Travel and Leisure called Bethlehem the most festive city in the entire country. With so many ways to celebrate the holidays in Bethlehem, it’s easy to see why. We made a list and checked it twice of the 10 most festive things to do during the holidays in Bethlehem. The time just before Thanksgiving through Christmas is chock-full of tours, concerts, shopping events, music, food and more. Colonial architecture adorned with traditional décor enhances the Dickensian atmosphere.
Plan a holiday getaway and find out for yourself how Bethlehem earned the nickname, Christmas City. Stay at Sayre Mansion and immerse yourself in the elegance of the season. Sayre Mansion has been a landmark in Bethlehem since 1858. Today we welcome guests with gracious hospitality and distinctive lodging.
The Steelstacks grounds host a giant outdoor vendor fair reminiscent of a traditional German holiday market. Approximately 150 artisans sell their wares under four large heated tents each weekend from November 18 through December 18. Travel + Leisure named Christkindlmarkt one of the best holiday markets in the country. Artisans drawn from everywhere on the East Coast offer a variety of handmade goods. Unique gift ideas run the gamut from wooden signs and purses to ornaments and home décor. Shop in a festive environment filled with Christmas music and visits from Santa Claus. Ice carving and glass blowing demonstrations are held regularly. Outside the tents, visitors can enjoy artisan huts, fire pits and igloos. There are also plenty of food merchants to ward off any hunger attacks.
2. Bethlehem By Night Bus Tour
See the sights from the comfort of a heated motor coach. A costumed guide shares insights and tidbits on a trip around Christmas City. While not a “lights” tour, this 90-minute excursion visits the North and South Sides of Bethlehem, with many area’s decorated for the season. Points of interest include the famous giant star atop South Mountain. Find out about the traditions behind the holidays in Bethlehem.
3. Holiday Putz Trail
Traditional Moravian Christmas Trees are surrounded by ornate hand-crafted figures at the base. Known as Putz, the pieces usually depict scenes from the Nativity. Take a self-guided tour to five historic sites to see a collection of authentic displays. The elaborate sets feature animals, buildings and intricate details.
4. Trees of Historic Bethlehem
Members of the Bethlehem Garden Club have decorated over 28 Christmas Trees inspired by classic holiday movies. Visit four historic sites to see the eclectic display that interprets favorites such as “It’s a Wonderful Life,” The Grinch” and “A Christmas Carol.”
5. Christmas Huts on Main
Stroll the Moravian historic district decorated with twinkling lights and festive greenery. Amid Colonial era buildings, find a collection of charming holiday-themed wooden huts. Unique vendors offer a variety of gift items ranging from clothing and accessories to jewelry and food items.
6. Christmas City Stroll
Join a guide in period costume for a walking tour of the Moravian District- a registered National Historic Landmark area. Buildings here date to 1741 and feature exquisite Colonial and Victorian architecture. Find out about the customs and traditions of Bethlehem’s earliest settlers and discover the origins of the famed Bethlehem Star.
7. Clash of the Carols
It’s Bethlehem’s fourth annual holiday acapella choral competition. Singing groups in a variety of ages will compete in the Sun Inn Courtyard over two weekends in December. A panel of acclaimed judges will crown the best choral group and audiences will also name a People’s Choice winner.
8. Holiday Cocktail Trail
Visit restaurants and shops in South Bethlehem to sample different holiday-themed adult beverages. Expect flavors such as pumpkin martini, spiked eggnog, peppermint infused beverages and seasonal beer.
9. Christmas in the Quarter
Stroll the historic colonial district for pop-up shopping, walking tours, Christmas kids zone, a winter art exhibition from the Lehigh Art Alliance, colonial blacksmith demonstration, and live music. The 18th century buildings are illuminated at night.
10. Live Advent Calendar
Stop by the Goundie House every day in December at 5:30 p.m. for a Christmas countdown that is the only one of its kind in the country. Each day a visitor will be selected to knock on the door. A special guest from a local business or organization will answer and hand out treats to those gathered.
Follow the Star
Spend the holidays in Bethlehem and take some time to soak in the magic of the season. See the mansion in all its holiday finery. Enjoy elegant accommodations and the ultimate in hospitality. Browse our specials and packages to find ways to enhance your stay. Check availability and book your holiday getaway today.