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50 Cool Things to Do in Upstate New York

50 Cool Things to Do in Upstate New York

On a New York road trip, my friend Howard and I explored the Catskills region, Finger Lakes, Rochester, and Niagara with a packed schedule. Along the way, we encountered breathtaking vistas, delightful wineries, captivating attractions, and significant sites related to civil rights and the women’s movement. Our two-week journey took us through charming villages, picturesque scenery, and iconic National Parks. Exploring “upstate New York” was eye-opening, as we unearthed numerous hidden gems. Here are 50 cool things to do in upstate New York that showcase the beauty, culture, and flavors of the region.

cool-things-to-do-in-upstate-new-york

1. Check Off a Bucket List Item at Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls is synonymous with Maid of the Mist boat tours. These thrilling rides take passengers, dressed in yellow raincoats, to the basin of Horseshoe Falls on the American side. The journey is captivating and the thrills will have you soaked head to toe if you aren’t careful.

Approximately 600,000 gallons of water travel down Niagara Falls each second. Niagara is the name for the collective waterfalls — Horseshoe, the Bridal Veil, and the American Falls. Capture your adventure at this iconic wonder with a perfect selfie. Tickets are under $30 for adults and $16.50 for kids over 6.

niagara-falls-maid-of-the-mist

2. Explore New York’s Beloved Letchworth State Park

Letchworth State Park in the Finger Lakes region is a must-visit for photographers and outdoor enthusiasts. Spanning 17 miles, this majestic park is often referred to as the “Grand Canyon of the East” and covers nearly 15,000 acres.

With its picturesque location along the Genesee River, Letchworth State Park provides excellent fishing, hiking, and camping experiences. Don’t miss the Lower, Middle, and Upper Falls, where you can witness dramatic waterfalls and breathtaking gorge scenery.

letchworth-state-park

3. Feast on a Fantastic Meal at Glen Iris Inn

While at Letchworth State Park, visit Caroline’s at the Glen Iris Inn for a delightful lunch. I enjoyed every bite of my French Onion Soup with Raclette cheese. For your main course, indulge in the hearty, homemade Pot Roast with veggies and potatoes or the Angel in Heaven angel hair pasta dish with proscuitto, sundried tomatoes, pine nuts, roasted red peppers, spinach and snow peas.

For dessert, the Cranberry almond bread pudding with vanilla sauce is fantastic!

The Glen Iris Inn, formerly the summer home of William Letchworth, is located in the heart of the Portage Gorge.

glen-iris-inn-french-onion-soup

4. Visit Wegmans: New York’s Top Grocery Chain  

Wegmans Food Market, based in Rochester, operates over 100 stores across eight states in the mid-Atlantic region. It is known as the top tourist attraction and grocery store in Rochester, offering a transformative shopping experience.

Wegmans has earned the distinction of being named in Forbes Top 10 Places to Work for over a decade, thanks to its innovative work incentives and employee-friendly policies. With a diverse selection of grab & go foods, a soup bar, ready-made smoothies, and a comfortable second-floor dining area, they provide a delightful culinary experience.

wegmans-grocery-store

5. Sleep in the Haunted Belhurst Castle

At Belhurst Castle, you can experience the charm of sleeping in a castle without leaving the country. Accommodations include the White Springs Manor, Vinifera Inn, and the Chambers in the Castle. Each room features intricate woodwork, cozy fireplaces, and antique furnishings for a unique and romantic stay.

Enjoy upscale amenities, including Edgar’s Steakhouse, as you uncover the stories of this historic and haunted gem. The hotel also offers additional dining options, winery, and a spa & salon.

belhurst-castle

6. Play at the Strong Museum

The Strong Museum of Play is the ultimate destination for play in upstate New York. This two-story wonderland houses an extensive collection of toys, video games, books, board games, and collectibles. As you walk through, you’ll be captivated by nostalgic memories.

strong-museum-of-play-hallway

With its interactive exhibits and well-curated collections, this city-block-long museum offers just the right amount of excitement and entertainment. It’s no wonder it’s considered upstate New York’s top year-round attraction. Tickets are $25 for the museum only, and $37 for the museum plus butterfly garden and skyline climb. You’ll save a few bucks by buying your tickets online.

