Looking for the best and fun things to do in Wilkes Barre, PA?
Wilkes-Barre lies at Luzerne County and exists as one of the largest cities in Pennsylvania. It is named after two British Members of Parliament who were pro-American colonial activists.
Bordering the northern part of the city is the notable Susquehanna River, which runs through the valley’s center.
Following the discovery of adjacent coal deposits, the population of Wilkes-Barre subsequently skyrocketed during the 19th century because of thousands of immigrants who worked in the area’s mines.
The city reached peak prosperity in the first part of the following century thanks to the fuel provided by coal mining. It had a top population of about 86,000 people.
However, the city’s economy crumbled after the war as a result of the abolition of industry. With a population of 40,569, it is the biggest in Luzerne County and the 13th most populous in Pennsylvania.
There are lots of attractions and activities to make your vacation in this city smooth and memorable. So, let us check out the best things to do in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania.
Things to Do in Wilkes Barre
1. Listen to astonishing performances River Street Jazz Café
River Street Jazz Cafée is a music venue in New York City devoted to jazz music. So, if you are a lover of the jazz genre of music, come watch exclusive performances by jazz artists at River Street Jazz Cafe.
Sited in Northeastern Pennsylvania, it has been the destination to resort for live music over the past two decades.
Though tiny, it is a diverse music venue and has featured several beloved local musicians and major groups who have performed on its stage.
Apart from the wonderful music, the Jazz Cafe has superb lighting and sound system, an amazing menu, and a friendly staff that is always ready and happy to help.
2. Sip while painting at Art n’ Vino
A visit to Art N Vino will give your inner artist that long-expected expression. It is the ideal spot to enjoy a night date in the city, especially for couples seeking romantic activities.
Attendees may sign up for a range of workshops, from painting to creating bespoke wood signs. Guests are also urged to bring drinks along so they can enjoy while working on their creations.
You can come alone, on a date or in a huge group! It’s simply your choice.
And having a creative background is not a prerequisite to visiting Art n’ Vino. Under the guidance of the knowledgeable and amiable Art N Vino team, the results of your work will amaze you.
Address: 667 N River St, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18705, United States
3. Wilkes-Barre must-visit: F.M. Kirby Center for The Performing ArtsAre you thinking of an activity to do in Wilkes-Barre with regards to nightlife? If yes, one fantastic place to start your search is the F.M. Kirby Center for The Performing Arts.
It is a lovely theater that features a comfy atmosphere perfect for different events, including comedy shows, plays, concerts, and other performances.
There is also the Young People’s Theater designed for the younger folks. It offers children access to a range of shows appropriate for their age and is ideal for broadening the knowledge of youngsters in performing arts.
The moment you step into this historic theater, you will be astounded by the Art-Deco design. It is enough to draw you in and even keep you!
You will also love the newly renovated interior and improved acoustics – both ensure you have an awesome experience every time you visit.
Address: 71 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701, United States
4. Relax at Breaker Brewing Company
Located in an old school, Breaker Brewing Company is a microbrewery and brew bar in Wilkes-Barre. Two homebrewers started it as a nano-brewery on a plot of land 2.5 acres.
They specialize in the production of small-batch handcrafted beers. And this is in honor of the coal-mining heritage of this region.
The restaurant serves pizzas, paninis, and different kinds of pasta from Tuesday through Saturday. They also have a range of draught beers.
Sundays are exceptional, though, because various food trucks offer the locals a constant supply of food to try. The bar is closed only on Mondays, so explore other days as your time fits.
If you have a vehicle, there are spaces to park, but note that parking in any place other than within the premises might attract a penalty of some sort.
Address: 787 E Northampton St, Wilkes-Barre Township, PA 18702, United States.
5. Work out at Wilkes-Barre Rock Climbing Gym
Whenever you feel like working out your body, Wilkes-Barre Rock Climbing Gym is the place to for. It makes our list of top things to do in Wilkes Barre, PA.
It is a climbing facility that features a variety of routes that will challenge rock climbers of any skill or ability level.
Depending on the available time and budget, visitors are offered various punch cards or a day pass. All the same, it’s always enjoyable.
You will meet the courteous and knowledgeable staff who will always be available and willing to help give you the right amount of training that suits your requirements and preferences.
Whenever you need them, Wilkes-Barre Rock Climbing Gym is always available.
Address: 102 S Main St, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701, United States.
6. Enjoy a hockey game at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey PlazaAnother exciting to do in Wilkes-Barre is to visit the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. It used to be a conference center which has been transposed into a multi-functional facility.
The plaza has a seating arrangement that can accommodate 8450 people.
Mohegan Sun Arena has played host to many events, including WWE wrestling matches, ice hockey games, and the circus.
The arena had featured performances by musicians like the Eagles, Elton John, and Bob Dylan. It also caters to other events such as political rallies and commencement ceremonies.
Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza also serves as the site of the annual Christmas Trans-Siberian Orchestra performance. You just can’t miss it for anything!
7. Chacko’s Family Bowling Center
What about striking the bowls while in Wilkes-Barre? Chacko’s Family Bowling Center will provide the perfect game you never imagined!
Chacko is an excellent bowling facility for experts and visitors alike with its modern lanes and automated scoring.
And can enjoy a friendly competition here, and if you have an appetite, the Memory Lane Lounge is available for lunch. So, you don’t need to ever leave the facility.
Watch out for free games and glow bowling. And don’t forget to stop by Dan Chacko’s Pro Shop for some expert advice or new bowling equipment.
Checking out the Chacko’s Family Bowling Center is one great thing to do in Wilkes-Barre and should be on your bucket list.
Address: 195 North Wilkes-Barre Blvd, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702, United States.
8. See rarities at the Strange and Unusual
One of the most intriguing stops in Wilkes-Barre is its self-described “oddities parlor.” And if you go to Wilkes-Barre without checking here, you’ll be sorry.
The Strange and Unusual is a retail store that looks like a museum because of its phenomenal selection of merchandise.
You will discover anything here, from antique furniture to thought-inciting T-shirts to skulls to taxidermy to varying collectibles.
The Strange and Unusual is not only a great place to go shopping (especially the truly unusual), it also maintains a high level of entertainment.
So, as you itch for it, be assured of only the best.
Address: 467 Wyoming Ave, Kingston, PA 18704
9. Test your luck at Mohegan Sun Pocono CasinoMohegan Sun Pocono Casino stands as the foremost entertainment destination in Northeast Pennsylvania. With everything you could ever want or need all in one place, it surely makes our list of top things to do in Wilkes Barre.
This historic resort has many entertainment choices, including 90 game tables and 2,300 slot machines spreading over 82,000 square feet.
There are more than 18 different eating alternatives, giving everyone the room to find something they like.
They have the Wise Crackers Comedy Club, where you can laugh your night away, and Breakers NightClub, where you can have a dance party.
Meanwhile, you can enjoy facials, manicures, massages, sauna, and more treatments at the Spa Sapphire. These are only some of what the Mohegan Sun Pocono can offer you.
The Mohegan Sun Pocono is one of the top hotels in Wilkes-top Barre, and that is for a good reason which would not want to miss.
Address: 1280 PA-315, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702, United States.
10. See local art performances at Little Theatre of Wilkes-Barre
The Little Theatre of Wilkes-Barre is one of the oldest continuously-running community theatres in the United States.
Since after its debut season in 1922, the Little Theatre Company has been a class act and makes our list of best things to do in Wilkes Barre.
It has featured hundreds of performances since its inception, with millions of people delighting in the shows. For first-timers, it was a place to get their feet wet and bag valuable experience.
Before its relocation to its current location in 1955, the group had always been the go. However, the owners revamped the previous cinema theatre to make room for live performances.
Little Theatre of Wilkes-Barre takes pride in showcasing local talents, and with its 100th anniversary drawing closer, the business plans to continue unveiling the best of local talent.
Address: 537 N Main St, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18705, United States
11. Go back in time at Luzerne County Historical Museum
The Luzerne County Historical Museum is a historical museum in Wilkes-Barre.
The Luzerne County Historical Society manages it. This organization continues to fulfill its mission through other channels, including events, exhibits, lectures, library, guided tours, and historic homes.
This organization is preserving a panoramic local history collection, which includes documents and artifacts.
Upon a visit to the museum, you will see on display relics from prehistoric times through the Revolutionary War, the anthracite coal extraction, and to date.
Luzerne County Historical Museum has a collection of almost 200,000 items, books, and papers that communicate the stories of residents and historical events while also linking it to the present day.
You may also come across a range of engaging and peculiar pieces from the collection in the Library and Museum and other online displays that integrate contents from the said collection.
The museum is open from Wednesday to Saturday.
Address: 49 S Franklin St, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701, United States
12. Marvel at the Luzerne County Courthouse architecture
Luzerne County Courthouse is another place to visit, and it is one of the best things to do in Wilkes Barre.
Without any doubt, the interior part of the Luzerne County Courthouse is one of the most majestic in the entire state of Pennsylvania.
Visiting the beautiful rotunda of the building will give you a run for your money, and the moment you happen to be in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, do not let this opportunity slip.
However, you may be limited to seeing the royal interior of the structure from the ground level, except you have an appointment elsewhere within the courthouse.
This is because of the restriction placed on touring other parts of the building by the authorities. Overall, you would never have a below par experience.
13. Take a walk in the Eckley Miners’ VillageThe historic Eckley Miners’ Village is a ride just less than 40 minutes from downtown Wilkes-Barre. And though it is not in the city, it makes the list of top things to do in Wilkes Barre, PA.
