Rich in history and steeped in cultural tradition, Bethlehem, Pa., continues to be an outstanding home for Lehigh University. Located in the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania's third-largest metropolitan area, Bethlehem is situated between Philadelphia (50 miles) and New York City (75 miles).
Bethlehem, once home to the nation's second-largest steel producer, has transformed itself into a bustling center of arts, technology and education. With a population of 78,000, it offers the warm community of a small town with all the amenities of a large city.
Lehigh is located on the South Side of Bethlehem, where you can easily walk to a variety of delicious restaurants, ranging from Japanese to Mediterranean to Indian; great shops, including a skate shop and record store; and several performance venues and art galleries. On the first Friday of every month, South Side businesses stay open late and offer special discounts, live music and refreshments.
You can also find boutiques, salons and restaurants in Historic Downtown Bethlehem on the city's North Side, including "Restaurant Row," on West Broad Street, and the oldest continuously operating bookstore in the United States. The area also hosts Musikfest, a music festival that attracts more than 1 million people each August, and the Celtic Classic, the nation's largest Celtic festival, in September.
From rollercoasters at Dorney Park or Triple-A baseball at Coca Cola Park to fresh-water scuba diving at Dutch Springs or biking on the Delaware and Lehigh trail, the area has something to offer everyone. For beautiful outdoor adventures, the Pocono Mountains are only 50 miles away. If city lights are more your taste, buses to Philadelphia and New York leave from Bethlehem several times a day, making internships in either city possible.
Closer to home, the university has partnered with local government officials, businesses and community organizations to give students community service and service-learning opportunities that strengthen the bonds between Lehigh and our community.
And in 2008, Fortune Small Business magazine named Bethlehem one of the "Best Places to Live and Launch," in recognition of the city's busy technology industries and the support Lehigh and the area's other colleges, universities and hospitals provide to budding entrepreneurs.
When you visit Lehigh, be sure to leave enough time to discover Bethlehem and the Lehigh Valley, and if you can't make it to campus, check out our virtual tour of the area. You're sure to find the city as perfect a home as we do.
Did you know…?
- In 2006, Money magazine included Bethlehem as one of its "Top 100 Best Places to Live."
- The former Bethlehem Steel plant appeared in opening sequence of the movie, Transformers 2, standing in for Shanghai, China.
- Actor and former professional wrestler Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson graduated from Bethlehem's Freedom High School.
- Just Born makes its famous marshmallow Peeps and Mike & Ike candies in Bethlehem.
- Bethlehem is known as the Christmas City and the 81-foot Star of Bethlehem shines year-round on South Mountain.