17 Best Things to Do in Wilkes-Barre, PA

Wilkes-Barre, PA
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Wilkes-Barre, one of Pennsylvania's largest cities, lies at Luzerne County.

It took its name from two British Members of Parliament who were pro-American colonial activists.

The Susquehanna River, which runs through the valley's center, borders the city's northern part.

The discovery of adjacent coal deposits and the subsequent influx of hundreds or even thousands of immigrants, who worked in the area's mines, caused the city's population to soar during the 19th century.

The city's prosperity peaked in the first part of the following century because coal mining provided fuel.

It had a peak population of around 86,000 people.

The city's economy sank after the war as a result of the dissolution of industry.

The economy worsened due to the Knox Mine catastrophe, which flooded several coal mines in the region, leaving them unable to reopen.

At 40,569 residents, the city is the biggest in Luzerne County and Pennsylvania's 13th most populous.

Based in Northeast Pennsylvania, Wilkes-Barre is the ideal starting place for all of your local explorations.

For whatever reason, Wilkes-Barre, one of the state's major cities, is frequently neglected by tourists passing through northern Pennsylvania or heading to nearby Scranton.

Those seeking for fun activities to try in Wilkes-Barre, on the other hand, can find enough to enjoy in this area.

Here are the 17 best things to do in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania:

Explore the Seven Tubs Recreation Area

View of Seven Tubs Recreation Area
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Melting glaciers eroded the sandstone rocks, resulting in the Seven Tubs.

For many years, a stream called Wheelbarrow has been carving out canyons and gorges in the terrain.

Over 60 varieties of wildflowers and trees may be found in the region, providing welcome shade on hiking trails.

View of Seven Tubs Recreation Area
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Birdwatchers may spot game birds, migratory birds, and more typical species.

The area is also home to weasels, deer, foxes, and opossums.

The black bear, although its rarity, poses a threat because of its sharp claws and powerful jaws.

Hikers should be aware that loose rocks and slick moss are other hazards.

Wheelchair users will appreciate the parts of the path designed with them in mind.

View of Seven Tubs Recreation Area
Noel Biesecker / Shutterstock.com

Listen to Amazing Performances at River Street Jazz Café

Jazz artists perform exclusively at River Street Jazz Cafe, a music venue in New York City dedicated to jazz.

The River Street Jazz Cafe in Northeastern Pennsylvania has been a go-to destination for live music for more than two decades.

Numerous beloved local musicians, and several major groups, have gone to the stage to perform for their loyal fans in this tiny and diverse music venue.

Aside from fantastic music, the Jazz Cafe has an amazing menu, an excellent lighting and sound system, and a friendly staff that is always happy to help.

Learn Painting While Sipping Wine at Art n' Vino

With a visit to Art N Vino, you may express your inner artist.

It is the best option available for couples seeking romantic activities to enjoy on a date night in the city.

Attendees may enroll in a range of workshops, ranging from painting to creating bespoke wood signs.

Guests are encouraged to bring their drinks to enjoy as they work on their creations.

Arrive in a huge group, with a date, or all by yourself! It is not essential to have any creative background!

The results of your work, guided by the knowledgeable and pleasant Art N Vino team, will astound you.

Watch a Show at F.M. Kirby Center for The Performing Arts

Outside View of F.M. Kirby Center for The Performing Arts
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When thinking about activities to do in Wilkes-Barre tonight, the F M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts is a great place to start your search.

This theater features a cozy atmosphere perfect for various events, including concerts, plays, comedy shows, and other performances.

The Young People's Theater provides children with simple access to a range of age-appropriate shows, ideal for exposing youngsters to the performing arts in general.

When you walk into this historic theater, the Art-Deco design is enough to draw you in.

Still, the newly renovated interior and improved acoustics ensure that you have an excellent experience each time you come.

Chill at Breaker Brewing Company

Two homebrewers started this microbrewery and brew bar as a nano-brewery.

On a plot of land measuring 2.5 acres, it lies in an old school.

They produce small-batch handcrafted beers in honor of the region's coal-mining heritage.

The restaurant serves paninis, pizzas, different kinds of pasta from Tuesday through Saturday, and a range of draught beers.

On Sundays, various food trucks offer the locals a steady supply of food to indulge.

Mondays are the only days when the bar is closed. Do note that parking outside of the premises may result in a penalty of some sort.

Sweat it Out at Wilkes-Barre Rock Climbing Gym

Whenever you feel like sweating it out and giving your body a workout, here is the place for you.

A variety of routes will challenge rock climbers of any ability level at this climbing facility.

Depending on the budget and available time, a day pass or various punch cards are available for visitors.

The knowledgeable and courteous staff will always be available to help you and give the appropriate amount of training for your requirements and preferences, whenever you need them.

Catch a Hockey Game at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza

View of Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza
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The Mohegan Sun Arena in Casey Plaza, formerly a conference center, has been transformed into a multi-functional facility.

There are seating arrangements for 8450 people.

The arena has hosted many events, including ice hockey games, WWE wrestling matches, and the circus.

Also, there have been performances by musicians like Elton John, the Eagles, and Bob Dylan in the arena.

The arena also caters to other events such as commencement ceremonies and political rallies.

It also serves as the site of the yearly Christmas Trans-Siberian Orchestra performance.

Enjoy a Family Time at Chacko's Family Bowling Center

Strike a perfect game at Chacko's Family Bowling!

Modern lanes and automated scoring make Chacko's an excellent bowling facility for beginners and experts alike.

Enjoy friendly competition and lunch at the Memory Lane Lounge without ever having to leave the facility.

