Downtown Jim Thorpe, weekend guide
Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, is a great escape and in an accessible location right in the Pocono Mountains. If you are passionate about historic attractions and unique inns or elegant accommodations, you need to see this special place.
Organizing the trip so you won’t miss the best places might be an exhausting activity. Luckily for you, we have pulled together a whole traveling guide for a fantastic weekend in downtown Jim Thorpe, PA.
From the Old Jail Museum to the Scenic Railways and top restaurants to have a delicious meal, you can find all of the best places to visit in what’s been called, “One of the most beautiful small towns in America”, Jim Thorpe Pennsylvania.
Keep reading to find out more on this charming Pennsylvania destination.
Best Experiences in Downtown Jim Thorpe
Step by step, you will find the best activities to do outdoors in downtown Jim Thorpe, as well as the best indoor experiences. Take your time to read about the highlights of one of the most beautiful small towns in America and use this travel guide for planning your visit here.
Things to Do in Downtown Jim Thorpe: Outdoors
1. Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway -70 min Train Ride
Guests can enjoy the old means of transportation and take a ride with the historic train. This way, you will visit the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway. The tour lasts 70 minutes so that you can enjoy the trip with the diesel engine train.
Admire the pass over bridges, as well as the views over Lehigh Gorge State Park. Make sure you have your camera with you so that you can capture the beauty of the mountain scenery, as well as the dramatic cliffs and the variety of seasonal wildlife.
The Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway is a friendly place for families with kids, couples, even pets. The trail that runs alongside the Scenic Railway has only a slight grade and is ok for people in wheelchairs if you’re good with fine crushed stone.
2. The Jim Thorpe Experience Guided Tours
Take your time to visit these exciting tourist attractions in downtown Jim Thorpe, the Jim Thorpe eXperience, also known as JTX. This tour will take you on a guided adventure through historical and cultural areas.
Adventures include biking, kayaking, hiking, snowshoeing, or simply walking. All these tours have a resident company that will tell you everything relating to history, local legends, or interesting facts with every step along your way.
3. Biking Lehigh Gorge Trail
Come and take a joyful biking ride through the fantastic Lehigh River Gorge. One of the most popular activities in downtown Jim Thorpe is renting a bike and riding all along the slight downhill of an abandoned railroad bed.
The scenery is breathtaking, so you can quit pedaling through the fantastic rock formations, visit outstanding waterfalls, or simply have a picnic at one of the waypoints. Don’t forget to explore the ruined locks of the once was Lehigh Canal.
4. Hiking Switchback RailroadTrail
This is a beautiful junction where the rail-trail links from Jim Thorpe and Summit Hill. You simply cannot miss the impressive views on this activity. You will enjoy the breathtaking overlook on Mount Pisgah.
One of the main highlights of this tour is the historic Switchback Gravity Railroad, an ancient mine shaft. Capture the fantastic landscapes of Lehigh Gorge and Jim Thorpe.
As soon as you get hungry, you can have a picnic along the way. There are lots of camping, fishing and swimming areas, as well as food amenities.
Things to Do in Downtown Jim Thorpe: Indoors
1. Old Jail Museum
If you love history, then you have to visit the Old Jail Museum. This impressive, two-story stone structure dates from the 1800s. As the name says, the museum first served as a jail. There have been 27 cells in total and some unique basement rooms for those under solitary punishment.
Today, the Old Jail Museum is also famous under Milloy Maguire trials so that tourists can tour the whole jail museum, including the wall, as a proclamation of prisoners’ innocence.
2. The Mauch Chunk Opera House
Once taking the Mauch Chunk Opera House tour, you can taste the unique culture from this particular Jim Thorpe experience. This is a vivid arts center, which hosts permanent exhibitions for tourists of all ages.
Local artists and musicians from all the different communities around Jim Thorpe have various shows right at the opera house. Guests visiting the Mauch Chunk Opera House can learn a lot about this performance hall’s history and energy. Moreover, it’s a pity not to see the art galleries featuring Jim Thorpe artists.
3. Mauch Chunk Visitor Information Center
This Mauch Chunk Visitor Information Center dates from 1888, serving as a passenger train activity. This information center is the hub for exhibits, special events, and different rail adventures.
If you are looking for a bit of orientation when visiting downtown Jim Thorpe, do not hesitate to come here. Displays here include shipping, mining, as well as outdoor recreation presentations.