Highlights include a butterfly garden, historic carousel, retro diner, pinball and video game arcade, and an impressive toy collection. Prepare to be amazed!

strong-museum-of-play-ouija-board

7. Visit Harriet Tubman’s Gravesite

When traveling, I aways try to stop by old or famous graves, especially if they possess both qualities. In upstate New York, Harriet Tubman’s grave at the Fort Hill Cemetery is a notable attraction. Her burial site is adorned by a large oak tree, and visitors regularly decorate it. Tubman’s relatives, including her husband, brother, and father, are also buried nearby.

harriet-tubman-gravesite

8. Wander the Erie Canal Museum

The Erie Canal Museum in Syracuse preserves the last remaining Greek-revival Weighlock building, showcasing the significance of the grand Erie Canal on land and economy. Inside, you’ll find informative exhibits and an entertaining replica canal boat, right where the canal used to run. You can even walk through it!

erie-canal-museum-new-york

9. Dine at the Historic and Tasty New Hope Mills Cafe

New Hope Mills, a third-generation food store, has a rich history spanning 200 years in the Finger Lakes region. Indulge in specialty pancakes at the New Hope Mills Cafe, with delicious options like red velvet, blueberry, chocolate chip, buckwheat, gingerbread, and even birthday cake.

Additionally, you can savor a Southern Breakfast Burrito or Jalapeño Corn Tacos (with pulled chicken), both receiving a perfect 10/10 rating from me. Purchase their take home products at the store or in many specialty shops around the country.

new-hope-mills-pottery

10. See Where Susan B. Anthony Was Arrested 

In November 1872, Susan B. Anthony and 15 other women demanded the right to vote in the Presidential election. They were arrested since voting was not permitted for women at the time. Anthony was the sole individual put on trial among the group.

She resided at the Susan B. Anthony Museum and House, a National Historic Landmark property that also served as the headquarters for the National American Woman Suffrage Association.

susan-b-anthony-house

11. Sip Some Great Brews at Rohrbach

The Rohrbach Brewing Company’s Beer Hall is a craft brewery established in 1991, offering a wide selection of ales, cider, kombucha, and lagers. Among the five beer samples I tried, the Blueberry Ale and Vanilla Porter were my favorites. Rohrbach’s award-winning double IPA, Space Kitty, is a must-try.

If you’re feeling hungry, don’t worry – Rohrbach’s serves delectable American-German pub favorites prepared in their wood-fired kitchen using locally sourced ingredients. There are two Rohrbach’s locations: Railroad Street and Buffalo Road.

rohrbach-beer-flight

12. Stay at the Upscale Hyatt Regency Rochester

The renovated Hyatt Regency Rochester is the tallest, upscale hotel in upstate New York. From the elegant lobby to the beautifully appointed rooms, every detail exudes luxury. Overlooking the Genessee River, the Hyatt offers stunning views and a convenient downtown location. With its luxurious accommodations and ideal setting, it’s hard to leave this haven of comfort.

hyatt-regency-rochester-bed

13. National Comedy Center: Laugh Yourself Silly

The National Comedy Center in Jamestown fulfills Lucille Ball’s lifelong dream. It is a state-of-the-art museum dedicated solely to the story of comedy in America. Collections, exhibits, interactive displays, and videos offer an immersive look at the art of comedy. Experience stand-up comedy, compete with friends, try comedy-writing, and play games to discover your comedic preference.

national-comedy-museum-new-york

Tickets are $33.50 for adults and $20.50-$26.50 for children and youth. Dual tickets are just a few dollars more and include admission to the nearby Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum.

national-comedy-museum-new-york

14. Laugh Even More at the Lucy-Desi Museum

Explore a remarkable collection of memorabilia, scripts, artifacts, costumes, props, and creative papers at the Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz Museum in Jamestown. Discover the Emmy Awards, honoring the iconic “First Couple of Comedy.”

