the complete guide to moving to & living in
Bethlehem is a thriving and diverse community with much to offer both locals and newcomers. With various job opportunities and affordable housing options, Bethlehem is the perfect place for anyone looking for an exciting new start. The city boasts great cultural institutions like The Moravian bookshop and the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks, as well as countless parks and trails for outdoor recreation.
Whether you’re looking for career advancement, a new community to call home, or simply a fresh start, Bethlehem has everything you could need or want. So if you are ready for a new beginning, why not consider moving to Pennsylvania’s famed “Christmas City”?
If you’re thinking of moving to Bethlehem, PA, there are a few things that you should know about this vibrant city. Bethlehem is a dynamic place with plenty of work, recreation, and cultural enrichment opportunities. The city also ranks high in safety and quality of life, making it an excellent choice for those who value security and comfort.
In the heart of historic Pennsylvania, Bethlehem is part of the Lehigh and Northampton counties in the Lehigh Valley region. The eastern Pennsylvania city is just 70 miles from Philadelphia and 85 miles from New York City. Thus, it offers residents easy access to some of the trendiest cities in the country. Neighboring cities include Allentown, Easton, Nazareth, Hellertown, and Coopersburg.
Bethlehem is Pennsylvania’s third-largest city, with just over 860,000 residents. In 2021, the city was ranked #70 on the Top 100 Best Places to Live in America by Livibility.com due to its economy, affordability, community, recreation, safety, and accessibility.
The ‘Christmas City’ has several promising and growing industries, a great restaurant scene, plenty of entertainment, and excellent education options. Annual festivals like Musikfest bring the large community closer together. Its proximity to New York and Philadelphia makes it a fantastic option for those seeking a tight-knit sense of community close to big metro areas.
Bethlehem has a long history and close ties to Christmas. Named on Christmas eve of 1741, Bethlehem was founded by Moravians and was considered a communal society. By 1758, the community had grown to feature 35 different industries, and this area is known as the Colonial Industrial Quarter in the city today.
The Central Moravian Church is located in the historic district and has been an institution for over 275 years. First used to worship the Saal in 1742, the second floor of the Gemeinhaus is now a portion of the Moravian Museum. The congregation outgrew the space and moved to the Old Chapel for the next 55 years. In 1803 they began construction on the largest church building in the state, which was completed in 1806.
1899 brought much prosperity for the community, with Bethlehem Steel Corp. being created, and the area transformed into the hub for industry and trade. Since then, Bethlehem has been transformed into a trendy and exciting community with so much to offer for nightlife, shopping, dining, and entertainment.
Bethlehem is known for its diverse weather patterns. Located in the Appalachian region and surrounded by hills, this city tends to experience a wide variety of conditions throughout the year. Summers in Bethlehem are typically hot and humid, with occasional thunderstorms bringing brief periods of intense rainfall.
Fall ushers in colder temperatures and significant snowfall, especially during November and December. By January and February, however, these wintry conditions tend to lighten up as winter transitions into springtime.
Residents of Bethlehem can expect an ever-changing climate with something to offer during each season. Whether biking through an autumn landscape or sipping lemonade on a warm summer evening, there is always something new and exciting to experience here in this beautiful city.
The housing market in Bethlehem, PA, has undergone significant changes over the past several years. Recently, there has been an explosion of new development and construction as developers attempt to capitalize on the growing demand for housing. The ongoing development has increased home prices and a surge in interest from potential buyers.
Homes in Bethlehem range in price from $140,000 to over $9 million. There is a diverse mix of properties on the market, from condos and apartments to single-family homes and luxury estate homes. The median listing price is around $300,000.
Here are some interesting facts about Bethlehem:
Bethlehem is an economically strong city home to many businesses and industries. The thriving economy can be attributed to the city’s strategic location and highly skilled workforce. Located in Eastern Pennsylvania near several major interstate highways, Bethlehem benefits from excellent transportation links that allow businesses to quickly and easily access distant markets.
In addition, the area is host to a skilled labor force driven by the presence of several world-renowned universities and technical schools. The result is a dynamic economy that continues to grow year after year, fueling the prosperity of residents and workers who come from around the country to take advantage of all Bethlehem offers.
