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Hi, am thinking about going to Lehigh U. and wondered if anyone has spent anytime there? I did my visitation and it seemed like a nice enough place, but what can you really figure out about a place in one day? So does anyone know what its like to live in or around Bethlehem, any suggestions...

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Guest Aristurtle

I've lived in the Lehigh Valley for 19yrs and went to school in Bethlehem. Bethlehem's definitely the prettiest and most cultured city in the Lehigh Valley. They have a few cool music venues, big and small, and a bunch of excellent dive bars and upscale bars as well. I don't know too much about Lehigh U, although some friends went there. They've told me there is a lot of frat party crap there and many annoying meatheads. Also, the residential neighborhoods in the area specialize in poorly maintained college apartments. On the plus side, in Bethlehem your close to two great cities (1 and a half hrs from Philly AND New York). The place is also beautiful during Christmas, and they have a fun annual Musicfest in the summer. If you're into history, there are many cool old buildings and landmarks. Bethlehem is definitely a small town and has a small town feel, but I frequently go to the big cities to see concerts, movies, art exhibits, etc. Philly is especially easy to get to. If you have any specific questions, just ask and I'll do my best to respond.

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Guest DarkVomit

Well I think most my questions would be about the University itself... but how about the weather? I'm from Michigan so I'm used to snow and crazy extremes, but how is Lehigh throughout the year. I also heard that there is a little bit of crime in the city, isolated or a general trend to be worried about? Any recomendations on places to live close to campus? Any good parks close by for outdoorsy stuff?

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Guest Guest
Well I think most my questions would be about the University itself... but how about the weather? I'm from Michigan so I'm used to snow and crazy extremes, but how is Lehigh throughout the year. I also heard that there is a little bit of crime in the city, isolated or a general trend to be worried about? Any recomendations on places to live close to campus? Any good parks close by for outdoorsy stuff?

I lived in the area for several years and generally consider the crime in Bethlehem to be rather minor (though I've also lived in much larger cities so its all relative). I remember that people would comment about "south side" Bethlehem being problematic but I do not remember the area around Lehigh or downtown being much of an issue.

The weather is rather typical: four distinct seasons. The Lehigh Valley does not get nearly as cold as Michigan but can and does get a fair amount of snowfall. The summers can get very muggy and hot but apart from the western U.S. this is fairly true of anywhere in the country.

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Guest Guest

i grew up in allentown, and i absolutely ADORE bethlehem. it was my HAVEN, and still is whenever i visit home. lehigh's campus is gorgeous, as i'm sure you figured out, and since i took classes there while in high school, i can tell you a bit about the school.

it is beautiful in every season. the hill becomes a bit of a pain in the ass after awhile, though. also, everybody there is very fit. they all work out pretty much daily and sports are huge. so is greek life, frat parties, and on the weekend when lehigh plays rival lafayette, professors sort of know to not give any homework b/c everybody is drunk out of their minds for days straight in honor of the game. that being said, i am NOT a sorority/frat/football game kind of person, and i met plenty of really cool people there, both those who felt the way i did and people who were into that stuff but were nevertheless interesting, open-minded, and didn't fit any of the stereotypes you may have about that kind of stuff. (for all i know, you were president of a frat, but i'm just saying this in case you're not into that stuff that you'll still find a niche.) also, i have a friend whose girlfriend went to lehigh, and she never felt uncomfortable as a lesbian on campus, so, while the student body may be closer to conservative/moderate than other schools, they're not closed-minded.

my classes were challenging, but most were taught by TAs. i had a really great TA who was really good at leading discussions and working with student writers, and definitely is someone i hope to model myself after when i become a TA...he had a lot of control over the syllabus and structure of the course, so that bodes well.

