When does the Christmas season start?
This is my first Christmas in Bethlehem. What should I make sure to see?
We have everything you need to plan your visit here.
Are your tours handicap accessible?
At this time, the Christmas City Stroll, the Rise and Fall of Bethlehem Steel Walking Tour, and the Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts are our only fully handicapped accessible holiday offerings. Portions of the Moravian Museum of Bethlehem and the Single Sisters’ House are handicapped accessible. With the exception of a small door threshold step, the 1750 Smithy building is also handicapped accessible. We encourage you to call our friendly staff at the Historic Bethlehem Visitor Center for more information about accessibility to all of our sites and holiday offerings.
Do you have a lights tour?
We do not have a tour focused specifically on Christmas lights. The Bethlehem by Night Bus Tour will take you around north and south-side Bethlehem and show you the best views of The Christmas City while you learn about its history. Historic buildings will have candles in every window and the city decorates various trees around town, which add to the Christmas City splendor. Purchase your Bethlehem by Night bus tour tickets here.
Are tours cancelled in the event of inclement weather?
Many of our tours are rain or shine, though not under thunderstorms or other dangerous conditions. Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites is happy to reschedule tours that are cancelled due to storms. Winter weather decisions are made on a case by case basis for tours and carriage rides. Please call the Historic Bethlehem Visitor Center for updated information at 1.800.360.TOUR
What are popular Christmas activities?
There are many attractions and activities during the holiday season in Bethlehem. Visitors and locals alike enjoy programming offered by Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites (see below) as well as other attractions such as Christkindlmarkt, Moravian Vespers, Christmas City Village, and the City of Bethlehem’s Tree and Nativity located outside of the Bethlehem Area Public Library.
What does HBMS offer throughout the Christmas season?
Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites offers many activities and packages for the holidays, including:
Do temporary exhibits change for the Christmas season?
No, but each year we add beautifully adorned Christmas tress of a common theme throughout several historic sites to get our visitors into the holiday spirit. We hope you will enjoy our current exhibit, on through April, PURSEonality.
What is the “Horse-Drawn Carriage” ride?
I purchased a carriage ride ticket. Where do I meet my carriage?
Meet your carriage on Main Street, in front of Central Moravian Church. Central Moravian Church is located at 73 West Church Street, Bethlehem, PA 18018.
What is “Trees of Historic Bethlehem"?
What is the "Bethlehem By Night Bus Tour"?
The Bethlehem By Night Bus Tour is a guided bus tour with a costumed docent that traverses the north side and the south side of Bethlehem during the Christmas season.
This tour includes a visit to the famous star atop South Mountain, a look at early and current local holiday traditions, and access to historic highlights in north and south Bethlehem.
Where is the Bethlehem Star "on the hill"?
What is "Christmas City Stroll"?
What is the difference between "Christmas City Stroll" and the "Bethlehem By Night Bus Tour"?
On the Christmas City Stroll, a guide in period dress will lead you on foot through Bethlehem’s National Historic Landmark District and regale you with how Bethlehem began.
On the Bethlehem By Night bus tour, you will traverse north and south-side Bethlehem with a costumed guide and discover 275 years of Bethlehem’s rich history from its unique beginnings in 1741 to its time as a major producer of steel with the rise of Bethlehem Steel, and more.
What is "Christkindlmarkt"?
Christkindlmarkt is a family event that brings the spirit of Bethlehem alive with the Christmas season. More than 150 of the nation’s finest artisans feature their handmade works, accompanied by live Christmas music, ice carving & glassblowing demonstrations, German collectibles, and a visit from jolly old St. Nick!
What is "Christmas City Village"?
Christmas City Village is a free, authentic German Weihnachtsmarkt lined with decorated huts that are full of unique holiday gift ideas. The village is nestled in Bethlehem's Downtown, loaded with charming retail shops, gourmet restaurants and historic Moravian museums.
Christmas City Village is open weekends from November 17 – December 23. Friday and Saturday from 11 am – 8 pm, Sundays until 5 pm.
Is there transportation between the North and South Sides of Bethlehem?
