Welcome to the vibrant city of Scranton, Pennsylvania, where history, culture, and adventure seamlessly intertwine. Nestled in the northeastern part of the state, Scranton invites you to embark on a journey of exploration, uncovering a tapestry of experiences that cater to every taste and interest. In this comprehensive guide, we will navigate through the best things to do in Scranton, from iconic landmarks to cultural gems, outdoor escapades, and entertainment options. Whether you’re a local seeking new adventures or a visitor eager to discover the city’s charm, Scranton has an abundance of offerings waiting for you.
Uncovering the Charm of Scranton
Brief History of Scranton
Scranton’s roots trace back to the mid-19th century when it rapidly grew into an industrial hub, earning its nickname “The Electric City” due to its innovative use of electric streetcars. From the coal-mining era to becoming a transportation hub, the city’s history is etched in its architecture and landmarks.
- Rich Industrial Heritage: Explore remnants of Scranton’s industrial past at the Lackawanna Coal Mine Tour.
- Architectural Marvels: Admire the Victorian-era architecture in neighborhoods like Green Ridge.
- Close-Knit Community: Experience the warmth of Scranton through its friendly locals and community events.
- Educational Institutions: Scranton is home to prestigious universities, contributing to its academic and cultural vibrancy.
- Culinary Diversity: Discover a melting pot of flavors in the city’s diverse culinary scene.
Top Attractions in Scranton, PA
Scranton’s Iconic Landmarks
1. Steamtown National Historic Site
- Address: 350 Cliff St, Scranton, PA 18503
- Website: www.nps.gov/stea
Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton invites you to step into the age of steam engines. Explore vintage locomotives, and indulge in a nostalgic steam train ride. This iconic attraction preserves the essence of industrial history, offering a captivating and educational experience for enthusiasts and curious visitors alike.
2. Electric City Trolley Museum
- Address: 300 Cliff St, Scranton, PA 18503
- Website: www.ectma.org
Step back in time on restored trolleys, learning about the city’s electric transportation history. At the Electric City Trolley Museum, transport yourself back in time aboard meticulously restored trolleys. Delve into Scranton’s rich electric transportation history as you journey through the city’s past. This immersive experience offers a fascinating glimpse into the evolution of urban mobility, making it a compelling visit for history enthusiasts.
3. Nay Aug Park and Zoo
- Address: 1901 Mulberry St, Scranton, PA 18510
- Website: www.nayaugpark.org
A family-friendly destination offering picturesque trails, a zoo, and the stunning Nay Aug Gorge. This family-friendly destination seamlessly blends outdoor recreation with wildlife exploration, providing a delightful escape. Immerse yourself in nature’s beauty while enjoying the diverse attractions that make Nay Aug Park and Zoo a must-visit in Scranton.
4. Lackawanna Coal Mine Tour
- Address: McDade Park, Bald Mountain Rd, Scranton, PA 18504
- Website: www.lackawannacounty.org
Embark on the Lackawanna Coal Mine Tour, where you’ll descend into the depths of a coal mine, unveiling the challenges faced by Scranton’s industrious miners in days gone by. This immersive experience offers a profound insight into the city’s industrial history, creating a memorable journey into the heart of its mining heritage.
5. Scranton Cultural Center
- Address: 420 N Washington Ave, Scranton, PA 18503
- Website: www.sccmt.org
Housed in a historic building, this center hosts performances, art exhibitions, and cultural events. Hosting an array of performances, captivating art exhibitions, and culturally enriching events, this center serves as a cornerstone of Scranton’s cultural scene. Immerse yourself in creativity and heritage within the walls of this iconic institution.
1. Everhart Museum
- Address: 1901 Mulberry St, Scranton, PA 18510
- Website: www.everhart-museum.org
A treasure trove of art and artifacts, including ancient relics and contemporary artworks. From ancient relics to contemporary masterpieces, this treasure trove invites exploration into the evolution of human creativity. Immerse yourself in the cultural tapestry housed within the walls of the Everhart Museum in Scranton.
2. AFA Gallery
- Address: 514 Lackawanna Ave, Scranton, PA 18503
- Website: www.afagallery.org
Explore local and regional art in this contemporary gallery, fostering a connection between artists and the community. This gallery goes beyond showcasing artworks; it fosters a profound connection between artists and the community. Immerse yourself in the vibrant cultural dialogue curated within the walls of AFA Gallery in Scranton.
