Moving to Bethlehem

Welcome to your newfound rendezvous with life in Bethlehem, PA! Fabled for its historic charm, university buzz, and festive spirit, Bethlehem stands out as a perfect fusion of Americana's past and future. What some call "The Christmas City," is so much more than holiday glitter; it's a place to call home. Within this relocation guide, you'll unravel all that Bethlehem offers, from the hidden gems within its historic streets to the contemporary urban life pulsating beneath its traditional roots. Are you ready to kick-start your Bethlehem journey?

Moving to Bethlehem, PA landscape image

What to Know Before Moving to Bethlehem

1. A Slice of History

Tucked away in the heart of Pennsylvania, Bethlehem is a city that virtually oozes history. From the well-preserved Moravian architecture to the legendary Bethlehem Steel Plant, this city is a historian's dream. Wander down Main Street and you'll be treated to an array of quaint boutiques, cozy restaurants, and history-steeped buildings. A visit to the Moravian Museum of Bethlehem is a must, where you can learn about the city's history dating back to 1741.

2. A Melting Pot of Cultures

Bethlehem is one of those unique cities that houses a rich tapestry of cultures. The music, art, food, and festivals of Bethlehem are a testament to this multiculturalism. One can't help but be won over by the city's warm and inviting vibe. Speaking of warmth, visiting Bethlehem's Christmas market, Christkindlmarkt, is like stepping into a winter tale - celebrating its independent spirit whilst honoring its German Moravian roots.

3. A Living Canvas

If you're an art enthusiast, you'll be delighted by the city's vibrant art scene. Home to a slew of art galleries, studios, and art events, Bethlehem encourages creative expressions. And if you are in the city between May to September, don't miss the SouthSide Arts & Music Festival. It creates a playful atmosphere with live music, street performances, and public art installations.

4. The Secret Corners

Did you know Bethlehem has a "secret" blink-or-you-miss-it alley? Brakeley Gardens, a dreamy vine-covered passage off West Fourth Street, is a hidden gem in the heart of the city. It's a peaceful space adorned with murals, string lights, and picnic tables - a perfect spot for a quiet book-reading session or an intimate cup of coffee with a loved one.

5. Foodie Haven

If your taste buds could talk, they'd definitely thank you for moving to Bethlehem. The food scene here is diverse, delectable, and simply irresistible. Food lovers can find everything from authentic Mexican tacos to rich, creamy Italian gelato. Not forgetting Billy's Downtown Diner, famed for its fresh and locally sourced ingredients, the nifty place to satisfy your brunch cravings.

6. The Stars are Closer Than You Think

Yes, you read that right. Bethlehem consistently has some of the best stargazing opportunities in Pennsylvania. The Lehigh Valley Astronomy Club often holds free public viewings that are worth checking out for both amateur stargazers and seasoned astronomers. And who knows, you might just find a fellow stargazer to join you on this celestial journey!

So, there you have it! Bethlehem - a city that is small in size but packs a punch when it comes to history, culture, and experiences. Beyond its postcard-perfect vistas, there's a whole lot more waiting to be discovered. Whether it's immersing yourself in days of old, exploring eclectic cuisines, or finding solace amongst glowing stars, a move to Bethlehem guarantees plenty of memorable moments.

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Pros and Cons of Living in Bethlehem

Pros of Living in Bethlehem

1. Bethlehem Offers Vibrant Art and Music Scene

Bethlehem is particularly well- known for its lively art and music scene. From hosting Musikfest, one of the largest music festivals in the country, to the visual arts at the Banana Factory, there is always something to stimulate your artistic senses.

2. High Quality Education

The education system in Bethlehem is highly regarded, with numerous public, private, and charter schools providing quality instruction. In addition, the presence of Lehigh University and Moravian College offers numerous educational opportunities for higher learning.

3. Rich History and Culture

As one of America's oldest towns, Bethlehem is steeped in rich history and culture. From historic districts preserved from the colonial era, to traditions like the annual Bethlehem Star lighting, the city offers a series of enriching experiences.

4. Excellent Dining and Shopping Options

The city offers an impressive array of dining and shopping options. Main Street is renowned for its chic boutiques and trendy restaurants, providing residents with plenty of places to explore and enjoy.

5. Lots of Green Spaces

For those who love the outdoors, Bethlehem has plenty of parks and trails to explore. Whether it's a gentle stroll along the Lehigh Canal, or a hike in the South Mountain Big Preserve, there's ample opportunity for outdoor activities.

Cons of Living in Bethlehem

1. High Cost of Living

Unfortunately, the high quality of life in Bethlehem comes with a relatively high cost of living. From housing, food, to other necessary utilities, residents generally pay more than the average American city.

