It’s literally called “Christmas City, U.S.A.”!
Though New York becomes its own winter wonderland during this time of year, sometimes you want a holiday getaway too! And the aptly-named Bethlehem, PA, also known as Christmas City U.S.A, is the perfect Christmas town to get in the spirit.
Home of the first-ever Christmas tree in the United States in 1747, now this eastern PA city has fully embraced its holiday history, becoming a December destination every single year.
You can expect everything from a window decorating competition to a magical Christmas village lining its very streets! Here’s a taste of just what this magical Christmas town entails:
- Tree Lighting Ceremony: The 2022 Christmas City Tree Lighting Ceremony will be held on Bethlehem’s Payrow Plaza along with hot cocoa, a visit from Santa Claus, and a lineup of exciting entertainment. November 18 | 5 p.m.
- The Christmas Village: Downtown Bethlehem’s streets literally transform into an enchanting Christmas market through December 24! Charming wood huts filled with unique holiday gifts line the sidewalks, where you can find everything from gifts from local artisans to gourmet foods to pet treats to local wine. Thursdays – Sundays, Now through 12/24.
- Window Decorating Contest: The streets will truly transform into a Christmas village with not only the pop-up shops, but in-town businesses also hold a window-decorating contest with the most extravagant displays! You can even vote for your favorite by scanning QR codes in the windows. Voting will start November 26 and the winner will be announced on Saturday, December 17. November 26 – December 17
- Santa’s Haus: See the big man himself and pose for free photos at the 1750 Smithy / Moravian Blacksmith Shop located at 425 Main Street. November 26 & December 3, 10, 17 | 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
- Live Advent Calendar: Every evening catch a surprise musical performance at the only live advent event in the country. The Goundie House. December 1 – December 23 | 5:30 p.m. nightly
- 12 Days of Giveaways: Yes, you can get a free gift just for visiting this town! The Downtown Bethlehem Association is giving away presents from local businesses and organizations, with winners chosen at random daily. December 1 – December 12
Find out even more about this magical place on their website here
Driving from NYC is easiest (and the trip will take anywhere from 1.5-2 hours depending on traffic). You can also get there by train, but it takes multiple transfers and closer to 3.5 hours.