Don’t miss the chance to see the I Love Lucy living room set, and you can even record your own Vitameatavegamin commercial. A personal favorite is the exquisite red dress by Theadora Van Runkle from the 1974 film “Mame”. Complete your visit with a visit to the gift shop.

i-love-lucy-tv-set

15. Drive by Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s House

Elizabeth Cady Stanton led the first Women’s Rights Convention and penned the initial “Declaration of Sentiments”, a pivotal document for the women’s movement. Her historic role as a leader in US human rights is commemorated at her former residence in Seneca Falls, now owned by the National Park Service.

visitor-center-national-park-womens-rights-site

16. Try a Unique Wine Varietal

Arbor Hill Grapery & Winery boasts a fascinating narrative steeped in US history and bolstered by factual evidence. Their Vergennes wine, dating back to 1874, stands as the sole varietal in the country crafted from this ancient grape. This acclaimed vineyard specializes in heritage grapes and hybrids.

Explore their impressive selection, including the delightful Traminette wine (my fave!), along with an array of grape-based culinary products, such as preserves, salsas, dressings, and packaged foods. If you’re fortunate, you may even have the opportunity to savor their delectable grape pie, a delightful treat reminiscent of a pop-tart. Bon appétit!

arbor-hill-winery-owner

17. See “When Anthony Met Stanton”

In front of the idyllic Knitting Mill Factory stands a bronze sculpture titled “When Anthony Met Stanton.” This masterpiece, crafted by sculptor Ted Auburn, portrays the historic moment when Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Amelia Bloomer introduced Anthony in Seneca Falls. These three extraordinary women went on to found the Women’s Rights Movement.

Anthony-and-douglass-statue

18. Blow Your Own Glass in Corning, NY

Hands-On Glass is where hands-on glassblowing experiences began over two decades ago in Corning, New York — a hot glass studio. You can participate in various projects and create cherished memories. I attended a glass pumpkin activity and made a beautiful purple/green/black-streaked glass paperweight. The cost is $40. It was fascinating to participate and observe the master glassblowers.

Hands-On Glass also sells locally crafted items if you prefer not to create your own.

corning-glass-blower

19. Sleep in a Historic Mini White House

The Allegiance Bed & Breakfast, nestled in Mt. Morris, offers a truly unique experience by letting you doze off in a mini-White House. This stunning 1838 property is an exquisite tribute to the Victorian era, with its timeless furnishings and warm hospitality.

My room, Fitzhugh, was adorned in a captivating palette of red, featured tasteful black and white toile linens and curtains. The breakfast spread, included with my stay, boasted an assortment of delectable treats such as egg dishes, patriotic waffles (a signature dish), fruit, yogurt, bacon, coffee, soda, and juice. Hosts Karen and Ray were delightful and hospitable, striking a perfect balance between guest interaction and innkeeper support.

allegiant-bed-and-breakfast

20. Uncover Incredible History at Seward House Museum

Take a tour of the Seward House Museum, a meticulously preserved 1816 National Historic Landmark. Formerly owned by the New York State Governor, William Henry Seward, this exceptional home is adorned with a remarkable collection of historical treasures and rare antiques.

Unique from other historic mansions, the museum boasts one of the finest collections in the country. The Diplomatic Gallery, showcasing 120 framed pictures (many signed), was the highlight of my visit.

Notably, Seward served as Secretary of State under Abraham Lincoln, playing a crucial role in the Alaska Purchase and anti-slavery movement. Interestingly, Seward was intended to be present with Lincoln on that fateful night of his assassination, but narrowly avoided tragedy due to an accident just days before.

Pro Tip: A guided tour is the only way to see this historic property. Admission is $14.

seward-house-display

21. Tour the Clara Barton House

Clara Barton, a renowned humanitarian, dedicated herself to assisting those in need within the United States and abroad. The Clara Barton House, established in 1974, serves as a testament to her life’s work. As the founder of the American Red Cross, her impact resonates worldwide.

Don’t miss the opportunity to add this US National Park to your passport and explore this unique destination in upstate New York.

clara-barton-historical-house

22. Learn about the History of Women’s Rights 

Seneca Falls is the birthplace of the women’s rights movement. Discover the stories of those depicted in the Women’s Rights National Historic Park sculpture, featuring prominent figures like Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Frederick Douglass, and Mary McClintock.

