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50 Cool Things to Do in Upstate New York

50 Cool Things to Do in Upstate New York

(UPDATED OCTOBER 2022) After picking up a car at the airport in NYC, my friend, Howard, and I set out to discover New York’s Catskills region, the Finger Lakes, Rochester, and Niagara with a vigorous travel schedule and an open mind. Among the cool discoveries we made were beautiful vistas, delicious wines, fabulous New York attractions, the crossroads of civil rights and the women’s movement. Our trip was full of exciting villages, unique scenery, grand National Parks, and so much more


During a two-week road trip through the beautiful countryside of upstate New York, fellow blogger, and bestie Howard of Backroad Planet and I found many treasures along the way. The areas we toured (or anywhere north of the city) are typically called “upstate New York.”

With so many amazing towns to explore and unique things to do in upstate New York, it is a shame that many (myself included) never realized how many hidden gems were in this part of the state. Here are 50 things to do in upstate New York that I recommend seeing, doing, learning about, trying, tasting, and opening your mind to. 

1. Get Wet at Niagara Falls

Look at any literature about Niagara Falls or talk to someone whose been, and you will undoubtedly hear about Maid of the Mist boat tours. These boat rides take passengers (donned in yellow raincoats) into the basin of Horseshoe Falls at Niagara Falls on the American side.

The trip is a thrill as you travel through swift rapids, waterfall whitewater, and jerky boat movements. You will laugh yourself silly as you try to play it cool for the perfect selfie while enjoying this majestic natural wonder. 


2. Drink Tasty Cider

New York is second (behind Washington) in the US for producing apples and apple products. Stop by Apple Country Spirits and Rootstock Ciderworks tasting room to sip their premium distilled spirits.

The bar is fashioned from hand-hewn beams and reclaimed wood from a 100-year-old barn on the property, giving it a warm and welcoming feel. Specialty items at this 4th generation family farm include Peach Tree Vodka, Plum Brandy, and Barrel-Aged Applejack—all with natural flavors sourced from DeFisher Fruit Farms.

3. Explore Letchworth, the Beloved New York State Park

Letchworth State Park is a highlight of the Finger Lakes region and a photographers dream. This majestic 17-mile long park is known as the “Grand Canyon of the East.” Size-wise, the massive park is nearly 15,000 acres. It winds along the scenic Genesee River and offers great opportunities for fishing, leisurely hikes, and overnight camping.

Stop by the Lower, Middle, and Upper Falls of Letchworth State Park for the dramatic waterfalls and larger-than-life gorge scenery.


4. Feast on a Fantastic Meal

While at Letchworth State Park, pop into the Glen Iris Inn for a decadent lunch featuring a unique French Onion Soup with Raclette cheese. From the New York State Salad (cheddar, apples, sunflower seeds, Concord grape dressing) to homemade Pot Roast with veggies and potatoes, the food is delicious, and the is service impeccable.

Save room for a bite of Cranberry Almond Bread Pudding with vanilla sauce. The Inn is the recently remodeled summer home/estate of William Letchworth in the heart of the Portage Gorge. 


5. Visit Wegmans: New York’s Iconic Grocery Chain  

The Rochester-based Wegmans Food Market has more than 70 stores across the mid-Atlantic region of the country. Wegmans is the #1 tourist attraction in Rochester, as well as the #1 grocery store in America. It’s a must-see!

Wegmans won the first-ever Food Channel award for the grocery store that most changed the way we shop and has been named in Forbes Top 10 Places to Work For more than ten years. That is partially due to Wegman’s cutting edge and employee-friendly work incentives and pay. I loved the variety of grab & go foods, the soup bar, ready-made smoothies, and the comfortable second-floor dining area.


6. Sleep in Bellhurst Castle

At the 1890’s Bellhurst Castle, you don’t have to visit Europe to make sleeping in a castle a reality. Accommodations at this Geneva lakefront resort include the White Springs Manor, Vinifera Inn, and the Chambers in the Castle. Experience the richly-carved woodworks, romantic fireplaces, and gorgeous antique furnishings that make each room unique.


Enjoy upscale amenities and Edgar’s Steakhouse, a delightful restaurant, as you explore this timeless treasure with a haunted past. The hotel also has another restaurant, winery, and spa & salon. 

