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9 Reasons to Go to Lehigh Valley During the Holidays

Treat the kids to a little holiday magic in the Christmas City and beyond.


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Photo courtesy of Discover Lehigh Valley
 

For nearly 300 years, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania has been a holiday staple. From street decor to community events, the Christmas City is worth the trip. Here’s what to see when you go:

Photo courtesy of Discover Lehigh Valley
 

Christkindlmarkt Bethlehem

November 17-December 23 (select dates)
SteelStacks, 101 Founders Way, Bethlehem, PA
610-332-1300, christmascity.org
Daily admission $9 adults, $5 kids 6-12, free kids 5 and under; season passes also available

Get a taste of Germany at this  Euro-inspired outdoor market filled with tasty treats, holiday ornaments and handmade gifts from more than 150 artisans. The market was started in 1993 by ArtsQuest and quickly became one of the top holiday attractions in the northeast (it even made Travel + Leisure Magazine’s list of Top Holiday Markets in the World in 2007).  Shop artisan-made goods to the tune of festive Christmas music. The event features Germany’s Käthe Wohlfahrt, famous for authentic German ornaments, nutcrackers, smokers and more. Hang in the courtyard to watch ice carving and take a pic in front of the 26-foot holiday tree. Wow the kids with the Hot Glass Experience, where they’ll see molten glass transform into uniquely stunning ornaments.  And don’t forget to visit St. Nicholas with the little ones, or go to a Santa breakfast on December 2, 9 or 16 at 9 am.

Photo courtesy of Ang Caggiano

The Bethlehem Carriage Company Tours

November 26-December 31 (select dates)
Historic Downtown Bethlehem, PA
610-730-4973, bethlehemcarriage.com
$65-95 per carriage

Picture your crew cruising through downtown from the back of a horse-drawn carriage. Take in lights, landmarks and history from the White Vis-a-Vis Carriage or the Magical Cinderella Carriage (it’ll be all decked out for the holidays!). If you have princess-obsessed little ones, get tix to a princess character ride where Belle will join in on the fun and entertain your crew. Rides leave every 20 minutes and go from 4-8 pm. Reserve your seat online.

Photo courtesy of Mark Makela
 

Historic Hotel Bethlehem

437 Main St., Bethlehem, PA
610-625-5000, hotelbethlehem.com
$49 for office party admission; $169 per person or $299 per couple for NYE

This spot has been a town staple since the 1700s so there’s no shortage of history and stories (read up on the three resident ghosts). The hotel gets dressed to the nines for the holidays from decor to seasonal cocktails and special events. If you get a chance to drive up without the kids, consider stopping by at the Largest Small Office Holiday Party on December 14 at 6 pm. Reserve a table for your staff so you can take in beats by the Philadelphia Funk Authority along with, dinner, dessert and raffle drawings (not to mention the cash bar). The New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball on December 31 is a next-level  way to ring in 2018. The Musical Sunday Brunch is also a can’t-miss (and it’s family-friendly!) It’s rated as one of the top 100 in the US by Open Table, so you’ll want to make your reservations early.  

Photo courtesy of Discover Lehigh Valley
 

Moravian Book Shop

428 Main St., Bethlehem, PA
610-866-5481, moravianbookshop.com
Ghost tour tickets are $13 adults, $10 kids under 13

How will your bookworms feel being in the oldest bookstore in the country? The spot was founded in 1745, and so it boasts tons of Bethlehem history. You can shop everything from Moravian vinyl stars, Bethlehem Star ornaments, Moravian cookies, beeswax candles and, of course, . plenty of books and CDs Check the online calendar for events like cookies with Santa, book signings and Holiday Ghost Tours. Your crew will meet ghosts of Christmas past on this candlelit hour-long walking tour. Tours are every Friday and Saturday at 6:30 pm from November 17-January 6.

Photo courtesy of Discover Lehigh Valley
 

Bethlehem by Night Christmas Tours

November 24-December 31 (select dates)
505 Main St., Bethlehem, PA
610-332-3378, historicbethlehem.org
Adults $15, kids $9 plus a $2 convenience fee

The kids will feel like they’ve hopped a ride on Santa’s sleigh. Take in all the stunning lights and holiday decor in town on a tour led by a certified guide in period dress. The highlight of the tour is arguably the famous Star of Bethlehem, located atop South Mountain. Learn all about early and modern holiday traditions of the region and more historic info. Get your tix in advance online.

If you’re open to exploring the rest of Lehigh Valley, check out the following attractions: 

Photo courtesy of Discover Lehigh Valley
 

Winter Light Spectacular at Lehigh Valley Zoo

November 10-December 31 (select dates)
5150 Game Preserve Rd., Schnecksville, PA
610-799-4171, lvzoo.com
Adults $11-14, kids ages 2-11 $6-9

This is the zoo’s biggest fundraiser of the year, and works to help animal conservation. More than one million energy-conserving lights will dazzle your little sugar plum fairies, not to mention the musical light show in Preston’s Pad, light tunnels and the upgraded Crystal Cave Experience (with even more lights this year!). There’s also a brand new Toy Story-themed section, mascots including the Grinch and the Minions and live princess appearances on select dates. Look online to find out which nights you can meet Elsa or Belle.

Photo courtesy of Ang Caggiano

Easton Peace Candle

November 25-December 25
Center Square, Easton, PA
eastonmainstreet.org

The annual Peace Candle Lighting is a huge deal in Easton. The event boasts live bands, face painting, food trucks, ice carvers, a gingerbread house contest, petting zoo and tons more, all to celebrate the glowing up of the largest non-wax Christmas candle in the US (people bid to be The Official Illuminator on Ebay every year). Once it’s lit, the public can visit the enormous structure in Center Square, then check out nearby attractions like the Easton Farmers Market or Crayola Experience.

Photo courtesy of America on Wheels Museum website
 

America on Wheels Museum’s Holiday Train Display

November 24-December 30
5 North Front St., Allentown, PA
610-432-4200, americaonwheels.org
Admission $10-16, kids under 12 free

Mini conductors will feel the holiday cheer while watching tons of model trains zip through the museum’s galleries. On select dates, there are additional holiday happenings scheduled at the museum, like Cars, Corks and Cuisine on December 2 (think food stations, swing music and wine samples), Ice Cream with Santa on December 17 in the 1950’s HubCap Cafe and Match Box Car Racing Ramp Day on December 29. Bring a new unwrapped toy to donate to Toys for Tots when you visit.  

Photo courtesy of Discover Lehigh Valley
 

Koziar’s Christmas Village

Nightly from Thanksgiving-January 1
782 Christmas Village Rd., Bernville, PA
koziarschristmasvillage.com
$10 adults, $9 seniors, $8 kids ages 4-10, free kids 3 and under

This family-owned attraction is celebrating 70 years of Christmas magic tucked away in the dark countryside. This dreamy holiday fantasy lights up the valley at the end of a country road with more than one million bulbs. The seasonal hotspot also has gift barns, a tranquil lake that reflects the Christmas splendor lit up ashore and glass building displays like Santa’s Post Office, The Kissing Bridge and more. Don’t miss indoor and outdoor train displays and pics with the the jolly guy himself.

 

For more information about Lehigh Valley, visit discoverlehighvalley.com.

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