +1 610 867 0105, [41]. One of the best diners in Bethlehem and the Lehigh Valley, located in Center City. $5-15.  edit
  • Blue Star Cafe, 22 W. Fourth St, +1 610 867 9390, [42]. A great cafe on the South Side to find a light, casual meal. $4-14.  edit
  • The Cup at the Bethlehem Dairy Store, 1430 Linden St, ''1'' 610 691 8422, [43]. 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.  edit
  • Carl's Corner, 2 W. Elizabeth Ave, ''1'' 610 691 1541. Mon-Sat. 10:30-9. Located down the street from Moravian College's football field, steak sandwiches and subs offer an inexpensive postgame (or anytime) meal.  edit
  • Deja Brew, 101 W. 4th St, ''1'' 610 865 2739. Mon-Sat. 10-7, Sun 10-6. 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.  edit
  • Lehigh Pizza, 13 W. 3rd St, ''1'' 610 866 1088, [44]. 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.  edit
  • Goosey Gander II, 102. W. 4th St, ''1'' 610 868 0176, [45]. 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.  edit
  • Hard Bean, 201 E. Third St, ''1'' 610 419 9833, [46]. $2-7.  edit
  • Java's Brewin', 1 E. Broad St, ''1'' 610 419 9712. Located in Center City in the newly built East Broad Building. $2-9.  edit
  • The Java Mill, 81 W. Broad St, ''1'' 610 866 3901. Located in Center City, just east of Main Street. $2-6.  edit
  • Mayflower Lunch, 622 W. Broad St, ''1'' 610 691 8111. 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.  edit
  • Potts' Hot Dogs, 114 W. Fairview St, ''1'' 610 865 6644. 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.  edit
  • Starbucks Coffee, 3209 Schoenersville Rd, ''1'' 610 264 1405, [47]. One more in the chain that features Wi-Fi and drive-through service as well as tables inside. $2-8.  edit
  • Tulum, 17 W. Morton St, ''1'' 610 691 8300. Mon-Fri. 11-9, Sat. 12-9. Tulum is good for Mexican eats on the cheap, and they also have many vegetarian options.  edit
  • Wildflower Cafe & Gallery, 316 S. New St, ''1'' 610 758 8303, [48].  edit
  • The Wise Bean Coffee & Espresso Bar, 634 N. New St, ''1'' 610 867 5010, [49]. 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.  edit
  • Anna Bella Ristorante, 4505 Bath Pike, 1 610 317 8405, [50]. 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.  edit
  • Bethlehem Brew Works, 569 Main St, ''1 610'' 882 1300, [51]. 11 AM-2 AM. 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.  edit
  • Confetti Cafe, 462 Main St, ''1 610'' 861 7484, [52]. Confetti Cafe is a traditional cafe featuring soups, lunch and dinner entrees, and 28 flavors of ice cream. $7-15.  edit
  • Main St. Depot, 61 W. Lehigh St, ''1 610'' 868 7123. The Main St. Depot is housed in a former train station; naturally there's a railroad theme to go along with the steaks here. $16-25.  edit
  • Nawab Indian Restaurant, 13 E. 4th St, ''1 610'' 691 0388. 11:30-7:30. Nawab is one of only a handful of local Indian restaurants. Eat in at the buffet, or takeout if you prefer. $9-15.  edit
  • Starter's Pub & Grille, 3731 Route 378, ''1 610'' 997 5454, [53]. 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.  edit
  • Starter's Riverport, 17 W. 2nd St, ''1 610'' 625 2300 (fax: 1 610 625 2310), [54]. Starter's is a sports bar on the South Side that serves much more than typical bar food. A great place to watch the big game (most TVs in the Lehigh Valley) or to bring kids (with a huge two-floor game room). $7-25.  edit
  • Tortilla Flat, 500 Main St, ''1 610'' 868 8903, [55]. Mon-Fri. 11-10; Sat. 9-10; Sun. 9-8.. Authentic Mexican cuisine including fajitas, burritos, and enchiladas.  edit
  • Apollo Grill, 85 W. Broad St, 1 610 865 9600 (fax: 1 610 865 9800), [56]. 11-10. 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.  edit
  • blue Grillhouse, 4431 Easton Ave, 1 610 691 8400, [57]. Mon-Thurs. 11:30-10, Fri. 11:30AM-12PM, Sa 4PM-mid, 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.  edit
  • Carnegie Deli, 77 Sands Blvd, 1 484 777 7777, [58]. One of the few locations in the county, based on the New York original. $20-40.  edit
  • Edge, 74 W. Broad St, ''1 610'' 814 0100, [59]. Mon-Sat., opening at 5. Bar opens at 4.. 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.  edit
  • Emeril's Chop House, 77 Sands Blvd., ''1 484'' 777 7777, [60]. Open Daily, 6pm-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.  edit
  • Shula's Steak House, 2960 Center Valley Pkwy., ''1 610'' 841 5600, [61]. Mon-Sun 4pm-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.  edit
  • Starfish Brasserie, 51 W. Broad St, ''1 610'' 332 8888, [62]. Mon-Thurs. 5-9:30, Fri. & Sat. 5-10, Sun. 5-8.. Starfish serves up seafood like no other spot in the Valley, as evidenced by its many local awards. $21-30.  edit


