Things to Do in Ithaca NY

Escape the ordinary in Ithaca, NY! Uncover unique charm, outdoor adventures, cultural delights, and more. Discover things to do in Ithaca!

Discovering Ithaca, NY

Ithaca, located in upstate New York, is a captivating city known for its natural beauty, vibrant culture, and unique attractions. Whether you're a nature enthusiast, a history buff, or a food lover, Ithaca offers a variety of experiences to suit every interest. Let's delve into the introduction and unique charm of this remarkable city.

Introduction to Ithaca

Nestled in the heart of the Finger Lakes region, Ithaca is a picturesque city renowned for its stunning landscapes, including gorges, waterfalls, and scenic lakes. Home to Cornell University and Ithaca College, the city has a vibrant and intellectual atmosphere, attracting visitors from all walks of life.

Travelers to Ithaca can easily access the city through the Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport, making it a convenient destination for both domestic and international visitors. With its welcoming community, Ithaca offers a warm and inviting atmosphere that makes tourists feel right at home.

Unique Charm of Ithaca

What sets Ithaca apart is its unique charm and character. The city embraces its natural surroundings, providing a refreshing escape from the ordinary. Explore the one-of-a-kind attractions and experiences that make Ithaca a must-visit destination.

Unique Charm of Ithaca

  • Scenic gorges and waterfalls
  • Vibrant arts and culture scene
  • Thriving local food and beverage scene
  • Rich history and heritage
  • Active and outdoorsy community

Ithaca's natural beauty is truly awe-inspiring. The city is renowned for its magnificent gorges and breathtaking waterfalls, such as the iconic Taughannock Falls and Ithaca Falls. These natural wonders offer excellent opportunities for hiking, picnicking, and immersing oneself in nature's splendor.

Beyond its natural attractions, Ithaca boasts a vibrant arts and culture scene. Visitors can explore the Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University, showcasing an impressive collection of artwork from different eras and cultures. The city also hosts numerous festivals, concerts, and theater performances throughout the year, providing a rich cultural experience for all.

Food enthusiasts will find themselves in culinary heaven in Ithaca. The city is known for its farm-to-table dining options, where locally sourced ingredients take center stage. The Ithaca Farmers Market is a must-visit destination, offering a wide array of fresh produce, artisanal goods, and delectable treats.

Immersing yourself in Ithaca's history and heritage is also a rewarding experience. Explore the Museum of the Earth, which showcases fascinating exhibits on paleontology and natural history. For interactive and educational fun, the Sciencenter Interactive Museum offers hands-on exhibits and activities for all ages.

Lastly, Ithaca's active and outdoorsy community adds to its unique charm. Embrace the spirit of adventure by participating in outdoor activities like kayaking, paddleboarding, or biking. The city's commitment to sustainability and environmental preservation is evident in its many parks, trails, and green spaces.

In conclusion, Ithaca, NY, offers a wealth of unique experiences that cater to diverse interests. From its captivating natural beauty to its thriving cultural scene and culinary delights, this city has something for everyone. So, get ready to escape the ordinary and embark on a memorable journey in Ithaca, NY.

Outdoor Adventures

For outdoor enthusiasts, Ithaca, NY offers a plethora of unique activities to explore. From picturesque waterfalls to stunning gorges, nature lovers will find themselves immersed in the beauty of the outdoors.

Exploring the Waterfalls

Ithaca is known for its impressive collection of waterfalls, each with its own distinct charm. Here are a few must-visit waterfalls in the area:

Waterfall Information
Waterfall Location Height (ft)
Taughannock Falls Taughannock Falls State Park 215
Buttermilk Falls Buttermilk Falls State Park 165
Cascadilla Falls Cascadilla Gorge Trail 150

Exploring these waterfalls is an awe-inspiring experience. Whether you're admiring the sheer magnitude of Taughannock Falls, taking a refreshing dip in the natural pool at Buttermilk Falls, or strolling along the scenic Cascadilla Gorge Trail, you'll be surrounded by the tranquility and beauty of nature.

Hiking the Gorges

In addition to the waterfalls, the gorges of Ithaca offer exceptional hiking opportunities. The gorges are carved by ancient glaciers and are characterized by their dramatic cliffs, lush vegetation, and cascading streams. Some popular gorge hikes include:

Gorge Trail Information
Park Gorge Trail Distance (miles)
Robert H. Treman State Park Gorge Trail 2.5
Watkins Glen State Park Gorge Trail 1.9
Buttermilk Falls State Park Gorge Trail 1.5

These gorge trails provide a unique opportunity to witness the power of nature up close. As you hike along the trails, you'll be surrounded by towering cliffs and the soothing sound of rushing water. Each step offers breathtaking views and a chance to reconnect with the natural world.

