Written by: Rachel Kosty Exsc/Kines ’18, DPT ’21
“So, what’s there to do in Scranton?” is one of the first questions I get asked by anyone who hears where I go to school. I can tell you in my six years here, I have never had a day where I couldn’t find something to do. In fact, I started making a bucket list of the places I still need to see before I graduate! Scranton and the surrounding area are full of hidden gems if you look around! Here are my top eight favorite places to go and things to do in Scranton.
1. Lackawanna River Heritage Trail
If you like to run or go for walks, Lackawanna County has some beautiful trails, but my favorite one is right in Scranton! The trail follows the Lackawanna River and, when it’s complete, will connect to be over 70 miles! The section located in Scranton is beautiful, paved, and perfect for exercising! My dog and I spend hours here most weeks. My favorite place to start is right at the University’s new “Kevin P. Quinn, S.J. Athletics Campus” where the trail follows past the baseball field for a little over two miles. You can also walk in the other direction past the softball fields for a bonus few miles!
There are so many hiking trails around Scranton that I have a list saved on my phone of some I still need to try out before I graduate! The state parks near here have some excellent trails, and there are many others! My favorites are Rickett Glen State Park, the Delaware Water Gap, and Campbell’s Ledge. There is also a beautiful walking trail around Lake Scranton that stretches for about three miles!
3. Coal Mine Tour
Locals to Scranton will tell you about this one, and I wish I’d found out about it when I first came to Scranton, but I didn’t until I was here for three years! So, I’m going to pass this secret onto you. One Saturday, a friend and I went to the coal mine tour not knowing what to expect and had the best time! If you didn’t know, Scranton is a historic coal mining city. If you talk to the locals, I can guarantee you either someone in their family or someone they know used to work down in the mines. This tour takes you down 300 feet below the earth on a mining vehicle to see a coal mine that opened in Scranton in 1860! The tour guide will take you through the entire history of coal mining and how it played such a huge role in Scranton’s history. This tour will far exceed any expectation you have for it. I guarantee it!
4. Jitty Joe’s and Mannings
I never knew how amazing ice cream could be until I came to Scranton! There are a few ice cream shops here that actually make their own ice cream. It’s so much better than anything you can find in the store! My top two favorites are Jitty Joe’s and Manning Farm Dairy. Be sure to try the edible cookie dough at Jitty Joe’s! Mannings even lets you come tour their dairy farm so you can see right where the ice cream comes from!
5. Susquehanna Brewing Company
For students 21+, Susquehanna Brewing Company is the place to be! Also known as SBC, they craft all of their own beer on site! The beer here is different than any other you’ve tried, I promise! They have so many different kinds, but their fruit beer is one of a kind! They also host free events every week like trivia, bingo, and during the summer they have food trucks visit!
There are so many parks and lakes around the Scranton area to explore! One fun activity is renting kayaks to get out on the water! Kayaks can be rented at Lackawanna State Park, on the Susquehanna River in Falls, PA, and on Lake Wallenpaupack! Scranton has beautiful weather into the fall, in the spring, and especially in the summer. Take advantage of every sunny day you get! The Poconos are famous for their beauty and can be found right in Scranton’s backyard!
7. Montage Mountain
If winter sports are more of your thing, the area has its very own Ski Resort! Montage Mountain is located just 15 minutes from campus! They have skiing, snowboarding, and tubing! During the summer, they also have a water park! Concerts are held often during the warmer months at the Pavilion. Recent past performers include: Blink 182, Jason Aldean, and Fall Out Boy!
I still, to this day, have yet to find an area with as many restaurants as the Scranton area! Within walking distance of campus, there are 20+ alone! Some of my personal favorites are: Ale Mary’s, Backyard Ale House, and the famous Cooper’s Seafood House that was featured in The Office! Just a short drive away from campus is a town called Old Forge that is actually the pizza capital of the world! There are endless places to eat around Scranton, so make a bucket list of places to try as soon as you get into the city!