3. Scranton Fringe Festival
- Address: Varies by Event
- Website: www.scrantonfringe.org
An annual celebration of performing arts, showcasing a diverse range of talent. This dynamic event is a testament to Scranton’s cultural richness, featuring a diverse range of talent that captivates and inspires. Immerse yourself in the creativity and innovation showcased at the Scranton Fringe Festival.
4. Lackawanna Historical Society
- Address: 232 Monroe Ave, Scranton, PA 18510
- Website: www.lackawannahistory.org
Delve into Scranton’s history through exhibits, lectures, and special events. This institution invites exploration through enlightening exhibits, engaging lectures, and special events. Delve into the archives and narratives that chronicle the evolution of Scranton, providing a deeper understanding of its cultural heritage and societal roots.
5. Marywood University Art Galleries
- Address: 2300 Adams Ave, Scranton, PA 18509
- Website: www.marywood.edu/galleries
Experience art within a university setting, featuring exhibitions by emerging and established artists. Nestled within a university setting, these galleries showcase a curated array of exhibitions, spotlighting the creative expressions of both emerging and established artists. Explore the ever-evolving landscape of contemporary art within the inspiring confines of Marywood University.
Outdoor Activities and Events
Things to Do Near Scranton, PA
1. Lackawanna State Park
A haven for outdoor enthusiasts offering hiking trails, picnic areas, and a serene lake for boating and fishing. Immerse yourself in scenic beauty as you traverse hiking trails that wind through lush landscapes. Discover idyllic picnic areas and a serene lake that invites boating and fishing, creating a perfect escape for those seeking tranquility amid nature’s embrace.
2. Prompton State Park
Engage in activities like hiking, mountain biking, and birdwatching in this picturesque park. Traverse scenic hiking trails, embark on invigorating mountain biking adventures, and immerse yourself in the serene ambiance of birdwatching. Prompton State Park offers a perfect blend of natural beauty and recreational opportunities for those seeking an active escape.
3. Lackawanna River Heritage Trail
Enjoy a scenic stroll or bike ride along the river, immersing yourself in nature. Whether on a leisurely stroll or a bike ride, immerse yourself in the tranquil surroundings along the river. This trail offers a perfect blend of outdoor activity and natural immersion for those seeking a refreshing escape in Scranton.
4. Montage Mountain Resorts
A hub for both summer and winter activities, featuring a waterpark, zip-lining, and skiing in the colder months. Dive into thrilling water adventures in the summer at the waterpark, experience the adrenaline rush of zip-lining, and, as the temperature drops, embrace the winter wonderland with skiing and snow-filled delights. This resort promises year-round excitement for all.
5. Claws ‘N’ Paws Wild Animal Park
An ideal family destination with a focus on wildlife conservation, allowing visitors to interact with exotic animals. This unique park not only allows visitors to witness exotic animals up close but also fosters a connection by enabling interactive experiences. Immerse yourself in the wonders of the animal kingdom while supporting conservation efforts.
Events in Scranton, PA
1. First Friday Scranton
Monthly arts and culture event featuring gallery openings, live music, and local vendors. Engage in a sensory delight as galleries unveil captivating exhibitions, live music resonates through the streets, and local vendors showcase their unique offerings. Immerse yourself in the dynamic energy of this cultural celebration that transforms Scranton into an artistic haven.
2. La Festa Italiana
An annual celebration of Italian culture with delicious food, live music, and cultural performances. Savor the flavors of delicious Italian cuisine, move to the rhythms of live music, and immerse yourself in captivating cultural performances. This event offers a delightful journey into the heart of Italy right in the heart of Scranton. Buon Appetito!
3. Scranton Jazz Festival
Sway to the rhythm at the Scranton Jazz Festival, an annual extravaganza bringing world-class jazz performances to various venues across the city. Immerse yourself in the soulful melodies and captivating improvisations, as the festival transforms Scranton into a hub of musical brilliance. Experience the magic of jazz in this dynamic and harmonious celebration.
4. ScrantonMade Holiday Market
Step into the enchanting world of the ScrantonMade Holiday Market, a festive extravaganza that transforms the city into a winter wonderland. Explore the market’s delights, featuring local artisans and crafters showcasing their creations. Immerse yourself in the holiday spirit with merry festivities, creating a magical atmosphere for seasonal joy and community celebration.