Whether you choose to explore the stunning waterfalls or embark on a gorge hike, outdoor adventures in Ithaca, NY are sure to leave you with unforgettable memories and a deeper appreciation for the beauty of nature.

Cultural Delights

Ithaca, NY, offers a variety of cultural delights for visitors to explore. From its prestigious university to its vibrant farmers market, there are unique experiences to be had in this charming city.

Visit to Cornell University

A visit to Cornell University is a must for anyone in Ithaca. Founded in 1865, Cornell is an Ivy League institution known for its academic excellence and beautiful campus. Take a leisurely stroll through the campus grounds, marvel at the impressive architecture, and soak in the vibrant atmosphere.

While exploring Cornell University, be sure to visit the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art. This museum showcases a diverse collection of artworks from around the world, including ancient artifacts, modern masterpieces, and thought-provoking contemporary pieces. Admission to the museum is free, making it a fantastic cultural experience accessible to all.

Ithaca Farmers Market

For a taste of the local culture, head to the Ithaca Farmers Market. Located on the shores of Cayuga Lake, this bustling market is a hub of activity and a gathering place for both locals and visitors. Open year-round, the market offers a wide array of fresh produce, artisanal crafts, and delectable food.

Take your time to browse through the stalls, chat with local farmers and artisans, and sample the delicious offerings. From farm-fresh fruits and vegetables to homemade baked goods, there's something to satisfy every palate. The Ithaca Farmers Market also hosts live music performances, creating a lively and vibrant ambiance.

To enhance your experience at the market, here is a breakdown of the market schedule:

Hours of Operation
Day Hours
Saturday 9 AM - 3 PM
Sunday (May to October) 10 AM - 3 PM
Tuesday (June to October) 4 PM - 7 PM
Thursday (June to October) 4 PM - 7 PM

Visiting the Ithaca Farmers Market provides an opportunity to support local farmers and artisans while immersing yourself in the vibrant culture of the region.

Immerse yourself in the cultural delights of Ithaca by visiting Cornell University and exploring the vibrant Ithaca Farmers Market. These unique experiences will leave you with a deeper appreciation for the city's rich history, academic excellence, and local community.

Alternative Experiences

In addition to its natural beauty and cultural offerings, Ithaca, NY has a range of alternative experiences that are sure to delight visitors. Whether you're a wine enthusiast or a shopaholic, there's something for everyone in this vibrant city.

Wine Tasting at Finger Lakes Wineries

Ithaca is located in the Finger Lakes region of New York, known for its exceptional wineries. Embark on a wine tasting adventure and indulge in the flavors of the region. The Finger Lakes wineries offer a diverse selection of wines, from crisp whites to bold reds and everything in between. Take a scenic drive through the picturesque vineyards, enjoy breathtaking views of the lakes, and savor the unique varietals produced in this renowned wine region.

To make the most of your wine tasting experience, consider visiting multiple wineries and exploring the different tasting options available. Some wineries offer guided tours, allowing you to learn about the winemaking process and the history of the vineyards. Don't forget to check the operating hours and make reservations in advance, especially during peak seasons.

Ithaca Commons Shopping District

For those seeking a shopping experience like no other, the Ithaca Commons is a must-visit destination. Located in the heart of downtown Ithaca, this pedestrian-friendly shopping district boasts a vibrant atmosphere and a wide array of unique shops, boutiques, galleries, and restaurants.

Stroll along the streets lined with charming storefronts and explore the diverse offerings. From locally-made crafts and artwork to trendy fashion boutiques and specialty stores, the Ithaca Commons has something for every taste and budget. Take a break from shopping and indulge in the local cuisine at one of the many restaurants, cafes, or food stands scattered throughout the area.

Shop Categories
Category Description
Art Galleries Showcasing local and regional artwork
Fashion Boutiques Offering trendy clothing and accessories
Specialty Stores Featuring unique and niche products
Bookstores A haven for book lovers
Jewelry Shops Displaying handcrafted jewelry pieces
Home Decor Offering a variety of interior design items
Antiques Treasures from the past waiting to be discovered

Whether you're looking for a one-of-a-kind souvenir, a fashionable addition to your wardrobe, or simply a leisurely shopping experience, the Ithaca Commons will not disappoint. Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere, support local businesses, and uncover hidden gems as you explore this eclectic shopping district.

By venturing beyond the traditional attractions, you can truly embrace the unique experiences that Ithaca, NY has to offer. Whether sipping on exquisite wines at Finger Lakes wineries or exploring the diverse shops of the Ithaca Commons, these alternative experiences will add a touch of excitement and discovery to your visit.