4. Asa Packer Mansion Museum
Asa Packer was a famous personality in Jim Thorpe. He was a philanthropist, a businessman, and, most importantly, the cornerstone for Lehigh University. This museum is all dedicated to him, and the impressive mansion open for public tours since 1956.
The best part is that the museum’s interior looks almost the same as during the 1800s, back when the Packer family occupied the mansion. The regular daily opening hours are consistent from Memorial Day to Halloween. After that, the tour availability depends on the season you are traveling.
5. St Mark & John Episcopal Church (National Historic Landmark)
A genuinely National Historic Landmark, St Mark & John Episcopal Church is a gothic revival-style church. The building is all filled with unique artifacts from the area’s long-ago wealthy benefactors.
Take your time to admire the stained-glass windows, beautifully created by Louis Comfort Tiffany. Don’t forget to pass by the Mary Packer Cumming’s Birdcage elevator.
6. Big Creek Vineyard and Winery
The location of this attraction is in Kresgeville. The Big Creek Vineyard is just a short drive outside Lehigh Valley. Like the many other historical places in this area, the winery has unique, full of character products.
Once reaching this place, you will enjoy the countryside views, as well as the tasty wines ranging from reds to whites and roses.
Make sure to taste their Chambourcin wine, but also other popular products of the Lehigh Valley winery. The winery is always open for tasting, but make sure you first call them if there will be more than eight people going.
7. Mauch Chunk Museum & Cultural Center
This exhibition is dedicated to people of all ages and displays geological formations of coal, from prehistoric times to the present. The theme of this cultural center is prosperity, revival, struggle, and decline.
Moreover, you have the chance to admire the natural and architectural beauty of downtown Jim Thorpe. Furthermore, if you want to celebrate a particular moment in your life, the museum is available for weddings and receptions.
1. Artisanal Gifts
Is this the very first time you are visiting downtown Jim Thorpe? Then you need to take with you some sweet memories. Visit the Artisanal Gifts shop and take home a one-of-a-kind gift from here.
These items were made using some old methods learned from indigenous people. The majority of them have recycled clothes for the original patterns.
2. Antiques On Broadway
If you are passionate about collecting an astonishing array of artifacts, antiques, and other late 1700s objects, then don’t forget to visit the Antiques on Broadway shop. Find your favorite items and buy some presents for the loved ones.
3. Conjured Soap Boutique
This elegant boutique is actually a soap boutique and displays lotions, handcrafted soaps, and many other natural potions. If you are lucky enough, you can attend an event here, even take a class where you will learn how to make natural soaps.
4. Anita Shapolsky Art Foundation
Home for the most extensive collection of historic artworks, the Anita Shapolsky Art Foundation has beautiful American Abstract Expressionism works. You will find the exhibition center in the beautiful town of Jim Thorpe, where you can admire sculptures, paper works, as well as mesmerizing paintings.
Don’t forget to visit the local contemporary artists’ exhibition too.
Restaurants in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania
Places to Snack in Jim Thorpe:
Muggles Mug Coffee Shop
When things are going wrong, it is crystal clear you need a little bit of magic in your life. And sometimes, magic can be found in a coffee shop. Once you are stepping through the front door of Muggles Mug Coffee Shop, you will feel like entering a magical place dedicated to Harry Potter.
It’s impossible not to stay and admire for a few seconds the fascinating decor around you.
Grab a seat and enjoy this Harry-Potter-themed coffee shop in Pennsylvania.
Purple Green Juice Bar and Cafe
Are you tired after all the sightseeing? Why not enjoy an excellent juice or a smoothie in downtown Jim Thorpe? The menu is rich, and the staff is amiable. For anyone vegan, this place is paradise.
You can find all-vegan meals, as well as dairy options for tasty smoothies. Mention if you have any allergies, and the staff will make you personalized smoothies.
Woods Ice cream
It’s always the perfect time for ice-cream. Right? If you come to downtown Jim Thorpe, you must visit the Woods Ice Cream. Here you can enjoy over 20 different ice cream flavors. Don’t miss the tasty cheesecake, or the coconut and orange flavors, which are absolutely divine.
Casual Dining in Jim Thorpe:
Stone Row Pub and Eatery
If you want to have a casual evening but still enjoy a delicious meal, then don’t hesitate to visit Stone Row Pub and Eatery. This is a meat-friendly and plant-forward scratch kitchen, with lots of types of meals you can choose from.