5. Electric City Craft Brew Fest
A beer lover’s utopia boasting a diverse array of craft brews. Immerse yourself in the world of hops and malts, sampling a wide variety of artisanal beers. Pair your brews with delectable offerings from food trucks, all while enjoying the lively ambiance of live entertainment. This festival promises a flavorful experience for beer enthusiasts.
Weekend Escapes and Entertainment
1. Pocono Mountains
Escape to the Pocono Mountains, a short drive from Scranton, where outdoor adventures, charming towns, and breathtaking scenery await. Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of this mountainous paradise, exploring hiking trails, quaint villages, and the serene ambiance that defines the Pocono experience. A perfect getaway for those seeking both relaxation and outdoor excitement.
2. Jim Thorpe
Discover the allure of Jim Thorpe, a historic town exuding charm with its Victorian architecture, boutique shops, and outdoor pursuits. Immerse yourself in the town’s rich history as you stroll through its streets lined with impeccably preserved Victorian-era buildings. Engage in shopping, dine in quaint eateries, and partake in outdoor activities that add a touch of adventure to this enchanting destination. Jim Thorpe promises a delightful blend of history and leisure for every visitor.
Escape to the tranquility of Hawley, nestled near Lake Wallenpaupack, for a rejuvenating retreat. Immerse yourself in water activities on the lake, from boating to fishing, or simply unwind by its serene shores. Explore charming eateries in the town, adding a delightful culinary experience to your relaxing getaway in this picturesque haven.
4. Ricketts Glen State Park
Embark on a nature-filled weekend escape at Ricketts Glen State Park, a natural oasis boasting majestic waterfalls and scenic hiking trails. Discover the breathtaking beauty of cascading water, surrounded by lush greenery. Whether you’re an avid hiker or a nature enthusiast, Ricketts Glen offers a perfect retreat, inviting you to unwind in the midst of Pennsylvania’s natural splendor.
5. The Crossings Premium Outlets
Indulge your shopping desires at The Crossings Premium Outlets, a haven for enthusiasts seeking top brands at discounted prices. Explore a plethora of stores offering fashion, accessories, and home goods, creating a paradise for bargain hunters. Immerse yourself in a shopping spree, where quality meets affordability, making The Crossings a must-visit destination for retail therapy.
1. Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple
Experience the cultural heartbeat of Scranton at the Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple, a venue that hosts a diverse array of performances. From Broadway shows to electrifying concerts, this center is a cultural nexus, offering an immersive journey into the world of performing arts. Revel in the magic of live entertainment within the grandeur of this historic venue.
2. The Bog: Hawley Silk Mill
Discover cultural delights at The Bog, nestled within Hawley Silk Mill, a hub that seamlessly blends art, music, and a cozy café ambiance. Immerse yourself in thought-provoking art exhibits, groove to live music performances, and savor the atmosphere of this unique cultural space. The Bog invites you to experience the vibrant pulse of Hawley’s artistic scene.
3. Maiolatesi Wine Cellars
Savor the flavors of local wines at Maiolatesi Wine Cellars, a family-owned winery inviting you to a delightful tasting experience. Explore a diverse selection of meticulously crafted wines, each sip reflecting the passion and tradition of this winemaking family. Maiolatesi Wine Cellars promises a charming escape into the world of local viticulture.Experience local wine tasting at this family-owned winery.
4. The V-Spot Bar
Unwind at The V-Spot Bar, a local favorite renowned for its vibrant atmosphere. Immerse yourself in live music, showcase your talents during karaoke nights, and relish the laid-back ambiance that defines this popular spot. Whether you’re seeking entertainment or a casual hangout, The V-Spot Bar promises an unforgettable experience in Scranton’s nightlife scene.
5. Backyard Ale House
Sip, savor, and socialize at the Backyard Ale House, a lively haven where craft beers, delicious pub fare, and occasional live music converge. Immerse yourself in the vibrant setting, where the aroma of artisanal brews mingles with the sounds of camaraderie. Whether you’re a beer enthusiast or seeking a vibrant night out, the Backyard Ale House invites you to indulge in Scranton’s pub scene.
