Pleasantly Surprised by Scranton, Pennsylvania

Out of all 50 US states, I would say that Pennsylvania sits somewhere close to the top when it comes to how traveled I am within the state.  I have been to Pittsburgh more times than I can count because my family originates from near the city and I have done Philadelphia a few times.  I have been to Erie, Harrisburg, Altoona, State College, Allentown, etc etc.  I currently have one of my sisters living in the state while the other one recently moved away to Washington D.C. from eastern Pennsylvania.  I know the state of PA.

So when I discovered that Andre and I would be driving through Scranton on our recent road trip, I remember saying to him, “We will be driving through Scranton soon…it’s a crap hole but it is the city where the show ‘The Office’ fictionally takes place”.  I am not sure what made me conclude that it was a crap hole considering I had never been there, nor had I even seen photos of the place.  I just envisioned mills and grey skies.

We ended up stopping at the local Wilkes-Barre mall to grab a few more things from Sephora so we didn’t have to shop in New York City the following day when we realized that we had a few hours to kill and were making good time on our way to New York.  Against what I thought was our better judgement at the time, we decided to say hello to Scranton.

  Imagine my shock when we were not greeted by grey skies and mills, but rather blue skies and some of the prettiest architecture I have ever laid eyes on in the US.

And I mean that with all sincerity (and I consider myself extremely well-traveled within the US).  We ended up in quite a rush after an hour and didn’t really get to see the city.  The photos I have are simply from one tiny area of Scranton, but I promise you that the rest of the city was equally as beautiful and worth a stroll.  And thank goodness I am often in Pennsylvania when I am in the US, so it is not too far out of my reach for a return trip.

Apparently I have some relatives I didn’t know about in Scranton…

To view more about attractions in the area, click here.

Has a city ever proved you so wrong?  Have you ever been to Scranton?



  • Thanks for sharing all these pictures because they are simply perfect and so clear… I’m not wrong if I say you’re a professional photographer.
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    • Megan says:

      thanks susan :) i would love to one day take some photography classes…but for now i cant justify it because i throw my amateur canon g12 in my purse with no case and caution. one of these days ;)

  • Love surprise cities! Of course, low expectations always help, but it really does look lovely!
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    • Megan says:

      thanks alex! yea the entire place exceeded my expectations. we drove around the city a bit before stopping to walk around. i wish i could have stayed there longer!

  • Jenna says:

    WOW! I would never have imagined Scranton to look this way either! Those buildings are stunning :)

    I was pleasantly surprised by Egypt as a country. I wasn’t really looking forward to visiting it because I though the people wouldn’t be very welcoming, but I actually couldn’t have been more wrong :)


    • Megan says:

      i probably would feel the same about going to egypt but i have a feeling it would defy my expectations too ;) one of these days…

      yea scranton was definitely one of the prettiest cities i have ever been in. i was super shocked and excited.

  • Daryl says:

    Wow! I have heard such terrible things about Scranton and I honestly have no idea why after seeing these pictures!

  • lindsey says:

    I’ve always envisioned Scranton being a dreary, dark place too, but Wow! Looks like there is some really cool architecture! I’m from Pittsburgh, and love seeing the great state of PA represented!
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    • Megan says:

      that is awesome youre from pittsburgh ;)

      and if youre ever back in PA and get a chance for an overnight trip from the pitt area, scranton is definitely worth a shot.

  • kelly says:

    My grandmother lives just outside of Scranton and I grew up an hour north. I don’t know if I’ve ever been to “downtown” Scranton. Maybe I should check it out sometime…

  • Edna says:

    Haha I went to Scranton a couple times, my swim team swam against theirs since they were in our college conference. I wasn’t into The Office yet back then but a lot of my teammates were; all I remember is that it was really damn cold and that their swim team was really good.
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  • Jenny says:

    I would never have guessed that Scranton was so charming! Now I can imagine The Office characters in a more accurate environment. :)

  • blue roses says:

    having driven from baltimore to ithaca, hometown of my alma mater cornell, for four years, i have become well acquainted with small PA towns…. it is a fascinating area, because it has definitely been hit hard by the crash of the steel and coal industries, but there are vibrant towns and beautiful people there!

    lesson is, until you explore, you cannot truly judge a city. and, in my experience, every place, from manhattan to scanton, and every size in between, has their positives and their negatives.
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    • Megan says:

      agree 100% with you there. and you’re totally right…PA towns can be absolutely adorable. but it is very evident of how many were hit by steel and coal leaving the areas. i think it just gives the places more personality these days.

  • Alex says:

    Wow, I’m impressed!! Who would have thought?

  • What a quaint place, love The Office!

  • I’m hoping I’ll be proved wrong by a place we’ll be visiting in December. My impressions aren’t great at the moment…fingers crossed xoxox
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  • The Guy says:

    Hi Megan, I think I’ve seen nearly as much of PA as you! Well I’ve been to most of those places you listed in your opening paragraph.

    You are indeed correct, Pennsylvania is a beautiful State and probably one of my favourites as a foreigner to visit. Such a colourful and agricultural state with so many open fields and wonderful views. It can feel more like home than anywhere else in the US.

    You’ve posted some lovely pictures of Scranton there. It must have been a lovely day as the colours really come out.

    Thanks for sharing.
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    • Megan says:

      that is so great you’ve seen so much of PA! it truly is one of my favorite states and i love exploring the big cities and the small towns when im around. my fav will always be pittsburgh, though.

  • Heather says:

    Well that is a surprise! All those episodes of ‘The Office’ I’ve watched, and I’ve never pictured anything beyond their building parking lot… even knowing that the building they shoot in is deep in some corner of Hollywood.
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    • Megan says:

      haha! i recall my first time watching the office and i saw the ‘hills’ in the background of the parking lot and it definitely was NOT pennsylvania hills (which are green not brown!) made me a little sad ;)

  • Andrea says:

    I’ve never been to Pennsylvania at all but I’m hoping to take a day trip to Philadelphia when we visit the States in December.
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    • Megan says:

      you havent been to PA?! i guess i was just there so much as a kid that i feel like everyone’s been there at some point :) philly is good for a day trip…especially to see some historical sights. not my favorite city, but worth checking those sights out for sure!

  • Amber says:

    My boyfriend lives in Scranton and we both went to college in Wilkes Barre. I live outside Baltimore now, but still spend every other weekend up in Scranton. Those photos really do paint Scranton be a lovely place but aside from the Downtown area in the photos, I’d have to say its a bit of a gross place. The old buildings that were built at the height of the coal mining era (when the area was very prosperous) are magnificent and I love to take in their beauty whenever we head downtown (I am absolutely in love with both Scranton and Wilkes Barres courthouses), but if you venture 5 minutes in any direction from downtown, the area becomes very run down and grody. Its pretty sad to witness. While I’m considering moving to Scranton to be with the boy and because its dirt cheap real estate wise, its not somewhere I would want to raise kids necessarily, because its so run down and depressed. I love your photos though!

  • Interesting. All I think about is The Office when I hear the word Scranton! I have a few friends that live there and haven’t made the trip because there’s no direct train. Perhaps I’ll have to find a way!
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