As a big fan of “The Office” and as a New England homebody, a roadtrip to Scranton, Pennsylvania was the perfect fulfilling and affordable weekend getaway to experience the heart of one of the greatest sitcoms.
Before it was stripped from its Netflix home, “The Office” (U.S.) was Netflix’s No. 1 streamed show in 2020, ranking in over 57 billion minutes of watch time. Needless to say, it’s a pretty popular show. Known for its dry humor, classic pranks and painfully relatable awkwardness, “The Office” has helped countless people take the mundane, unbearable parts of life and learn to simply laugh at them.
Only a three-and-a-half hour drive away, Scranton seemed like a relatively close destination with high sentimental reward. As one of many who hold “The Office” near and dear, I was apprehensive that this trip could ruin the magic. But after rekindling my love for the show with a marathon rewatch and a behind-the-scenes look from the “Office Ladies” podcast by Jenna Fischer (Pam Beesly) and Angela Kinsey (Angela Martin), I decided the trip was worth the risk — and I was right.
After watching the camera zoom out on this iconic landmark over 201 times (no, of course I never skip the intro) to the melodica-filled theme song composed by Jay Ferguson, seeing the Pennsylvania Paper & Supply Company tower in real life was an overwhelmingly heartwarming moment. If you turn the corner, you’ll even see it has a Dunder Mifflin Paper Company sign in honor of the show!
Home to the first successful, electrically-powered streetcars in the U.S. in 1886 and some of the first electric lights in 1880, Scranton’s nickname, the “Electric City,” stuck — so of course there’s a mural for it, and of course I snapped a picture. At the Courthouse Square, you’ll get a perfect view of the Electric City Sign honoring the city’s nickname as well, literally and figuratively — every night, it illuminates the downtown skyline. The history of Scranton is rich and important, though every time I hear “Electric City,” I can’t help picturing Michael Scott (Steve Carell) and Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson) rapping “Straight Outta Scranton.”
Of course, I had to visit the “Welcome to Scranton” sign (also featured in “The Office” opening) at the Marketplace at Steamtown — or as many know it, the Steamtown Mall. I have to admit, I expected the Pennsylvania city to have a limited selection of stores, but to my surprise, its attractions were much bigger and more exciting than I had hoped for — that’s what she said.
Featured on “The Office” episode “Women’s Appreciation” and a dream come true for shopping addict Kelly Kapoor (Mindy Kaling), the Steamtown Mall has a wide range of activities that make for a great afternoon excursion. They have an impressive aquarium and reptile den, a charming two-in-one library-bookstore, delicious sushi and access to a walking bridge that leads you to Steamtown’s National Historic Site with a beautiful view.
Cooper’s Seafood House
As the sitcom references, Cooper’s Seafood House is, in fact, a Scranton hotspot. The lighthouse-decorated restaurant welcomes you with cutouts of your favorite “The Office” characters, old-time arcade games and even fortune tellers Zoltar and Zelda.
Embracing the sitcom’s fame, Cooper’s has a one-stop-shop where you can grab your favorite “The Office” mementos whether that be a postcard, a sweatshirt or even your own dundie award! Providing you with a vibrant social experience, Cooper’s is a great place to live out Scott’s view of the Electric City: “There ain’t no party like a Scranton party, ‘cause a Scranton party don’t stop.”
A go-to for Jan no-Gould Levinson (Melora Hardin), the Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel Scranton is an architecturally stunning former train station. Along with the Electric City Trolley Museum, it’s one of the many stops that showcases the city’s honorable history.
Although the cast and crew rarely filmed in Scranton (sadly, there’s not really a Chili’s nearby), “The Office” writers made sure to nod to local restaurants — like Alfredo’s Pizza Cafe and Poor Richard’s Pub — and its electric (no pun intended) culture. From photographable signs and murals to show-referenced landmarks and restaurants, Scranton has plenty of “Office”-riddled stops. Plus, in its own right, the city is filled with historic museums and beautiful nature trails to keep you busy.
Despite it being my first time in Scranton, I was overwhelmed with nostalgia from connections to the show. Next time you feel a little lost in the shuffle and feel like, as Scott put it, “I knew exactly what to do. But in a much more real sense, I had no idea what to do, ” and you’re a fan of “The Office” looking for a new-yet-comforting destination, this is it.
Grab the Schrute to your Scott, the Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) to your Beesly or even the Ryan Howard (B.J. Novak) to your Kapoor, hop in the car and come on down to Scranton — you won’t regret it!