It’s no secret that the town of Bethlehem isn’t exactly New York City, but there have been changes over the last few years to help improve the economy—most notably on the south side, near campus. The north side, historic Bethlehem, is five minutes from campus by car and has always been charming. A stroll down Main Street can make you feel like you’re in a completely different era with the old-fashioned sidewalks and storefronts. Both south and north sides have their share of distinct eateries, and the north side actually has some surprisingly good restaurants. Aside from the food, most students will agree that there’s not a lot to do in Bethlehem, but this is more than made up for in the excellent social life on campus. Students with cars often drive to Allentown—a 10- to 15-minute ride—for most of their needs.
While most people are skeptical of Bethlehem upon first visiting, the former steel titan has a way of growing on students. The relationship between residents of Bethlehem and the students is amicable at best; townies don’t exactly love the students, but they tolerate them all the same. Dorney Park and the Crayola Factory are 20-minute drives, Moravian College is right across the river, and Muhlenberg College is a 15-minute drive away. The Promenade outdoor shopping center has opened up a ton of options for students. The center is filled with shops and restaurants, and it’s quite pleasant to walk around. While most Lehigh students are having too much fun to be bothered going anywhere, there are a few options when it feels necessary to go off campus.