The Bethlehem Steel Stacks at night - one of the best things to do in Bethlehem, PA

Old & New Collide in Beautiful Bethlehem, PA!

Select Registry - July 28, 2022

Where Historic Meets Modern

Checking out the historic buildings is one of the best things to do in Bethlehem, PA

With a rich colonial and industrial history at its core, there are several fantastic things to do in Bethlehem, PA. Bethlehem is located in the popular Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania, an area of the state popular for its rolling hills and other charming small towns like Easton and Allentown. 

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania’s sixth-largest city, is located just a few minutes outside Allentown. It’s rated as one of the top 100 cities in America to live in, thanks to its vibrant city life and rich cultural fabric running through it – not to mention the wide range of things to do in Bethlehem, PA. 

Bethlehem was once best known for Bethlehem Steel Corporation, a former steel factory that was abandoned as manufacturing declined in the late 20th century. Bethlehem Steel was the second-largest producer in the country and the country’s largest shipbuilding. They manufactured steel for various of the country’s most significant public works projects, including the George Washington Bridge, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Empire State Building, and the Hoover Dam. 

Losing Bethlehem Steel was a massive blow to the town’s economy. However, they responded to this tremendous loss with revitalization, producing the exciting and vibrant city you see before you today. Steel remains at the center of life in Bethlehem, with today’s Bethlehem SteelStacks, located on land formerly owned by Bethlehem Steel Corporation.

Bethlehem SteelStacks is the largest revitalized brownfield in the country and today stands as a leading arts destination. It’s also one of the most popular things to do in Bethlehem, PA! As you will soon see, there’s a little bit of something for everyone in this historic steel town. 

There are so many things to do in Bethlehem, PA, that you’ll need at least a few days to enjoy it all – and that doesn’t even factor in any of the other great places worth visiting in the greater Lehigh Valley! There’s no better place to stay in Bethlehem, PA, than Select Registry’s partner Pennsylvania Bed and Breakfast. 

Select Registry works with a broad network of Bed and Breakfasts around the country, setting a standard for hospitality that is unmatched in the industry. Whether visiting exciting towns like Bethlehem in your own backyard or visiting destinations on the opposite side of the country, partnering with Select Registry Bed and Breakfasts ensures you’ll have an exceptional home away from home for the duration of your stay. 

Visiting the Colonial Quarters is one of the best things to do in Bethlehem, PA

Great Things to do in Bethlehem, PA

Bethlehem has a truly fascinating past. Moravians founded it in the mid-1700s, and it soon became a mecca for rapidly industrializing America. You can see fantastic examples of Bethlehem’s historic roots throughout town, which includes a landmark historic district and several beautifully preserved buildings. 

It’s hard to ignore Bethlehem’s historic past as the epicenter for steel manufacturing, which first came to town in 1899. This age was definitely Bethlehem’s heyday, and it struggled through the manufacturing decline in the 70s and 80s. Learning about this history is one of the leading things to do in Bethlehem, PA, too. 

The city has rebounded to become a leading destination in the state, with various other offerings for visitors. Still, the steel legacy is embedded in the very fabric of the city. That includes leading attractions, like Bethlehem SteelStacks, one of the most popular things to do in Bethlehem, PA. Manufacturing is still essential to Bethlehem’s economy, with local factories including Just Born, which makes Peeps and Mike and Ikes. 

It isn’t all big manufacturing all the time, though. There are plenty more things to do in Bethlehem, PA, that have nothing to do with industry or trade. In fact, Bethlehem’s other nickname is Christmas City, thanks to the holiday magic that comes to town each year. 

These two things are just the beginning, though. Get ready for a great collision of modern and old in Bethlehem. Below, you’ll find our top ten things to do in Bethlehem, PA.  

