Top 50 Fun Things To Do In Scranton PA

When most people think about Scranton, Pennsylvania, they think of a sleepy coal town. And that’s true enough. But there are all kinds of things to do in Scranton—from the arts and culture to the natural beauty of its parks and gardens. If you’re looking for an adventure or want to explore this unique city on your way from New York City to Pittsburgh, here are 50 fun things to do in Scranton!

1 Scranton Cultural Center

For a glimpse at the history of this city, wander through the exhibits at the Scranton Cultural Center. You’ll see everything from portraits of local natives like author J.D. Salinger to works by world-renowned artists who were inspired by Scranton’s unique beauty. Pick up a Scranton Cultural Pass at the box office to get free admission and discounts on certain exhibits.

2 Steamtown National Historic Site

It may be hard to believe that this museum in downtown Scranton is actually part of a real train station named for John “Black Jack” Keefe, a famous locomotive engineer of the late 19th century. However, this important piece of American history has been preserved and restored at Steamtown’s National Historic Site, and you can check out the two-story wood station house as well as an engine shop across the street.

3 Steamtown Marathon

Things To Do In Scranton

If you love to run or are just looking for a way to break up your drive from New York City to Pittsburgh, don’t miss the annual Steamtown Marathon in downtown Scranton. Since 1981, thousands of runners from all over northeast Pennsylvania have competed in this scenic course featuring every kind of terrain—including one steep hill that runners affectionately call “Mount Hope.” 4 Scranton Cultural Center Gallery Café.

4. Scranton Cultural Center Gallery Café

Whether you’re visiting the gallery upstairs or just stopping by for a meal, the Gallery Café at the Scranton Cultural Center is a great place to grab lunch or a light dinner. The menu features everything from paninis and wraps to an excellent selection of vegetarian dishes like veggie burgers and couscous platters.

5 Steamtown National Historic Site Visitor Center

If you want more information about this historic section of Scranton, stop by the visitor center located across Main Street from Steamtown itself. You can learn all kinds of interesting tidbits, including how to get started on your own railroad vacation as well as what events are coming up in Steamtown Park.

6 Lackawanna County Children’s Museum

This state-of-the-art museum in downtown Scranton offers fun and educational activities for kids of all ages. You can take a tour of the human body, check out the arts and crafts studio, or try your hand at making virtual music videos using high-tech computers and cameras.

7 Science Discovery Center

If you want to get a jump on your next visit to this hands-on science museum, drop by the information desk located right inside the Scranton Cultural Center. Then pick up one of the “play passports” offered by the Science Discovery Center before heading down to their own building (located behind Steamtown). 8 Mall at Steamtown

You won’t find a more convenient retail destination for busy shoppers than Mall at Steamtown. Located right next to the train station, this mall—opened in 1999—even has its own parking garage alongside several big-name chain stores (including Dick’s Sporting Goods and Barnes & Noble).

9 Lackawanna River Heritage Trail

If you want to walk off some lunch or enjoy a beautiful day outside, check out the trail along the Lackawanna River near Lake Scranton (just two blocks south of Mall at Steamtown). You can take a self-guided tour or join one offered by a local guide; either way, it’s an experience you won’t soon forget!

10 Steamtown Marathon Expo

Because the Steamtown Marathon takes place early on Sunday morning, you’ll have plenty of time in the afternoon to visit the race expo at Scranton Cultural Center. Watch as runners pick up packets for that day’s events, or purchase your own bib and prepare yourself for a stunning course along the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail!

11 The Steam tender

If you want to find out more about life in 19th century Scranton, check out this interactive exhibit inviting visitors into an authentic steam engine driver’s cab. Using realistic sound effects and a colorful video presentation, The Steam tender lets visitors travel back in time aboard a powerful locomotive called Hercules during its record-breaking run from New York City to Scranton in 1911.

12 Steamtown National Historic Site

Home of one of the world’s largest collections of historic railroad equipment, this section of Scranton is like a movie set come to life. Head inside the train station, where you can see hundreds of model trains running on tracks all around you. Then look outside for real steam engines and cars that sit ready for boarding (if they weren’t already full with visitors).

