Welcome to Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania! As our motto says, you don’t have to go far, to be far away.
Come on out sometime – whether for a day, weekend, or more, it won’t cost you an arm and a leg. At the same time, you can dine, sleep, be entertained, raft, hike, and bike, read a book.
So here are a few tips on how to get the most enjoyment from your visit to Jim Thorpe, PA. It depends on what you like to do and how much time you have, but hopefully these suggestions will be helpful, no matter the length of your stay.
We begin with the subject of parking in Jim Thorpe because it can be difficult to locate street parking in town, especially late in the week and on weekends. The town, originally known as Mauch Chunk, began as a horse-and-buggy kind of town and it retains the charm of that era – so the streets are relatively narrow and maneuvering into a parking spot can be a challenge.
Simplest solution: use the municipal parking lot directly behind the downtown train station, for $6. It’s close to everything and frees you to quickly park and enjoy your visit.
If you’re coming into town from the North on Rte 209, then you’ll see the train station on your right as you approach the lone traffic signal in town. Bear right and proceed a few more yards until you see the parking lot on your right. If you’re coming to Jim Thorpe from the north, down Route 903 (several great places to eat and stay on this side of town!), proceed over the Lehigh River Bridge (a new bridge is being built that is slated for completion in 2017) and go left, you will see the entrance to the municipal lot on your left.
With your car parked, now you can relax and enjoy Jim Thorpe.
Try a quick visit to the train station, which is actually a visitors center operated by the Pocono Mountain Visitors Bureau and Carbon County. You’ll see some interesting and informative displays on the history of Jim Thorpe and also brochures and information about many local businesses and attractions. The attendants there will help you with questions.
Be sure to pick up a Jim Thorpe Visitors Guide while you’re there. Not only does it summarize the historical, entertainment and outdoors attractions, along with where to shop and dine, it contains an excellent walking map of the downtown. A version of this walking map is on display in Josiah White Park directly in front of the train station.
For a small town, Jim Thorpe will surprise you with its diverse restaurants, all with different themes and within walking distance of one another and accommodating any budget. Whether it’s Irish, continental, vegetarian, pub, or farm-to-table fare, you can find it here. Or if what you need is just a cup of coffee, a fresh bagel, a scoop of ice cream, or a slice of pizza, we can handle that too.
Historical Attractions and Tours
Between the Asa Packer Mansion, the Mauch Chunk Museum, the Old Jail Museum, and tours, there is history everywhere here. Each interpreting organization is well-organized, and learning about the town and the region is really enjoyable.
But history is also in evidence as you stroll up Broadway and down Race Street. Residents and businesses will be more than happy to answer your questions. Again, pick up the Visitors Guide for a general timeline of the events that shaped Old Mauch Chunk. In the evenings during the fall season join a Ghost Walk tour for some fascinating stories about who used to live in the residences all along Broadway (and still might!).
We don’t roll up the sidewalks when it gets cold. It’s beautiful every time of the year in Jim Thorpe, with each season offering different outdoor attractions. There are several different companies in town that can help you with your rafting, biking, paintball and skirmish, hiking, and skiing plans. Both families and avid cyclists can enjoy the bike trail (more rails-to-trails info here) that runs 26 miles from Jim Thorpe to White Haven and beyond.
A short drive up West Broadway out of town is beautiful Mauch Chunk Lake. It’s a great family destination with its charming beach and snack stand. You can also enjoy terrific boating and kayaking, and many other recreational opportunities. Campgrounds accommodate RVs and tents alike and also offer cabin facilities.
From May through December, Jim Thorpe is home to the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway, which operates rides into the Lehigh Gorge from the train station at Jim Thorpe.
Other excursions are scheduled by LSGR, such as trips to the Hometown High Bridge and journeys from other towns into Jim Thorpe on one of their authentic steam trains. Be sure to check their schedule before confirming your plans.
Jim Thorpe is known for its beds and breakfasts and guest houses, along with its famous New Orleans-style downtown hotel. The variety of places to stay is one of Jim Thorpe’s unique features – learn more about where to stay here. Be sure to call ahead during certain times of the year to guarantee availability, especially during our festivals (more info below), which attract thousands of visitors to town each year.
Jim Thorpe provides an authentic small-town shopping experience with an excellent variety of gift and novelity shops and even a downtown 5 & 10.
At the same time, there are artists here whose big-town work is exhibited regionally and nationally who operate galleries and studios. Be sure to call ahead before you visit – hours of business vary depending on the season and the day of the week.
While you’re in Jim Thorpe strolling along Broadway, be sure to visit Race Street, home to the historic Stone Row, a series of townhouses built by Asa Packer for his engineers in 1847. Now home to shops, restaurants and the iconic St. Mark’s Church, Race Street is truly picturesque.
National touring acts perform downtown at the renovated 380-seat Mauch Chunk Opera House, just 2 blocks from the train station as part of their diverse program of entertainment. Select your seats online or call 570-325-0249 to reserve. Just a couple of miles from downtown is Penn’s Peak, a 1500-seat facility with excellent parking, a great outdoor deck and restaurant, and an outstanding schedule of big-name performers.
Jim Thorpe’s downtown is home to festivals and events that celebrate every season of the year. The Jim Thorpe Birthday Celebration, Fall Foliage Weekends, Olde Time Christmas, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, WinterFest and Earth Day are the staples of our events scene, each with a special flavor and theme.
Riding Bicycles in Jim Thorpe
It’s hilly here. You can get going fast – so please, slow down. Realize that you’re sharing the road with local automobile traffic.
For someone at all experienced in this sort of environment, it’s not a problem. This little bit of advice is for anyone not so familiar:
1. Wear a helmet.
2. Be aware of traffic and stay over to the right.
3. Stop at stop signs, otherwise it is very easy to collide with a car.
4. Don’t ride two abreast. The streets are narrow, there are parked cars, and there is traffic in both directions.
5. If you’re going down Hill Street towards Broadway, seriously, take it slow. You’ll see a mirror at the intersection with Broadway for observing traffic coming around the corners.
The Jim Thorpe Rail Trail
It’s a great run, stroll or bike ride any time of year. Check it out here!
If that’s what you’re looking for, we’re less than an hour from the Lehigh Valley, an hour and a half from Philadelphia, about two from New York, and less than four hours from the DC/Baltimore area.
Let us do the work so that you can relax.
Copyright 2009 Jim Thorpe Chamber of Commerce