jim thorpe, Pennsylvania
Although Jim Thorpe is a very small town, it has a number of different things to do there. This quaint town is the BEST fall destination in the Pocono Mountains, PA. I’ve lived in Pennsylvania for most of my life. I can assure you that it’s a favorite location for locals to enjoy the fall foliage. While you’ll love visiting during any time of year, October is the busiest month for this fairytale tourist town. You can expect to see many of the stores and streets full of people and fall/Halloween decorations. If at all possible, I’d strongly encourage you to visit during the week. I’m going to share just a few things to do, but I assure you there is far more than what I am sharing in this post.
Interesting History of Jim Thorpe
The little town of Jim Thorpe is named after the Olympic athlete, James Francis Thorpe, who is buried there. In 1954 Mauch Chunk and East Mauch Chunk merged and formed Jim Thorpe. Recently, there was some drama related to this story. Although he did spend time in Pennsylvania, James Thorpe never even visited the Mauch Chunk area and was actually from Oklahoma. In the midst of his funeral service in OK his widow barged in with state troopers and a funeral hearse and demanded his body. She then offered his remains for burial in Pennsylvania if they named the two merged towns after him and built a memorial. Recently his family began fighting to bring his remains back home. The town of Jim Thorpe appealed the decision and fought to keep him there. They won their appeal and so James Thorpe’s remains will stay in the town of Jim Thorpe.
What to DO in Jim Thorpe
Riding the train is one of the most popular things to do in Jim Thorpe. It really gives you the opportunity to see so much of the beautiful fall foliage. If you decide to take a train ride during your visit, you will see why Jim Thorpe is the BEST Fall Destination in the Pocono Mountains, PA. You can purchase tickets at the train station on the day of departure, but be aware that there will be a long line. The train typically runs at 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, and 3:00 pm daily; however, there are additional times that it may run depending on the day of the week and time of year. Make sure you check the train schedule for all the details.
Regular trips are approximately 70 minutes long, EXCEPT in October when they are in high demand and are reduced to 45 minute rides. The train leaves from the station located at 1 Susquehanna St. Jim Thorpe PA 18229.
There is a variety of pricing for tickets, depending on where you would like to be seated. In the Standard Coach adult tickets are $17.00, children 3-12 are $9.00, and children under 2 are free. For the Open Air Car adult tickets are $20.00, children 3-12 are $10.00, and children under 2 are free. You can also book a Caboose party of up to 6 people for $125.00. If that’s not exciting enough, you will be happy to know that dogs are allowed to ride on the train as well! 🐶 🚂
* Note: Parking and Restrooms
Upon entering Jim Thorpe you will see parking on your right by the train station. You have to pay to park in this area; however, it is much easier than trying to find street parking. This is the most congested part of Jim Thorpe. There are public restrooms in the train station’s visitor center.
Across the street from the train station is Pocono Biking, which offers bicycle rentals. They have a vast array of bikes to rent. You can rent them by the hour or for the entire day. Their website is full of information with resources like maps for the different trails, and a number of specialty packages like overnight bike trips. Bring your own bicycle to Jim Thorpe, or rent one, and then explore the D&L Trail at the skill level that works best for you.
Where to SHOP in Jim Thorpe
One of my favorite things to do when I travel is to shop inside of locally owned stores. One of the reasons why so many people think Jim Thorpe is the BEST fall destination in the Pocono Mountains, PA is because of the shopping. Broadway is the main street that runs through the heart of Jim Thorpe. There are SOOO many cute shops to visit along the way and everything is beautifully decorated for fall.
The Douglas House considers itself to be a mini-mall because it is the only two story shopping in Jim Thorpe and it has 7 very different stores inside. You can access it from either Broadway or Race Street. Stop into Curiosities Coffee and Ice House, grab a drink, and then explore the unique shops of the Douglas House. Here are my two favorite stores to visit there….
If you didn’t already know this, a mead is a honey wine. The Stonekeep Meadery makes its meads from fresh fruits, juices, and honey from Pennsylvania. There are a variety of meads for tasting, ranging from dry to sweet. When I visited I purchased a honey and apple wine called Cyser. It’s perfect for fall. If you’ve never done a meadery tasting, this is a great place to give it a try!