2. Traffic and Congestion

Bethlehem, especially the downtown area can get quite congested, particularly during peak travel times and during major events such as festivals. This can lead to significant commute times for drivers.

3. Limited Job Opportunities

Compared to larger cities, Bethlehem has limited career opportunities in certain industries. Unemployment rates are generally on par with the national average, but some may find it difficult to secure work matching their skills and qualifications.

4. Weather

The weather in Bethlehem can be unpredictable. Winters can be harsh and severe, which can lead to disruptions in daily life. On the other hand, summers can be excessively hot and humid, making outdoor activities uncomfortable.

5. Amenities are Spread Out

As Bethlehem is fairly spread out, amenities are not always within walking distance. This can make it inconvenient for those who do not have a car or prefer to walk, and are not in the vicinity of shopping or dining facilities.

Modern day picture of Bethlehem, PA highlighting pros and cons of living in Bethlehem, PA

Is Bethlehem a Good Place to Live?

Bethlehem, PA is a great place to live because of its vibrant cultural scene, increasing job opportunities, and quality schools system. It further adds to the allure with its rich historical interests, safe neighborhoods, and stunning parks. A mix between an urban and rural life, Bethlehem also boasts a great 'foodie' scene with unique local restaurants that will have you returning for more.

What Is Bethlehem Famous For?


Not only is Musikfest in Bethlehem one of the largest music festivals in the country, it also happens to be a celebration of all things music! Each year, Bethlehem is serenaded by hundreds of different performers, which range from local upstarts to world-class acts.

The Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites

If you're interested in stepping back in time, the Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites is a must-visit. With a network of 20 different historic sites and attractions spread across the city, you can explore and embrace the rich, industrious history of Bethlehem, ranging from the 18th century Moravian community to the 20th century Bethlehem Steel.

Bethlehem Steel

Ironically, this city isn't just known for its delicate Christmas decorations! At one point, Bethlehem was home to the second largest steel producer in the nation, Bethlehem Steel. Though the company has since closed its doors, the old steel stacks remain as a towering reminder of Bethlehem's metallic past and serves as a venue for various concerts and events.


There's no better place to jumpstart your holiday spirit than the Christkindlmarkt in Bethlehem. This annual five-week-long event is known as one of the best holiday markets in the U.S, featuring over 150 different artisans and vendors selling a variety of handcrafted gifts, tasty foods, and bucket-loads of Christmas cheer!

Capital building of Bethlehem, PA in artistic rendering

Overview of Tax Rates

Property Tax

In Bethlehem, PA as of 2023, the property tax rate is approximately 2.14%, which is higher than the national average of 1.07%. Bethlehem resident property owners, thus, pay a relatively significant amount in property taxes compared to those in other states.

Sales Tax

The sales tax for Bethlehem, PA for the year 2023 is 6%, which is just slightly below the US average of 7.12%. This means that residents get to slightly save on purchases compared to others in states with higher sales tax rates.

Income Tax

For 2023, Bethlehem, PA has a flat state income tax rate of 3.07%, which is low compared to the US average of approximately 4.6% for states with an income tax. Consequently, residents may enjoy a lower tax burden on personal income than those in many other states.

Housing Market

The Bethlehem, PA housing market exhibits resilient stability compared to other US regions. The median home value stands around $200,000, making it more affordable than the national average. However, rising by almost 5% in the past year, it's a thriving market. Renters can expect to pay about $1,200 per month, slightly below the national median. With an admirable mix of homebuyers and renters, Bethlehem continues to offer a consistent, accessible market. It holds promising investment potential for buyers while affording competitive prices for renters.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Bethlehem, PA is relatively lower than in many other U.S. cities, making it an attractive place for residents. Specifically, housing costs are significantly lower, contributing to its affordable nature. While transportation and food costs are comparatively on par with the national average, overall, Bethlehem offers a lower total cost of living. This can be especially enticing to those who desire the amenities of city living without the typically associated high costs.

Weather & Natural Disasters

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, epitomizes the classic Northeastern US climate. It experiences four distinct seasons, with sweltering summers and chilly winters. The average summer temperature peaks around 85degF in July, while in wintertime, temperatures often plummet below freezing with occasional snowfall. Spring and autumn are mild and moderate with a beautiful array of colorful foliage in the latter, making it a delightful sight. Bethlehem typically sees about 44 inches of annual rainfall spread fairly evenly throughout the year. As far as natural disasters go, flooding, severe storms, and heavy snowfalls are the most common, while the city does fall within the seismic zone but earthquakes are rare. An ever-watchful eye is kept on the nearby Lehigh River, which can pose a flood risk in periods of relentless rainfall. Undoubtedly, the diverse weather patterns in Bethlehem are part of what makes living or visiting here quite an experience.