The ingredients are carefully selected, and even if you are craving comfort food, there will always be a little twist for more flavor. Don’t hesitate to tell the staff if you have any allergies.
In addition to the tasty dishes, the menu curates lots of drinks, such as beer, wine, and craft cocktails.
Marion Hose Bar
Located in a newly renovated barn, the Marion Hose Bar, right in the historic firehouse, welcomes tourists in a unique ambiance. It’s easy to reach this place, as it is next to the Opera House.
Enjoy lots of fine wines and craft beers during your resting breaks. Order a fabulous cocktail or sip from a fine whiskey. You can choose from enjoying your drinks in the outdoor seating area or sitting at the comfortable bar.
- MYST hibachi
If you don’t want to take over all the restaurants downtown Jim Thorpe, go straight to Myst Hibachi. The menu here is so appealing that it is kind of hard to choose only one dish. Overall, the experience will be pleasant, as the ambiance is cozy, the staff is amicable, and the food is absolutely delicious.
Pizza is always a good idea. Antonio’s Pizzeria has a great selection of Italian recipes that taste like the authentic Italian ones. Enjoy the vegetarian ones, like Margherita, or the rich ones, such as the ham and capicola pizzas.
Upscale Dining in Jim Thorpe:
Everybody deserves a little bit of spoiling. Moya restaurant is the exact place to enjoy exquisite cuisine. The ambiance is so elegant, and the beautiful setting will make you feel like a fairy tale. The dishes are one of a kind, so if you are looking for an upscale dining experience, come here.
Tony Stella’s Encore
Everything is perfect here. The gourmet experience is lovely, as well as the staff and the ambiance. As a suggestion, you should order the Crab Cakes or The Stellatini. Make sure you order a fancy dessert too.
Café Arielle at the Stabin Museum
Examples of creative reuse of some old dining tables, Café Arielle at the Stabin Museum, make the impossible a unique dining experience. Enjoy having an elegant dinner on the sewing machines now silk cutting tables.
Furthermore, you can enjoy the Avant Garden, with its dramatic sculptures and recycled bowling balls.
Places to Stay: Within Walking Distance of Jim Thorpe
Enjoy the romantic and relaxing atmosphere at the Times House. The rooms are spacious and have elegant details that will make you feel at home.
You can order an in-room Continental breakfast, which is absolutely delicious. The best part? You are just within walking distance from Jim Thorpe’s best attractions.
Kelly Suites on Broadway
If you prefer a more intimate atmosphere, then go to Kelly Suites. This boutique hotel is close to the heart of downtown Jim Thorpe.
The design of Kelly Suites follows the atmosphere of a wellness boutique. More than the cozy decor, you will find yourself in one of the best-preserved historic homes in all of Jim Thorpe.
The Inn at Jim Thorpe
Located right in the historic district, you will find this 19th-century accommodation. The guest rooms here are incredibly beautiful and have all the amenities you would expect to enjoy right in downtown Jim Thorpe.
If you love outdoor activities, you should know that you are just minutes away from skiing and biking at Blue Mountain.
Right after a cold day, spoil yourself at the hotel’s spa and relax with a nice massage.
West Broadway at Jim Thorpe
West Broadway offers the best getaway in Jim Thorpe. The house was initially built in the late 1800s and rearranged to provide its guests the original charm. You will be just a short walk to the Opera House and only a few minutes away from the main downtown attractions.
DeFeo “s Bed and Breakfast
DeFeo is a quiet, pleasant place where you can enjoy your family and the precious time spent in downtown Jim Thorpe.
The DeFeo” s Bed and Breakfast is a special place, now a small bed and breakfast accommodation. A great advantage of this place is its proximity to Jim Thorpe’s shops, best restaurants, and famous museums.
Whether you are coming by yourself, with your partner or the whole family, the manor will adapt to your needs. You have the option to book a single room, or the Victoria suites, with fireplaces, unique furniture, and private bathrooms.
The manor also has three different thematic rooms, the art deco one, the blue room, and the Arizona room. All are available for renting at DeFeo Manor.
Enjoy the beautiful views of Jim Thorpe and the surroundings of all the rooms here. The price per night starts at $125.
Now that you went through the main highlights of Jim Thorpe, there is no wonder why it has been named one of the most beautiful small towns in America.
Visiting downtown Jim Thorpe means unique museums, cultural attractions, and fun outdoor adventure activities, such as hiking, biking, skiing, or water rafting.
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