20 Things To Do In Bethlehem

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Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, is a small city in the eastern part of the state, about 60 miles (95km) north of Philadelphia and 80 miles (128km) west of New York City. Bethlehem has a long history dating back to its founding in 1741 by a Moravian minister named Count Nicolaus Zinzendorf. Though it began as a small farming community, the city grew rapidly during the Industrial Revolution and became known for its steel production.

Today, Bethlehem is best known for its large steel mill, the Sands Casino Resort, and the Christmas City Village holiday celebration (the beloved Christkindlmarkt). With a population of just over 75,000 people, it’s the perfect place to visit if you’re looking for a small-town feel with all the comforts and amenities of a big city. It really has something for the whole family, and if you’re planning a visit, here are a few things to do in Bethlehem you won’t want to miss.

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

20 Things To Do In Bethlehem

1- Visit The Bethlehem Visitor’s Center & Museum

No visit to Bethlehem is complete without seeing the Historic Bethlehem Visitor’s Center & Museum, housed in an 18th-century building and offers a look into what life was like in colonial America.

The museum is in the city centre and provides a great overview of Bethlehem’s long and fascinating history. Plus, it’s free to enter.

There are always different exhibits and activities that focus on various aspects of the city’s history, so every visit is different.

You can find the museum at 505 Main St, Bethlehem.

2- Explore The Moravian Museum

bethlehem PA Moravian quarter
Exploring Moravian history is one of the unusual things to do in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

History buffs will love the Moravian Museum of Bethlehem, which is dedicated to the history and culture of the Moravian people.

It’s in an 18th-century Moravian church and is one of the country’s oldest museums.

This historic site includes a recreation of a 1754 Moravian settlement and a museum with artifacts from the Delaware tribe that once lived in the area.

This fascinating museum is home to exhibits that interest visitors of all ages.

Whether you’re interested in learning about Moravian history and culture or want to see some cool art and artifacts, it’s worth checking out.

The museum is at 66 W Church St, Bethlehem.

3- Be Entertained at the SteelStacks

things to do in bethlehem pa steel factory
Exploring history is one of the interesting things to do in Bethlehem PA.

Did you know that there’s an art installation in Bethlehem that is made out of steel?

It’s aptly called the SteelStacks and it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area.

One of the more recognisable attractions in the area, this former steel mill has been transformed into an arts and cultural campus.

There’s always something happening here, from concerts and festivals to food truck rallies. Plus, it’s right next to the beautiful Lehigh River Canal Park.

You cannot miss it – look for the giant steel stacks looming in the distance.

The location of the SteelStacks is 101 Founders Way, Bethlehem.

4- Explore the Lehigh Canal

If you want a nice drive and a family-friendly adventure while in Bethlehem, consider the 22-mile (35km) drive to the Lehigh Canal.

A fun thing to do is to rent a canoe and paddle down the canal or walk or bike ride along the towpath.

fI you need an adventure, try white water rafting if it’s the right time of the year.

So whatever you’re into, the Lehigh Canal has something for everyone.

Go on, pack a lunch and get ready to explore.

The canal is over 100 miles (160km) long and the section that meanders near Bethlehem is the most picturesque.

There are a few suitable stops along the canal, but you can get there by driving north on the PA-145.

5- Admire Designs at Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts

The Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts is a great place if you’re looking for a dose of art and history.

The museum is in a lovely Victorian mansion and is home to an impressive collection of furniture, textiles, and other decorative arts from the 18th and 19th centuries.

You’ll also find exhibits on the history of American design, so it’s a great place to learn more about the development of this important aspect of our culture.

The best part is that admission is free.

The museum is conveniently located at 427 N New St, Bethlehem.

6- Enjoy The Views From The Hoover Mason Trestle

Visiting the Hoover Mason Trestle is one of the pleasant things to do in the Bethlehem area.

This historical landmark was built in 1907 and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

It used to be used by cars to deliver ingredients needed to make iron, and today it is an elevated park and pedestrian walkway.

The views from the Trestle are breathtaking, and it’s worth the hike up to see them.

Be sure to bring your camera.

The self-guided tour is free and there are fun and interactive displays and placards located all along.

The Trestle is located next to the SteelStacks at 101 Founders Way, Bethlehem.

7- Take The Kids To The Crayola Experience

fun things to do in bethlehem pa Frame of colorful wax crayons with their points facing inwards in a radiating circle with central blank white.
Taking the family to the crayola experience is a fun thing to do in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

If you want to get your kids excited about a trip to Bethlehem, then tell them they’re going to the Crayola Experience.

