Things to do in Ithaca NY

Discover the charm of Ithaca, NY with unforgettable attractions, outdoor adventures, and culinary delights. Explore now!

Exploring Ithaca's Attractions

When visiting Ithaca, NY, there are numerous attractions to explore that offer a diverse range of experiences. From stunning waterfalls to a vibrant art and theater scene, Ithaca has something for everyone.

Waterfalls and Wineries

Ithaca is renowned for its breathtaking waterfalls, making it a paradise for nature lovers. With over 150 waterfalls in the area, visitors can embark on scenic hikes and witness the beauty of cascading water. Popular waterfall destinations include Taughannock Falls, Buttermilk Falls, and Ithaca Falls. Each waterfall offers a unique and captivating experience, providing ample opportunities for photography and relaxation.

In addition to its natural wonders, Ithaca is also home to a flourishing winery scene. The region boasts a number of wineries that offer tastings, tours, and events. Visitors can indulge in the flavors of locally produced wines while enjoying the picturesque vineyards. Some notable wineries in the area include the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail and the Finger Lakes Wine Country.

Art and Theater Scene

For those seeking cultural experiences, Ithaca's art and theater scene is sure to captivate. The city is host to a vibrant community of artists, musicians, and performers. Numerous art galleries and studios showcase a wide range of artistic styles, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the local creative culture.

Ithaca is also home to several theaters that offer a diverse lineup of performances, including plays, musicals, and live music events. The State Theatre of Ithaca, a historic venue, hosts a variety of shows throughout the year, ranging from Broadway productions to local performances. Additionally, the Hangar Theatre provides a unique outdoor theater experience during the summer months.

Exploring Ithaca's attractions is a delightful journey that combines the wonders of nature with the richness of artistic expression. Whether you're a nature enthusiast or an art lover, Ithaca offers a vibrant and diverse range of experiences that are sure to leave a lasting impression.

Family-Friendly Activities

Ithaca, NY offers a plethora of family-friendly activities, ensuring that visitors of all ages can have a memorable time. Whether you are on a tight budget or looking for specific entertainment options for your kids, Ithaca has something for everyone.

Budget-Friendly Options

Exploring Ithaca doesn't have to break the bank! The city offers a range of recommended activities for families to do with kids, many of which are free or budget-friendly. These options allow families to create unforgettable experiences while being mindful of their finances.

Take a stroll through the scenic Ithaca Commons, a pedestrian-friendly area filled with shops, galleries, and street performers. This vibrant hub often hosts events and festivals that cater to families, providing a fun and lively atmosphere.

Visit the Cayuga Nature Center, a nature preserve and educational facility that offers interactive exhibits, live animal displays, and hiking trails. This is a great opportunity for kids to learn about the local flora and fauna while engaging in hands-on activities.

Another budget-friendly option is visiting the various parks and playgrounds scattered across the city. Stewart Park, Cass Park, and Ithaca Children's Garden are just a few examples of outdoor spaces where kids can enjoy open spaces, playgrounds, and picnic areas.

Entertainment for Kids

In addition to the budget-friendly options, Ithaca offers a variety of entertainment specifically geared towards kids. These activities are designed to keep young ones engaged and entertained throughout their visit.

The Sciencenter, a hands-on science museum, offers interactive exhibits and educational programs that make learning fun for children of all ages. Kids can explore different scientific concepts through engaging displays and activities.

For a unique experience, head to the Ithaca Ice Cream Factory, where kids can indulge in delicious ice cream flavors while observing how it is made. This sweet treat is sure to put smiles on their faces.

During the summer months, families can enjoy Ithaca's Farmers Market, which features local vendors, live music, and a variety of food options. Kids can try fresh produce, interact with artisans, and even participate in activities specifically designed for them.

By providing a range of affordable and kid-friendly activities, Ithaca ensures that families can create lasting memories without stretching their budget. Whether you choose to explore the parks, engage in educational experiences, or indulge in local treats, there are plenty of options to keep kids entertained and happy during your visit.

Outdoor Recreation in Ithaca

When it comes to outdoor activities, Ithaca, NY offers a multitude of options for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. From scenic trails and parks to kayaking and golfing, there is something for everyone to enjoy in this beautiful region.

Scenic Trails and Parks

Ithaca is renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty, and exploring the scenic trails and parks is a must for visitors. Some of the notable outdoor attractions in Ithaca include the Cascadilla Gorge Trail, Taughannock Falls State Park, Buttermilk Falls State Park, and Robert Treman State Park. These parks offer a range of hiking, biking, and running trails, allowing you to immerse yourself in the stunning landscapes of the region.

Park Activities

  • Cascadilla Gorge Trail: Hiking, nature walks
  • Taughannock Falls State Park: Hiking, picnicking, swimming
  • Buttermilk Falls State Park: Hiking, swimming, camping
  • Robert Treman State Park: Hiking, swimming, camping

Kayaking and Golfing

For those seeking water-based activities, Ithaca provides opportunities for kayaking on the picturesque Cayuga Lake. Launch your kayak and explore the tranquil waters, taking in the scenic beauty that surrounds you. It's an ideal way to connect with nature and enjoy some peaceful moments on the water.

If you prefer land-based activities, Ithaca offers various golf courses and mini-golf options for recreation and leisure. Golf enthusiasts can enjoy playing on beautiful greens while taking in the scenic surroundings. Whether you're a seasoned golfer or just looking to have some fun, Ithaca's golfing options cater to all skill levels and preferences [2].