Yes, there is a complimentary trolley service to shuttle visitors between The Christmas City Village, located in the heart of our Historic District, and Christkindlmarkt, located at the ArtsQuest Steel Stacks Campus.
The shuttle runs from November 22 to December 22, every 20-30 minutes each Friday and Saturday 11 am - 8 pm, and Sunday 12 pm – 6 pm, making convenient stops at The Moravian Book Shop on Main Street, Sun Inn on Main Street, Walnut Street Garage, South New Street Garage, Christkindlmarkt at Steel Stacks and Banana Factory.
What is the Live Advent Calendar?
The Live Advent Calendar comes from the tradition of Advent Calendars or Christmas Countdown Calendars for children and families during the holidays. With a traditional calendar, there is a set number of “doors” to open each day as Christmas draws near. Traditional calendars provide a treat or saying each day.
Bethlehem has one of the only Live Advent Calendars in the United States!
This is hosted by the merchants of the Downtown Bethlehem Association (DBA), a council of the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites.
Why are the candles in some of the windows on the outside?
When is the Christmas tree lighting for the city of Bethlehem?
The Christmas Tree Lighting for the City of Bethlehem is Friday, November 29.
Don’t miss the Holiday Wassail Tree Lighting Open House shortly after at 5 pm at the Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts, Moravian Museum, and the Single Sisters’ House for beautifully decorated Christmas trees, festive holiday music, costumed docents and more.
What are your hours of operation?
Our Hours of Operation change throughout the year, based on the season. For updated hours of operation for our sites, please click here. Guests should note that many sites are available to be booked for private tours by appointment outside of these hours. Any questions may be directed to our Historic Bethlehem Visitor Center at 1.800.360.TOUR.
Do I need to purchase tickets ahead of time?
Tickets for most museums, sites, and walking tours may be purchased either online, at the Historic Bethlehem Visitor Center, or upon your arrival to the site. Sites which require private tours will need to be booked in advance through the Historic Bethlehem Visitor Center. To arrange a custom, private, or group tour please call: 1.800.360.TOUR
How do I get to the Historic Bethlehem Visitor Center?
The Historic Bethlehem Visitor Center is located at 505 Main Street, Bethlehem, PA 18018.
From Philadelphia: Take the PA Turnpike Northeast Extension (Route 476) to the Allentown exit and get onto Route 22 East. Take the Bethlehem, Route 378 South exit. Take the Center City exit and turn left onto 3rd Street. At the light, turn left onto Broad Street. Once across the bridge, take a right onto Main Street. The Historic Bethlehem Visitor Center is about halfway down Main Street on the right, opposite Market Street.
From the Poconos: Take Route 33 South to Route 22 West. Take the Bethlehem, Route 378 South exit. Take the Center City exit and turn left onto 3rd Street. At the light, turn left onto Broad Street. Once across the bridge, take a right onto Main Street. The Historic Bethlehem Visitor Center is about halfway down Main Street on the right, opposite Market Street.
From NYC: Take I-78 West to Exit 67, Hellertown/Bethlehem. Turn right onto Main Street/Route 412 North. Continue following Route 412 North for 2 miles. Turn right onto the Minsi Trail Bridge/Stefko Blvd. Turn left at the first light onto Market Street. The Historic Bethlehem Visitor Center is at the end of Market Street.
From Harrisburg: Take I-81 North to Exit 89, I-78 East toward Allentown. Drive 50 miles and take the Route 22 East exit. Take the Route 378 South/Bethlehem exit. Take the Center City exit and turn left onto 3rd Street. At the light, turn left onto Broad Street. Once across the bridge, take a right onto Main Street. The Historic Bethlehem Visitor Center is about halfway down Main Street on the right, opposite Market Street.
Maps and directions to our other sites can be found at the Historic Bethlehem Visitor Center, as well as here.
What can I visit/tour on my own?
