Wilkes-Barre (the last part is variously pronounced "Berry", "Bury", "Bare", or "Berrah" by locals, and "Barry" or "Barr" by others) is a city of 41,000 people (2018) in northeastern Pennsylvania, approximately 20 miles southwest of Scranton. The city is named for John Wilkes and Isaac Barre, both of whom were members of the British Parliament who opposed royal rule of the colonies. Although the city is named after them, neither one ever stepped foot in North America.
The easiest way to arrive in Wilkes-Barre is via the highway. The following highways connect Wilkes-Barre to other regional cities:
- I-476 south to (Pennsylvania Turnpike Northeast Extension) Allentown & Philadelphia.
- I-81 north to Scranton & Binghamton and I-81 south to Harrisburg.
I-476 is tolled from mile 20 to 115.
The city is also about 15 minutes south of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport (AVP IATA) in Avoca. The airport operates daily flights to Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago-O'Hare, Detroit, Newark, and Philadelphia. Rental cars are available from Avis, Budget, Hertz, National, and Alamo at the terminal. Take I-81 south to Exit 170B.
Wilkes-Barre is also within three hours driving distance from Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, JFK International Airport and LaGuardia Int'l Airport in New York City, Lehigh Valley Int'l Airport in Allentown, Harrisburg Int'l Airport in Harrisburg, and Philadelphia Int'l Airport in Philadelphia.
Martz offers long distance services to and from Philadelphia and New York City. 1 Martz Trailways Bus Terminal is located downtown on 47 S Washington St. Greyhound and other bus services operate from the same terminal, serving upstate New York, Toronto, Baltimore, Washington DC, the Midwest and West, and many other cities.
Public transportation is available through busses run by Luzerne County Transportation Authority (LCTA), which also travel to other points throughout Luzerne County, and several local taxi services.
If you drive outside the city, you may see steam rising from the ventilation shafts of the old coal mines.
- Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (AHL hockey), Wachovia Arena, Highland Park Blvd. The Pittsburgh Penguins' minor league hockey affiliate. They play home games from October through April. Check the website for tickets and dates.
- Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (AAA baseball), PNC Field, Moosic. The highest level minor league affiliate of the New York Yankees. They play home games from April through August. Check website for tickets and dates.
- 1 Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, ☏ +1 570 831-2100. Casino, 1280 Highway 315. 1,100 slots casino, table gaming, harness racing track, five restaurants. Open 24/7, with racing M Tu F Sa from 31 Mar. to 17 Nov. Free admission/parking.
You can catch an ice hockey game or concert at the Wachovia Arena. Kings College and Wilkes University often feature art exhibits in their libraries. The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders AAA baseball team plays 15 minutes north near Montage Mountain, which also features a major concert venue and skiing in the winter.
- The Wyoming Valley Mall is north of the city, ☏ +1 570 823-1224, it features JCPenney, Sears, and Macy's, among other stores. Check website for directions and full store directory.
- The Arena Hub Plaza is located across the street from the Wyoming Valley Mall. It features a sporting goods store, clothing stores, some restaurants, and a Barnes & Noble book store.
Nearly all of the shops are chain stores in the mall area outside of downtown. Boscov's is on Main Street.
This area is known for its many authentic diner car restaurants; Eddie's Diner, off Route 315, has fries with gravy and is open 24 hours. La Tolteca, near the mall, is popular for Mexican. Garlic Garden and Pete's Place downtown have very reasonably priced Lebanese food, with fish on Fridays for the local Catholic population.
Wilkes-Barre is at the northeast frontier of the Pierogi Belt. Mom & Pops Pierogi on 131 Casey Ave, Wilkes Barre Township ☏ +1 570-825-9303 sells fresh and frozen ravioli (and pasties) to go; the adjacent Abe's Hot Dogs serves the same pierogi prepared with butter and onion. Jagodzianka Polish Deli at 527½ Scott St has fresh kielbasa and other Eastern European delicacies.
There are quite a few choices for night life. Main Street in downtown Wilkes-Barre features a few college bars. Uptown, features Arena Bar and Grill for a more mature atmosphere. Furthermore, there are corner bars all throughout the city, and a few alternative bars. There is karaoke almost every night of the week, often hosted by DJ Scott Stephens.
- 1 Woodlands Inn and Resort, 1073 Highway 315, ☏ +1 570-824-9831.
|Routes through Wilkes-Barre|
|Binghamton ← Scranton ←||N S||→ Hazleton → Harrisburg|
|Clarks Summit ← Scranton ←||N S||→ Jct W E → Lehighton → Allentown|