Bethlehem is a city in Pennsylvania with almost 75,000 residents. As of 2010, it is Pennsylvania’s seventh biggest city. The city was founded in 1741 on Christmas Eve by a group of Moravian missionaries, fittingly naming it after the Biblical town of the same name in Judea. During the industrial revolution, the town began producing steel and building ships. Bethlehem is now home to Lehigh University, Moravian College, and the International Institute of Restorative Practices. During August, it hosts Musikfest to celebrate music and the Southside Shopping District hosts First Friday on the first Friday of every month to celebrate local culture.
The overall vibe of Bethlehem is a densely populated suburban city. Because of its large population, some areas of the town feel more urban than others, providing the best of the city and suburban life. It is only an hour and a half from Philadelphia and New York City, giving residents several options for fun day or weekend trips. Bethlehem has an excellent school system and many different arts and culture festivals to enjoy.
Where to Eat and Drink
Don’t miss out on some of Bethlehem’s tasty treats. Try these eateries while in town:
The Bayou Southern Kitchen and Bar — You don’t have to travel to New Orleans to get a taste of Southern cooking. The Bayou Southern Kitchen and Bar offers a unique take on New Orleans flavor with quality ingredients and craft beer. Stop by for some Southern hospitality with a delicious meal.
Edge Restaurant — This restaurant offers customers both a casual and upscale dining experience. It offers an elegant lounge feel that customers are sure to enjoy. Edge Restaurant, led by Executive Chef Timothy Widrick, blends Asian and French flavors to create a unique modern cuisine.
The People’s Kitchen — Although located on Linden Street, The People’s Kitchen is currently operating as a pop-up Tavern due to COVID-19 restrictions. This restaurant offers a small but mighty variety of breakfast delights. At the moment, People’s Kitchen is even offering holiday french toasts and cocktails!
Tre Scilini Ristorante — You can enjoy authentic Italian cuisine at this Bethlehem restaurant. This restaurant is modeled after Chef Santo’s hometown of Palermo, Sicily. Tre Scilini Ristorante serves a menu of dishes inspired by Santo’s childhood and travels and made with the freshest ingredients available.
Tavern at the Sun Inn — This tavern is located in a Bethlehem building built in 1758. Tavern has been operating out of this building since 2016, giving customers a taste of history as they drink and dine. You can even enjoy your meal on the outdoor patio.
Where to Shop
Looking to buy some fun stuff for your home or find the perfect gift? Check out these shops in Bethlehem:
Into the Myst — If you’re a fan of all things witchy, check out Into the Myst. This is a metaphysical shop, serving the pagan and spiritual community of Bethlehem. You can purchase anything from incense to gemstones to tarot cards here.
Paisley Sun — This local shop is known for selling stars! Paisley Sun offers star light fixtures made with frosted and mirrored glass as well as tin and paper. You can also find umbrellas, trinkets, and even stuffed gnomes.
La Petite Provence — Need some new home decor? Check out La Petite Provence. It has a variety of eclectic and colorful homewares, like linens and tea sets.
Foo Foo Shoppe — The Foo Foo Shoppe isn’t just known for its bath and body products. The shop also sells designer rubber ducks made to look like real historical figures and famous characters. Its website features a tab of “Fun Stuff,” including a chicken purse and a T-Rex taco holder.
Three Things You Shouldn’t Miss
If you enjoy a little culture, don’t forget to explore some of Bethlehem’s unique experiences. Stop by these places while in town:
Lehigh and Keystone Valley Model Railroad Museum — If you love trains, you’ll love this museum. The Lehigh and Keystone Valley Model Railroad Museum features a model version of the Lehigh Valley Railroad as it was in the mid-20th century. The models are historical, town landmarks recreated from old photographs for accuracy.
SteelStacks Cultural Center — If you’re in the mood for a celebration, stop by SteelStacks Cultural Center. This is a ten-acre center that hosts community events, celebrations, and festivals on the site of five blast furnaces used by the Bethlehem steel-making industry. There are a variety of onsite restaurants as well so you can snack while you enjoy the festivities.
Burnside Plantation — Not to be confused with plantations in the south, Burnside Plantation was simply a working farm in the 1700s and 1800s. Now, the 6.5-acre site is open for tours to the public and on the National Register of Historic Places.
Ready to check out more of what Bethlehem has to offer? Make sure to visit their website to learn even more before you go! Reacy to look for your next home in the Bethlehem area? Go here to start searching: www.cbhre.com.