Visitors can walk through Historic Downtown Bethlehem, the Hoover-Mason Trestle at SteelStacks, and the grounds of Burnside Plantation and the Colonial Industrial Quarter without a tour guide. Tours are given on weekends and by appointment. Self-guided visitors will benefit from resources such as The Historic Bethlehem Guidebook, available for purchase at the Historic Bethlehem Visitor Center at 505 Main Street.
Are walking tours all-weather?
Many of our tours are rain or shine, though not under thunderstorms or other dangerous conditions. Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites is happy to reschedule tours that are cancelled due to storms. Winter weather decisions are made on a case by case basis for tours and carriage rides.
How do I create an itinerary?
Check out the Plan Your Visit page to start crafting the perfect trip!
Do you offer discounts for groups?
Yes we do! Please review our group tour options here and call our Director of Visitor Services at 1.800.360.TOUR to get started.
Is photography allowed?
Photography is allowed at our museums and sites, however videography is strictly prohibited on guided tours.
Our historic sites also make fabulous settings and backdrops for professional photography sessions. These sessions require a release of liability and a $15 fee for use of the space. Please fill out and submit a Professional Photography Session Form here.
Is parking available at the different museums and sites? Where else can I park?
While most of our sites are located on city streets, street parking spaces are limited. There are parking garages and metered parking located throughout Bethlehem on both the North and South sides. For more information, please visit the Bethlehem Parking Authority website.
Are Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites locations wheelchair/handicap accessible?
Historic buildings pose unique challenges for accessibility. Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites welcomes all guests and strives to make as many of our sites accessible to everyone as possible. Many of our sites are fully wheelchair accessible, such as the Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts, the grounds of the Colonial Industrial Quarter, the Hoover-Mason Trestle, the Historic Bethlehem Visitor Center, and more. If you have any questions about accessibility, please do not hesitate to contact the Historic Bethlehem Visitor Center at 1.800.360.TOUR
How do I find out what is going on at Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites?
We have many events, programs, workshops, tours, and activities year-round!
For the most up-to-date schedule, please visit our Things to Do page.
Are pets welcome at your sites?
We welcome service animals to all museums and sites. However, we do not allow pets inside our historic buildings or museums. Friendly pets on leash are welcome on the grounds of Burnside Plantation and the Colonial Industrial Quarter. Please help us keep our spaces beautiful by cleaning up after your pet and disposing in the appropriate receptacles.
I'm interested in long-term parking in the Spring Street Lot. How can I purchase a Spring Street Parking Permit?
To purchase a parking permit for the Spring Street Parking lot, please come to the Historic Bethlehem Visitor Center with your driver’s license and student ID (if applicable).
Does Bethlehem have public transportation?
During the Christmas Season, Bethlehem offers a complimentary trolley service to shuttle visitors between the Christmas City Village, located in the heart of our Downtown Historic District, and Christkindlmarkt, located at ArtsQuest Steel Stacks. The Shuttle runs every 20-30 minutes each Friday and Saturday 11am-8pm and Sunday 12pm-6pm. View the Christmas City Trolley Schedule and Map.
The shuttle service is unavailable outside of the Christmas season. Luckily Bethlehem is a small and very walkable city. For visitors who can’t or don’t want to walk or drive, we suggest ride sharing services like Uber or Lyft.
Where to stay? Lodging?
How do I find out what is going on in the city of Bethlehem?
About Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites
What sites are a part of Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites?
- 1752 Apothecary
- 1748-1848 Burnside Plantation
- 1810 Goundie House
- 1869 Luckenbach Mill (Located in the Colonial Industrial Quarter)
- Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts
- Moravian Museum of Bethlehem - 1741 Gemeinhaus
- 1758-69 Nain-Schober House
- 1744/52 Single Sisters' House
- 1751/1760 Reconstructed Smithy (Located in the Colonial Industrial Quarter)
- 1761 Tannery (Located in the Colonial Industrial Quarter)
- Visitor Center & Museum Store
- 1762 Waterworks (Located in the Colonial Industrial Quarter)
What is Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites?
Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that proudly preserves and maintains 20 historic sites, seven gardens, five ruins, one orchard, and 60,000+ artifacts. Our organization engenders a sense of place by working tirelessly to restore, educate, and share all we can about these beautiful buildings and their storied pasts.