13 Lackawanna County Children’s Museum Terrariums

If you want to witness an amazing example of conservation in action, stop by the terrarium exhibit at The Children’s Museum in downtown Scranton. As part of this interactive project, kids and grownups can raise monarch butterflies from larva to adult while learning about the importance of insects in our environment.

14 The Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic (Music)

This symphony orchestra is celebrating 45 years of music-making in 2018. It has featured nationally renowned guest artists such as the New York Pops, Marilyn Horne, Cliff Biffle, and many more. We are extremely proud to be a part of our community’s musical history!

15 Scranton Cultural Center

This historic center—built-in 1901 to serve as the first library for African Americans (then known as The Colored Library and Community Center of Scranton)—is filled with art galleries, meeting rooms, and even a 160-seat theater. If you want to get a head start exploring all that this multi-purpose building has to offer, visit their website for a list of upcoming events.

You won’t forget your visit to this amazing art gallery in downtown Scranton! Featuring rotating exhibits throughout the year, it is one of Northeast Pennsylvania’s most popular destinations for lovers of fine art.

16 Little Theatre of Wilkes-Barre

Things To Do In Scranton

Grab a seat and take in an unforgettable performance at this historic theatre in downtown Wilkes-Barre. While enjoying the show, be sure to check out the wonderful murals painted on all four walls of the old opera house (including one depicting P.T. Barnum’s famous circus) before leaving for your next destination.

17 Nesbitt Historical Society & Museum

The story of Scranton begins at this museum located inside Old Stone House – America’s oldest surviving structure built by European settlers. Donated to Wilkes University when the school relocated from Scranton to Kingston, it was later saved from demolition by residents who turned it into a museum in 1907.

18 The Roar of the Steam Engine (Children’s Museum)

Next door is another great attraction for kids! Not only does this popular museum feature fun and educational activities, but it also happens to be one of Scranton’s most spectacular buildings. With beautiful stained glass windows and a striking cupola, this unique structure dates back to 1892, when it served as a candy factory on South Main Street.

19 Fairmount Children’s Discovery & Exploration Museum

Even though children can enjoy the interactive exhibits at several other museums in downtown Scranton, there is still plenty for them to do here. Explore a model forest or visit a fun forest to pretend that they are bears or raccoons.

20 The National Steamboat Museum

Things To Do In Scranton

Expect a warm welcome on your next visit to this fun museum in downtown Scranton. This historic landmark is located inside the world-famous Hotel Sterling and features plenty of exhibits and live entertainment for families who want to take in a play.

21 Gallery 17 (Fine Art)

If you want to see something a little different on your next visit to downtown Scranton, be sure to stop by this newly renovated arts center. Boasting some of the most impressive artwork in northeast Pennsylvania, it is one of the best places in town for lovers of fine art and all things creative.

22 The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

Fun fact: More than 12,000 original works are housed at this popular museum named after the former editor and publisher of The Saturday Evening Post – making it one of the finest collections anywhere! Don’t miss your chance to view these rare treasures, including comic books and newspaper strips dating back 100 years or more.

23 The Academy Art Museum

Winner of the 2012 Award for Excellence from the American Alliance of Museums, this historic art museum in downtown Scranton features a classical design and plenty of natural light—making it one of the best venues for catching an afternoon performance.

Located inside Wilkes University, An important addition to the cultural scene, Gallery 17 presents exhibits by some of the most talented visual artists from all over Northeastern Pennsylvania.

24 The Main Street Music Walk (Shopping)

Located along Scranton’s historic section of downtown, this area consists of many locally-owned shops where you can find plenty to do any time of year. Whether it is grabbing lunch at one of the city’s finest restaurants or shopping for unique goods at a shop after shop along Steamtown Mall—you’ll want to explore

25 The Holiday Inn & Conference Center at the University Center (Hotel)

A great alternative to some of Scranton’s more luxurious hotels, this popular Scranton hotel is located next door to Keystone College and even includes a popular on-site restaurant. Popular with business travelers, it offers affordable rooms and free parking for everyone – making it the perfect option for groups and families who want to explore everything this historic city has to offer.

