Founded in 1741, Bethlehem is a city of 75,000 centered in the Lehigh Valley, a 730 square mile (1000 square km) region of 800,000 people. Bethlehem and the Lehigh Valley have a number of activities. In addition to being the site of Lehigh University, Southside Bethlehem includes the ArtsQuest center, which has national-level musical entertainment twice a week. The center also includes a two-screen “Alehouse” cinema, meaning that beer, wine, and cocktails can be purchased for consumption inside the theater. Nearby, the Sands Casino Resort has ten restaurants on premises, including three restaurants run by celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse. Sands also includes an upscale outlet shopping center. A short, inexpensive bus ride enables access to a wide range of other dining and shopping options in the city. The historically minded can take tours of historic Bethlehem and visit the world’s oldest continually operating bookstore.
Other options are available for those who are willing to take a short trip outside of the city. Dorney Park, a full-fledged amusement park with 8 roller coasters is next door to Bethlehem in Allentown, PA. Martin Guitar (one of the most famous acoustic guitar makers) is located in nearby Nazareth and offers daily tours. Children of all ages will love the “The Crayola Experience” in Easton, only a 20 minute drive away. Those inclined toward nature can raft on the Lehigh river, hike through one of the many parks located with an hour’s drive of Bethlehem or visit the Pocono mountains, a popular summer retreat for New Yorkers and Philadelphians.
See below for some recommended actvities while in town. A more complete list can be found at the Discovery Lehigh Valley web site.
- Oktoberfest, Sat. Oct. 10 12-11pm, Sun., Oct. 11, 12-8pm: Experience Oktoberfest Pennsylvania Dutch style at the SteelStacks.
- Whitewater Dam Release, Sat. Oct. 10 and Sun., Oct. 11: Paddle the Lehigh River at its most exciting, during the largest annual release from the dam. Enjoy 12 miles of class II and III rapids.
- Steel Stacks: A ten-acre campus dedicated to arts, culture, family events, community celebrations, education and fun. Check their events page for free concerts, ticketed concerts, comedy shows, and films.
- Zoelner Arts Center: Lehigh Unviersity's performing arts center which regularly books outside acts. On Saturday Oct. 10, the center hosts Lisa Fischer & Grand Baton, while on Saturday, Oct. 17, Patti LaBelle performs.
- Sands Event Center: Although the Event Center will be hosting ISWC Tuesday through Thursday, it is normally a venue for concerts and comedy. See the schedule here. This week includes Smokey Robinson, Brian Regan, and Pat Benatar with Neil Giraldo.
- Godfrey Daniels: Considered one of the finest folk music venues in the country.
- Molten bar at Sands Casino: Has live entertainment every night of the week.
Museums and Tours
- The Historic Bethlehem Partnership is offering our group discounts on tours and museum pases. The Rise and Fall of Bethlehem Steel tour is offered at $10 (a $2 discount) and a $2 discount on the Pass Into History. Tours for our group are offered between 11am and 4pm on Sunday, Oct. 11, and 9-5pm on Monday Oct. 12. Please contact Michael Vyskocil at firstname.lastname@example.org by Oct. 1 to reserve a tour.
- Halloween Haunt at Dorney Park. At night choose from 25 rides, four "scare zones," seven mazes, and two live shows. During the day, Snoopy's Halloween Party provides more family-friendly fun. Tickets start at $37. Open Fridays, 6pm-12am, Saturdays, 11am-12am, and Sundays 11am-7pm. Open to 11pm on Sunday Oct. 11.