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A city made famous for its history and industries- Bethlehem is a city that is often overlooked when it comes to booking a holiday destination. But, did you know how big of a role it played in the industrial revolution of the States?
Located in the Lehigh Valley, Bethlehem is a hidden gem of Pennsylvania. With an abundance of interesting museums- it also happens to be the city where you could spend the perfect vacation.
Come on- let us take a look at the top 15 things to do in Bethlehem.
Book yourself a historic trip
Bethlehem is a city of history. There is no shortage of historic attractions here in Bethlehem. You could turn a corner, and see something that used to be extremely significant once upon a time.
In such a case- it might be difficult for you to grab a map and visit every place that reeks of history. What we’d like to suggest at the beginning of the trip is that you should go book yourself one of the historical trips in Bethlehem.
Historic Bethlehem Tours would be one of the best tour operators for you. You can even take part in a walking trip where they walk around and show you all the good spots and tell you stories. They even plan some appropriate tours on different seasons. The winter ones are the best!
Pay a visit to the National Museum of Industrial History
Steel was one of the biggest industries here in Bethlehem. There were also silk industries that made generous contributions to the economy. The propane industry was also quite well renowned.
The National Museum of Industrial History has preserved the once upon a time industrially rich Bethlehem. And, it tells the tales of a time when all of these industries were ruling the city.
It also shows how Bethlehem came up with some of the best engines. The Philadelphian Centennial exposition had a lot of things on its display that were made by the people of Bethlehem.
The National Museum of Industrial History is a must-visit if you wish to see how grand Bethlehem used to be back in the day.
Plan a morning at the historical Burnside Plantation
The Burnside Plantation is one of the top tourist spots here in Bethlehem. And, the reason why it attracts a lot of people has to be its past.
It has seen a vivid amount of things for the past 350-400 years. The Burnside Plantation served as James and Mary Burnside’s home.
But, then it got turned into a farm that has got a lot of historic significance in 1748. The plantation has horse-powered wheels that are extremely rare and were the only one of its kind back then.
The great news is that they are still here for the tourists to see. You could book one of the Open Gate Farm Tours and get a good look around. Choose a sunny day, go over, and great some of the best stories in history.
Go to the Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts
When you are here in Bethlehem, you are going to come across some unique attractions that are quirky and draw a lot of people at the same time.
Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts is another one of these attractions. The authorities took three 19th century houses that make up the museum.
Did you know the whole country has only 15 of these? Yes, Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts is one of them. So, you get why it is so crowded all the time.
The furniture, dinnerware, clothing, different pieces of art- display how much different things used to be back in the old days.
There are even rotating galleries inside. There is also a garden outside that has been designed by Scott Rothenberger. Do take a quick look before leaving.
Celebrate Christmas in Bethlehem
The best time to visit Bethlehem is no doubt Christmas. Bethlehem is such a city that gets lit up in the holiday spirit and gets in a festive mood way before the other cities.
Also, nicknamed the Christmas City- Bethlehem gets decorated on another level during the epic holidays. Tourists look forward to Christmas so that they can plan their best holiday trips here!
Do you want to look for some gifts? How great would it be if you buy Christmas gifts for your family and peers on vacation? Yes, it’d be a souvenir as well as a Christmas gift.
All the shops get ready with some of the best Christmas-worthy gifts from a month before. The entire downtown gets all lit up in Christmas lights. You’d have yourself a jolly good time here!
Visit the old days in Hoover Mason Trestle
You might have heard about the legendary Bethlehem Steel that happened to be one of the biggest industries here in Bethlehem.
During the time of industrialization- Hoover Mason Trestle played an important role. It is a huge park that lies at the height of almost 1650 feet.
Did you know it was the helping hand in bringing raw materials to the industries? Yes, once trains used to pass through this trestle.
So, you can say Hoover Mason Trestle was one of the key factors in the industrial development of Bethlehem.
The National Museum of Industrial History that we were talking about is built here. And, people usually come here to walk through this historic passageway and take a look at the museum.
Know more about the transportation aspect at America on Wheels
America on Wheels is a rather interesting museum to check out. But, the only drawback is that it is not in Bethlehem. Allenton is another small city lying in the west of Bethlehem. But, the museum of America on Wheels lies here.
Wish to know how transportation used to be back in the days? Know the entire system of Bethlehem and its surrounding towns right here in this museum.
Lehigh Valley was quite modern when it came to the motor industry. It saw cars way ahead of others. Henry Nadig made a car in 1889 that was powered by gas. It is also said this car was among the first of its kind.
Plan a stay at the place where Winston Churchill once spent a night!
