It’s true. Christmas City is a real place — otherwise known as Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Located between the Poconos and Philadelphia, Bethlehem is especially festive during the holiday season (hence its nickname), with celebrations including themed tours, a live advent calendar and even visits to the Star of Bethlehem.
Here, your complete guide to all of Christmas City’s events in 2017. Happy Holidays!
Christmas City Tours
Luminaria Night — now in its 20th year — will take place on Dec. 8, 2017. The Star of Bethlehem will guide visitors to the little city, and locals will line the streets with candles to welcome the holiday season.
Historic Hotel Bethlehem Christmas Tour
This free, self-guided tour inside the Historic Hotel Bethlehem will dazzle visitors with its Christmas trees, wreaths, toy soldiers, lights and even a gingerbread hotel replica! Get the full Historic Hotel Bethlehem experience by booking a stay here, too.
Bethlehem by Night Bus Tour
Experience the history of Bethlehem and enjoy the Christmas lights on this guided tour in which guides are in period dress. Bring your camera — the tour stops at the Star of Bethlehem atop South Mountain! Tours run Thursday to Sunday, Nov. 24 to Dec. 30, 2017; tours do not run on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Admission is $15 for adults and $9 for kids.
Horse-Drawn Carriage Tour
Nothing says Christmas like a cozy horse-drawn carriage ride. With seating for four, this carriage ride will delight the whole family. The Christmas City carriage rides run every 20 minutes on various dates, Nov. 22 to Dec. 31, 2017.
Christmas City Stroll
Walk with guides in period dress on this tour to experience The Christmas City and learn about Bethlehem’s history and Christmas traditions past and present. Tours run from Nov. 22, 2017 to Jan. 7, 2018. Admission is $15 for adults and $9 for kids.
Christmas City Performances
The Ballet Guild of the Lehigh Valley, in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, will present its annual production of “The Nutcracker” in three performances on Dec. 16 (1 and 4 p.m.) and 17 (2 p.m.), 2017. The classic holiday show, with live music by The South Side Sinfonietta, will take the stage at Lehigh University’s Zoellner Arts Center.
Live Advent Calendar
Visitors gather at the Goundie House (501 Main Street), where a selected visitor is asked to walk up to the door and knock. When the door opens, a local business owner hands out treats — and there you have it, a live advent calendar! The event takes place at 5:30 p.m. nightly, Dec. 1 to 23, 2017.
Christmas City Follies
Celebrate the merriment of Christmas in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, at this variety show at Touchstone Theatre. Music and humor make the Christmas City Follies an instant classic for the whole family. The Follies run Nov. 30 to Dec. 22, 2017. Performances are at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and at 2 p.m. on Sunday.
Christmas City Shopping and Arts and Crafts
No trip to Christmas City is complete without a visit to Christkindlmarkt! Located at PNC Plaza at Steel Stacks Performing Arts Center, the traditional German Christmas market offers more than just shopping. Visitors will enjoy live holiday music, artist demonstrations and food. Kids can also make their own ornaments! The market is open mid-November through December. Children under 5 are free to get in. A free trolley stops at Christkindlmarkt, ensuring your Christmas shopping list can be completed!
Kids’ Club End-of-Year Extravaganza
Kids can create art projects at this kids’ club. The Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts, which highlights the decorative arts in furniture, paintings, clothing and more, hosts kids’ projects throughout the year. So if you missed one, visit the museum to experience the End-of-Year Extravaganza and catch up on any projects you may have missed. It’s free for children ages 4 to 17.
Christmas City Music and Movies
Music in the Museum
Visit the Moravian Museum of Bethlehem on select dates and hear holiday music performed by different musicians. The Moravian Museum is housed in Bethlehem’s oldest building and tells the stories of the Moravian Church founders.
Christmas Classic Movie Matinees
Spend the day touring Bethlehem at Christmas time and then take in a matinee and catch a Christmas movie classic at Frank Banko Alehouse Cinemas.
The Red Elvises New Year’s Eve Spectacular
These Red Elvises know how to rock New Year’s Eve! Singer, songwriter and guitarist Igor Yuzov and his Elvises always make audiences want to sing and dance along to his guitar-based rock and roll. Doors open for dinner at 8 p.m. at Musikfest Cafe, and the show starts at 9 p.m.
Sayre Mansion Inn