It really is an experience and so much more than an amusement park.

Kids (and kids-at-heart) will love this unique attraction, where they can explore their creativity with hands-on activities like making their own crayons and markers.

It’s truly a creative way to spend a day with your family.

There’s also a café and a gift store with unique and colourful souvenirs.

The Crayola Experience is just a short 15-minute drive away at 30 Centre Sq Cir, Easton, PA.

8- Wander Around The Christkindlmarkt

things to do in bethlehem pa at Christmas Hand-made Christmas decorations
Wandering around the Christmas market is one of the enjoyable things to do in Bethlehem PA.

Did you know that Bethlehem is known as the Christmas City? And for good reason. It was given its name on Christmas Eve in 1741, and to this day, one of the most impressive attractions in the town is the annual Chriskindlmarket.

Locals and visitors flock to this festive German market to wander around the charming wooden stalls selling traditional Christmas gifts and festive foods.

You’ll find yourself surrounded by the beautiful sound of Christmas carols sung by local choirs, all while sipping hot cocoa or mulled wine.

It’s only open on weekends during the holiday season from November 18 until December 18.

Follow the sounds of Christmas cheer until you find yourself at the market at 101 Founders Way, Bethlehem

9- Take a Walking Tour of Historic Bethlehem

things to do in bethlehem pa
The Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, is America’s sixth-oldest college, founded in 1742 by followers of John Amos Comenius, a 17th-century Moravian bishop.

One of the draws for visitors to Bethlehem is that it is full of 18th and 19th-century buildings, charming streets and beautiful views.

The walking tour will take you past all the highlights.

You can easily explore yourself with a self-guided tour, but for a more authentic experience, check out the Historic Bethlehem Tour, which is led by enthusiastic locals who bring history and drama to each tour.

You will feel like you are in historical Bethlehem and have so much fun that you won’t even realise that you are learning about an important part of American history.

The tours start at the ArtsQuest Visitor Center (711 First Street, Bethlehem).

10- Explore The Historic Burnside Plantation

Another unique thing to do in Bethlehem is to visit the Burnside Plantation.

This historic house and farm are open to the public for tours and provide an opportunity to learn about life in the 1800s.

The plantation is also home to some beautiful gardens, so take a walk around them while you’re there.

It’s free to enter and walk around and there’s a playground onsite to keep the kids entertained.

If you visit on the first Saturday of the month, there are different planned activities for kids, such as arts and crafts and barn tours.

The Plantation house is at 1461 Schoenersville Road, Bethlehem.

11- See The Grist Mill In Illick’s Mill Park

If you’re looking for a beautiful and peaceful spot to spend an afternoon, Illick’s Mill Park is a small park along the banks of the Lehigh River.

Home to a historic gristmill that dates back to the 1700s, it’s a great place for a relaxing walk or a picnic lunch with friends. And if you’re lucky, you might even see some wildlife while you’re there (try to resist feeding them).

While the park is beautiful at any time of the year, autumn is the most picturesque.

You can find the park at 100 Illick’s Mill Rd, Bethlehem.

12- Wander Around The Banana Factory

For another fun thing to do while in Bethlehem, check out The Banana Factory.

It may have a silly name, but this arts centre offers visitors a chance to see art exhibits, listen to music performances, and take classes.

You can purchase unique gifts at the gift shop, and be sure to check out the schedule of events before you visit, so you can plan your time accordingly.

The Banana Factory is at 5 W 3rd St #300, Bethlehem.

13- Go Winetasting At Blue Mountain Vineyards & Winery

things to do in bethlehem, pa two hands clinking wine glasses
Going wine tasting is another thing to do in Bethlehem.

Sample some locally made wine at Blue Mountain Vineyards & Winery.

The family-owned and operated vineyard offers award-winning wines in a picturesque setting.

The vineyard has been producing wine since the early 1800s, so it’s fair to say that they know what they’re doing.

You can sample some of their delicious red and white wines, and there’s a café on site to grab a bite before the ride back.

This vineyard is located just outside town (7627 Grape Vine Dr, New Tripoli) and offers tours and tastings seven days a week.

14- Taste Craft Beer At Allentown Brew Works

Brew lovers rejoice! The Allentown Brew Works is now offering tours of its state-of-the-art brewery.

Guests can see firsthand how the brewers craft their award-winning beers and learn about the history of beermaking in the Lehigh Valley.

