Founded on Christmas Eve in 1741 by a small group of Moravian settlers and christened “Christmas City, USA” in 1937, Bethlehem turns its gaze toward the past during the holiday season with guided tours and museum exhibits. The 10.9-mile Heritage Trail snakes through 80 historic stops, including two National Historic Landmarks, Victorian-era homes, and the nation’s oldest gift shop. On historic walks, guides lead tour groups through the now-defunct site of Bethlehem Steel, the city’s oldest cemeteries, and the 1762 Waterworks, known as the first municipally pumped water system in the country. Located inside the 1741 Gemeinhaus, the Moravian Museum of Bethlehem curates a collection of exhibits about the town’s settlers, including their missionary work, education system, and medical techniques.
Town & Country Lanes is a smoke-free family center that hosts rollers of all stripes, from children using helpful bumpers to pros battling it out during tournaments. Four nights a week, laser lights cut through clouds of fog as players' song requests drown out the sounds of strikes, spares, and self-administered high-fives. Between games, bowlers can keep their fingers busy at the arcade or fuel their stomachs with food and drinks from the snack bar and pub.
Lehigh Valley Grand Prix's gas-powered Sodi GT5 Proline karts zip around a quarter-mile racetrack with 11 brake-stomping turns. The karts feature air-intake units that trap their exhaust and keep the atmosphere fresh, and the track—constructed from 1,300 used Goodyear tires and the shredded remains of Mario Andretti's learner's permit—is outfitted with three observation platforms for track marshals to regulate each lap and guarantee riders' safety. A full-time mechanic keeps finish lines crowded by calibrating karts to run within three-tenths of a second of one another and hanging hundreds of piñatas from the checkered flag. At the facility's bar, Octane, drivers can refuel with drinks and food while watching stock-car races on the five 42-inch TVs.
Competitors in the Professional Indoor Football League's United Conference since 2011, the Steelhawks prey on the opposition across the 50-yard pitch inside Stabler Arena. With a roster of gridiron stars, many of which were standouts at colleges across the country, the Steelhawks bring a fast-paced style of play to a football-crazed fanbase. The Steelhawks' mascot, Talon, regales fans in the stands during games with signature cheers and seminars on how to build structurally sound nests.