Typical weather in Bethlehem, PA

Economy & Job Market

* Healthcare and Social Assistance

* Manufacturing

* Retail Trade

* Education Services

* Accommodation and Food Services

Mention "Bethlehem, PA" and it often conjures images of steel and industrial might. For over a century, steel production was indeed the heartbeat of Bethlehem's economy, with the Bethlehem Steel Corporation one of the largest shipbuilding companies in the world. Today, however, the city of Bethlehem has emerged from its steely past and evolved into a thriving service-based economy. The top industries in Bethlehem now include healthcare and social assistance, manufacturing, retail trade, education services, and accommodation and food services. Healthcare, in particular, is a dominant force, with the local St. Luke's University Health Network and Lehigh Valley Health Network being two of the largest employers in the region. Manufacturing still holds a significant place, not in steel, but in food, drink and a broad spectrum of consumer goods. The presence of Lehigh University and Moravian College further adds an educational component to the local economy.

Now, if you are contemplating a move to Bethlehem, PA and hunting for a job, you certainly do need some handy info. The overall unemployment rate hovers around 4.2%, which is about par with the national average. Jobs are aplenty in the healthcare sector, thanks to the city's major hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and healthcare providers. Retail, superbly represented by the bustling historical downtown area and the SouthSide Arts District, is another area with considerable employment opportunities. Manufacturing jobs, especially in food and drink, are relatively abundant too. Education professionals can explore opportunities at local colleges and universities. It's also worth noting that the city is home to a number of corporate offices and warehouses, providing jobs in administration, management, warehouse operations, and logistics. Bethlehem, with its fascinating blend of the old and the new, truly is a job seeker's haven.

Traffic and Transportation

Hey there! So, you're planning a trip to Bethlehem, PA? Wondering about its transportation system? Whether you're a newbie or an old hand at navigating, we've got you covered! Let's talk commute - on average, Bethlehem's citizens breeze through their daily 20-30 mins travel. Sounds pretty fast, right? Now, about public transportation - the LANTA bus service undoubtedly the city's backbone, adding to the hustle and bustle of Bethlehem. If you're a shrinking violet who'd rather avoid the crowds, private companies offer cab and rideshare services too. Jetsetter, are ya? Lehigh Valley International Airport, situated a mere 15 minutes from downtown Bethlehem, serves the city's air travel needs. Come fly in and discover Bethlehem's charm! No matter what your travel style, Bethlehem, PA welcomes you! Buckle up, it's going to be a fun ride!

What is the traffic like in Bethlehem, PA?

Best Neighborhoods in Bethlehem

1. Historic Bethlehem

Let's start off with one of Bethlehem's most charming areas - Historic Bethlehem. True to its name, this neighborhood is a time capsule that showcases the city's storied past. It's a picturesque neighborhood filled with well-preserved 18th-century buildings, heritage landmarks, and cobblestone streets. Here, you'll experience a quaint, small-town charm, yet remain only steps away from modern amenities. Spend your weekend exploring the numerous museums and galleries, or just take a leisurely stroll admiring the charming architectures. As Christmas City USA, you'd be hard-pressed to find a locale as festive during the holiday season.

2. Downtown Bethlehem

Love the lively vibe of city life? Downtown Bethlehem is your spot. The heart and soul of Bethlehem, this neighborhood is bustling with an exciting mix of local boutiques, trendy bars and restaurants, and eclectic art galleries. Music enthusiasts will enjoy the Bethlehem Musikfest, one of the largest and most diverse music festivals in the nation, which takes place here every summer. Not to mention, the nightlife here is as vibrant as it gets, with a variety of venues providing evening entertainment.

3. West Bethlehem

A perfect blend of residential calm and downtown vibrancy, West Bethlehem is popular for its family-friendly atmosphere. Its numerous parks and recreational areas are a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, while its close proximity to downtown gives residents easy access to all the urban amenities you'd expect. Plus, the schools here receive top ratings, making it a fabulous spot for raising a family. Neighborhood gatherings are also a common sight, so you're bound to know your neighbors in no time.

4. Bethlehem Steel

If you're looking for a neighborhood that's rich in history and industrial charm, Bethlehem Steel is it. Once the home of the second largest steel producer in the nation, this neighborhood has now been transformed into SteelStacks, a ten-acre campus dedicated to arts, culture, and education. With its amazing blend of preserved industrial structures and new contemporary buildings, it's also a paradise for photographers and history enthusiasts. And with regular community events like outdoor concerts and art shows, there's always something going on.