despite the fact that most of the students look like athletes or cheerleaders, they are a really nice group and really intelligent and motivated. once you leave campus things do get a little sketchy...the town itself can be a bit...unsafe. the really beautiful area, other than lehigh's campus, is the main street with all the shops (it takes you back in time...so beautiful at christmas, too!) and moravian's campus. it's like a beautifully-preserved blast from the past, and independent stores thrive there, unlike in the rest of the lehigh valley. moravian book shop is great, so is bethlehem brew works. there are great coffee shops there, too, and concerts at godfrey daniels. the colonnade, apollo grill, and starfish are great upscale restaurants. i just love the area so much. musikfest is amazing, and one town over, in allentown, you'll find Mayfair, another arts/music festival. bethlehem is definitely like a pocket of vibrant culture, art, and historical preservation in an area that, while a wonderful place to join the middle class and raise kids, has definitely become yet another american small city/suburb filled with the usual chain stores, malls, and restaurants.

if you don't mind being at least an hour from any real cities (downtown allentown is economically depressed--a world away from the suburbs...sort of like the bethlehem/main street contrast) you'll find enough to keep you happy in bethelehem. also, the billy joel song is actually about ALLENTOWN--that's where you'll find all the closed-down factories. joel just didn't like the way the name sounded. little known fact.

good luck!

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Anyone? Anyone? Looks like I will be heading there in the fall. Would love to hear from someone who has lived there, plans to live there, has driven through, paused at a light, and said, "I am somewhere." (Is the stoplight thing a mistaken assumption? This is how much I know.)

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It's a cute town. Small, not a lot going on (but it does have traffic lights!!), but the cost of living is pretty nice, and it has some nice cafes and restaurants. And, as perhaps expected, they really take Christmas seriously and it's a bit of a tourist destination in December.

I've been there a few times (was at a conference there, and know some undergrads), but it's a relatively small town in a very rural area. I grew up in a very rural area, so I'm not bothered by that kind of thing, but if you're used to city life...it may come as quite a bit of a shock.

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I actually live right outside Bethlehem. I may be a bit biased, but I love it here. The location is great, it's close to both NYC and Philly, and there's always something to do. MusikFest takes place in Bethlehem every summer, and they always manage to get some big acts in. There's also Celtic Fest, Kriskindlemarket...there's something for everyone. We're also not far away from some nice campgrounds, if you're an outdoorsy person.

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I might be going there in Fall for grad school. How's life in Bethlehem? Is it a safe town? And how's the cost of living, say housing? I heard it's in a mountainous area. You don't need extra exercise if you walk from dorm to classroom... So is a car necessary? I guess no one would cycle there.

How's student life in Lehigh Univ.? Any tips for studying and living there? Thanks a looooooot

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I had friends at Moravian College who cycled everywhere, but that's the other side of the river, where it's flatter. I made it through four years living there without a car, but I basically never went anywhere besides my dorm and the music building, and I have no knowledge of how things are like over where Lehigh is.

They're opening a casino soon (Google tells me May-ish) on part of the old Bethlehem Steel site; I don't know how that'll change things.

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I grew up in an area about 45 min north of bethlehem... Bethlehem is a smaller type area.. It's near Allentown, which has a decent mall in it... and Crocodile Rock, which is a small venue and has smaller artists come in an play.. If your not keen on staying on campus/immediate area your whole time while you're in school there, Iwould recommend having a car... That way you can drive to King of Prussia (Great shopping/restaurants) and to Philly

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I'm about to finish up my undergrad at Lehigh, so I hope I can be of some help.

I wouldn't call South Bethlehem the safest place in the world, but just like anywhere else, with a some common sense, you can avoid almost any trouble. A vast majority of the crimes committed in the area are people stealing iPods out of cars or drunk kids getting assaulted at 2 AM. As a grad student, I don't think the later will be an issue, so just make sure to take your GPS and iPod out of your car when you park it.

The campus life is what I'd guess your typical college school would be like, largely based on drinking. Greek life is rather big here, but there has been some backlash against it this year. The undergrad aren't exactly the most cultured people as a whole, but there are some pretty awesome people here and a lot of fantastic faculty. Zoellner does put on some good shows from time to time, and they do get decent speakers to come here. The Humanities Center used to be a great place to hang out, but it is dying.

As a whole, North and South, Bethlehem is a moderately progressive area. Main street on Northside down near Moravian's art campus is an awesome place to hang (I like Wired Cafe). I also recommend checking out the Wildflower on Southside if you're a more liberal person. There are plenty of great cafes, between Wired, Deja Brew, and Caffeine Cafe, if that is your thing.

