There’s no place like home for the holidays, but there’s no place like Lackawanna County to get you in the holiday spirit. The Electric City kicks it up a few watts with beautiful light displays and events. From one end of the county to the other, you will find sights, sounds, and holiday fun that would make Charles Dickens proud.
HOLIDAY EXPRESS & NORTH POLE LIMITED
Visit Steamtown National Historic Site and experience an old-fashioned holiday train excursion with hot chocolate, visits with Santa, and reindeer while discovering the picturesque winter scenery of Northeast PA.
* TIPS: THE NORTH POLE LIMITED
encourages visitors to wear their pajamas. Wear your walking shoes! The park is separated into 3 sections: the History Museum, the Roundhouse, and the Technology Museum. Groups should plan for a minimum 3-hour visit to the park, 4 hours if they take a yard excursion. If you have major train enthusiasts, plan for a 4-5 hour visit.
GERTRUDE HAWK CHOCOLATES
This family-owned, Scranton business began in 1936 when Gertrude Hawk decided to use her chocolate-making skills to supplement her family’s income. Since then, it has been passed down through the generations and developed into 60+ retail stores throughout Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey with the factory still located in Lackawanna County. Guests can visit any of the shops to sample their treats including the famous Smidgens, Jordan Crackers, Chocolate Covered Apples, and many more!
* TIPS: GERTRUDE HAWK CHOCOLATES
offers an Open House & Factory Tour only once a year in November. Holiday Smidgens are the perfect stocking stuffer and come in multiple flavors. Plan for at least 1 hour at any of the retail stores. A visit that includes the Factory Tour and shopping can last up to 3 hours.
NEPA PHILHARMONIC HOLIDAY CONCERT
Ring in the holidays with your favorite songs, special guest performances, and a visit from you-know-who!
* TIPS: THE NEPA PHILHARMONIC
is performed in multiple theaters; make sure to choose the historic Peoples Security Bank Theater at Lackawanna College in Scranton!
Tickets can be purchased online with the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic.
ELECTRIC CITY TROLLEY MUSEUM: SANTA TROLLEY
Located on the Steamtown National Historic Site grounds in a restored late 19th-century mill building, the Electric City Trolley Museum commemorates the first successfully operational electric-powered streetcar system in the United States. You will enjoy the interactive exhibits and displays including vintage trolleys. Then climb aboard an authentic 1926 or 1932 trolley for a 5 ½ mile trip over Roaring Brook through the mile-long tunnel and along the original Laurel Line. Santa joins you on your excursions for a holiday-themed ride!
* TIPS: The ELECTRIC CITY TROLLEY MUSEUM
is self-guided, but groups can reserve a tour guide in advance. Plan to tour the museum for 1 ½ hours. The trolley excursion is approximately 45 minutes and takes you to their Restoration Shop on Montage Mountain.
LACKAWANNA COUNTY WINTER MARKET AT THE GLOBE
The Winter Market at the historic Globe Store location offers retail and food vendors, heated tents, hot chocolate, horse-drawn carriage rides, visits from Santa, and round-the-clock musical entertainment. Downtown Scranton sets the scene with local businesses decorating their windows in festive decor, lights adorning the trees, and holiday music playing across Courthouse Square.
* TIPS: The WINTER MARKET
features dozens of musicians throughout the day. The Lackawanna Historical Society provides walking tours of downtown Scranton. The holidays are a beautiful time to see the architecture of downtown Scranton. Schedule a walking tour with the Lackawanna Historical Society before or after visiting the Winter Market.
THE NUTCRACKER PRESENTED BY THE BALLET THEATRE OF SCRANTON
The classic holiday story of The Nutcracker has been a traditional performance presented by The Ballet Theatre of Scranton for over 40 years. It has been cited by Dance Magazine as the only production of its kind in the United States, awarded first place for the Pocono Northeast Award, and awarded the Hometown Star SAGE Award. It has entertained over 350,000 people including educational performances to over 12,000 school students.
* TIPS: THE NUTCRACKER
is a free event but call ahead to reserve group seating.
LACKAWANNA HISTORICAL SOCIETY: CATLIN HOUSE CHRISTMAS TOUR
This museum and research facility was once the home of George H. Catlin, an early financier in Scranton, and his wife, Helen. The Tudor Revival style home was built in 1912 and is a stately example of the upper-class homes of its time. The Lackawanna Historical Society decorates the home in traditional Victorian flare for the holidays with garland, fruit displays, and wreaths before adding modern twinkle lights to create a stunning display. Tour the home and learn of the Catlin family as well as the Victorian lifestyle, the history of Lackawanna County, and the current initiatives to preserve the history.
* TIPS: The CATLIN HOUSE
is fully decorated by December 7th. Estimate 1 ½ hours for a full tour of the home. There is no elevator in the home and some of the displays are on the 2nd level; please plan accordingly for your group.
HOLIDAY WINDOW DECORATING SHOWCASE
Window shopping is magical and merry in the Business District of downtown Scranton with our annual tradition of the Holiday Window Decorating Showcase. Visitors can marvel at the creativity, innovation, and beauty of designs from over 50 businesses. A secret panel of judges will award prizes in multiple categories including Most Whimsical, Most Retro, Best Use of Recycled Materials, Most Glamorous, and of course, Most Scrantastic amongst others!
* TIPS: THE HOLIDAY WINDOW DECORATING SHOWCASE
is a free event! Grab a specialty coffee, hot chocolate, or pastry from one of the local coffee shops downtown while you admire the showcase. Most windows are fully decorated by the 2nd week in December. The Scranton Tomorrow organization manages the event and offers a map of all the businesses participating in the contest.
HOLIDAY LIGHT DISPLAYS
Lackawanna County lights up the night with sparkling holiday scenery. Groups can travel along the lighted path at Nay Aug Park and marvel at the nostalgic displays of holiday cheer while the sounds of carols drift through the air. Just a short drive away, the local residents open their yards to the public for scenic holiday walkthroughs and interactive displays. Visit the 3 houses bringing holiday magic to young and old alike: Peckville Christmas House, 1130 Marion St., Peckville | Christmas Lights House, 300 Prospect Ave, Scranton | Holiday House, 638 Moosic St, Scranton.
* TIPS: THE HOLIDAY LIGHT DISPLAYS
are free, but donations are welcome! Visitors should plan 30 minutes – 1 hour per location. The PECKVILLE CHRISTMAS HOUSE is approximately 15 minutes from NAY AUG PARK, but the Scranton houses are approximately 3 minutes from the park. Visitors can walk or drive through each display. Nay Aug Park also offers horse-drawn carriage rides for an extra special experience!
BROADWAY IN SCRANTON & THE RITZ THEATRE
Each year 2 historical, downtown Scranton theaters bring holiday magic to the stage with a special performance. The Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple hosts Broadway in Scranton with shows such as Mannheim Steamroller Christmas, Elf, and A Christmas Story! The Ritz Theatre offers a unique dinner theater experience while enjoying classic tales such as Annie and some of their own creative pieces.
* TIPS: BROADWAY IN SCRANTON & THE RITZ THEATRE
are within walking distance of the Hilton Scranton & Conference Center and the Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel Scranton. The Ritz Theatre can customize a show for your group based on their interests. Broadway in Scranton offers one holiday performance a year- check their schedule to find out which weekend it will take place.