5. North Bethlehem

For those craving a bit of tranquility and suburban feel, North Bethlehem might just be the place. This neighborhood is dotted with beautiful homes, large yards, and towering trees. There's a laid-back vibe and slower pace of life here that can be quite appealing after a long day. But don't worry, you're not too far removed from all the action, since North Bethlehem is just a short drive away from downtown and all of its amenities.

So, there you have it, the top neighborhoods in Bethlehem that make it a truly special place to live in. Each one offers its own unique charm and appeals to different lifestyles. Whether you long for the historical charm, the downtown hustle and bustle, family-friendly living or an appreciation for the arts, you'll find a neighborhood in Bethlehem that suits your style perfectly. Start your search in Bethlehem, and you just might find yourself ending it there, too.

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Things to Do

Just imagine, you're moving to Bethlehem, PA - the Christmas City of the US. Nestled in the heart of the Lehigh Valley, Bethlehem is a blend of rich history and colorful culture peppered with a dash of modern charm. So, if you're wondering what this vibrant city has to offer, aside from its revered steel stacks and resounding holiday spirit, look no further. Here are seven fantastic things to do in Bethlehem, PA that will certainly keep your calendar booked the entire year!

1. Discover the historic charm at Main Street Bethlehem

Begin your adventure with a stroll down the cobblestone paths of Main Street. With its 18th-century Moravian buildings and an array of shops and restaurants, Main Street offers a peek into Bethlehem's rich history. Purchase unique relics at the Moravian Book Shop, the oldest bookstore in America, feast on international cuisine, or simply enjoy the antiquarian architecture.

2. Explore the mysteries of the Lost River Caverns

Step off the beaten path and into the magical underworld at Lost River Caverns. This underground wonder is full of mystery and history, dating back over 250,000 years. Featuring stunning formations, flowing streams, and an incredible crystal chapel, this subterranean journey is a must-see for adventurers and geology buffs.

3. Visit the Landmark Christmas City Village

It's always Christmas in Bethlehem! The Christmas City Village (Weihnachtsmarkt) is a traditional German-style market where you can feel the spirit of Christmas all year round. Here, you can buy high-quality artisan gifts, devour delectable food, and immerse yourself in the extraordinary holiday ambiance.

4. Get interactive at the National Museum of Industrial History

Discover the story of American industry and innovation at the National Museum of Industrial History, located on the historic Bethlehem Steel Site. Be sure to check out the 300-ton Corliss steam engine and the museum's impressive collection of industrial artifacts dating back over a century.

5. Go green at Illick's Mill Park

For nature enthusiasts, Illick's Mill Park is your jam. A hidden gem that often goes unnoticed, this place is a tranquil retreat with plentiful wildlife, serene walking trails, and a fascinating history dating back to the Civil War era. Explore the park's paths, and don't miss the chance to visit the beautifully restored 1856 mill house located within the park.

6. Catch a live show at the Bethlehem Steel Stacks

How about some live entertainment? The steeping tower of Bethlehem Steel Stacks is the venue for Musikfest, featuring over 500 performances annually. These uniquely repurposed industrial towers create a dramatic backdrop to any concert, drawing in music lovers from all over the nation.

7. Indulge in pizza at the renowned Lehigh Pizza

Food, a universal magnet for us all. You haven't truly been in Bethlehem until you've tried the famous white pizza at Lehigh Pizza. This not-so-well-known pizza joint takes everyday pizza to a whole new level with its unique topping combinations and lip-smacking sauce. Try out their scrumptious paninis and wraps too!

In conclusion, whether you're a history buff, shopaholic, nature lover, food enthusiast, or simply a thrill-seeker, Bethlehem has something for each of its residents. Uncover and revel in the city's cultural wealth, cherish the glimpses of history embedded in its landscape, and savor its gastronomical delights. Welcome to beautiful Bethlehem, PA - where every corner has a story to tell and every day unfolds a new adventure to embark on!.

Things to do in Bethlehem, PA?

Find Movers for Your Bethlehem Relocation

As you prepare for your impending relocation to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, take advantage of the seamless transition Great Guys Moving can provide. Our dependable network of licensed and insured movers is dedicated to offering quality service paired with affordable pricing, eradicating the stress and confusion often associated with a big move. Instead of wrangling with infinite details and prices, let us expedite your moving process. Request a complimentary moving quote today from Great Guys Moving, and let us help ease your transition to your new home in the beautiful city of Bethlehem.

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