For living, if you're going to be in the Southside, either go on the other side of Mountain, or stay close to campus. Try to West of Buchanan and East of 378. the northside, just over the river is a lot nicer, but also more expensive, and further away. If you want to live right off campus, it'll be more expensive (around 400 per month w/o utilities) and rather hard to get (UG's snatch them up over a year in advanced). Stay clear of renting from Faschnacht. A lot of grad students rent up around 6th or 7th street between Monclair and Carlton. Prices are good there, and you're close enough to campus that crime isn't a huge deal.

The area is very hilly, but I'd recommend getting a bike. The transportation between North and South side isn't great, but it is relatively flat around the river, so biking isn't a big deal. Also, you can get in some great cycling if you go way North (like 20 miles), or you go over or around the Mountain.

Hausdorf, by your handle, I presume you're going for Math. If you want some specific advice about the department, PM me.

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I'll most likely be going to Lehigh in the fall and would love to know anything that anyone knows about the area, especially anything to do with places to live, approx rent, places to avoid, etc.! There are a couple topics on it already, but they are generally outdated (3-4 years old).

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So I never lived in Bethlehem, but I lived about 15 minutes away a couple years ago. I also spent a year attending Lehigh as a commuter student. I still have ties to the area, so I have (limited) knowledge. While I can't speak much about rent (at the time I was living with my parents, so rent was dirt cheap:), I can tell you that Bethlehem is a pretty nice city. You are in for a real treat if you like music, since quite a bit of money has been invested to increase Bethlehem's lot in the arts scene. They also have Musikfest and Celtic Classic, two major music festivals held every year.

Anyway, as far as my knowledge of housing, I think the area right around Lehigh is pretty nice, although probably somewhat over run with undergrads. From my (although somewhat limited) knowledge of Bethlehem, the areas mentioned in the 2009 posts are still ok. In general, Bethlehem is kind of an up-and-coming area, and so if things are changing, they are improving. If you have more specific questions, feel free to ask.

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Great, thanks for the info! I'm looking into living in North Bethlehem, hopefully to get away from the undergrad feel of the area directly surrounding the school. I have a car so travel won't be a problem. Is that area generally pretty safe?

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I actually did my undergrad there, and it seems like a total undergrad scene at first, but there are some really great areas--i would look for something near the bridge in North Bethlehem, or maybe even right downtown in southside, and I know there are a few condos on the other side of south mountain if you are driving. If you live downtown on the north side, you can comfortably bike around.

I'd set my budget for about $700/mo. but try to push it, depending on your tolerance for small spaces/urban living.

Safety--yes, compared to other cities it's VERY safe. We rarely locked our doors. It looks a little slummy in parts, but really the only crimes were drunk undergrads wandering around alone and getting mugged at 3 AM, like once a year.

What are you studying? I miss it so much!

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I love the Bethlehem Area! There really is so much to do and activities going on. I did my undergraduate at Moravian which is right across the bridge from lehigh and go back at least once a month ( I live ~1.5hrs away near Philly ) Were you looking for a place so you could walk everywhere or is a car an option for you? South side has a lot of fun bars/ restaurants etc on their mainstreet but can get a bit rough right around the lehigh campus. So I would try to go out an physically check places out to see how u feel about the location. If you don't mind driving I would look right across the bridge at bethlehems mainstreet. Its a historic area full of alfresco dining, cute shops and boutiques and just a nice Area to wAlk around. The poster above mentioned the fests that are held here (,octoberfest, Celtic fest, musikfest, christmas etc) I still go back every year they're just so much fun and definitely a great time. I think you'll really enjoy living there since youre really close to every kind of setting ( hiking, ski/snowboard, nightlife , malls etc) if you have any questions just message me I'd be glad to help!

P.s be sure to check out Becky's drive in! They have an old fashion drive in that's shows a double feature for only $6 bucks on the weekend!