This is an eclectic store where you are sure to find something for yourself or a gift for someone else. Bee Stung has home decor, handmade jewelry, raw honey & sugar scrubs and so much more. When I am in the Jim Thorpe area I try to stop in and buy some jewelry here because it is so unique and very reasonably priced.
Unless you have tried it before you might not know just how much fun olive oil and vinegar tastings can be. At The Artsy Olive they have a number of items to sample. In addition to the oil and vinegars they also have sea salts, handmade pastas, Italian herb blends, and more! You HAVE to try olive oil tasting at least once in your life, so stop into this store on Broadway.
This candy store is located on Broadway in the heart of Jim Thorpe. When you go inside, it is just like the candy stores were when you were a young kid. (Unless you are very young and then in that case, it is like the candy stores from when your parents or grandparents were kids.) Rainbows End has all of the old time favorites and they also sell ice cream and simple food items. You definitely want to visit this store at the very least, for nostalgic purposes.
Old Jail Museum
Tickets for the Old Jail Museum must be purchased in person and they tend to sell out early in the day on weekends during the busy month of October. Check the ticket prices online because there are different prices on weekdays and weekends and there are various discounts for seniors, students, veterans, law enforcement, and active military.
The jail is closed from November through the end of May. Tours run about every half hour and they take approximately 30 minutes, which includes a brief presentation, dungeon tour, and self guided tour. I enjoyed learning about the Old Jail Museum and I even liked the scary part at the end when they showed you what it was like with the lights out in the dungeon. 😲 *GASP*
*Note: The Old Jail Museum is located ALL the way towards the top of Broadway. If you parked down by the train station, you will have to walk all the way up the hill so be prepared.
Mauch Chunk Opera House
Although the Mauch Chunk Opera House is one of America’s oldest theaters, it has undergone many renovations to keep it fresh and updated. You can expect to experience a range of entertainment options year round, including: classic rock, blue grass, jazz, folk, theater, and special events. There’s no parking at the Opera House so you would need to make sure you get there early enough to park downtown and then walk up Broadway to the theater. You can purchase tickets in advance online or by phone.
Asa Packer Mansion
The Asa Packer Mansion has been open to the public since 1956. It is open from Memorial day through October 31st. The 60 minute tours provide a detailed history of the Packer Family as well as views of the original contents of the house. Tickets for the tour are $10.00 for adults, $9.00 for seniors, $6.00 for students, and $3.00 for children 5 and under. They do NOT accept credit cards or checks as payment.
Where to EAT in Jim Thorpe
This bar, also known as UPH, is located just outside downtown Jim Thorpe on the East Side. It boasts of being the “Only Dive Bar in Jim Thorpe” but I am telling you that the food is REALLY good here. Union Publick House has over 80 kinds of beer, so if you are looking for a low key bar with good food and drinks then this is the place! I loved their spinach artichoke dip. The thing I liked most about this place is that they serve much more than just your typical bar food. They have a number of options including vegetarian choices.
If you like Asian food then Myst is an excellent choice. This hibachi, sushi, gastropub is located in downtown Jim Thorpe. When I was there I enjoyed a variety of sushi. Not only were the food and cocktails delicious, but the portions were great too. Myst is definitely a favorite restaurant for the locals.
If you are looking for fine dining then Trattoria 903 is an EXCELLENT option. Coming from an Italian background, I am very particular about my Italian food. This restaurant is not located in the heart of Jim Thorpe, but you will definitely want to make the short drive for this delicious food! I don’t know of any other place in the area where you will get high quality ingredients with food that is made from scratch. They offer indoor and outdoor dining options as well as a full bar. In my opinion, this restaurant has the best dining in the area.
Where to STAY in Jim Thorpe
Although Jim Thorpe is the BEST fall destination in the Pocono Mountains, PA, it is also quite magical during the Christmas season. You can expect to see Horse & Carriage Rides tree lighting, ice sculptures, and Christmas carolers during the Old Time Christmas winter fest. Make sure you take the time to visit this magical town at some point during the holiday season.
Planning on staying in Jim Thorpe? Read Top 5 Things you Need to Know When Finding a Hotel before you book!
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Jim Thorpe is the best fall destination in the Pocono Mountains, PA for locals to visit. Where do you like to go to enjoy the fall foliage?