Don’t forget to stamp your National State Parks passport!

seneca-women-rights-museum

23. Stand on “It’s A Wonderful Life’s” Bailey Bridge

The green Bridge Street Bridge in Seneca Falls is an iconic steel truss structure known to movie buffs as “George Bailey’s Bridge” from Frank Capra’s 1946 It’s A Wonderful Life. Inspired by a true story, the bridge (in the fictional town of Bedford Falls in the movie) holds significance as the setting of an unforgettable scene. Antonio Varacelli, a real-life hero, sacrificed himself to save another life.

24. Indulge in an Exceptional Wine Tasting  

Rarely do you get the chance to savor wine in a renowned historic wine destination like the Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery in Hammondsport. Widely regarded as the finest in New York, their impeccable wines and exquisite cheese pairings will surely leave you impressed.

Dr. Konstantin Frank, New York state’s most acclaimed winery, owes its success to the visionary viticulturist and winemaker, Dr. Konstantin Frank, who spearheaded the “Vinifera Revolution.” Signature seated tastings are $15 per person. You’ll have the option to elevate your experience with a locally curated charcuterie plate.

dr-konstantin-frank-wine-tasting

25. Stay in the Haunted Naples Hotel

Built in 1895, the Naples Hotel has 32 haunted rooms in the Finger Lakes of New York. Formerly popular for weddings, dinners, and banquets, it is now a sought-after destination for ghost enthusiasts. Guests have reported furniture moving, lights turning on, doors locking, and ghostly apparitions.

Also, you can enjoy drinks and pub fare at the Social Taproom downstairs, or feast on a scrumptious meal at The Social Restaurant, where the menu offers ahi tuna, lobster bisque, short rib pappardelle, and more. Come for Sunday brunch. This venue is on the New York Haunted History Trail.

haunted-naples-hotel

26. Pay Your Respects to Two Amazing Leaders

Visit Mount Hope Cemetery in Rochester to find the final resting places of civil rights icons Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass. Anthony’s modest white marker (Section C, Lot 93) is often adorned with “I voted” stickers, while Douglass and his wife Helen rest nearby (Section T, Lot 26).

susan-b-anthony-grave

27. Have a Professional Psychic Reading in Lily Dale

Explore the world’s largest center for the Religion of Spiritualism at Lily Dale, New York. In the Lily Dale Assembly, expand your abilities to communicate with loved ones who have passed and gain insights into your life. Wander the streets filled with mediums and psychics’ homes, offering readings for a glimpse into the future and past.

My reading with Rev. John White was spot on and totally worth it!

lily-dale-assembly-forest-temple

28. Fall Even More in Love with Harriet Tubman

Explore Harriet Tubman’s remarkable life and career at the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park. This park, a recent addition to the National Park Service, encompasses Tubman’s Home for the Aged, her actual residence, and a museum highlighting her accomplishments.

Discover the captivating legacy of this human rights pioneer amidst the scenic 480-acre grounds.

tubman-underground-railroad-sign
harriet-tubman-house

29. Visit a Famous Methodist Church

The red-brick Wesleyan Methodist Church in Seneca Falls hosted the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention, the first women’s rights convention. Around 300 people gathered to support Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s movement for women’s suffrage. Following the meeting, 100 people signed the document that sparked the women’s rights movement.

The church later became a local hub for antislavery and political events and is now owned by the National Park System.

wesleyan-methodist-church-seneca-falls

30. Meet Famous Women at National Women’s Hall of Fame

Discover the National Women’s Hall of Fame, a hub celebrating remarkable women spanning government, athletics, arts, philanthropy, science, business, education, and humanities. Honoring 266 inductees including Harriet Tubman, Helen Hayes, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elizabeth Dole, Pearl S. Buck, Maya Angelou, and Sally Ride, this esteemed institution recognizes their extraordinary achievements.

This attraction is a seasonal one. Admission is $6 per adult, $4 for students.

pearl-buck-award-plaque

31. Step into “It’s A Wonderful Life” 

Discover the hidden gem of Seneca Falls, the It’s A Wonderful Life Museum. Located near the iconic George Bailey Bridge, this charming museum showcases rare memorabilia and treasures from the beloved movie. With annual events and festivals, this friendly curator is eager to answer your questions about the movie, stars, and storylines.