Keep an eye out for free games and glow bowling.

Don't forget to swing by Dan Chacko's Pro Shop for some professional advice or a new bowling ball.

See the Oddities at the Strange and Unusual

Wilkes-Barre's self-described "oddities parlor" is one of the city's most intriguing stops.

If you go to Wilkes-Barre and skip this, you'll be sorry.

The retail store resembles a museum because of its unique selection of merchandise.

Here, you'll discover anything from antique furniture to skulls to thought-provoking T-shirts.

While The Strange and Unusual is a great place to go shopping for the genuinely unusual, it will also keep you entertained as you scratch your itch for it.

Try Your Luck at Mohegan Sun Pocono Casino

Outside View of Mohegan Sun Pocono Casino
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Mohegan Sun Pocono is Northeast Pennsylvania's premier entertainment destination, with everything you could want or need all in one place.

It's one of Wilkes-top Barre's hotels, and for a good reason.

Many entertainment choices are available at this historic resort, including a gaming floor with 2,300 slot machines and 90 game tables spread over 82,000 square feet.

Outside View of Mohegan Sun Pocono Casino
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There are over 18 different eating alternatives, so everyone can find something they like.

Laugh your night away at Wise Crackers Comedy Club or have a sultry dance party at Breakers Nightclub.

Meanwhile, manicures, facials, sauna, massages, and more are available at the Spa Sapphire.

These are only the beginning of what the Mohegan Sun Pocono can offer when it comes to things to do.

Outside View of Mohegan Sun Pocono Casino
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Watch Local Acts at Little Theatre of Wilkes-Barre

The Little Theatre Company had its debut season in 1922.

There have been hundreds of performances since then, with millions of people enjoying the shows.

For newcomers, it was a place to get their feet wet and get valuable experience.

When it relocated into its current location in 1955, the group had been traveling since its inception.

The owners refurbished the previous cinema theatre to accommodate live performances.

With its centennial approaching, the business plans to continue showcasing the best of local talent.

Visit the Past With Luzerne County Historical Museum

The Luzerne County Historical Society continues to fulfill its mission through the historical museum, including exhibits, events, lectures, guided tours, library, and historic homes.

The organization also maintains a comprehensive local history collection, which includes artifacts and documents.

On display are relics from prehistoric times through the Revolutionary War and anthracite coal extraction up to the present.

The museum's collection of almost 200,000 items, papers, and books convey the tales of residents and historical events while also drawing parallels to the current day.

You may see a range of fascinating and remarkable pieces from the collection in the Library and Museum and online displays that incorporate materials from the said collection.

Admire the Architecture of Luzerne County Courthouse

Outside View of Luzerne County Courthouse
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The inner part of the Luzerne County Courthouse, without question, is one of the most magnificent in the whole state of Pennsylvania.

A visit to the beautiful rotunda of the building is well worth your time if you happen to be in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, and you have the opportunity to do so.

However, unless you have an appointment somewhere else within the courthouse, you may only spend some time to see the magnificent interior of the structure from the ground level since authorities do not allow tours to other parts of the building.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Wander Around the Eckley Miners' Village

Less than a 40-minute ride from downtown Wilkes-Barre, you may reach the historic Eckley Miners' Village.

Luzerne County's coal industry used to be big employment, and Eckley Miners' Village is a great place to learn about that history.

View of Eckley Miners' Village
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Eckley Miners' Village is a historically accurate replica of a nineteenth-century mining village.

The village slowly deteriorated for almost a century until the locals renovated it to film "The Molly McGuires" in the late 1960s.

The film's release has revived the town, which now operates as a community center and a tourist destination.

Check Out Forty Fort Meetinghouse

Outside View of Forty Fort Meetinghouse
Joe Orbin, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Forty Fort Meetinghouse, located only 12 minutes away from downtown Wilkes-Barre, is the only surviving meeting house with a New England-style in the state.

Upon completion in 1807, the meeting house served as a colony of Connecticut immigrants who attempted to acquire the valley as their territory.

The structure has been preserved and appears virtually precisely as before, despite not operating for almost 150 years.

Interior of Forty Fort Meetinghouse
Joe Orbin, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Take a Swing at Academy of Golf Center

Golf lessons are a great way to learn from experts.

Golf experts educate students of all ages at the Academy of Golf Center, where its teachers are PGA-certified.

Located just 12 minutes away from Wilkes-Barre, the Academy of Golf Center provides all the tools you'll need to improve your golf skills.

It has heated stalls on its outdoor driving range so that you can practice all year round.

With the aid of the indoor golf simulator, you may analyze your swing, calculate your stats, and you will be able to improve your game.

Visit its pro shop and stock up on golf apparel and equipment from some of the industry's top names.

At its mini-golf course, even the youngest family members may work on their putting skills.

Look Back at a Brutal History at Wyoming Monument

View of Wyoming Monument
Smallbones, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Wyoming Massacre occurred at the Wyoming Valley during the Revolutionary War and is one of the war's lesser-known incidents.

On July 3rd, 1778, there was a conflict between the local militia and a British-aligned force of troops and Native Americans.

By the end of the battle, around 400 American troops had died, and the surviving settlers had fled the valley.

To pay respects to the fallen heroes and learn more about this bloody history, visit the Wyoming Monument, just a 12-minute drive away from downtown Wilkes-Barre.

Final Thoughts

This formerly coal-mining town offers a wide range of activities and sights worth seeing.

These 17 must-see Wilkes-Barre attractions are only the beginning of what Wilkes-Barre has to offer for the perfect trip.