Introduction to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, in Northampton county, is 47 miles N of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Bethlehem is situated in Lehigh Valley in the eastern part of the state. The Lehigh Valley region includes Bethlehem, Easton and Allentown and is the third largest metropolitan area in the state. The city includes three major sections and they all feature locations included in the National Register of Historic Places. Bethlehem is known as Christmas City and during the Christmas season tourists arrive to see the prominent display of light collections.
The city was established in 1741 by a group of Moravians. It was named after the town of Bethlehem in Judea. The city was a major location for heavy industry during the Industrial Revolution. Bethlehem Steel was established in 1904 and was the first company to manufacture the popular "I-beam" and was a prominent supplier of armor plates and armaments during World War I and World War II. In 1995 the Bethlehem Steel plant was closed.
In 1937 the notable huge wooden star and the city's Christmas street lights were lit up in a highly attended grand ceremony which was listened to on the radio by thousands of people. This was the year the name "Christmas City, USA" was given to Bethlehem.
Bethlehem Higher Education
Lehigh University and Moravian College are located in the city. Northampton Community College is situated in nearby Bethlehem Township. Moravian College is one of the oldest colleges in the nation.
The city is served by the Lehigh Valley International Airport.
Some of the cultural events in Bethlehem include:
- The well known Musikfest is a ten day event that occurs in August and typically attracts more than a million people to Bethlehem.
- The Celtic Classic is a popular festival which features Celtic food, music and culture.
- The South Side Film Festival.
- The Banana Factory includes artist studios and is open once a month for visitors.
- Touchtone Theatre offers original theatrical performances.
- Zoellner Arts Center features musical and dramatic performances.
- Harvest Festival occurs in the Historic Bethlehem's Main Street and includes a produce market and a variety of entertainment during the evening.
- Ballet Guild of the Lehigh Valley.
- Chamber Music Society of Bethlehem.
- Moravian Museum is situated in the oldest house in the city and focuses on the art and culture of the early Moravians.
- Pennsylvania Playhouse.
- The Bach Choir.
- First Night Bethlehem.
- The Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts features folk art and furnishings and a large number of cast-iron toys.
- The Philadelphia Eagles football team has its pre-season training camp at Lehigh University. Thousands of fans attend each practice session.
- Stabler Arena, located at Lehigh University features sporting and music events.
- The Lehigh Valley Outlaws play indoor football.
- Historic Bethlehem features boutiques, spas and numerous clubs.
- Pre-Revolutionary buildings featuring German architecture are located in the city.
- Lehigh Valley Zoo.
- Lost River Caverns & Gilman Museum includes a limestone cavern which features chambers of crystal formations. It also showcases a museum of natural history and a tropical garden.
- The Star of Bethlehem lights up at night and can be seen throughout the city.
- Hotel Bethlehem.
- The Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom features a vast number of attractions and thrill rides.
College students enjoy the Boyd, Pop-mart, Club 40, and Beer Belly's and other popular venues. The Boyd is known for it's excellent sound system. Club 40 offers one of the largest dance floors in the Valley. The Bethlehem Brew Works features various locally produced beers.