Local Atmosphere

Location
Bethlehem, PA
Undergrads
4,824
Tuition
$42,220
Admission Difficulty
Hard
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Reviews

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4 College Junior

Local Atmosphere: I have ventured over to North Bethlehem before and it is definitely a historic place!

3 College Sophomore

Local Atmosphere: The city of Bethlehem is not the most interesting out there unless you make it or have a car to explore it. Bethlehem has charm and beauty but some may be put off.

2 College Junior

Local Atmosphere: Local atmosphere is honestly horrible. Lehigh is situated in a very poor neighborhood and with most Lehigh students being wealthy white students the local demographic, blacks, (not to be racist) does not really like the students. Many students get robbed right on campus and off campus houses are easily broken into. There is no shopping within walking distance and probably 2 ok fast food places. The parking is not bad and the nightlife is just a couple crappy bars and nothing else. You get over it pretty easily though because most everyone who lives off campus lives next to each other, so parties and such are fairly close and most of your neighbors are other Lehigh students.

3 College Freshman

Local Atmosphere: Economically challenged area although lots of revitalization plans

2 College Sophomore

Local Atmosphere: You have to be careful of the townies. It can be dangerous a bit off campus.

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Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Charlie Gimber
Hometown
Sudbury, MA
Major
English and Journalism
View all previous student authors

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.

 

Facts & Statistics

Fun Local Trivia
  1. Bethlehem, known as Christmas City, USA, was given its name on Christmas Eve 1741.
  2. The Moravian Book Shop, located in Historic Bethlehem, is the oldest continuously running bookseller in the world, founded in 1745.
  3. Bethlehem's Musikfest is considered the largest music festival in the country, with more than 1,000 musical performers and an annual attendance of more than 1 million.
  4. Moravians in Bethlehem completed the first-known waterworks system providing drinking and wash water in the American colonies in 1754.
  5. The Philadelphia Eagles have held their NFL training camp at Bethlehem's Lehigh University for the past few years.
Notable Natives
  • Stephen Vincent Benet
  • Gelsey Kirkland
  • Asa Packer
Points of Interest
  • Banana Factory
  • The Bethlehem Star
  • Crayola Factory
  • The Discovery Center
  • Dorney Park
  • Historic Bethlehem
  • Main Street
Shopping Centers
Lehigh Valley Mall
Movie Theaters
Boyd Theater
30 W. Broad St.
Bethlehem
(610) 866-1521
Movie Theaters
Carmike 16
1700 Catasaqua Rd.
Allentown
(610) 264-9624
Movie Theaters
Center Valley, RMP Promenade 16
2805 Center Valley Pkwy.
Center Valley
(610) 709-8635
Movie Theaters
Regal (Hoyts) Saucon Valley Cinema 10
3717 Rt. 378
Bethlehem
(610) 814-2340
Major Sports Teams
  • New York Yankees: baseball
  • Philadelphia Eagles: football
  • Philadelphia Phillies: baseball
Distances to Nearest Major Cities
  • New York City: NY: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Philadelphia: PA: 1 hour

Student Polls

Rate the local atmosphere on the following topics    Based on 34 responses

Very poor
Excellent
  • Cost of living
  • Dining
  • Friendliness of locals toward students
  • Museums/cultural attractions
  • Nightlife
  • Parking
  • Parks and recreation
  • Professional sports
  • Safety
  • Scenery
  • Shopping
  • Transportation

What is the local atmosphere like at your school?    Based on 35 responses

  • 11% Painfully remote.
  • 26% In or near a big city, but there's not much to do off campus.
  • 43% Small town with plenty of charm.
  • 14% Vibrant college town. There's no big city, but there are plenty of things to do off campus.
  • 6% City living at its finest. There's always something fun and interesting going on.

What is the proximity to other universities? Is there much interaction?    Based on 35 responses

  • 6% There aren't any nearby schools.
  • 57% There are nearby schools, but students do NOT interact much.
  • 37% There are nearby schools that students often interact with.

Can you see yourself living here after graduation?    Based on 34 responses

  • 56% No way.
  • 32% Maybe, if I could find a good job.
  • 12% Totally.

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