Uncover one of upstate New York’s most unique attractions. Please note, the temporary location while the original museum undergoes construction is 76 Fall Street.

its-a-wonderful-life-museum

32. Embark on the Best Apple Cider

Sample some of the finest hard ciders at Embark Craft Ciderworks in Williamson. The 100-year-old fifth-generation family apple farm crafts handcrafted ciders like blueberry peach, tart cherry barrel-aged, and apple pie. Enjoy a Mix & Match Flight of five ciders for $14.

Lagoner Farms, the eatery in the taproom, offers a delectable Marauder Pretzel with cider cheese and honey mustard.

embark-craft-cider

33.  Stay at the Historic Springside Inn 

I highly recommend staying at Springside Inn on Owasco Lake. This charming and historic inn, built in 1851, features seven tastefully decorated rooms, common areas, and a continental breakfast. The inn also boasts a gazebo, a beautiful lawn, and a duck pond. Inn owners, Sean and Beth Lattimore, have created a truly exceptional and welcoming property.

Legend has it that Springside was part of the Underground Railroad.

springdale-inn-room-grounds

34. Tour the Stately Dunkirk Lighthouse 

The Dunkirk Historical Lighthouse & Veterans Park Museum is a must-visit spot for lighthouse enthusiasts. Located on Lake Erie, this active lighthouse, known as Point Gratiot Light, is on the National Register of Historic Places. Its 61-foot tower shines light up to 27 miles, making it one of Lake Erie’s most significant landmarks.

With artifacts from World War I, World War II, and the Korean War, the Dunkirk Historical Lighthouse offers a captivating glimpse into history. Did you know that the first shot of the 1812 War was fired nearby?

dunkirk-lighthouse

35. Stand on Hallowed Ground Where Woodstock Took Place

Explore the historic grounds of the Bethel Woods Center of the Arts, where the iconic Woodstock concert took place in 1969. Immerse yourself in the essence of the Woodstock Festival through exhibits, hippie buses, interactive displays, and picturesque countryside. Capture memorable selfies at the scenic overlook, where the concert stage stood 50 years ago.

woodstock-field-new-york

Tickets to the museum are $19 for adults and $5 for children 6 to 18, purchased in advance. The outdoor venue, with a capacity of 16,000, continues to host events, concerts, and festivals. A special holiday light show takes place the last week of November and December.

bethel-woods-woodstock-museum

36. Eat the Best Poutine at Prison City Pub

Prison City Pub & Brewery in Auburn stands out among the many restaurants offering poutine. Their dynamic version surpasses others with perfectly cooked fries, beef, cheese curds, and an unbelievable creamy sauce. Topped with fresh green onion slices, the dish is simply irresistible.

For a healthier option, consider the Abundance Salad bowl. And while indulging in their delicious poutine, don’t forget to savor an award-winning hand-crafted beer. There are three Prison City Pub locations in total.

prison-city-power-salad

37. Take a Cooking Class at NY Kitchen

Located on a picturesque lakefront, New York Kitchen is a versatile establishment that combines a cooking school, restaurant, and event space, all devoted to showcasing locally-sourced ingredients. Indulge in a wine tasting class, savor hearty soups and quick breads, explore Chinese takeout classics, or join Meg’s cheeseboards workshop.

Or, enjoy a delightful meal at the restaurant, which operates daily except for Mondays and Tuesdays. Highlights from the menu include Shayne’s Famous Homemade Meatball Sliders, with a parmesan/mozzarella cheese blend, Beef on Weck (a New York must!), and the refreshing NYK House Salad with Riesling vinaigrette. They also have Sunday brunch.

new-york-kitchen-restaurant

38. Sleep on a Canal Boat

Rent a stately canal boat from Mid-Lakes Navigation on Skaneateles Lake. Experience the stunning Erie Canal scenery while being the captain of your own fully-equipped boat. Enjoy a unique three, four, or seven-night stay with onboard facilities for dining, sleeping, and showering.