Best of all, you get to sample some of the beer at the end of the tour.

This local brewery offers tours seven days a week and a restaurant serving traditional pub fare with a twist.

The Brew Works is located just out of town at 812 Hamilton St, Allentown.

15- Try Your Luck At Wind Creek

Wind Creek Bethlehem (formerly the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem) is one of the best casinos in Pennsylvania and is worth a visit if you’re looking for some excitement.

It offers a wide variety of slots, table games, restaurants and a hotel.

So whether you’re a seasoned pro or just looking for a night out, trying your luck at Wind Creek is a fun thing to do in Bethlehem.

If you’re not interested in gambling, check out the outlet shopping mall, luxury spa and salon onsite.

Check the schedule to see who’s performing during your visit – the casino is at 77 Wind Creek Blvd, Bethlehem.

16- Step Back In Time At The Historic Sun Inn

This inn was built in 1758 and served as a stagecoach stop during the Revolutionary War years.

Today, it operates as a museum with guides in period clothing who share stories about life during that time.

The historic building is more than 200 years old, and visitors can explore all three floors of it.

Several exhibits are also displayed, including antique furniture, textiles, and clocks.

You’ll even find some colonial-era weapons on exhibit.

This historic museum is at 556 Main St, Bethlehem.

17- See The Sculptures At The Lehigh Millennium 

The Lehigh Millennium Folk Arch and Art Enclave is a hidden gem in Bethlehem.

It’s located just out of town, and you can find art, nature, and history all in one place.

The arch was erected to honour the millennium, and the art enclave features beautiful sculptures and unique paintings.

The art is all created by college students and is different from anything you see in a standard gallery.

Have a walk around and be amazed by the distinctive art and sculptures; the Millennium Folk Arch is the most famous and impressive.

Parking is available at the nearby university.

You will find the sculptures at Upper Sayre Park Rd, Bethlehem.

18- Cool Down At Dorney Park & Wild Water Kingdom

Summer is a fantastic season to take a road trip and visit Dorney Park & Wild Water Kingdom.

There’s something for everyone at this amusement park, from roller coasters to water slides.

The park opened in 1882, and you can be part of history on the antique carousel and wooden rollercoaster (called the Thunderhawk).

The Thunderhawk is one of the oldest operating rollercoasters in the world.

The park is seasonal and open between May and October (weather pending).

The park is a 15-mile (25km) drive from Bethlehem at 3830 Dorney Park Rd, Allentown.

19- Ring The Replica Liberty Bell

things to do in bethlehem liberty bell
Ringing a replica of the Liberty Bell is one of the fun things to do in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

The Liberty Bell Museum is a fantastic spot if you’re looking for historical and educational fun because it has one of the original copies of the Liberty Bell, which was made famous by its use in the Declaration of Independence.

A wide range of interactive exhibits will teach you all about American history and the constitution’s origins.

You can even ring the replica bell yourself.

So if you’re looking for a day out that will educate and entertain, check out the Liberty Bell Museum.

You can find the replica bell and museum at 622 Hamilton St, Allentown.

20- Enjoy The Lehigh & Keystone Valley Model Railroad Museum

For another interesting thing to do in Bethlehem, check out the Lehigh & Keystone Valley Model Railroad Museum.

This museum is home to one of the largest model railroad displays in the Northeast, and it offers a unique experience that is perfect for enthusiasts and newcomers.

With trains winding their way through miniature landscapes, you can lose yourself in this enchanting world for hours.

So if you’re looking for something different to do during your stay in the Lehigh Valle, add the model railroad museum to your list.

You can find the trains and the museum at 705 Linden St, Bethlehem.

Whether you’re interested in history, arts and culture or just looking for somewhere to go when it’s raining, there are enough things to do in Bethlehem you might have trouble deciding where to start. With a little planning, you can fit everything (well, nearly everything) into one quick getaway. So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and visit this charming Pennsylvania city today.

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emma denning
Emma is an Aussie writer and travel enthusiast. Born and raised in Adelaide, South Australia, she has lived in Philadelphia, USA for the past three years and is preparing for her next big move to The UK in 2023. A University graduate in Supply Chain Management, she decided to break away from the corporate 9-5 after only a couple of years to pursue freelance writing. Emma has travelled to over 30 countries and hopes to visit at least 30 more in the next 10 years. Her favourite travel destination is Southeast Asia (Thailand in particular), and hopes to live there one day near an elephant sanctuary.