26 The Courtyard Marriott at Montage (Hotel)

Another great hotel in Scranton, Pennsylvania, is situated near several popular attractions, including the Steamtown National Historic Site and Steamtown Mall. Guests will also find plenty of shopping and restaurants right outside the front doors, making it a good choice for families who want to explore everything Scranton has to offer.

27 The Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel (Hotel)

One of Scranton’s most unique hotels is also one of its most historic—dating back more than a century to when it was opened by the Delaware & Hudson Railroad Company. While some furnishings have changed, many original features remain—giving those who stay here a glimpse into what life used to be like for people in this region of Pennsylvania.

28 The Hotel Sterling (Hotel)

Also known as the National Historic Landmark and Steamtown Hotel, this historic hotel in Scranton is a must-visit attraction. Visitors can enjoy everything from fine dining to shopping and even live entertainment – making it one of the most exciting hotels in Scranton for guests who want to experience all this city has to offer.

29 Waldameer Park (Amusement Park)

A delightful place for families with young children, Waldameer Park, features plenty of fun rides like the Super Shot 360—as well as batting cages and mini-golf for adults who want to take a break from all those rollercoasters!

30 The Lackawanna Coal Mine Tour (Museum)

If you are fascinated by Pennsylvania’s coal mining industry, be sure not to miss your chance to take a trip back in time via an underground mine tour—where you will learn about how coal was extracted and used to power Scranton’s factories. For more than 100 years!

31 The Community Theater At Plymouth (Theater)

This theater opened in 1887 and is the second-oldest continuously operating theater on the East coast. It features Broadway classic plays, comedies, dramas, and other interesting productions nearly every night of the week. Don’t miss it when you visit Scranton!

32 The Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple (Concert Hall/Theater)

Home to more than 350 events every year, this historic entertainment venue is easily one of Scranton’s most popular destinations for concerts, plays, and other performances. Dating back nearly a century, its stately architecture makes for superb acoustics, too—guaranteeing that everyone who attends here will have a memorable experience.

33 The Penn State Rail Road Museum (Museum)

One of Scranton’s most historic railroads is now one of its most popular attractions—complete with over 40 trains that visitors can explore up close and personal. On display are some rare items such as a locomotive bell from #88 and GE 44 ton electric engine—making this a must-see place to visit in Scranton if you love history!

34 The National Mining Hall of Fame & Museum (Museum)

Created in 2001 to honor the local miners who introduced anthracite coal to the world, this museum features plenty of hands-on exhibits that are always a big hit with kids & adults alike. The highlight here is the giant robotic miner “Big John,” which visitors can control—making it one of Wilkes Barre’s most popular attractions for those who want to learn more about this region’s rich history.

35 The National Comedy Center (Museum)

Opened in 2017, this unique museum honors all things funny—from comedy movies and TV shows like Saturday Night Live to humor books by authors such as Jerry Seinfeld and Stephen Colbert. As you walk through these galleries, be sure not to miss the comedy legends exhibit, which honors people like Jim Carey, George Carlin, and even Bill Cosby!

36 The National Museum Of Industrial History (Museum)

Things To Do In Scranton

Housed in what used to be a massive knitting mill, this museum features all kinds of interactive exhibits—including guided tours of a steam engine locomotive and plenty of hands-on activities for kids. Those who want to learn more about our nation’s history will really enjoy these exhibitions, making it one of Scranton’s most popular attractions.

37 The Steamtown National Historic Site (Museum)

Built in 1897, the Delaware & Hudson Locomotive #1723 features two steam engines once used to fill this railway car with anthracite coal. Visitors can walk through the train and even get up close with these massive machines – making it one of Pennsylvania’s most popular attractions for folks who want to learn more about its rich history.

38 The Clarks Summit Speedway (Amusement Park)

Starting in 1945, this race track has been on the cutting edge of auto racing since day one—including being the first place where American-made stock cars raced against each other! If you have ever wanted to ride along in a NASCAR or IndyCar, now is your chance to experience this thrill for yourself—making it one of Scranton’s most popular entertainment venues in 2017!