With transit options and major highways, many Bethlehem residents commute to Philadelphia, New York, Newark, or New Jersey for work.
According to statistics from the US Census Bureau, the average salary in Bethlehem, PA, is around $65,000 per year. This figure considers industry, education level, years of experience, and region. For example, workers in Bethlehem’s financial services sector tend to earn higher salaries on average than those in other sectors, such as manufacturing or retail.
Employees with a college degree typically earn higher salaries than those with only a high school diploma, while those with more years of professional experience typically earn more than those who are just starting out in their careers. Overall, it is clear that individuals in Bethlehem have many opportunities to earn competitive salaries and advance their careers.
Bethlehem is home to some of the best schools in the state of Pennsylvania. As a town rich in history and culture, Bethlehem draws students from all over the region who seek a quality education. Whether you’re looking for small, intimate classroom settings or modern facilities with state-of-the-art resources, Bethlehem has something to offer every student and parent.
Asa Packer Elementary School is one of the oldest and most respected public schools in Bethlehem, PA. Founded over a century ago, this school has a reputation for providing its students with top-quality education and opportunities for growth.
Asa Packer always strives to exceed expectations through strong academic programming or innovative extracurricular activities. With small class sizes and dedicated teachers, this school is a true gem in the local community. Whether your child is starting kindergarten or finishing elementary school, Asa Packer is sure to provide them with an outstanding educational experience.
Freedom High School is one of the most impressive secondary schools in the Bethlehem, PA, area. The school has become a sought-after destination for students from the region, with a strong focus on academic excellence and a wide range of cutting-edge offerings in the arts and sciences.
In addition to benefiting from top-notch teachers, world-class facilities, and state-of-the-art resources, students also enjoy a unique sense of school spirit and a close-knit community. Whether you are interested in STEM subjects, humanities classes, or sports teams and clubs of all kinds, there truly is something for everyone at Freedom High School.
Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts (LVC) is one of the most prestigious art schools in the country, offering a wide range of artistic training and opportunities to students from all over Pennsylvania. Founded in 1992, LVC has grown rapidly, maintaining an impressive record of success as it continues to produce some of the region’s most talented artists and performers.
With top-notch facilities and a vibrant artistic community to call upon, LVC has become a premier destination for aspiring art students seeking a high-quality education. For those who are interested in music, dance, theater, or visual arts, LVC is the best school for pursuing their passion for the arts.
Northampton County Community College is a highly esteemed institution that has been a pillar of the Bethlehem community for many years. The college prides itself on providing students with a high-quality education that prepares them for success in their academic and professional lives.
With excellent facilities and renowned faculty members, Northampton offers students various programs, from technical certificates to undergraduate degrees. Northampton is sure to have the perfect program for those looking to start or further their career.
Bethlehem is home to various unique neighborhoods with many perks and amenities. Whether you’re looking for quiet suburban communities or bustling city districts, this endearing city offers plenty of options.
Bethlehem Township 18020 is situated just outside the city and is a highly sought-after neighborhood known for its beautiful parks, top-ranked schools, and proximity to the sprawling fields and forests of Lehigh Valley.
This spirited community has everything. Whether you’re looking for arts and culture, or outdoor activities, you’ll find it here. From world-class museums to hiking trails that wind through the breathtaking countryside, there is something for everyone.
With easy access to major roadways and public transportation, getting around this region couldn’t be easier. Homes in Bethlehem Township range in price from $150,000 to $2.5 million, so there’s something for every budget. From affordable single-family homes to sprawling luxury estate homes, it’s easy to see why the community is well-loved.
Historic downtown Bethlehem is a desirable community that offers residents and visitors an array of unique cultural attractions. With its stunning nineteenth-century architecture, this neighborhood is a must-visit for anyone looking to experience Pennsylvania’s rich history and culture.
