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.

Bethlehem History

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.

Bethlehem Transportation

The city is served by the Lehigh Valley International Airport.

Bethlehem Culture

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

Bethlehem Attractions

  • 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

Bethlehem Nightlife

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.


Total Population 75,004
Male Share of the Population 48.6%
Female Share of the Population 51.4%
Senior Citizens 15.6%
Employed Population 16+ 33,656
Age of the Population 36


% of people married 36.7%
Average household size 2

Education and Earnings

Population % with Bachelor Degree or Higher 26.7%
Median Earnings25+ $34,284
Median Earnings Without High School Qualification $19,790
Median Earnings With High School Degree $30,332


Median Family Income $58,133
% Above Poverty Level 82.5%
% Below Poverty Level 17.5%

Commute & Sprawl

Average Commute Time 23 minutes
% Working from Home 3.4%
% Walking and Biking to Work 5.6%
% Using Public Transportation 3.8%


People Living Alone 34.4%
Median Gross Rent $932
Median House Value $170,500


Other(often includes Hispanic and African American) 36.5%
US/American 0.1%
English 5.8%
Irish 12.5%

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Bethlehem Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Large City 47 miles N of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
County Northampton
Metro Area Allentown - Bethlehem - Easton
Standard Zip Codes 18015, 18016, 18017, 18018, 18020
Company Zip Codes 18025
Phone Area Codes 610
Time Zone Eastern (-5 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 40.625
Longitude -75.37

Bethlehem Climate

Nearest Weather Stations


  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)

Distance 4.5 miles
Jan Temp 19 to 35 F
Apr Temp 38 to 60 F
Jul Temp 63 to 84 F
Oct Temp 41 to 63 F
Annual Precip 45.1 inches
Distance 12.5 miles
Jan Temp 20 to 37 F
Apr Temp 39 to 62 F
Jul Temp 63 to 85 F
Oct Temp 42 to 65 F
Annual Precip 49.7 inches
Distance 18.9 miles
Jan Temp 17 to 36 F
Apr Temp 37 to 60 F
Jul Temp 59 to 83 F
Oct Temp 39 to 63 F
Annual Precip 46 inches

Neighborhood and Nearby Area Names

According to the US Postal Service, Bethlehem, its neighborhoods, and/or surrounding areas are also referred to as:

Butztown (18017)

Note that not all alternate names are acceptable for use in US Post Office addresses.

Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Population Median Family Income
Allentown 119,261 $40,756
Catasauqua 6,505 $60,129
Fountain Hill 4,614 $55,865
Freemansburg 2,618 $61,063
Hellertown 5,858 $64,429

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Bethlehem Public Libraries

Bethlehem Area Public Library
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
(610) 867-3761
Library Web Site

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Bethlehem Hospitals

(Voluntary non-profit - Other)
(215) 691-4200
Emergency Service: Yes

(Voluntary non-profit - Other)
(610) 402-2273
Emergency Service: Yes

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Bethlehem High Schools

(Sorted by Number of Students)

Title I eligible, not participating.
Serves 2,757 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 18.3

Serves 1,918 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 18.3

A Charter School.
Serves 289 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 11.5

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