  1. One of our favorite things to do in Bethlehem, PA, is to visit the Historic Moravian District. This part of town is home to more original 18th Century structures than Colonial Williamsburg, and it’s now designated a National Historic Landmark District. This is also where you’ll find the historic Colonial Industrial Quarter. The Moravian Museum in downtown Bethlehem is another excellent place to learn about this part of the city’s history. 
  2. While you’re in the area, don’t miss the Moravian Book Shop. It’s the oldest continuously operating bookstore in the world, dating back to 1745, and undoubtedly one of the most popular things to do in Bethlehem, PA. 
  3. Visit the eclectic shops and art galleries in downtown Bethlehem’s South Side Arts District
  4. Visit the National Museum of Industrial History, a fascinating look at the industries that drove Bethlehem to its heights in the 1900s. 
  5. Visit Bethlehem SteelStacks, which we’ll discuss in much more detail below. Don’t miss your chance to walk on the elevated trestle here, the Hoover-Mason Trestle. It’s definitely one of the most fantastic things to do in Bethlehem, PA!
  6. Enjoy a tour of the Martin Guitar Factory. It’s the world’s oldest guitar manufacturer and has been handmaking guitars in Nazareth, PA, since 1838.
  7. Stop in for a cold pint of beer at one of the area’s breweries, including Fegley Brew Works in downtown Bethhelem and Weyerbacher Brewing Company in nearby Easton. 
  8. If you need a break from the summer heat or just want to do something novel, head to the nearby Lost River Caverns in Hellertown. 
  9. This part of Pennsylvania has a lot of canals, and you can learn all about them at the National Canal Museum
  10. Take a short drive and explore the fascinating Ringing Rocks County Park. Take your time hitting various rocks, and listen to the reverberations as you go. It’s one of our favorite things to do in Bethlehem, PA! 
Check out the Bethlehem Steel Stacks - it's one of the coolest things to do in Bethlehem, PA

Check Out Bethlehem SteelStacks

Of all the diverse options for things to do in Bethlehem, PA, nothing stands out quite like Bethlehem SteelStacks. It’s the perfect example of old Bethlehem meeting the new, modern, and vibrant Bethlehem. Here, you can learn more about the rise and fall of Bethlehem Steel Corporation on a one-hour walking tour while simultaneously enjoying great concerts and events.

This campus is also where you’ll find the National Museum of Industrial History, which houses more than 200 artifacts from across the world. The museum is a marvel and beautifully tells the story of America’s Industrial Age and how these industries changed over time, leading to the eventual decline that forced the closure of Bethlehem Steel. Don’t forget to take the time to walk the Hoover-Mason Trestle trail, one of the most popular things to do in Bethlehem, PA.

More than being an interesting place to see this historic steel plant firsthand and learn more about one of Bethlehem’s founding industries, a visit to Bethlehem SteelStacks is all about the events. Every August, Bethlehem comes alive with the country’s largest free music event, Musikfest.

Standing in the shadow of the former Bethlehem Steel Plant, Musikfest is a spectacular 10-day music festival featuring more than 500 performances from various artists. Musikfest isn’t the only event that uses the Bethlehem SteelStacks as its venue. Some of the most popular festivals at Bethlehem SteelStacks include the following: 

Of course, while you’re in town for concerts and other events at Bethlehem SteelStacks, there’s no better place to stay than our Bethlehem, Pennsylvania Bed and Breakfast – one of the many Select Registry partner Inns in the great state of Pennsylvania. You can expect the same dedication to excellence, local knowledge, and exquisite hospitality you’ve come to expect from our Select Registry network. Why book a room anywhere when you can Select a room at the premiere Bed and Breakfasts across the country?

Best Places to Stay in Bethlehem, PA

The Sayre Mansion

Located in the heart of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Sayre Mansion is the Lehigh Valley’s premier urban inn. Robert Sayre, town icon and entrepreneur, lived in the charming mansion. Guests who stay at the Inn receive a glimpse of the charm and elegance of the past. Beautifully restored, this Bethlehem, Pennsylvania bed and breakfast features luxurious comfort in each of the 23 guest rooms and suites.

With easy access to the attractions and activities of the Lehigh Valley and conveniently located within blocks of Lehigh University, St. Luke’s Hospital, Historic Downtown Bethlehem, the Revitalized Southside Shopping District and the Wind Creek Casino, Sayre Mansion provides guests with numerous opportunities to enjoy the area.

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