Explore the canal towns along the route with bicycles provided. You can also do three hour boat cruises and other shorter journeys.

riverboat-cruise-upstate-new-york

39. Explore the Trout Capital of America

Roscoe, a charming hamlet in Sullivan County, New York, is home to an array of delightful shops, restaurants, and a notable brewery & distillery. Nestled in the Catskill Mountains, Roscoe is renowned as the Trout Capital, where the Beaverkill and Willowemoc Rivers converge. These rivers teem with vibrant rainbow and wild brown trout.

40. Visit the Zane Grey Museum

While exploring the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreation River Park, we came across the Zane Grey Museum. This remarkable museum showcases the works of Western author Zane Grey, known for Riders of the Purple Sage, The Rainbow Trail, and The Lone Star Ranger.

With captivating displays of Grey’s personal memorabilia, including photos and his collection of books, the museum pays homage to the father of modern westerns. Notably, the Zane Grey Museum is located in Lackawaxen Township, Pennsylvania, just outside the state of New York.

zane-gray-museum

41. Watch for Bald Eagles

Upper Delaware, known officially as Scenic and Recreational River NY/PA, is a captivating part of the National Park Service. It offers a wonderful opportunity to showcase your birding skills by spotting bald eagles, which are frequently seen in the area. With its towering trees, abundant food sources, and pristine waters, this region provides an exceptional habitat for eagles.

In fact, the Delaware River watershed boasts the highest number of wintering bald eagles in the Northeast.

42. See the Famous Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls is undeniably one of the Seven Wonders of the World. This majestic display of thrashing waters spans two countries and is a must-see in the United States, particularly in upstate New York. Whether experiencing it up close or from miles away, the beauty of these three waterfalls is simply dazzling!

Consider visiting Niagara Falls State Park, Observation Tower, or taking the trails from the Niagara Gorge Discovery Center for unique perspectives. It’s truly a remarkable sight!

niagara-falls-with-rainbow

43. See the Oldest Wire Suspension Bridge in the US

The Roebling Bridge, also known as Roebling’s Delaware Aqueduct, is the oldest wire suspension bridge in the US (opened in 1849). It spans the Delaware River between Barryville, NY, and Lackawaxen, PA. After the canal closed, the bridge was converted to a toll bridge for vehicles.

Today, it stands as a picturesque landmark and a unique way to cross state borders. Recently, Howard and I even filmed a video driving across this single-lane marvel. In 1968, Roebling’s Delaware Aqueduct was designated as a National Historic Landmark.

roeblings-delaware-aqueduct

44. Learn about the Fox Sisters and Spiritualism

In upstate New York, discover the fascinating Fox Sisters (Leah, Kate, and Margaret), founders of the Spiritual Movement. They utilized “rappings” to establish communication with spirits, paving the way for modern Spiritualism. Visit their family cottage at Lily Dale Assembly for an intriguing experience. Prepare to be amazed by their remarkable story.

fox-sisters-in-lily-dale

45. Visit a 100+ Year-Old Working Farm

Experience the perfect blend of wine and cider at Becker Farms, Vizcarra Vineyards, and Becker Brewing Company. This trifecta operation in upstate Gasport, New York, is nestled in one of the oldest apple orchards in the country. Discover a delightful assortment of homemade treats like pies, jams, cider, and fudge at Becker Farms.

With a u-pick ’em farm, bakery, onsite restaurant, and occasional live music, there’s something for everyone. The stunning property of Becker Farms, dating back to 1894, serves as a sought-after wedding destination and educational venue for school field trips. This family-friendly establishment even features activities for kids, including a petting zoo.

becker-farms-apples

46. Check Out Bully Hill Vineyards

Bully Hill Vineyards, located in Hammondsport, NY, is a winery in the Finger Lakes AVA. Open daily, their gift shop, wine shop, and tasting room are all worth exploring. The restaurant menu boasts a range of delectable dishes, from crab cakes and scallops to smoked BBQ and wings, though it is closed on Tuesdays.