39 The Fire Museum Of Pennsylvania (Museum)

This museum will appeal to anyone who has ever wanted to see a fire truck up close—including the volunteers who run it. The various trucks on display here are all fully functional, so visitors can even take a tour of this one-of-a-kind attraction in Scranton and see how these historic machines work.

40 Stairway To Heaven Memorial (Museum)

Housed inside the former Jones & Laughlin Steel Mill, this memorial remembers everyone who was killed during an explosion that rocked the mill in 2007—making it one of Pennsylvania’s most unique attractions for those who want to remember their loved ones or learn more about this tragic event. Visitors can also tour the rest of the building and check out other exhibits in this historic place.

41 The Lackawanna Historical Museum (Museum)

Built-in 1891, this building was once home to the Scranton Button Factory & later served as a Union relief office during the Civil War—making it one of Pennsylvania’s most historic properties today! It’s located on the campus of The Scranton Cultural Center and features plenty of interactive exhibits that are sure to delight visitors of all ages!

42 The Steamtown Mall (Shopping)

Things To Do In Scranton

When it opened its doors in 1976, this mall joined an elite group of retail establishments that featured live steam engines inside – complete with massive boilers, gears, and even smokestacks! Over 40 trains circle through here each day, making it one of Scranton’s most popular shopping destinations for folks who love train memorabilia.

43 The Steamtown National Historic Site (Museum)

Built in 1897, the Delaware & Hudson Locomotive #1723 features two steam engines once used to fill this railway car with anthracite coal. Visitors can walk through the train and even get up close with these massive machines – making it one of Pennsylvania’s most popular attractions for folks who want to learn more about its rich history.

44 The Auto Museum Inc (Museum)

Housed inside what used to be a Sears Roebuck building, this museum showcases an array of classic cars from days gone by—including dozens of cars that were originally purchased right here in Scranton! With a variety of exhibits to explore, folks won’t want to miss this interesting attraction.

45 The Zane Grey Museum (Museum)

This museum features historical artifacts about the life and career of author Zane Grey – who spent much of his childhood in Wayne County, Pa. This museum also includes interactive exhibits where visitors can learn more about this American icon—making it one of Pennsylvania’s most unique museums today!

46 The Steamtown Museum (Museum)

Things To Do In Scranton

This museum chronicles the history of Scranton as America’s “Steel City,” starting with its industrial boom during the Civil War and spanning all the way into modern times—making it one of Pennsylvania’s most unique attractions for those who want to learn more about this historic city. Visitors can also tour several engine shops where locomotives are restored and learn how these machines were built in years past at Old #17 Steam Engine House.

47 The National Shrine Of Our Lady Of Czestochowa (Church)

This shrine was established by Father Stanley Wojtyla – who later became Pope John Paul II. The centerpiece is a 30-foot-tall statue of Our Lady of Czestochowa, which contains a painting created in 1655. The site also features several chapels and a grotto where visitors can reflect on the rosary and pray for world peace.

48 Hobbies Unlimited Inc (Shopping)

This Barnes & Noble store opened its doors back in 1975 – making it one of Scranton’s oldest shopping destinations today! Inside you’ll find an array of interesting toys and hobby supplies—not to mention plenty of places to relax indoors or out. Don’t miss this unique establishment when you visit Scranton!

49 The Steamtown Mall At Lackawanna Plaza (Shopping)

Whether you’re looking for antiques, arts & crafts, or simply something to read, one of these shops is sure to have what you’re searching for. There are also plenty of restaurants and a growing number of boutique stores housed inside this shopping plaza – making it one of Pennsylvania’s most unique destinations today!

50 The Lackawanna County Stadium (Sports Complex)

Things To Do In Scranton

Originally built in 1929, this historic sports venue has seen several renovations over the years but remains as exciting today as ever before! In addition to minor league baseball games that take place here every summer, you’ll also find plenty of other things to do here—including several special events, concerts, and even some indoor shopping.

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