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 year-round 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. The Kemerer Museum Of Decorative Arts is one of only 15 of its kind 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.
Step foot onto the lush landscaped grounds of the Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion, and you're instantly transported to the Victorian era—a time when ladies toted lacy parasols, gentlemen sported tall silk hats, and children played with coal-powered Game Boys. Beyond the stately mansion's immaculately manicured lawns and brick façade lie 17 restored rooms, replete with lavish Rococo and Renaissance revival furnishings, elaborate ceiling designs, and Victorian-era appliances such as cast-iron stoves and gas-lit chandeliers.
This museum of Victorian architecture and culture hosts weekly tours, as well as a monthly Upstairs Downstairs tour that explores the lives and challenges of women in Victorian-era Philadelphia. The mansion also stages theater performances throughout the year, featuring the works of Victorian-era greats including Charles Dickens, Bram Stoker, and Louisa May Alcott.
Encompassing 15 historic sites, Historic Germantown: Freedom's Backyard preserves the rich history of the region with regular events, tours, and all-inclusive passes to their attractions. From the home of the 1777 Battle of Germantown to the first Mennonite settlement in America, the sites give visitors an opportunity to relive history and wear powdered wigs in public. Multiple museums house relics and paraphernalia from the beginning of the country through World War II. Events such as Germantown Works highlight the region's work ethic, and summer camps celebrate the annual tradition of having summer.
The flavor-savvy guides of Chew Philly Food Tours acquaint both visiting and veteran Philadelphia taste buds with the dishes that encapsulate the city's culinary heritage. During each 2.5-hour journey, groups visit family-owned restaurants, bakeries, and grocery stores— many of which have been around for decades—where merchants show off their specialties to curious palates.
Tidbits about local architecture, city history, and the philly cheesesteak's historic boxing victory against Chicago-style pizza spring from tour guides as tasters proceed with their 1.5-mile jaunt, which keeps feet moving at a moderate pace to accommodate guests of all ages and fitness levels.
As the Ale & Arts Walking Adventure tour ambles among famous Philadelphia bars such as McGillin's Olde Ale House and Dirty Frank's Bar, you'll get to drink in the history and cultural significance of 10 distinctive murals, as well as the establishments where they are located. You'll also get to drink in several locally brewed beers served throughout the fact-filled tour. The Mural Arts Program was created to enlighten the public on the collaborative process of how murals transform public spaces and unite artists with the local community. Develop a new appreciation for public art and discover the history behind your favorite local bar with today's side deal.