From its numerous gorgeous churches, such as St. Peter’s Cathedral and Moravian Church, to its trendy restaurants and cafés, such as Apollo Grill or Fegley's Bethlehem Brew Works, this neighborhood truly has so much to enjoy. Whether you are looking for a place to take your family for a casual Sunday stroll or looking for a great spot to have a delicious brunch with friends, the Bethlehem neighborhood is sure to delight.
Homes in the downtown district pop up on the market occasionally and can range in price from $250,000 to $2 million. It’s the perfect community for those who want to be close to the excitement of downtown.
The captivating West Bethlehem neighborhood is a community home to various shops, restaurants, and cafes that cater to locals and visitors alike. The many tree-lined sidewalks make for ideal walking routes, and residents can often be seen gathering at one of the many public parks to chat or socialize with friends.
With its rich history and idyllic streetscape, West Bethlehem is truly a gem among urban neighborhoods. Nestled between Allentown and Bethlehem, the community offers an idealistic lifestyle. Homes in West Bethlehem range in price from $175,000 to $400,000, making it an affordable area for most people.
The North Bethlehem neighborhood of Bethlehem is a sprawling community home to a diverse mix of residences. With its picturesque parks, vibrant cultural scene, and homeowners bursting with pride, the neighborhood exudes an inviting and welcoming vibe.
Whether you’re looking for great restaurants and bars or fantastic art galleries and museums, North Bethlehem has everything you need. The neighborhood is also well connected to other parts of Bethlehem by various public transit options.
Whether you want to book a stay at Hotel Bethlehem, or grab a bite at Bethlehem Brewworks, North Bethlehem has some of the best entertainment options in the city. Homes in the North part of the city range in price from $149,000 to $3 million.
South Bethlehem is a neighborhood with a thriving population that has long been known for having a strong sense of identity. With its lovely and historic homes, bustling commercial districts, and well-known landmarks such as the Bethlehem Works Steel Stacks, South Bethlehem is a truly exciting place to live.
Whether you want to catch some live music at the historic Zoellner Arts Center or enjoy a soak at The Wind Creek Hotel & Casino, South Bethlehem has some of the best entertainment options in the city! It’s one of the more affordable communities, with South Bethlehem homes ranging from $150,000 to $450,000.
The Hanover Township neighborhood is not directly located in Bethlehem but is one of the area’s most charming and sought-after communities. Most residents of this quiet suburban area can be found relaxing in their spacious backyards, which are dotted with lush greenery.
You’ll find your neighbors tending to their garden beds or enjoying a summer BBQ with friends. Residents of Hanover Township have plenty of open space to enjoy the best that nature offers. In the community, you’ll find a true sense of peace and serenity, surrounded by like-minded individuals who take pride in maintaining their beautiful homes.
Homes in Hanover Township range in price from $167,000 to $700,000. There are many vacant lots for sale for interested buyers to build their dream homes and new construction homes on the market.
Bethlehem is home to a wide variety of excellent restaurants, each offering a unique take on the city’s exciting culinary scene. Whether you’re in the mood for decadent Italian dishes, authentic Spanish tapas, or freshly-caught seafood, there is something here that will satisfy your taste buds.
Even the pickiest eaters will find something they love in the Bethlehem food scene. Some of the best restaurants in the city are sure to impress, no matter what you’re craving.
As featured on OpenTable’s “Top 100 Best Restaurants in America” list, Bolete is a gem in Bethlehem. With menus that change daily, this spot is the perfect place for date night, a special occasion, or an adventurous foodie.
Travel back in time at The Bookstore Speakeasy. The 1920’s style spot offers some delectable cocktails, small plates, and great times. With plenty of events and shows, you’ll always have a good time here.
Located on the heart of Main Street, Fegley’s Brew Works is a staple in the community. Get all the delicious pub food your heart desires and excellent beer. Be sure to check out the chef specials.
Wind Creek is a casino and resort in the city, and it’s home to some pretty incredible dining options. Chop House is a classic steakhouse with some of the best steaks and prime rib you can get your hands on. You’ll also find Urban Table, Chopstick, Steelworks Buffet and Grill, Carlo’s Bakery, The Market Gourmet Express, and Croissanterie Cafe and Bakery on the resort.