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Thank you all so much! I visited Bethlehem shortly after posting this and decided to live in the downtown area of North Bethlehem. I really like the area and can't wait to move in :)

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Hi everyone,

I'm also coming to Lehigh in this fall semester (PhD, ISE). Thank you for your helpful posts. I am very relieved about Bethlehem.

I have a question, I'm an international student, so i wonder if I can find a house in early August. Do I need to search for a good house (for a couple) or at least contact with landlords even before I arrive?

What are your advices about the issue? Thanks in advance.

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Hey guys! I see that no one has posted here for a while, but I'm an incoming grad student (School Psychology) looking for another incoming grad student to rent an apartment with (preferably a female). I found a nice 2br 2b apartment near the downtown northside (near the bridge, and a 12 min walk from the main downtown area) that would be $850 ($425 p/person). Message me if you're interested! 

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I've been in Bethlehem for the past 6 yrs. (always living on South Side) To get away from the undergrad feel, I'd recommend North Side, Hellertown, or Riverport Apartments on Southside (those are more of luxury apartments -- I almost lived there this year). Be aware that if you go too far over on North Side, you'll be in Moravian undergrad territory! If you don't mind a commute, Emmaus is a nice area as well. Many professors live there.

 

@sertalpbilal -- you should make contacts before arriving. it's very hard to find good housing that late.

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Mightmaus has been SUPER helpful in answering all of my questions about Lehigh University! I'll ask another question here so that others can see the answer as well.

 

Riverport Apartments look super great!  I'd love to live there if I can financially swing it (I think the stipend will be enough!)!  Have you heard anything about Saucon Village?  I know that it's listed on the website as graduate student housing.  Saucon View is also adjacent to Saucon Village, and it looks like the university shuttle swings by Saucon Village!

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Here is what I've found out about housing around Lehigh University's campus!

 

Riverport Apartments are pricier, but definitely the nicest apartments within walking distance of campus.  From what I can tell (I can't find an official website), base rent for a one-bedroom is somewhere around $1,000 per month.  That could be manageable, depending on the amount of the grad student's stipend.

 

From what I hear, Saucon Village and Saucon Valley are good options if you have a car! Just be mindful of the housing lottery procedure for Saucon Village rentals.

 

Campus Hill apartments are less expensive and closer to campus.  The name is not misleading; they are a block or two from the outskirts of campus, and they are definitely on a "hill," as the university is situated upon a mountain.  

 

The apartments are of good quality: nothing overly fancy, but nothing decrepit in the least.  Mine will have a nice living room space with two closets included, a very tiny kitchen, a hallway with a wall that is indented so that there's room for a table (the folks living in the apartment that I toured opted for an aquarium with a turtle), a closet in the hallway, two bedrooms (one smaller, one slightly bigger), and a small full bathroom.

 

From what I can tell, they either don't have one-bedroom options at all, or they simply did not have any left.  I opted for a two-bedroom apartment. The best part is that a fully-furnished (an optional package that is an extra $69 per month per bedroom) two-bedroom apartment, with water, cable/internet, is still less than $1,000 per month.  The furniture included in the optional package includes: "a stylish leather-like sofa and arm chair for your living room, an entertainment stand for your TV, and a coffee table and end table. Your bedroom will be furnished with a raised full-size bed to allow for extra storage and mattress. Also included in your bedroom furniture is a desk, desk chair, a nightstand and two 2-drawer dressers that can be stacked or placed under your bed."The furniture package can save big on moving your current household furniture to campus.

 

The only snag?  Quarterly payments!  My lease begins in August, but my first quarterly payment is due July 1.  Since the payments are indeed quarterly, that means I pay three months of rent at a time (A lease beginning in August requires payments on July 1, October 1, December 1, and March 1).  Be mindful of how this coincides with your stipend payments if you are funded!!

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Hey everyone,

I'll be joining Lehigh's School Psych PhD program in the fall!

I'm looking at Bethlehem Towers and Waters Edge apartments for next year. I visited apartments in both buildings during my visit to campus and the grad students seemed to really enjoy living there! I also thought the space was great. Does anybody have any info regarding/experience with these places? I've checked them out online and they seem ok

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