Sweet wine lovers should try the Sweet Walter Loganberry, while fans of drier varietals may enjoy the Traminette, with peach, apricot, and honey aromas balanced by orange blossom and cinnamon notes. Bully Hill Vineyards is pet-friendly and offers complimentary tours daily from 11 AM to 4 PM (weather permitting), Memorial Day through Columbus Day.

bully-hill-restaurant

47. Eat, Play, and Stay at the North Branch Inn

The North Branch Inn, established in 1868, is a hotel and restaurant owner in the picturesque Western Catskills. With 14 inviting guest rooms offering casual elegance and a laid-back style, spread across 3 buildings – the library house, post office, and main inn – you’ll find the perfect accommodation for your stay.

Whether you’re a guest or not, the restaurant, open for dinner Wednesday through Sunday, is a must-visit. The food is delicious, yet simple and not one bit fussy. Watch for Sunday brunch, coming soon.

north-branch-inn-bowling-alley

48. Enjoy Cocktails in a Quaint Courtyard

Just minutes away from the renowned Corning Museum of Glass, you’ll find the Radisson Hotel Corning. With its charming Market Street Social outdoor space, complete with courtyard seating, indulge in your preferred adult beverages. This trendy setting is an ideal choice for exploring the picturesque town of Corning.

The Radisson boasts cozy rooms, an outdoor hot tub, an expansive indoor pool, and a delightful onsite restaurant.

rochester-hotel-patio

49. Visit Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge

Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, spanning 10,000 acres between Rochester and Syracuse, is a wildlife preserve managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Look out for waterfowl, migratory birds, bald eagles, snow geese, and white-tailed deer. Camping and hunting are permitted with special regulations and permits.

photogenic-scenery-upstate-new-york

50. See a Gorgeous Waterfall in the Midst of Town

Discover the awe-inspiring High Falls, a majestic 96 feet-tall waterfall nestled within bustling Rochester. Amidst the urban landscape, this natural wonder captivates with its raw beauty. Immerse yourself in history as you explore the visitor center and living history museum, showcasing the rich heritage of New York’s third most populated city.

Admire High Falls from the historic Brown’s Race neighborhood, once home to mills and factories. For unparalleled vistas, take a leisurely stroll on the picturesque Pont de Rennes Bridge.

high-falls-rochester-new-york

Upstate New York: A 10/10 Vacation Destination 

After embarking on a two-week road trip, Howard and I were captivated by the countless beauties and attractions in this extraordinary region. I was pleasantly surprised by the abundant history and scenic charm awaiting us in upstate New York. It was truly awe-inspiring. With hundreds of activities to choose from, this curated list of 50 will provide you with an excellent starting point.

classic-car-in-rochester-new-york

Thanks to a host of partners for making this trip a reality, including The Finger Lakes, Rochester, Niagara, The Catskills, and Haunted New York. As always, opinions and reviews are 100% mine and unbiased. 

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Erik

Sunday 14th of July 2019

Native Americans lived in upstate New York thousands of years before it was formed and not one mention of them? Especially the Iroquois, who influenced and shaped the US from its inception! Everyone of those activities are located in their homeland where they still live today!

MelodyPittman

Sunday 14th of July 2019

Nice to know. Our focus was women's rights and haunted New York for this trip. ;)

Find Fun and Laughter in Upstate New York | Backroad Planet

Sunday 31st of March 2019

[…] a two-week upstate New York road trip, Melody and I drove scenic byways,┬átoured historical sites, chased waterfalls, sampled wine country, and […]

3 Awe-Inspiring Niagara Falls USA Attractions | Backroad Planet

Sunday 3rd of March 2019

[…] last stop on a two-week upstate New York road trip. En route to our final destination, Melody from Wherever I May Roam and I drove a scenic byway, embraced our inner hippies at Woodstock, toured Civil Rights sites of […]

Jitaditya

Thursday 24th of January 2019

Loved how detailed this list is! Used to seeing top 10-15 lists but top 50 is what I call truly acing a place!

MelodyPittman

Tuesday 29th of January 2019

Thanks so much! So many things that I didn't even get around to adding. ;)

Yukti Agrawal

Thursday 24th of January 2019

Wow, there are so many things to do in upstate New York. I have visited Niagara Falls and they were amazing. But I would love to blow my own glass piece as I love to do creative stuff while traveling.

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