Are you craving some pasta? Molinari’s offers authentic Italian dishes that will surely make your heart sing and satisfy all your carb needs. The chefs at Molinari’s create some incredible meals and favorites you know and love using fresh and local ingredients. Mama Nina Foccacheria is another fantastic spot for authentic Italian, and the award-winning restaurant has a robust menu that is sure to impress.
Tapas on Main is a Spanish-style tapas restaurant perfect for a girl’s night out or celebratory dinners. Try gourmet meats, cheeses, flatbreads, and more.
The Edge Restaurant and Lounge offers a unique fusion of Asian and French cuisines, keeping your taste buds on their toes. The popular spot is a favorite among residents with many lunch and dinner features.
The Apollo Grill has been voted one of the best restaurants in the area for the last 15 years. The casual yet upscale bistro has an incredible menu and is the perfect spot to stop for dinner after an afternoon exploring downtown.
The Olive Branch restaurant offers delectable Middle Eastern Cuisine and features classics like kabobs and stuffed grape leaves. The recipes used have been kept for generations, and you’ll love what they have to offer.
After dinner, keep the fun going with the exciting nightlife in Bethlehem. The Tally Ho Tavern is one of the most popular bars in the city. For over 80 years, it’s been the place to be when in Bethlehem. The Bar With No Name is another great spot if you like live music and Saturday dance parties. Vision Nightclub is located in the Wind Creek Event Center and welcomes guests on Friday and Saturday nights. The club features local DJs, drink specials, and a great time.
In Bethlehem, PA, public transportation plays an essential role in keeping the city moving. Whether you take the bus, the train, or ride-share services like Uber and Lyft, it is easy and convenient to get around town without a car.
The city has an extensive network of roads and bike paths that connect people to all kinds of places, from shopping malls and schools to movie theaters and parks. There are several key transit hubs around town, providing riders with access to regional transportation options.
Overall, this robust public transportation system makes it easier for people in Bethlehem to get where they need to go, helping to keep the city running smoothly and efficiently.
For drivers, there is ample parking around the city, and meters along the street typically cost $1.00 per hour. Public parking facilities also make parking easier for those who need to park during work hours. Find all the parking authority information here.
There are plenty of bus services within Bethlehem for transit-goers and for service to New York City, Newark, Atlantic City, the rest of Lehigh Valley, and JFK Airport. The Trans-Bridge Line bus company offers daily service to these areas.
LANTA, or Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority, offers bus routes throughout the Lehigh Valley, including evening and Saturday services to Bethlehem, Easton, and Allentown. The metro plus offers an accessible option for those unable to use the LANTA routes.
There are endless things to see and do in Bethlehem. If you’re interested in history or architecture, you can visit some of the city’s beautiful old churches and cathedrals. For outdoor enthusiasts, plenty of hiking and biking trails offer stunning countryside views.
Local restaurants and shopping centers offer plenty of opportunities for good food and fun for those who simply want to relax and enjoy a day out with friends or family. Whether you’re looking for a cultural experience or just some good old-fashioned entertainment, Bethlehem is sure to have something that piques your interest.
Christmas is a magical time of year, and no place captures the wonder and joy of this festive season quite like Bethlehem. The Christmas City takes its nickname seriously and offers a wide variety of fantastically festive events and activities sure to thrill visitors of all ages. Whether you’re looking for family-friendly holiday celebrations or shopping and dining opportunities, Bethlehem has something for everyone.
The town’s main attraction is its annual Christmas City Village event. Throughout December, visitors flock to this joyful outdoor village to experience live music and theater performances, engage in arts and crafts, or sip some delicious hot cocoa.
You can also tour architecturally stunning historic churches or browse unique boutiques packed with one-of-a-kind gifts for those who mean everything to you. And if you need to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the season, you can spend some time relaxing at Stations cafe, one of Bethlehem’s most popular restaurants. The Christkindlmarkt is considered one of the best holiday markets in the country.
Every year, the city of Bethlehem comes alive for Musikfest, one of the country’s biggest music and arts festivals. This ten-day event draws hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over, who participate in various performances, art installations, and other special events that showcase some of the best talents in music and art.