Luzerne County’s coal industry was big employment, and Eckley Miners’ Village is a perfect place to learn about that history.
Eckley Miners’ Village stands as a historically accurate replica of a mining village in the nineteenth century. The village gradually retrograded for almost a century until locals renovated it to film “The Molly McGuires” in the late 1960s.
The release of the film restored the town, with now acts as a tourist destination as well as a community center.
14. See the Forty Fort MeetinghouseLocated only 12 minutes away from downtown Wilkes-Barre, Forty Fort Meetinghouse is the only active meeting house with a New England-style Pennsylvania.
It was completed in 1807, after which the meeting house was a colony of Connecticut immigrants who sought to acquire the valley as their territory.
Since then, the structure has been maintained and appears virtually precisely as before, despite not being in use for almost 150 years.
15. Academy of Golf Center
Golf enthusiasts would agree that one great way to learn from experts is through taking golf lessons. At the Academy of Golf Center, golf experts and teachers (PGA-certified) educate students of all ages and skill levels.
The Academy of Golf Center is located some 12 minutes away from Wilkes-Barre and provides every needed tool required to improve your golf skills.
There are heated stalls on its outdoor driving range, allowing visitors to practice all year round. Do well to visit its pro shop and gird yourself with golf apparel and equipment from some of the top names in the industry.
There is also a mini-golf course, even the least in the family may work on their putting skills here.
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16. Recall cruel history at Wyoming MonumentVarious incidents accompanied the Revolutionary War, and one of the lesser-known incidents of this war is the Wyoming Massacre.
The Wyoming Massacre occurred at the Wyoming Valley on July 3rd, 1778. It started through a conflict between a British-aligned troops, the local militia, and Native Americans.
About four hundred troops were dead by the end of the battle, while the surviving settlers had fled the valley.
So, to honor the fallen heroes and learn more about this gory history, stop by the Wyoming Monument. It is just a 12-minute drive away from downtown Wilkes-Barre.
17. Explore the Seven Tubs Recreation AreaThe Seven Tubs were formed by sandstone rocks eroded by melting glaciers. For several years, canyons and gorges have been carved out in the terrain by a stream called Wheelbarrow.
There are over 65 varieties of wildflowers and trees in the region, and these provide a welcome shade for hikers of the trails.
Seven Tubs Recreation Area is home to deer, weasels, opossums, and foxes. Please, be watchful of the black bear – though it’s rare, it poses a threat because of its powerful jaws and sharp claws.
Also, birdwatchers may sight migratory birds, game birds, and more typical species here.
You can go hiking, which is fun, but be mindful of slick moss, loose rocks, and any other kind of hazards. The area is wheelchair accessible, with parts of the path designed to accommodate its users.
18. Gallery Of Sound
Gallery Of Sound is a locally owned indie record store in Wilkes-Barre. It is a family-owned and operated store that buys, sells, and trades new and old CDs, DVDs, and LPs.
They have everything from the classics to the latest releases to just about every period and genre.
Gallery of Sound also offers cool band merchandise, including posters, patches, t-shirts, music books, pins, and collectibles.
Address: 186 Mundy St, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702-6831
19. Check out Falls Trail at Ricketts Glen State Park
One of the best things to do in Wilkes Barre, PA, is visiting the Falls Trail at Ricketts Glen State Park. It is probably the best hike in Pennsylvania.
This 7.2-mile trail features over 20 beautiful waterfalls. The trail is challenging, though, and it allows hikers to have a great view of each of these falls and enjoy one of the most splendor places in the east of the United States.
The winter season offers another dimension of adventure, as the sight of the frozen waterfalls of Ricketts Glen is super amazing.
You have to take proper precautions if you want to attempt the trial during the colder months of the year, this is because it is officially closed at that time.
20. Enjoy good food at Rustic Kitchen Bistro and Bar
Rustic Kitchen Bistro and Bar is a business opened by Jim and Kathy Cafarelli in 2001. It is one place to visit for a good treat in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.
Jim and Kathy have several years of experience in design concepts and hospitality amongst themselves. The Rustic Kitchen concept now consists of four restaurants and a Studio Kitchen which transmits live dinner shows.
Their efforts have been rewarded with diverse kinds of awards, including four Emmys. They source their ingredients locally, in the season, to make pizzas, seafood, meat dishes, and pasta.
The restaurant at the Mohegan Sun Pocono faces the casino, allowing patrons to watch the action.
And if you have large events or wish to have an intimate dining experience, there is a 250-seat venue to take care of them.
Address: 1280 Highway 315, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702.
21. Throw a strike at Chacko’s Family Bowling Center
Chacko’s Family Bowling Center is a family-friendly bowling alley located in Wilkes-Barre. It has modern lanes with a computerized scoring system, and it is open to bowlers of all skill levels.