Who are the Moravians?
The Moravians are one of the oldest Protestant denominations, predating Martin Luther and the formation of the Lutheran Church by about 50 years. Beginning in eastern Europe, the early Moravians were followers of John Hus, an early reformist who was burned at the stake for heresy in 1415. They later united in 1457, calling themselves Unitas Fratrum or Unity of the Brethren.
After worshiping in secret for almost 2 centuries, leaders of the Unitas Fratrum came out of hiding after meeting Count Zinzendorf, who later became their benefactor and religious leader.
From there in 1732, they came to the New World as missionaries and settlers, and founded Bethlehem in 1741, the first well-established Moravian settlement in the Americas. In fact, all of the historic buildings constructed from 1741 to 1845 were built by Bethlehem's Moravian forefathers.
The name Moravian refers to the geographic area where the faith community originated, in ancient Bohemia and Moravia, now part of the Czech Republic.
Are there gift shops at Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites?
We have gift shops at the following locations:
- Visitor Center, 505 Main Street
- Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts, 427 North New Street
- Moravian Museum of Bethlehem, 66 West Church Street
How can I become more involved?
Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites is a not-for-profit organization supported by our community. Read more about how to support the preservation of history, culture, and the arts in Bethlehem here.
Can I go inside Central Moravian Church?
Central Moravian Church is the active sanctuary for the Central Church Moravians. Though this church is not part of our 20 historic sites, we encourage you to reach out to the Central Moravian Church Office for visitor information.
Can I rent a site for a private event?
Yes! We offer 4 historic site locations to use for hosting your special occasions. We'd love to help you create an unforgettable event that your friends, family, or business will be talking about for years to come. Please contact our Site Rental Coordinator for more information and to book your event: 610.882.0450 ext. 20
Does HBMS offer bus tours?
Bethlehem by Night bus tours are offered during the Christmas season. During other seasons, visitors with their own bus may book a step-on tour guide for a day or night tour. For more information, call the Visitor Center at 1.800.360.TOUR.
Does HBMS offer year-round carriage rides?
Though our publicly scheduled Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides are limited to the holiday season, we are happy to help connect you with our trusted carriage ride company to schedule a private carriage.
About Historic Moravian Bethlehem: A National Historic Landmark District
What is Historic Moravian Bethlehem?
Historic Moravian Bethlehem is one of only eight National Historic Landmark Districts in Pennsylvania and one of only about 200 in the entire United States!
It preserves two National Historic Landmarks, 1741 Gemeinhaus and 1762 Waterworks.
Historic Moravian Bethlehem’s footprint is 14 acres of the original 18th-century Moravian settlement which served as the center of Moravian activities in America. The settlement played a key role in both the international and American Moravian communities.
Today, visitors can experience some of the finest 18th century colonial Germanic architecture in the nation and explore some of the artifacts that speak to the Moravian community.
Historic Moravian Bethlehem was recently nominated to the US Tentative List for eventual nomination to the UNESCO World Heritage List.
What is a National Historic Landmark District?
A National Historic Landmark District is a section of a city that is considered to be of national historic significance.
How far is Moravian College and Lehigh University from the Landmark District?
Moravian College's North Campus is located at 1200 Main Street; 1 mile away from the Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites Visitor Center, 505 Main Street. Moravian College's Hurd Campas (South Campus) is .25 of a mile away.
Lehigh University is located at 27 Memorial Drive West, Bethlehem and is 1.5 miles away from the Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites Visitor Center, 505 Main Street.
How far is the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks from the Landmark District?
The ArtsQuest Center is located on the south side of Bethlehem at 711 East First Street, Bethlehem, about 1.8 miles away from Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites Visitor Center & Museum Store.
What is "The Rise and Fall of Bethlehem Steel" Tour?
Learn how blast furnaces worked, why men needed brass checks to get in the gate every morning, and which buildings housed which operation on this on-site walking tour that gives visitors a glimpse into the day-to-day life of a steel worker.