Everyone knows about the Historic Hotel Bethlehem. But, did you know how many famous people have stayed here? Yes, the Historic Hotel Bethlehem has seen some of the best guests over the years.
It has seen American Presidents, even Dalai Lama, and the great Winston Churchill as its most famous guests.
So, how would you feel that you can spend a night in the hotel where these famous people stayed? Yes, Historic Hotel Bethlehem lets commoners book a room too!
Do check for reservations and prices before you plan your stay and book a ticket. The hotel also has one of the very best locations in downtown!
Check out the historic landmark of the Moravian Museum of Bethlehem
The Moravian Museum of Bethlehem is not just a single building. It has a lot of old buildings under its wing. The buildings are from the 18th century. You need to book a trip here, for there are a lot of houses with a lot of history here.
You need to get into details. And, you need to listen to all the stories. So, a guide would truly be wonderful.
The most famous building around here has to be Gemienhaus. It can also be called the oldest of the lot for it was constructed back in 1741.
This home has five floors, and herein lies the actual museum. Inside the museum- you shall find all the stories. The town was found by the Moravians.
Learn more about industrial Bethlehem at Colonial Industrial Quarter
Once you are here at the Moravian Museum of Bethlehem, you cannot leave so easily. These were the first sparks of industrialization here in Bethlehem. And, they hold a lot of significance.
If you want to take a closer look at how the industries used to look back in the day- Colonial Industrial Quarter is a great place to go visit within the landmark district.
The building’s location beside Monocacy Creek holds some importance too. Yes, it was mainly so that they could easily churn in power. Monocacy Creek used to give power to all the industries for this reason.
There was a tannery, several blacksmith industries, sawmills, and even soap mills.
Enjoy a delicious meal at Billy’s Downtown Diner
If you are looking for a quaint location to get over with your meals, then we have to recommend Billy’s Downtown Diner to you.
Also, this place gives off that old diner vibes. People love the ambiance and come to the diner many times on their trips. It also has another restaurant in Allentown.
The breakfast menu is vast and delicious. Pancakes and syrups get most of the votes here. Now, the restaurant is also working on adding some new and quirky items to its menu.
You could even drop in for a cup of coffee here. The milkshakes are worth a try too.
Treat yourself to some beers at Fegley’s Brew Works
The Fegley’s Brew Works is such a place that is equally visited by tourists as well as visitors at all hours of the day.
Also, the brewery has its branches and shops all over Bethlehem and even in the neighboring towns and cities. It is in fact, a microbrewery. And, you can even get a lot of food to go along with your dishes. They say that Fegley’s Brew Works makes a killer classic burger.
The fish and chips deserve a special mention here. The locals put it on their must-try list. Most people like to devour their beer and nachos. They also make some of the best cocktails.
Go scuba diving at Dutch Springs
Are you looking forward to having some fun with the waters? Yes, we get that Bethlehem is decorated in that historical touch, and there are not a lot of places that give off some great views. But, we do have a great place for you to enjoy during the summer.
Dutch Springs is one of the rare locations just outside of Bethlehem with immense natural beauty. You can have a great time with the water here. Go swimming!
Wanna have a go at scuba diving here at Bethlehem? Dutch Springs offers those services too. Pennsylvania boasts of this spot for there are not a lot of scuba diving spots in the country.
Learn more about canals at National Canal Museum
You might have noticed it by now- Bethlehem is the land of history and museums that clarify the different historic aspects.
The National Canal Museum is located further away from Bethlehem in its eastern part- Easton. But, the displays inside are way too informative. Canals played an important role in shaping the industries and development in the old days.
Though you won’t find a lot of functional canals nowadays, you cannot deny the fact they were once the biggest source of connectivity.
The National Canal Museum tells in detail about the different canals that were in the area. The Lehigh Canal is just nearby. And, the museum also shows you more about the canal by providing boat rides.
End the trip with some delicious ice cream
It is time for us to bid our farewell to Bethlehem. But, don’t be sad. We have a treat for you before you leave. How does ice cream sound for breakfast?
Is your sweet tooth craving for some of the best homemade icecreams in Bethlehem? Come on.
Nuts About Ice Cream is a famous ice cream parlor here in Bethlehem. And, their catch is that all the ice creams have been made with love at home!
Though they usually work with the traditional ice cream flavors- some of the exclusive ice creams can make your day! The shop has been here for generations, and now they know what they are doing. They also sell flavored yogurt!
These are the top 15 things to do in Bethlehem. We hope we persuaded you to take this vacation. We shall be back with another wonderful trip all planned out for you soon! Till then, stay safe and stay tuned!