10 Ways to Be Safe and Celebrate: The Best Holiday Activities in the Lehigh Valley

It’s possible to deck the halls and avoid crowds. Here are 10 of the best holiday activities in the Lehigh Valley to let your hearts be light and help make spirits bright. A getaway to the Christmas City is sure to put you in a festive mood. Bask in the warm glow of The Sayre Mansion decorated in all its holiday glory. Elegant and intimate guest rooms offer a quiet respite.

Courtesy Get Downtown Bethlehem Facebook

1. Christmas in the Quarter

The historic Colonial Industrial Quarter becomes Christmas Central from December 11-12 and 18-19. For two weekends the 10-acre site will host a flurry of outdoor holiday activities including pop-up shopping, art exhibits, family photo opportunities, live music, food trucks, Colonial blacksmith demonstrations, and family activities and workshops. When night falls, the 18th century buildings will be illuminated.

Courtesy Lehigh Valley Zoo Facebook

2. Winter Light Spectacular

Walk on the wild side as Lehigh Valley Zoo glows with 1.2 million lights. The self-guided tour through tree-lined paths features twinkling lights and animated displays. There are also outdoor fire pits, cocoa and s’mores to help beat the chill. Winter Light Spectacular runs from November 12 to January 1.

3. Christmas City Stroll

Courtesy Get Downtown Bethlehem

Bethlehem’s historic district takes on a special glow during the holiday season. Join in a guided walking tour around the centuries old buildings to find out about the city’s Christmas traditions, architecture and origins of the famous Bethlehem Star. A guide in period dress leads the tour, which departs from the Historic Bethlehem Visitor Center multiple times throughout the day until December 26.

4. Live Advent Calendar

Countdown to Christmas every day at the 1810 Goundie House. Visitors gather outside the door of the home on Main Street at 5:30 p.m. for a presentation by a member of a local business or organization who hands out special treats among the socially distanced crowd. The annual tradition is in its 16th year and is the only event of its kind in the country.

Courtesy Burnside Plantation Facebook

5. Horse-Drawn Trolley Rides

Board an open-air trolley for a nighttime tour of the lights and decorations of downtown Bethlehem. Trolleys depart every half hour with rides scheduled for December 11, 18 and 19.

6. Christmas Huts on Main

Courtesy Get Downtown Bethlehem Facebook

Reminiscent of a traditional German market, Christmas Huts on Main are a staple of the season in Bethlehem. Spread all around the historic district, the charming outposts feature unique vendors overflowing with one-of-a-kind gifts. The huts are open Thursday through Sunday from November 11 until December 26.

7. Trees of Historic Bethlehem

Members of the Bethlehem Garden Club have decorated more than 26 Christmas Trees, each in the theme of a classic holiday movie. The dazzling display is spread out over five historic sites and depicts favorites such as “It’s A Wonderful Life,” “The Grinch” and “A Christmas Carol.” Take a self-guided tour Thursday through Sunday from November 19 to January 9.

Courtesy Get Downtown Bethlehem Facebook

8. Window Decorating Contest & Gingerbread Games

Businesses along Main Street and Broad Street compete for the best window decorations. Take a walk around town to see offerings then vote for your favorite. The public gets into the action with the Gingerbread Games. The heated competition will have entrants creating 2-foot gingerbread houses with their own creative twist. Entries will be on display around the Main Street and Colonial Industrial Quarter from December 1 to 21. Voting takes place at getdowntownbethlehem.com with a $100 gift certificate up for grabs.

9. Santa’s Haus

Courtesy Historic Bethlehem Facebook

See Santa in Christmas City. The Jolly Old Elf will make appearances every Saturday from November 27 to December 18 from 1-5 p.m. Children may pose for photos with Santa and drop their letters in the mailbox to send to the North Pole.

10. Lights in the Parkway

Take a drive through Allentown’s Lehigh Parkway to see thousands of twinkling lights. The mile-long self-guided route features light tunnels, animated holiday scenes and dazzling light displays accompanied by seasonal music. Lights in the Parkway is open daily (except Christmas Day) November 26-December 31 from 5:30-10 p.m.

Later on, you can conspire as you dream by the fire with our Fireside Getaway in the Christmas City. Snuggle up in a guest room with a cozy fireplace for two nights and enjoy the sights of Bethlehem. The package includes a plate of house made cookies and a handcrafted Moravian star stained glass ornament as a keepsake. Check availability and book a getaway today to enjoy holiday activities in the Lehigh Valley.