Take a Magical Christmas Trip through Bethlehem, PA!

Thursday, November 19, 2020
Looking for a fun, safe weekend getaway*? Or maybe you're looking to travel within your own state of Pennsylvania and you need some new ideas for holiday fun? Bethlehem, known as Christmas City, USA, sparkles with holiday magic. The 81-foot tall star of Bethlehem shines on a mountainside overlooking the city. As you enter Bethlehem, gorgeous decorations put you in the holiday spirit. Eight-hundred Christmas trees adorn the light posts. Moravian stars glitter from store fronts. Read on for more details!

*Please see important COVID-19 travel information about visiting Pennsylvania (in post) 

**Please note: effective November 20, 2020, The Secretary of Health for the state of Pennsylvania issued an order requiring anyone who visits from another state (including New Jersey) to have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to entering the commonwealth. If someone cannot get a test or chooses not to, they must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Pennsylvania (you can read more details here). Sorry, folks. Sad, but true. However, I encourage those living in Pennsylvania to get out there and safely enjoy these wonderful activities and events in their state. Please remember to follow all guidelines and regulations for COVID-19 safety

Disclosure: this post was written in conjunction with The Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce and The Downtown Bethlehem Association. All text and photos were shared with their permission. 

You can explore Christmas City, USA  in a horse drawn carriage as snow gently falls on the historic downtown’s cobblestone streets or take a historic walking tour with a guide dressed like she just stepped out of the 1700's. Find the perfect gifts at an outdoor shopping hut. When it’s time to warm up, settle into a private, heated Christmas Cottage for a hot cocoa and to-go meal from a food truck or local restaurant. 

The business community fully embraces the season. For example, The Historic Hotel Bethlehem decks the halls with 35,000 Christmas lights, 36 wreaths, six 7-foot tall toy soldiers, two life-size nutcrackers, and a gingerbread house modeled after the hotel. 
Bethlehem’s Rich History

A small Protestant denomination known as the Moravians founded Bethlehem in a stable on Christmas Eve, 1741. In 1937, it was officially dubbed Christmas City, USA. 

Things to Do

There are plenty of safe outdoor activities to help you celebrate the season in Bethlehem!

Live Advent Calendar
Enjoy delightful surprises every night from December 1st-23rd. Nightly surprises include musical performances, stories, and tasty treats.

Christmas Huts on Main
Visit charming, holiday-themed wooden huts packed with unique holiday gifts from local artisans and business owners.

COVID Safe Santa
Kids can drop off letters to Santa at Brownstone Design. The Jolly Old Elf himself will be there in the window for safe photo opportunities. 

Celebrate an Old Fashioned Christmas
The Historic Colonial Industrial Quarter is the perfect setting for holiday festivities. You can enjoy pop-up shopping, Putz displays, a winter art exhibit, family photo opportunities, live music, food trucks, kids crafts and activities, holiday desserts, and more. Plus, when you need a safe, socially distant break, your group of up to 5 people can rent a cozy Christmas Cottage to warm up. 


Bethlehem has a charming shopping district with an eclectic mix of boutiques. You’ll find gems like an olive oil tap room, a handcrafted popcorn counter, an Irish gift importer, an old-fashioned candy shop, a hand-cut crystal store, an elegant bath and body shop, and more. 


Whether you’re looking for an elegant dining experience or a quick bite to go, Bethlehem boasts an  impressive restaurant selection. Start with an over-the-top breakfast experience that includes a cannoli filled french toast tower at Billy’s Downtown Diner. Savor a gourmet lunch at Hotel Bethlehem’s 1741 on the Terrace, which overlooks the historic downtown. Get an afternoon energy boost with a snack at Crave juice and smoothie bar. Wrap up the day with an interactive dinner at The Melting Pot and dessert at the Hotel B Ice Cream Parlor. 

If you love locally produced wine, beer and spirits, Bethlehem is the place for you! You can grab a craft microbrew at Bethlehem Brew Works, a brewery powered by 100% green energy. Savor locally produced wine at Franklin Hill Vineyards. In addition to traditional favorites, they serve unique wines that taste like cake, cotton candy, and coconut. If you prefer craft cocktails, consider stopping by Christmas City Spirits or slipping into The Bookstore Speakeasy.

Where to Stay

With so much to see and do in the region, why not make a weekend of it? There are plenty of places to stay in Bethlehem. For historic charm, The Historic Hotel Bethlehem is a must visit. The Sayre Mansion offers an elegant bed and breakfast experience. If you’re feeling lucky, consider staying at Wind Creek Bethlehem, a AAA four-diamond property with easy access to the casino floor.

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