Educational Pursuits

For those seeking intellectual stimulation and educational experiences, Ithaca, NY offers a range of attractions that cater to their interests. In this section, we'll explore two notable educational pursuits in Ithaca: the Museum of the Earth and the Sciencenter Interactive Museum.

Museum of the Earth

The Museum of the Earth, affiliated with the Paleontological Research Institution, is a fascinating destination for individuals interested in geology, paleontology, and natural history. Located near the Cayuga Lake, this museum showcases an impressive collection of fossils, minerals, and interactive exhibits that bring the Earth's history to life.

Visitors to the Museum of the Earth can explore various galleries, each offering unique insights into the Earth's evolution and the creatures that once roamed the planet. From ancient fossils to dinosaur replicas, the exhibits provide a comprehensive understanding of the Earth's geological processes and the life forms that have inhabited it over millions of years.

Museum of the Earth Highlights

  • Fossil Collection
  • Evolutionary Biology Exhibits
  • Interactive Displays
  • Dinosaur Replicas

Sciencenter Interactive Museum

The Sciencenter Interactive Museum is a perfect destination for curious minds of all ages. Situated near the Cayuga Inlet, this hands-on science museum offers a wide range of interactive exhibits, experiments, and educational programs that make learning fun and engaging.

At the Sciencenter, visitors can explore various scientific concepts through interactive displays and activities. From building robots to understanding the principles of physics, there are plenty of opportunities to experiment, discover, and learn. The museum also hosts workshops, demonstrations, and special events throughout the year, providing additional educational experiences for visitors.

Sciencenter Interactive Museum Features

  • Hands-on Exhibits
  • Science Workshops
  • Live Demonstrations
  • Special Events

These educational pursuits in Ithaca, NY, the Museum of the Earth and the Sciencenter Interactive Museum, offer unique and enriching experiences for individuals interested in geology, paleontology, natural history, and science. Whether you're a lifelong learner or visiting with children, these educational attractions are sure to inspire and educate, making your time in Ithaca truly memorable.

Culinary Journeys

Exploring the culinary scene is an essential part of any visit to Ithaca, NY. This vibrant city offers a range of unique dining experiences and opportunities to indulge in local flavors. Two culinary journeys worth embarking on are farm-to-table dining and exploring the local breweries and distilleries.

Farm-to-Table Dining

Ithaca takes pride in its farm-to-table dining options, where local ingredients are celebrated and showcased in creative and flavorful dishes. By supporting local farmers and producers, these restaurants offer a sustainable and delicious dining experience.

Restaurant Descriptions
Restaurant Description
Cafe Dewitt The restaurant features breakfast, lunch, and pastry menus that focus on locally-sourced ingredients from the Finger Lakes Region of New York. Awarded as 4-time “Best in Ithaca” Winner for Brunch and 2-time Best Breakfast in Ithaca.
Northstar House Northstar’s mission is to bring locally sourced, healthy and healthy-ish food. They source as many local ingredients as possible, and have a wide variety of beer, wine and cocktails. They take great care to provide gluten free, vegetarian, vegan, and non-allergenic dishes to their customers.
Van Noble Farm Offers farm to table catering with the best local & seasonal ingredients. Aside from pasture-raised pigs they also offer locally sourced beef, chicken, lamb, sustainably raised seafood, and vegan/vegetarian offerings.

Indulge in a farm-to-table dining experience and savor the flavors of Ithaca while supporting the local community and sustainable food practices.

Local Breweries and Distilleries

For those interested in craft beverages, Ithaca is home to a variety of local breweries and distilleries. These establishments offer unique and flavorful libations that capture the essence of the region.

Brewery/Distillery Specialties
Brewery/Distillery Specialties
Ithaca Beer Company Specializes in brewing world-class craft beer. “The Taproom” highlights Ithaca Beer products along with locally sourced ingredients. Flower Power has been recognized as one of the “25 Most Important American Craft Beers Ever Brewed” by Food & Wine magazine.
South Hill Cider The South Hill uses traditional cider-making techniques. Offers different varieties of products like Golden Russet and Geneva Bitter.
Liquid State Brewing Company Produces fresh ales and lagers as well as local wines, ciders and foods.

Explore the local breweries and distilleries, and take part in tastings to experience the rich and diverse beverage culture that Ithaca has to offer. From aromatic beers to unique spirits, there is something to please every palate.

By immersing yourself in the culinary journeys of farm-to-table dining and local breweries and distilleries, you can truly experience the flavors and essence of Ithaca, NY. Indulge in the local cuisine, support sustainable practices, and savor the unique offerings of this vibrant city.


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