South Bethlehem Arts District in Focus

Jennifer De Jesus


A Whole New Kind of Neighborhood Beautification

A quaint city in the eastern part of the state of Pennsylvania, Bethlehem is a place known for its rich colonial history. While Bethlehem played a big role in the industrial revolution as a steel town, it is experiencing an economic and cultural renaissance today with a promising up-and-coming arts scene anchored in the city’s SouthSide.

Formally organized in 2015, the SouthSide Arts District is a downtown revitalization program designed to build on the community’s existing artistic, cultural and entrepreneurial history to support economic conditions for businesses and residents in South Bethlehem. This summer, the SouthSide Arts District officially opened after years of development, featuring beautiful landscaping, branded banners and local artwork and murals lining the streets of this new revitalized community.

This relaunched district has a lot to offer Bethlehem residents and visitors, including a Farmer’s Market, “First Friday” celebrations, a concert series, yearly restaurant week and seasonal events throughout the year.

First Friday

June through October, First Friday events give the community the chance to gather on the inaugural Friday of every month to enjoy live music, food from local vendors, a beer garden, and themed activities for the entire family. Businesses and galleries along 3rd and 4th Streets feature special deals and exhibitions for the night, opening their doors to the city to foster this unique art and music scene in Bethlehem.

Greenway & Out to Lunch Concert Series

South Bethlehem Greenway, a paved urban train along the former Bethlehem-Philadelphia train rail corridor, is another highlight that runs through the SouthSide Arts District. It grants walking access to a number of restaurants and cultural attractions including a skate park, the Banana Factory, SteelStacks-Artquest Center and Sands Casino. From May through September on the Greenway between New & Adams Streets, take your lunch outside on Fridays to enjoy the Out to Lunch Concert Series. Every Friday during these months, enjoy live music, discounted lunch deals from pop-up vendors and great company in the park.

Restaurant Week

Taking place twice yearly, once in the winter and once in the summer, SouthSide Restaurant Week is a great way to experience all this community’s local eateries have to offer in a short period of time. A variety of cuisines from a number of SouthSide restaurants organize special menus for the week to help you enjoy flavors from around the world in your own backyard.


Halloween gets arty on the SouthSide with the Art District’s ART-Ober Halloween Bash. A great event for the whole family, Halloween will take over the neighborhood on October 27th for trick or treating along 3rd and 4th streets, free-art filled activities for the whole family, Pumpkin Chunkin—flying pumpkins!—on the South Bethlehem Greenway, and a party at the South Bethlehem Library. 

While these scheduled events are great highlights of this community, the SouthSide Arts District is a great destination year round to enjoy theater performances, music, art and culture year round. A new website launched earlier this year features an extremely helpful calendar that outlines upcoming events, as well as a listing of all the local businesses, eateries and activities to check out in SouthSide. Don’t miss this gem of a community in Bethlehem!


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