You can compete with your friends, family, and co-workers here and even have a meal at the Memory Lane Lounge, all without stepping out of the center.
You can watch out for special events at this center, including glow bowling and free games, and don’t forget to stop by Dan Chacko’s Pro Shop for some expert guidance or you need a new bowling ball.
Chacko’s Family Bowling Center is opened every day of the week, thereby offering you and your family great entertainment.
Address: 195 N Wilkes Barre Blvd, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702-5340
22. Visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial
Dedicated on February 21st, 1988, Veterans Memorial is a statue built on the lawn of the Luzerne County Courthouse.
This monument depicts a heavy gauge bronze sculpture with a natural sulfide brochantite patina set atop a slate base. The figure of the valiant veteran, 8′ 5″ tall from toe to head, is 1.43 times life-size.
The warrior puts on combat fatigue pants and boots and stands atop the shield (the Keystone of Pennsylvania) while holding a broken K-Bar Knife.
The figure bears in its left hand a crown of stars representing the branches of the Armed Services taken from the brow with his head turned in grief.
Behind the figure are the symbols of Vietnam, and there is one spear for every three years of this war. These symbolize the misery of this country at its loss of liberty, the enslavement of Vietnam in the Bamboo Curtain of Communism, the sons and brothers whose blood was spilled, the Prisoners of War, and the Missing In Action, those who were imprisoned, and others who have never returned.
Inscribed on the base of this monumental sculpture are the names of local sons who sacrificed their lives in the Action.
Address: 200 N River St, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18711-1004
23. Wilkes-Barre must-see: The Market Street Bridge
One of the most important bridges crossing the Susquehanna River is the Market Street Bridge. It was built between 1926 and 1929, and it is a perfect example of a long-span 1920s urban bridge.
Standing at about 1,400 feet, it is one of Pennsylvania’s longest and most highly decorated concrete bridges.
The Market Street Bridge is a monumental 12 arch granite and reinforced concrete structure bearing two pylons at approach; a giant carved limestone eagle topping for every pylon.
Originally, its construction included an ornamental light standard and a water gauging station. The latter has been inoperable since 1943, while all the light standards have been replaced.
Replacing an earlier truss bridge, the Market Street Bridge has great architecture. It was designed by Carrere & Hastings, a popular New York City architectural firm.
The six longer spans over the river consist of open-spandrel arches of three-wide ribs each. And the end spans over the flood plain comprised of shorter barrel arches with solid spandrel walls.
This answers what to do in Wilkes Barre, PA, for some exploration time, the bridge is a phenomenal sight in Wilkes-Barre!
24. The Toyota SportsPlex
Another interesting thing to do in Wilkes-Barre is going to the Toyota SportsPlex. It should be on your bucket list, especially for sports lovers.
Toyota SportsPlex is the official practice facility of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins – the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins.
You don’t be a hockey star to have fun on the ice. This ice rink offers curling, figure skating, public skating, and hockey for all ages and skill levels.
The Toyota SportPlex is home ice for Wilkes University hockey teams, the Wyoming Seminary hockey team, and the Wilkes-Barre Junior Pens (a youth travel hockey league for players aged 8-18).
The Diamond City Figure Skating Club also have their practices at the rink, with the club a member of the US Figure Skating Association and competing all through the year.
The Anthracite Curling Club is NEPA’s only curling club, and they hold leagues and Learn to Curl workshops at the SportPlex.
Other activities hosted at this rink include in-house hockey leagues, clinics, and camps for adults and kids. Birthdays are hosted here too.
Do check their calendar for public skating sessions.
Address: 38 Coal St, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702-5236
25. Lark Mountain Marketplace
Lark Mountain Marketplace is conveniently located in Wilkes-Barre Township, close to the Mohegan Sun Arena and a short drive from Mohegan Sun Casino.
It is an antique shopping center that occupies 8000 square feet with over 50 vendors for your shopping pleasure.
Lark Mountain boasts of many specialty vendors who offer unique items. Some vendors sell primitives, vintage advertising, military items, estate and costume jewelry, mining items, video games, and so much more.
Just take a walk down memory lane and find unique antique and vintage items for yourself or gifts.
You can warm up by having some complimentary coffee at their gathering room. While you are there, stop by to chat with the staff, they are friendly and helpful.
Lark Mountain Marketplace is one of the best things to do in Wilkes Barre, PA.
Address: 306 Wilkes Barre Township Blvd, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702-6708
Plan your trip to Wilkes-Barre
Just like we’ve seen, Wilkes-Barre is an interesting city with great history. The beautiful gardens, exciting theatres, local markets, beautiful parks, structures, and landmarks all make it a top pick for any tourist.
You can start lining up your plans towards making the city your next vacation location. And if you need some guidance, feel free to check back here.
Have a fun trip!