Local Flavor and Hidden Gems
Exploring Local Cuisine
1. Cooper’s Seafood House
Step into culinary history at Cooper’s Seafood House, a revered Scranton institution known for its delectable seafood served in a historic setting. Indulge in a feast of oceanic delights amidst the charm of this establishment, where every dish reflects a legacy of quality and tradition. Cooper’s Seafood House invites you to savor the essence of Scranton’s gastronomic heritage.
2. Abe’s Kosher Delicatessen
Satisfy your cravings for classic Jewish deli fare at Abe’s Kosher Delicatessen, a culinary gem in Scranton. Delight in the authenticity of pastrami sandwiches, the comforting warmth of matzo ball soup, and a menu that pays homage to traditional flavors. Abe’s invites you to indulge in a taste of Jewish culinary heritage, creating an unforgettable dining experience.
3. Cafe Sevda
Transport your taste buds to the Mediterranean at Cafe Sevda, a cozy spot in Scranton offering Turkish and Mediterranean cuisine. Immerse yourself in the warm ambiance as you savor dishes crafted with authentic flavors and ingredients. Cafe Sevda invites you to experience a culinary journey, where each bite is a delightful exploration of Turkish and Mediterranean culinary traditions.
4. Peculiar Slurp Shop
Embark on a culinary adventure at Peculiar Slurp Shop, where creativity meets flavor in a hip, modern setting. Indulge in unique ramen creations and Asian-inspired dishes that redefine traditional flavors. This quirky eatery invites you to slurp your way through a menu filled with inventive delights, offering a distinctive and memorable dining experience in Scranton.
5. Gluten-Free Gallery
Discover a haven for those with dietary restrictions at the Gluten-Free Gallery, where culinary innovation meets inclusivity. This gem in Scranton specializes in offering gluten-free and allergy-friendly options, ensuring that everyone can savor delicious meals without compromise. The Gluten-Free Gallery stands as a testament to the notion that flavor knows no boundaries.
Off the Beaten Path
Experience the ultimate outdoor adventure at NepaKayakGolf, a unique destination in the scenic Pocono Mountains that seamlessly blends kayaking and golf. Dive into the serene waters for a kayaking excursion, then swap your paddle for a club and enjoy a round of golf surrounded by breathtaking mountain vistas. NepaKayakGolf promises a one-of-a-kind fusion of sports in nature’s playground.
2. Scranton Ghost Walk
Explore the city’s haunted history on a guided ghost walk through its historic districts. Uncover tales of the supernatural, mysterious occurrences, and the lingering spirits that call Scranton home. This immersive experience offers a unique blend of history and the paranormal, inviting you to step into the ghostly tales of Scranton’s past.
3. Alderson’s Antiques
Uncover hidden treasures in this eclectic antique shop featuring a wide range of collectibles. This unique antique shop in Scranton features a wide range of collectibles, from vintage artifacts to timeless curiosities. Immerse yourself in the charm of the past as you explore the diverse offerings, making every visit to Alderson’s a journey through history and nostalgia.
4. Scranton Iron Furnaces
Explore these historic iron furnaces, a symbol of Scranton’s industrial heritage. Explore these historic furnaces, once pivotal to the region’s industrial prowess, and gain insights into Scranton’s role in the iron industry. The furnaces offer a tangible link to the city’s industrial legacy, inviting visitors to step back in time and envision the bygone era of manufacturing might.
5. Circle Drive-In Theatre
Experience nostalgia at one of the last remaining drive-in theaters in the region. Immerse yourself in the charm of outdoor movies under the starlit sky, a timeless tradition that captures the essence of bygone eras. Circle Drive-In Theatre offers a unique blend of nostalgia and contemporary entertainment, creating cherished memories for visitors of all ages.
As we conclude our exploration of Scranton’s diverse offerings, we invite you to immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of history, culture, and adventure that defines this city. From the iconic landmarks like Steamtown National Historic Site to the cultural vibrancy of the Scranton Cultural Center, every corner holds a story waiting to be discovered. Whether you’ve wandered through the serene trails of Lackawanna State Park, tasted the diverse flavors in local eateries, or attended vibrant events, Scranton’s allure is undeniable. Share your favorite experiences, continue exploring, and let Scranton’s unique charm leave an indelible mark on your memories. Scranton awaits your continued exploration!