Activity Description

  • Kayaking: Explore Cayuga Lake by kayak, taking in the scenic beauty.
  • Golfing: Enjoy a round of golf on Ithaca's picturesque golf courses.

Ithaca's outdoor recreation opportunities are truly abundant, providing visitors with unforgettable experiences in nature. Whether you choose to hike the scenic trails, kayak on the lake, or tee off on the golf course, you're sure to create lasting memories in this beautiful region. So, grab your gear and get ready to embrace the great outdoors in Ithaca, NY.

Upcoming Events in Ithaca

As a vibrant and lively city, Ithaca, NY, is known for its exciting lineup of upcoming events that cater to various interests and passions. Whether you're a fan of live performances or enjoy being part of community celebrations, Ithaca has something for everyone.

Live Performances and Festivals

Ithaca is a hub for live performances and festivals that showcase a diverse range of talent and artistic expressions. From music festivals to theatrical productions, there is always something happening in the city. Here are a few upcoming events that you won't want to miss:

Upcoming Events in Our Area

  • Daffodil Dash: This Saturday, the Ithaca Garden Club and Ithaca Children's Garden are hosting a race that takes participants through beautiful daffodil flowers and along the Cayuga Inlet.
  • Geneva Jazz Festival: From April 4 to April 7, various venues in Geneva will host the second annual jazz festival showcasing the talent of 80 jazz musicians and honoring local jazz legend Rocco "Scott" LaFaro.
  • Dragon Day: On March 29, architecture students in Ithaca will parade a sleek, black Dragon through campus during the annual Dragon Day festivities. The Dragon expands and contracts while snaking along the route before fully spreading its wings inside the Arts Quad.

Community Celebrations

Ithaca is a city that values community and celebrates it through a variety of events and gatherings. These celebrations bring people together, fostering a sense of belonging and camaraderie. Here are a few upcoming community celebrations in Ithaca:

Upcoming Events

  • Spring Fairy Fest
  • Date: March 23
  • Experience the magic of spring at the whimsical Spring Fairy Fest. Immerse yourself in a world of fluttery pastel dresses, toadstools, and butterfly wings at The Commons.
  • DreamCycle Circus
  • Date: March 19 - March 21
  • Join us for the DreamCycle Circus featuring the Boston-based circus entertainment and education company, Cirque Us. This enchanting event will showcase awe-inspiring talents of the performers that you won't want to miss.

These upcoming events in Ithaca offer opportunities to immerse yourself in the local culture, showcase your talents, and celebrate the vibrant community spirit that the city embraces. Mark your calendars and make sure to experience the excitement and joy that these events bring to Ithaca.

Culinary Delights in Ithaca

No visit to Ithaca, NY is complete without indulging in the local culinary scene. From iconic food establishments to fine dining options, the city offers a diverse range of flavors and experiences for food enthusiasts.

Iconic Food Establishments

Ithaca is home to several iconic food establishments that have become beloved institutions in the community. These establishments have withstood the test of time and continue to delight locals and visitors alike. Here are a few must-visit spots:

Food Establishment Description

Here are some of Ithaca's most iconic food establishments:

  • Purity Ice Cream: A quintessentially Ithacan establishment, Purity Ice Cream has been serving up delicious frozen treats for over 85 years. This cultural hallmark of the area maintains its unique 1950s soda fountain style and surprises visitors with an ever-changing menu of inventive flavors. It remains a favorite spot for locals and visitors alike. (Visit Ithaca)
  • The State Diner: The State Diner is a downtown staple that has been serving classic diner meals and homemade baked goods for over 70 years. Originally built out of a railcar and later expanded into a brick-and-mortar building, this diner continues to define comfort food for generations of Ithacans. It offers both classic diner fare and Greek-inspired dishes. (
  • Ithaca Bakery: The Ithaca Bakery, with a history dating back to 1910, holds a special place in the hearts of locals. This bakery, known for its unique baked goods, has adapted to changing times while preserving its connection to the city's past. Offering a piece of Ithaca's history, it continues to be a popular spot for delicious treats and freshly baked bread. (Ithaca Bakery)

Fine Dining Options

For those seeking a more upscale dining experience, Ithaca offers a range of fine dining options. These establishments combine exquisite flavors with elegant ambiance, making them perfect for special occasions or a memorable night out. Here are a couple of noteworthy fine dining options in Ithaca:

  • Simeon's American Bistro
  • Simeon's American Bistro is located in a historic building that transitioned from a tavern to a fine dining establishment over 40 years ago. This restaurant offers traditional American bistro fare, expertly crafted cocktails, and a selection of raw oysters. It beautifully blends flavors with the architectural charm of the building. Learn more about Simeon's Ithaca.
  • The Antlers
  • The Antlers is a renowned fine dining restaurant that has been a popular spot for locals and Cornell University students for decades. With a commitment to excellence in food, ambiance, and service, this establishment showcases unique architectural features while offering a delightful culinary experience. Learn more about The Antlers.

Exploring the culinary delights of Ithaca is an essential part of experiencing the city's vibrant culture. Whether you're indulging in nostalgic ice cream at Purity Ice Cream, savoring comfort food at The State Diner, or treating yourself to an elegant meal at Simeon's American Bistro or The Antlers, Ithaca's food scene is sure to leave a lasting impression on your taste buds.