7. Literally, Play at the Strong Museum

Strong Museum of Play is the ultimate play destination for all ages, and maybe the most fun thing to do in upstate New York. This two-story wonderland is full of toys, video games, books, board games, and collectibles. You will be dazzled as you take a walk down memory lane.

The Strong Museum of Play is more than a city block long and has its collections and interactive exhibits set up in small doses, great for keeping you sane in this labyrinth of fun. It is deemed upstate New York’s best year-round attraction. Popular attractions in this extensive museum include a butterfly garden, historic carousel, retro diner, pinball and video game arcade (where you will find me!), and toy collection. The Barbie dolls left me swooning.


8. Visit Harriet Tubman’s Famous Gravesite

We love visiting old or famous graves when traveling (bonus if they are both!). In upstate New York, you can see Harriet Tubman’s grave at the Fort Hill Cemetery. Harriet is buried underneath a big oak tree, and her grave stays decorated by visitors.

Many of Tubman’s relatives are buried around her, including her husband, brother, and father. 


9. See the Erie Canal

The Erie Canal Museum in Syracuse is dedicated to preserving the last remaining Greek-revival Weighlock building (operational 1850-1883) in the country. It signifies the importance that the grand Erie Canal had on our land and economy.

There are several informative and entertaining exhibits inside the museum, as well as a full-size replica canal boat that stands precisely where the canal used to run. You can even walk through the canal boat. 


10. Dine in a Historic Mill at New Hope Mills Cafe

Not only is New Hope Mills a third-generational food store, but also a historic business that has been in the Finger Lakes for 200 years. Dine on the property at the New Hope Mills Cafe, known for specialty pancakes.

Perhaps you are in the mood for red velvet, blueberry, chocolate chip, buckwheat, gingerbread, birthday cake…they are all here. I’m more a Southern Breakfast Burrito or Jalapeño Corn Tacos kind of gal, and I give them both a 10/10 rating. 


11. See Where Susan B. Anthony Was Arrested 

In November of 1872, Susan B. Anthony (along with 15 other women) demanded to be registered to vote for the Presidential election. Soon after, the women were arrested as they were not allowed to vote in our country at that time.

Of all 16 women, Anthony was the only one put on trial. Susan B. Anthony Museum and House is where she, an American civil rights leader, was arrested and lived out the remaining years of her life. The museum is a National Historic Landmark property and home to the headquarters of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. 


12. Sip Some Great Rohrbach Brews

Rohrbach Brewing Company’s Beer Hall is a casual craft brewery created in 1991 that serves delicious ales, cider, kombucha, and lagers. The Blueberry Ale and Vanilla Porter were my favorites from the five beer sampling I tried. Space Kitty is Rohrbach’s award-winning double IPA. Hungry? No need to worry. Rohrbach’s serves American-German pub favorites in their wood-fired kitchen with locally sourced foods.  

There are two Rohrbach’s locations: Railroad Street and Buffalo Road.


13. Stay in a Swanky Downtown Hotel 

The newly renovated Hyatt Regency Rochester touts being the tallest, most upscale hotel in upstate New York. From the moment I stepped into the lavish and lovely lobby, then into my spacious and beautifully appointed room, I agreed.

The Hyatt sits along the Genessee River and offers stellar views and a great walkable location for most of the cool things in downtown Rochester. After relaxing in my luxurious room and heavenly bed, I didn’t want to leave. 


14. National Comedy Center: Laugh Yourself Silly

National Comedy Center, in Jamestown, was the lifelong dream of Lucille Ball, who is from the area. This is the first state-of-the-art museum that solely shares the story behind comedy in America. Collections, exhibits, interactive displays, and videos offer a behind-the-scenes look at the art of comedy.

Try your hand at stand-up comedy in a swanky lounge setting, compete with your friends to see who can stifle a laugh longest, try comedy-writing, and play several games to see which type you prefer (comedic slapstick or edgy satire). Included with your ticket to the Comedy Center is admission to the Lucille Ball & Desi Arnaz Museum located a block away.


15. Drive by Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s House

The driving force behind the first Women’s Rights Convention, Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote the first draft of the “Declaration of Sentiments” that would be turned into the road map for the women’s movement. That landed her the role as one of the all-time leaders in US human rights history. Tour the home where she lived in Seneca Falls, now owned by the National Park Service. 