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.

  • 40Below Nightclub & Lounge, 40 W. Broad St, ''1'' 610 865 5640, [63]. Newer nightclub where such artists as Jason Derulo have performed.  edit
  • Diamonz Bar & Nightclub, 1913 W. Broad St, ''1'' 610 865 1028, [64]. LGBT bar and nightclub.  edit
  • The Funhouse Pub, 5 E. 4th St, ''1'' 610 868 5311, [65]. For the best local bands, The Funhouse Pub is the place to go. Located a block down from Lehigh University.  edit
  • GLOW Gentlemens Club & Bar, 3868 Route 378, ''1'' 610 866 2110, [66]. Changed names from Reflections Gentlemen's Club.  edit
  • Godfrey Daniels, 7 E. 4th St, ''1'' 610 867 2390, [67]. 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.  edit
  • JP McGrady's, 117 E. 3rd St, ''1'' 610 868 9625. JP McGrady's is a popular bar for Lehigh students to grab a drink; expect crowds on weekends.  edit
  • Looper's Bar and Grille, 313 E. 3rd St, ''1'' 610 882 2424. Looper's is a golf-themed, business casual upscale bar with cigar and wine bars, and over 150 martinis available. $5-10.  edit
  • Ripper's Pub, 77 W. Broad St, ''1'' 610 866 6466. 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.  edit
  • Sands Casino Resort, 77 Sands Blvd, ''1'' 484 777 7777, [68]. The Sands features the Molten Lounge, St. James Gate, Coil, and Infusion.  edit
  • 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.  edit
  • Tally-Ho Tavern, 205 W. 4th St, ''1'' 610 865 2591, [69]. 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.  edit
  • Your Welcome Inn, 325 S. New St, ''1'' 610 868 8887. Your Welcome Inn is the local scene/dive bar, close to downtown.  edit


