Close to skiing, lakes, NASCAR, Poconos, and major cities.
Downtown is awful and touristy things are limited.
Don't plan to vacation in Wilkes-Barre; but stay in Wilkes-Barre for your vacation!
The Market Street Bridge takes you across the Susquehanna River from the historic district of downtown Wilkes-Barre to what is technically Kingston, Pennsylvania on the other side. You'll have nice views of Wilkes-Barre from the bridge and the four arches at the ends of the structure are each topped with a limestone eagle. The bridge was built in...more
On the north side of the Susquehanna River (opposite from downtown Wilkes-Barre), you'll find a nice green space known as FM Kirby Park. I believe that as soon as cross the river you're technically in Kingston, PA, but since it's literally a three minute walk across the Market Street Bridge, we'll call it close enough. There's a nice lake and...more
King's College is a small, but interesting campus. If you're visiting the Luzerne County Court House building on North River Street, you should definitely scoot across the street for a quick look at the campus. The school was founded in 1946 by the congregation of the Holy Cross of the University of Notre Dame and has an approximate enrollment of...more
876 Schechter Drive, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, 18702, United States
Good for: Business
Brand new facility, courteous staff, great pool, rooms a touch smalled than average but lovely....more
2400 East End Boulevard, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, 18702-9791, United States
Good for: Solo
Just a five minute drive across the river from Wilkes-Barre, you'll find this tiny gem.
Upon entry, it looks like a dimly lit bar with a few tables at the back in front of a big screen tv. Well, it is. But at the back you'll find a large open doorway to the "official" restaurant part. There are booths and tables, and yes it's also dimly lit (no windows). Yes, you can see fine!
This is what I consider an incredible bang for your buck. For a mere $7 (give or take) you can order a custom burger or grilled chicken sandwich; it comes out in a huge basket with a ton of tasty fries and a cup of pasta salad or coleslaw. This is my fav, but everything is awesome. And everything served is way more than you could eat at one sitting, unless you're very hungry!
There are quaint old-time b&w photographs on the wall and a juke box on the bar side. It's not rowdy at all. The building is old, so watch your step. High class? No. Family friendly atmosphere and awesome food? Yes!
The Luzerne County Transportation Authority charges $1.10 to ride the bus, but you can get 40 cents off that price with any minimal purchase at the Boscov's on Main Street (yeah, like it's worth BUYING something to save 40 cents!). It runs Monday through Saturday. All routes connect in Public Square (Main and Market Streets in downtown). Check out this website for a list of the routes (scroll down about halfway and you'll see the links).
If you walk from Market Street on the edge of the Susquehanna River toward town, you'll run into what's known as the Public Square (a funny looking square with a fountain and a bunch of kids skateboarding when I was there) at the corner of Market and Main Streets. Hang a right on Main Street (pictured here) and you've slipped into some sort of...more
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In an hour or two, you can take a self-guided walking tour of quite a good number of interesting and historic buildings in Wilkes-Barre. Many of them are religious buildings, but if you head over to the west of town, you'll find a bunch of big old houses and other buildings of some architectural note in the River Street Historic District. A walk down Franklin Street (one block off of River Street) will also reveal some nice buildings. Check out my Cool Buildings travelogue below for some photos.
Don't walk around the downtown area after 5pm. Businesses and shops close, people vanish except for the druggies who've moved in over the last 10 years.
Walking on the city streets? Keep tabs on your belongings and your children. It's not a horrible downtown, but there's definitely an unsavory element these days.
In fact, you shouldn't actually be IN the city unless it's necessary. Try Wilkes-Barre Township - Highland Park exit off Rt. 81. That's where you want to stay and shop.
We've got all 4 four seasons here; and each one comes full force. So use your head. Coats, scarf, gloves, hat and sturdy boots/shoes for the winter cold and/or snow. Allergy meds for the rest of the seasons! Swimsuits only in the summer, unless your hotel has an indoor one. Shorts in the summer. Light jackets in the spring and fall.
Miscellaneous: We're not a small area so whatever you forgot you can pick up at a Wal-Mart, KMart, Target or the mall or other shops. Not tourist prices either, so no worries.
Just a little over a half hour to the West of Wilkes-Barre, you'll find a fantastic state park. Ricketts Glen has miles of trails, a large lake for swimming and fishing, camping, cabins, horseback riding and much more. I spent a day there mostly hiking the 7.2 mile Falls Trail, which is lined with 22 waterfalls and is great for any nature lover....more
About 45 minutes south of Wilkes-Barre just off of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, you'll find a picturesque little mountain town called Jim Thorpe. The setting is sublime in a valley in the shadows of the Pocono Mountains along the banks of the winding Lehigh River. The town's historic district is full of charming shops, restaurants and interesting...more
\Just off rte 115, just down the hill from the entrance/exit to the PA turnpike is a state park known as the tubs. turn at the brown sign with white lettering and drive down the hill, to your left is a path leading to a bridge, the there are sights up and down stream from this point, and walking and hiking trails (with wild grapes upstream!)...more
On the Kingston side of the Susquehanna River just across the Market Street bridge, you'll find a long trail that is perfect for walking, jogging, biking or rollerblading.
Wilkes-Barre is also very close to a major Nascar speedway, the Pocono International Raceway. The track is a 2.5 mile, non-oval (i.e. not excruciatingly boring to watch) track, so someday I might actually consider going to a race here. Pocono is located south of exit 284 (old exit 43) of Interstate 80, just east Wilkes-Barre. Take I-80 to exit 284, and head south on SR 115 for a couple of miles. The track will be to your left, on Long Pond Road.
Wilkes-Barre is not an overly exciting place, but the location on the banks of the Susquehanna River and the interesting historical buildings here make it a pleasant stop on your way to somewhere else. Be sure to check out the Luzerne County Court House, the River Common along the edge of the river and the River Street Historic District to the West...more
The Fine Arts Fiesta happens every May in downtown Wilkes Barre on the square where Main and Market Street meet. The festival lasts about a week. The festival has over 50 years of history and features crafts and artwork from artists from around the country!Local artists that are members of the Wyoming Valley Art League offer an open air exhibit of...more