16. Try a Unique Wine Varietal

Arbor Hill Grapery & Winery offers a unique story about US history and facts to back up the claim that their Vergennes wine (1874) is the only varietal in the country using this ancient grape. The vineyard specializes in heritage grapes and hybrids.

Try both the wines (Traminette was my fave) and a variety of grape-based food products, including preserves, salsas, salad dressings, and packaged foods. If you are lucky, you can taste the grape pie, a delightful pop-tart tasting dish made from their grapes. Yummy!


17. See One of the Most Instagram-Worthy Sites in Seneca Falls

A bronze sculpture of three famous women sits in front of the picturesque Knitting Mill Factory. The statue, entitled “When Anthony Met Stanton,” was made by sculptor Ted Auburn and captured the moment when Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Amelia Bloomer introduced Anthony on the streets of Seneca Falls.

The three women would go on to become the founders of the Women’s Rights Movement. 


18. Blow Your Own Glass Piece in Corning, NY

Hands-On Glass is where the artist who started hands-on glassblowing experiences in Corning, New York, began over two decades ago. There are several projects you can participate in creating start to finish and cherish the memory forever.

I attended a glass pumpkin activity and created a beautiful purple/green/black-streaked glass paperweight piece. It was interesting to take part in and to watch the master glassblowers do their part. Hands-On Glass also sells items made by local studio artists if you choose not to make your own. 


19. Sleep in a Historic Mini White House

Located in Mt. Morris, the Allegiance Bed & Breakfast lets you sleep in a mini-White House. This beautiful and historic 1838 property pays homage to the Victorian era in its unique and traditional furnishings and is the epitome of hospitality. The room I stayed in was gorgeous, primarily red, with black and white toile linens and curtains and very elegantly decorated.

A delicious breakfast, including an egg dish, fruit, yogurt, bacon, coffee, soda, and juice, was included in my stay. B&B owners Karen and Ray were friendly and helpful, maintaining just the right amount of interaction between guests and innkeepers.


20. Learn Who Was Supposed to be Assassinated with Lincoln

Tour the Seward House Museum, an immaculate circa 1816 preserved National Historic Landmark home that belonged to the New York State Governor, William Henry Seward. It is full of an unprecedented amount of historical treasures and antiques (not your usual historic mansion offerings) that are some of the best in the country.

The Diplomatic Gallery was my favorite part of the tour showcasing 120 framed pictures, many of them signed. William Henry Seward became Secretary of State under Abraham Lincoln and was instrumental in the Alaska Purchase and a significant player in the anti-slavery movement. Seward was supposed to be with Lincoln on the night of his assassination and was a target as well, but skipped the theater due to an accident only a few days prior.


21. Tour the Clara Barton House

Does the name Clara Barton ring a bell? It should. Clara dedicated her life and energies to help others in times of need in both the United States and abroad. The Clara Barton House was created in 1974 to interpret the life of this teacher, nurse, and humanitarian who also founded the American Red Cross. It is a US National Park, too—don’t forget to stamp your passport.

This is just one of the unique places to visit in upstate New York.


22. Learn about the History of Women’s Rights 

Seneca Falls is where the first wave of women’s rights activists began their plight and held the first Women’s Rights Convention. Learn the contributions and stories of those depicted in the Women’s Rights National Historic Park sculpture that features 22 prominent folks in the movement; Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Frederick Douglass, and Mary McClintock.

Note: Again, don’t forget to stamp your National State Parks passport!


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

In the heart of Seneca Falls stands the green steel truss Bridge Street Bridge. Movie-goers and Jimmy Stewart fans know it as “George Bailey’s Bridge,” where the suicidal scene from Frank Capra’s 1946 It’s A Wonderful Life movie takes place.

Although the bridge is in the fictional town of Bedford Falls in the film, the scene itself was inspired by a true story. The hero in real life was Antonio Varacelli, who gave his life to save another. 


24. Drink While You Learn 

It’s not often that you can say you drank wine in a historic world-class wine destination. Still, you can indeed sharpen your knowledge and whet your appetite simultaneously at the Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery in Hammondsport. New Yorkers consider Dr. Konstantin wines the best in the state, and after a magnificent wine and cheese tasting, I would readily agree.

Dr. Konstantin Frank is New York state’s most award-winning winery. Dr. Konstantin Frank was a viticulturist and winemaker who played a major role in winemaking when he created the “Vinifera Revolution”.


