Combining the historic and cultural opportunities of a sophisticated urban area with the beauty of the natural world, Scranton is a destination with plenty to offer. Located at the heart of the Lackawanna River Valley, the sixth-largest city in Pennsylvania is home to dozens of family-owned restaurants, shops, and galleries as well as countless parks and the 198-acre Lackawanna State Park.
Nestled between the Pocono and Endless Mountains, Scranton earned its nickname, “The Electric City,” after electric lights were introduced at the Dickson Locomotive Works in 1880. The city’s early success in innovation, which saw electric street cars traveling its thoroughfares just six years later, is still treasured today and on full display at The Electric City Trolley Station and Museum. Visitors can travel back in time and admire a lovingly restored trolley or hop aboard an antique street car for a 10-mile round trip ride over Roaring Brook, a tributary of the Lackawanna River.
Across the street from the Trolley Museum, industrial history buffs bask in the city’s rich legacy at Steamtown National Historic Site. Home to a traditional circular roundhouse converted into a museum, this transportation mecca is a rail enthusiast’s paradise. Board a steam locomotive for an excursion and learn more about how these iron horses contributed to the American economy in the 19th century.
The adventure continues at the Lackawanna Coal Mine where explorers descend 300 feet beneath the earth’s surface in a mine car and tour an anthracite coal mine, originally opened in 1860. USA Today ranked this site, located inside McDade Park, among America’s 10 Best Underground Attractions.
Explore the Great Outdoors
There’s no better way to take in both the bucolic and downtown charms of the city than via a self-guided bicycle tour. The BikeScranton program provides a wonderful way to get to know the city at your own pace and at no charge. The free bike share program is managed by the Lackawanna Heritage Valley and permits riders age 18 or older to borrow a bike for the day and pedal at their leisure.
Typically, finding a waterfall inside city limits is no easy feat but visitors and residents alike admire this wonder of nature and more at Nay Aug Park. Created by the designer of Manhattan’s legendary Central Park, Frederick Law Olmsted, Nay Aug is the city’s largest park. Walking trails, picnic areas, playgrounds, two Olympic-sized swimming pools, and a waterslide complex delight all ages. Awakening a sense of wonder in visitors is David Wenzel’s Tree House, which rises 150 feet above the gorge and provides a breathtaking view of this National Natural Landmark.
Enjoy the Arts and Dining Simultaneously
The city will host its fourth annual Arts on the Square from noon to 8 p.m. on Saturday, July 30. Closed-off streets surrounding the downtown courthouse square are filled with music, local artists, and more than 100 vendors. The event also brings out all of the best dishes prepared by Scranton’s family-owned restaurants, which serve a wide menu of cuisine.
But art enthusiasts needn’t wait all year to enjoy homegrown entertainment. First Friday Scranton, a non-profit, volunteer-supported initiative, organizes a free art walk from 6 to 9 p.m. on the first Friday of every month. Artists and venues collaborate to bring patrons a unique experience that supports local businesses all within a walkable footprint.
Fans of farm-to-table cooking can check out the city’s two farmers markets. Established in 1939, the Co-Op Farmer’s Market opens for its 77th season in mid-July and operates from noon to 6 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday through Thanksgiving Eve. The South Side Market is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday year-round.
NBC’s Emmy-winning series The Office also makes Scranton a favorite destination as die-hard viewers enjoy a walking tour of the areas Dunder Mifflin employees frequented.
Revel in a True Staycation
Montage Mountain offers Scranton visitors the ultimate getaway. With seating capacity for 18,000, The Pavilion plays host to top-notch artists and is considered one of the premier music venues in the state. Outdoor enthusiasts take advantage of the scenic hiking and mountain biking trails, while those looking to relax can recline poolside or float along the lazy river at the water park.
Sports fans enjoy a professional minor league ballgame when the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, a Triple-A affiliate of the New York Yankees Major League Baseball club play at PNC Field in nearby Moosic.
With opportunities to enjoy the city’s preserved marvels of yesteryear, its outdoor amenities, and commitment to culture, a visit to Scranton offers something for everyone.