The city of Bethlehem, also recognized as the Christmas City, is home to about 75,000 people, as noted in the 2010 U.S. Census. Founded in 1741 by the Moravians, ( discoverlehighvalley.com), it is the 8th largest city in Pennsylvania and mixes its’ rich, detailed history with today’s modern living. It is comprised of two counties, Lehigh and Northampton and the city itself is divided into four quarters - central Bethlehem, the south side, east side, and west side.
Central Bethlehem has a bustling and energetic downtown and is truly a combination of past and present. Historical buildings like the Sun Inn, Hotel Bethlehem, and the Moravian Book Shop (oldest operating bookstore in the U.S. according to discoverlehighvalley.com), are nestled among chic restaurants, gourmet food shops, unique clothing boutiques, and trendy coffee houses. It’s especially magical during the holiday season with horse-drawn carriage rides, carolers, and Christmas lights decorating trees and storefronts. The rest of the city is equally as energetic, including the south side’s emergence as an artists paradise.
Bethlehem was home to Bethlehem Steel, once the 2nd largest steel producer in the U.S., according to steelstacks.org. No longer in operation, the steel blast furnaces along with its’ surrounding buildings have been rejuvenated into fully-operational spaces, including Artsquest, Steelstacks, Sands Resort and Casino, National Museum of Industrial History, and open concert and entertainment space. Musikfest, a 10-day mostly free music festival attracts over a million people each year to the city, in addition to the Celtic Classic and South Side Film Festival. More family fun can be found at one of the 40 park sites located throughout the city, as noted by bethlehempa.org. And, fitness enthusiasts will enjoy participating in the annual Runners World Half Marathon and Festival.
Employment opportunities and educational options are numerous in Bethlehem. The city’s largest employers include St.Luke’s Hospital, B. Braun, Lehigh University, Guardian Life Insurance, and Just Born, according to The Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation. The Bethlehem Area School District offers a large and diverse student population with 2 high schools, 4 middle schools, and 16 elementary schools. The Lehigh Valley Charter Arts middle and high schools are alternatives to public education and Notre Dame and Bethlehem Catholic offer a Catholic curriculum. Moravian Academy, a renowned private school is located on two campuses within the city. Colleges include Lehigh University, ranked number 44 in the U.S. News & World Reports for 2017 best colleges in America; Moravian College, and Northampton Area Community College.
(Image Source - Discover Lehigh Valley)