25. Stay in a Haunted Hotel

The Naples Hotel, built in 1895, offers 32 rooms that have had significant hauntings. For years, the hotel was a hotspot for weddings, dinners, and banquets, and now it is highly sought out by those chasing ghosts and ghost stories.

At The Naples Hotel, spirits have been known to move furniture, turn on lights, lock doors, and appear to guests. When you aren’t fending off the ghosts, enjoy the drinks and pub fare downstairs at the Tap Room bar or the lovely hotel restaurant.


26. Pay Your Respects to Two Amazing Leaders

Enter the picturesque Mount Hope Cemetery in Rochester to see the burial sites of two incredible leaders of the civil rights movement: Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass.

Susan B. Anthony’s modest white marker (Section C, Lot 93) will most likely be decorated with several “I voted” stickers. Frederick Douglass (Section T, Lot 26) is buried alongside his wife Helen nearby. 


27. Have a Professional Psychic Reading

Take a stroll through the world’s largest center for the Religion of Spiritualism at Lily Dale, New York. In the Lily Dale Assembly, challenge your rational mind and expand your abilities to communicate with loved ones who have passed or learn things about your life you are curious about. Wander street-after-street full of mediums and psychics homes where you can go in for a reading of your own.

My reading was with Rev. John White, and it was spot on! Well worth the money for a glimpse into the future and past. 


28. Fall Even More in Love with Harriet Tubman

After learning about Harriet Tubman’s dangerous life and kick-ass career throughout the Finger Lakes, pay homage to this human rights fighter at the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park. This is one of the newer members of the  National Park Service family as of 2017.


Tubman’s last business venture, her Home for the Aged, and her actual real house lie on the park’s 480-acre grounds, as well as a small museum dedicated to showcasing Harriet Tubman’s life achievements. 


29. Visit a Famous Methodist Church

The red-brick Wesleyan Methodist Church in Seneca Falls was the site of the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention, or the first women’s rights convention. Around 300 people came together here to support Elizabeth Cady Stanton and her movement to give women the right to vote. Following the conclusion of the meeting, 100 people signed the document that ignited the women’s rights movement.

The Wesleyan Methodist Church quickly became a local haven for antislavery activity and political events and is owned by the National Park System. 


30. Admire Famous Women at the National Women’s HOF

The National Women’s Hall of Fame is a place to learn about important women throughout history. These women excelled or stood out in government, athletics, arts, philanthropy, science, business, education, and humanities. They are recognized for their achievements at this facility.

Some of the 266 inductees are Harriet Tubman, Helen Hayes, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elizabeth Dole, Pearl S. Buck, Maya Angelou, and Sally Ride.


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

Yep, it truly is a place found in Seneca Falls. If you loved It’s a Wonderful Life, you are going to dig this quaint museum located steps from the George Bailey Bridge. The It’s A Wonderful Life Museum is loaded with treasures and rare memorabilia from the movie and hosts annual events and festivals.

The museum curator is friendly and willing to answer any questions you may have about the movie, movie stars, and storylines. It was definitely one of the more unique things to do in upstate New York that we encountered.


32. Drink the Best Apple Cider

Taste some of the best hard ciders ever at Embark Craft Ciderworks in Williamson. “Real Farms, Real Apples, Real Cider!” serves up handcrafted ciders from the 100-year-old fifth-generation family apple farm.

Try the delicious blueberry peach, tart cherry barrel-aged, and apple pie ciders, to name a few. Fancy a bite? Lagoner Farms, the eatery in the taproom, serves a Marauder Pretzel with cider cheese and honey mustard that is as big as your head!


33.  Stay at a Historic Inn 

I highly suggest staying at the lovely and historic Springside Inn, located on Owasco Lake. Built in 1851, this elegant inn offers seven tastefully decorated rooms, common areas, and a continental breakfast. No need to go off-property for a decadent meal as Oak & Vine at Springside, the award-winning onsite restaurant, serves terrific dishes.

The property includes a gazebo, a gorgeous lawn, and a duck pond. Inn owners Sean and Beth Lattimore truly have a goldmine in this hospitable and beautiful property, which leads me to the next item on my list.