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, ''1'' 610 837 6300. $80.  edit
  • Best Western Lehigh Valley Hotel & Conference Center, 300 Gateway Dr, ''1'' 610 866 5800 (fax: ''1'' 610 867 9120), [70]. checkin: 3 PM; checkout: 12 PM. $99.   edit
  • Bethlehem Inn, 476 N. New St, ''1'' 610 867 4985 (fax: ''1'' 610 974 8019). checkin: 4 PM; checkout: 11 AM. $99-175.  edit
  • Comfort Inn, 3191 Highfield Drive, ''1'' 610 865 6300 (fax: ''1'' 610 861 5074), [71]. checkin: 2 PM; checkout: 12 PM. $90.  edit
  • Comfort Suites, 120 W. 3rd St, ''1'' 610 882 9700 (fax: ''1'' 610 882 4389), [72]. checkin: 3 PM; checkout: 12 PM. $129.  edit The Comfort Suites is one of the few hotels on the South Side, and it is located close to Lehigh University.
  • Extended StayAmerica, 3050 Schoenersville Rd, ''1'' 610 866 8480‎, [73]. $119.  edit Extended StayAmerica is located close to the Lehigh Valley International Airport.
  • Fairfield Inn & Suites, 2140 Motel Drive, ''1'' 610 865 5000, [74]. $119.  edit
  • Fifth Street Hotel, 716 E. 5th St, ''1'' 610 867 8681 (fax: ''1'' 610 758 9000). checkin: 3 PM; checkout: 12 PM. $109.  edit
  • Hampton Inn & Suites, 200 Gateway Dr, ''1'' 610 868 2442, [75]. checkin: 3 PM; checkout: 12 PM. $99-$159.  edit
  • Holiday Inn Express and Suites, 3375 High Point Blvd, ''1'' 610 882 2255 (fax: ''1'' 610 882 1381), [76]. checkin: 3 PM; checkout: 11 AM. $105.  edit
  • Holiday Inn Express and Suites, 2201 Cherry Ln, ''1'' 610 838 6110, [77]. $110.  edit
  • Homewood Suites by Hilton, 2031 Avenue C, ''1'' 610 264 7500, [78]. $110.  edit
  • Marriott Courtyard Allentown Bethlehem/Route 22, 2160 Motel Drive, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 18018, 610-317-6200, [79]. checkin: 3 PM; checkout: 12 PM. $132-$169.   edit
  • Residence Inn by Marriott Allentown Bethlehem/Route 22, 2180 Motel Drive, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 18018, ''1'' 610-317-2662, [80]. checkin: 3 PM; checkout: 12 PM. $167.   edit
  • Wydnor Hall Inn, ''1'' 610 867 6851, [81]. $75-$150.  edit
  • Hotel Bethlehem, 437 Main Street, 1 800 607 2384 (, fax: ''1'' 610 625 2218), [82]. checkin: 3 PM; checkout: 11 AM. $169.  edit Hotel Bethlehem is downtown Bethlehem's largest hotel. Its prime location means it fills up quickly in the wintertime, so book well in advance.
  • Hyatt Place Bethlehem, 45 W. North St., +1 610 625 0500 (fax: +1 610 625 0503), [83]. $140+.  edit 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.
  • Marriott Courtyard Bethlehem/I-78, 2220 Emrick Blvd Bethlehem Hotel, PA 18020 (Reservations : 610-625-9500, Email:, ''1'' 610 625 9500, [84]. Courtyard by Marriott Bethlehem Lehigh Valley / I-78 is a new hotel in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania with deluxe lodging and suites, indoor swimming pool, wireless Internet access and meeting space. $140-$190.  edit
  • Morningstar Inn, 72 E Market St, 1 610 867 2300, [85]. $165-$210.  edit Morningstar Inn is a 5-room bed and breakfast located in Bethlehem's historic district.
  • The Sayre Mansion, 250 Wyandotte St, 1 877 345 9019, [86]. checkin: 3 PM; checkout: 11 AM. $160.  edit 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.

Stay safe

Bethlehem, known as the Christmas City, is displayed as a quaint, historic city. But areas away from downtown are not as friendly for travelers. The South Side beyond 3rd Street should be avoided. The Pembroke area on the East Side and the Parkridge neighborhood on the West Side should also be avoided. All three of these areas are known for a higher crime rate, drug trafficking, and higher gang activity. Gangs such as the Bloods, Crips, Latin Kings, and other street gangs can be found in these areas. They are often identified by graffiti signs. The downtown area is safe, although you should lock your car when leaving it on the street or in a lot. Garages are generally safe to park in. Take precautions like you would in any other city. Bethlehem has a lower crime rate than large cities, but it can still be dangerous, especially at night.

Get out

Bethlehem's central location in the Lehigh Valley make it a particularly good starting point for exploring the region. For moving on, consider these attractions:

  • Dorney Park, (I-78 West to Exit 54-B), ''1'' 610 395 3724, [87]. Hours vary by season. For the thrillseeking type, Dorney is one of the biggest amusement parks on the East Coast, located next door in nearby Allentown. $44.  edit
  • Lehigh Valley IronPigs, 1050 IronPigs Way, Allentown, PA, (610) 841-7447, [88]. The IronPigs, the AAA-level minor league team of the Philadelphia Phillies, play their home games from early April through early October at Allentown's Coca-Cola Park. The team boasts a brand-new ballpark with excellent sight lines, concessions, suites and activities for kids. The team is made up of tomorrow's major leaguers and occasionally a (recently injured) Phillies star on a rehab assignment.  edit
  • The Poconos. The Poconos are the place to go for skiing and snowboarding in Eastern Pennsylvania. Most of the resorts are about 60-90 minutes north of Bethlehem by car. For the non-ski bums there is also an outlet center, casinos, and a waterpark in the summer.  edit

The Bethlehem area is also in close proximity to other large cities in the Northeast, such as:

  • Allentown, Pennsylvania's third-largest city, located 3 miles west.
  • 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.
  • 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.
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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