If you’re a fan of indie rock bands or classical music, you’ll love Musikfest. The festival is also famous for its culinary offerings, with local restaurants and trucks serving delicious food day and night. Musikfest is an unforgettable cultural experience for locals and visitors alike.
People flock from all over the country to experience one of the premier classical music festivals in the United States, featuring the Bach Choir and Bach Festival Orchestra. Over several days, attendees can enjoy various performances and activities, ranging from orchestral concerts to interactive workshops with renowned musicians.
If you are a lifelong fan of classical music or simply looking for a unique cultural experience, this festival is sure to leave an impression.
There are many opportunities for outdoor recreation and leisure. With its scenic location at the base of the mountains and its many winding rivers and lakes, this city is a perfect destination for anyone who loves to get out and explore. Whether you enjoy cycling, hiking, canoeing, or simply relaxing in nature, there are plenty of options to choose from in Bethlehem.
The Lehigh River Gorge Trail is one of the most popular destinations for outdoor enthusiasts. This scenic path winds along the river, passing significant historical sites like the ruins of an old ironworks factory.
Other notable attractions include Lake Lenape, Sand Island State Park, and Pocono Whitewater Rafting. Regardless of your interests or fitness level, there is something for everyone in Bethlehem and the surrounding area. So if you’re looking for a chance to unwind and reconnect with nature, look no further than this beautiful city.
Wind Creek Casino is a popular destination in the city. This large and exciting casino features an impressive selection of gaming options, including slots, table games, and even poker tournaments. In addition to its gaming activities, Windcreek offers numerous dining and entertainment options that are sure to please all visitors.
Grab a quick snack or a full-service meal between games at Windcreek Casino. With various bars, lounges, live music venues, comedy shows, movie theaters, and more on-site, there is always something fun to do at this lively destination.
Located in the heart of historic downtown Bethlehem, Hotel Bethlehem has been a landmark destination for travelers since 1922. Boasting over 200 luxurious rooms and suites, this inviting hotel offers a wealth of amenities to accommodate guests of all tastes.
The hotel offers special packages that come complete with tickets to neighboring attractions like Lehigh University and SteelStacks, and it’s no surprise this elegant property is consistently ranked among the top hotels in Pennsylvania. If you’re planning a trip to the area or want to have a nice staycation, be sure to reserve your stay at this iconic landmark today.
The Moravian Bookshop is a landmark destination. Founded in 1745, this community-oriented bookstore has been a fixture of the local landscape for over 275 years. With its wealth of books and knowledgeable staff, the Moravian Bookshop is a go-to resource for residents and visitors alike. Check out some of the latest bestsellers or discover new authors at the beloved independent bookstore. The Moravian Bookshop is truly a unique cultural treasure.
SteelStacks™ is a state-of-the-art cultural center in Bethlehem. This expansive, multidisciplinary complex hosts a variety of arts and entertainment events throughout the year, including concerts, theatrical performances, art exhibitions, and film screenings.
The site was created on the grounds of an old steel mill, which gives it its name and industrial aesthetic. Despite its modern design and contemporary programming, SteelStacks™ still maintains a deep respect for the history of its location and proudly celebrates the traditions and culture of the surrounding community.
Whether you’re interested in exploring outer space or getting lost in an immersive theater performance, SteelStacks™ truly has something to offer everyone. So if you’re looking for an inspiring cultural experience truly unique to this area, check out this one-of-a-kind venue.
The city is home to numerous world-class museums that feature various topics and art forms. The Northampton County Historical and Genealogical Society has four museums that showcase artifacts and exhibits that shed light on the history and culture of the region, with a few locations in the county, including neighboring Easton.
The Da Vinci Science Center offers interactive exhibitions and demonstrations on science and technology. Other highlights include the Banana Factory Arts Center, which features rotating exhibits by local artists as well as ongoing community events and classes. The Moravian Museum of Bethlehem is dedicated to preserving local heritage, focusing on German settlers.
Whether you are a history buff or an art enthusiast, there is something for all interests in Bethlehem’s colorful museum scene.
Contact Chris for all of the answers.