34. Have an Exquisite Meal

Enjoy a fantastic meal at the Oak & Vine at Springside gastropub located at the Springside Inn. Start your meal with the rich and delicious French Onion Gratinee or the house specialty, Cheese Soufflé. I’m ashamed to admit I had both, and they were equally impressive.

For dinner, the Filet Mignon is hard to beat. Another palatable option is the Maple Glazed Salmon with rice pilaf and vegetables. Be sure to save room for a slice of homemade cheesecake. Oak & Vine was one of the best meals of my upstate New York trip. 

35. Tour a Stately Lighthouse 

Who doesn’t love visiting a great lighthouse? The Dunkirk Historical Lighthouse & Veterans Park Museum is superb for photo-ops and a glimpse into history through World War I, World War II, and Korean War military artifacts.

Located on Lake Erie, this active lighthouse (previously referred to as Point Gratiot Light) is on the National Register of Historic Places. Its 61-foot tower shines light 27 miles, making Dunkirk one of the most important lighthouses on Lake Erie. 

Fun Fact: The first shot of the 1812 War was fired near the property.


36. Stand on Hallowed Ground

Walk where dozens of brilliant rock and rollers came together in 1969 to play in the most famous concert of all time, Woodstock. At the Bethel Woods Center of the Arts, experience Woodstock through exhibits, hippie buses, song, interactive displays, and fantastic countryside. The outdoor venue holds 15,000 capacity and is still operational.


Don’t miss the selfie opportunities at the scenic overlook where the concert stage was 50 years ago. 


37. Eat Poutine

Many restaurants offer poutine, but Prison City Pub & Brewery in Auburn delivers a dynamic one that makes others suffer by comparison. Perfectly cooked French fries are generously topped with beef, cheese curds, and a creamy, rich sauce that was unbelievable! The dish is then topped with fresh green onion slices. The Abundance Salad bowl, pictured below, is a healthier choice, but every bit as delicious.

Enjoy an award-winning hand-crafted beer while you munch on your poutine.  


38. Take a Cooking Class

New York Kitchen is a gorgeous lakefront property, which is a cooking school, restaurant, and venue dedicated to New York-sourced ingredients. Take a wine tasting class, seafood, pizza-making with kids, cheesecake, or stop by for a tasty meal. The list of courses offered at New York Kitchen is enormous; there is something for everyone.


The dishes I recommend are Rob’s Meatballs (stuffed with fresh mozzarella), Chicken Riggies, and Grilled Chicken & Riesling Salad. 


39. Sleep on a Canal Boat

Rent a canal boat on Skaneateles Lake with Mid-Lakes Navigation and enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Erie Canal. Be the captain of your own canal boat complete with sleeping, dining, and showering facilities, and everything you need to enjoy a unique 3, 4, or 7-night stay. The boats come with bicycles to use when visiting the canal towns along the route. 


40. Explore the Trout Capital

Roscoe is a cute little town in Sullivan County, New York. The hamlet (the word that is used in this region to describe what we know as the town) has cute shops, adorable restaurants, and a noteworthy brewery & distillery.

The Beaverkill and Willowemoc Rivers come together at Roscoe, also known as the Trout Capital of the Catskill Mountains and an ultimate fishing area. The rivers produce healthy populations of rainbow and wild brown trout. 


41. Visit the Zane Grey Museum

A unique museum that we encountered while checking out the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreation River Park was the Zane Grey Museum. This gorgeous place showcases the works by Western author Zane Grey, famous for Riders of the Purple Sage, The Rainbow Trail, and The Lone Star Ranger. The museum displays photos, memorabilia, and Zane Grey books that belonged to the writer. Grey is considered the father of modern westerns. 

Note: The Zane Grey Museum is actually in Lackawaxen Township, Pennsylvania, but it is inches out of the state of New York. 


42. Watch for Bald Eagles

Upper Delaware (or Scenic and Recreational River NY/PA to be official) is a part of the National Park Service. Here, you can test your birding skills as you look for bald eagles, who frequent the area. Thanks to the tall trees, food supply, and clear waters  of the area, this makes for an excellent eagle habitat.  

The Delaware River watershed has the largest number of them wintering in the entire Northeast.


43. See One of the Greatest Waterfalls in the World 

Niagara Falls truly should be one of the Seven Wonders of the World. This glorious display of thrashing waters spanning two countries is a do-not-miss in the United States, let alone upstate New York. Whether you get up close and personal or view from the banks miles away, the beauty of these three waterfalls is dazzling!

