More than just the Christmas city: Bethlehem, PA

This weekend, my friend drove an hour and a half away from her home to visit me. I hadn’t seen her in months and I was fueled with excitement. I made sure that we visited all there was to see in southside and downtown Bethlehem. Bethlehem is known as the Christmas city because of it’s moniker. Towards the holiday season, there is more events reflecting Christmas’ importance to the city. For now, we just visited the historical sites Bethlehem in the fall had to offer.

First, I took my friend to the Sands Casino near the steelstacks of the once powerful Bethlehem Steel. Part of Transformers 2 was filmed at the steelstacks. Inside, we walked around the shops of the outlets. We went to the information desk inside the casino and got a card that is used to play the slot machines. Because my friend was at the casino for the first time, she was given a $5 credit. She ended up “winning” $3.20.

Sands Casino.
The remaining steelstacks from Bethlehem Steel.

That night we went to the Tally Ho in southside Bethlehem. The bar is frequented by many young people, especially students from nearby Lehigh University. The bar has several different rooms. One is a dining room and sit down place with the large bar. People can order drinks and food. There is also a karaoke room. A room with a large dance floor is  also in the Tally Ho. The Tally Ho has a balcony with lights strung along the overhang.

The next morning we woke and continued our journey through Bethlehem. We at brunch at the Apollo Grill where they have bottomless mimosas for $10 on Saturday with a special brunch menu.  As we walked, we stopped by Hotel Bethlehem. My friend and I walked through the entrance in hopes that we could clandestinely tour the lavish ballrooms, but an event was taking place.

Hotel Bethlehem.

Next, we crossed the street to visit the oldest bookstore in the US, the Moravian Book Shop. It was founded in 1745 by the Moravian Church. The shop includes a cafe inside and candy store.

After we enjoyed some of our fall/Halloween treats, we walked to a more historical site. The Single Sisters’ House was built in 1744.

Next, we roamed the streets of Bethlehem in the more residential area. We happened upon a house cat in our travels and made sure to pet her.

A brought my friend to an old cemetery in which the headstones dated back to the late 1700’s and early 1800’s. Some of the headstones were in disrepair.

Next, I brought my friend to a lookout point where you can see most of southside Bethlehem from the height of downtown Bethlehem. It looks beautiful when the leaves are turning colors.


Unfortunately, my friend didn’t visit me a month earlier and we could have gone to Musikfest together. Musikfest is a yearly event in which many headlining bands and smaller local bands play on stages spread around Bethlehem for several days. I also didn’t have time to show my friend the grandiose and historical campus of Lehigh University.



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