Consider viewing from the Niagara Falls State Park, Observation Tower, or take the trails from the Niagara Gorge Discovery Center for some different perspectives. It is truly amazing! 


44. See the Oldest Wire Suspension Bridge in the US

You’ll see a wire suspension bridge that is the oldest (opened in 1849) known in the country at Roebling’s Delaware Aqueduct (aka Roebling Bridge). The bridge runs across the Delaware River from Barryville, New York, to Lackawaxen, Pennsylvania. The bridge was converted to a vehicular bridge, then a toll bridge after the canal closed. Now, it is just picturesque and a cool way to cross state to state for kicks.

Howard and I even made a video driving across the single-lane bridge! In 1968, Roebling’s Delaware Aqueduct was made a National Historic Landmark.


45. Learn about the Fox Sisters

A really cool thing to do in upstate New York is to learn about the Fox Sisters (Leah, Kate, and Margaret). They were the founders of the Spiritual Movement. These three New York sisters used “rappings” to convince one another that they were communicating with spirits.

The Fox Sisters were solely responsible for the creation of modern Spiritualism. You can find the sisters’ transported family cottage at the Lily Dale Assembly, where it fits perfectly. You may be surprised at how their story ends. 


46. Enjoy the Lucy and Desi Museum

A fantastic surprise awaits you in Jamestown at the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Museum & Center for Comedy. You are guaranteed to laugh as you stroll through the lives of America’s funny lady Lucille Ball and her Cuban husband, Desi Arnaz (Ricky Ricardo).


From the recreated set of the I Love Lucy TV show to incredible costumes,  you’re sure to love this museum. Don’t miss filming yourself trying to mimic Lucy’s famous Vitameatavegamin commercial—what a hoot! My favorite was Lucille Ball’s red dress that she wore in the Mame movie. 

Tip: Check out the huge I Love Lucy downtown mural from the episode, “California, Here We Come,” with the cast singing as they drive across the George Washington Bridge on their way out of NYC.


47. Visit a 100+ Year-Old Working Farm

Combine wine and cider at one of the oldest apple orchards in the country at Becker Farms, Vizcarra Vineyards, and Becker Brewing Company, a trifecta operation in upstate Gasport, New York. You’ll also find a wide array of homemade products (pies, jams, cider, fudge) at Becker Farms. In addition, they have a u-pick ’em farm, bakery, onsite restaurant, and live music on occasion.

Becker Farm’s spectacular property, circa 1894, is a popular wedding destination and hosts many school field trips. It even offers kids activities, including a petting zoo. 

48. Enjoy Cocktails in a Quaint Courtyard

Within minutes from the famous Corning Museum of Glass is the Radisson Hotel Corning. The hotel’s outdoor Market Street Social offers a courtyard table for you to enjoy your favorite adult libation. This stylish setting is perfect for visiting the adorable town of Corning.

The Radisson has comfortable rooms, an outdoor hot tub, a huge indoor pool, and tasty onsite restaurant. 


49. Visit Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge

Between Rochester and Syracuse lies Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, a 10,000-acre wildlife preserve operated by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Watch for resting, feeding, and nesting waterfowl and other migratory birds, plus bald eagles, snow geese, and white-tailed deer.

You can camp and hunt on this property under special regulations and with specific permits.


50. See a Gorgeous Waterfall in the Midst of Town

The roaring waters of the 96 feet-tall High Falls over the Genesee River in Rochester is not something you typically see amid a major city. It is stunning! The natural waterfalls of New York’s third most populated city also offers a visitor center and living history museum.

High Falls is located in the historic Brown’s Race neighborhood, where mills and factories once stood. Stroll across the attractive Pont de Rennes Bridge for the best views. 


Upstate New York: A 10/10 Vacation Destination 

With a two-week road trip behind us, Howard and I got a good dose of the beauty and attractions in this amazing part of the country. I didn’t expect my road trip to upstate New York to have so much great history and scenic beauty. I was truly blown away.

There are literally hundreds of things to do in upstate New York, but these 50 should give you a place to start.

Happy travels. 


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. 

What We Drove in Upstate New York

Howard and I made our way through upstate New York in a Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD. It was a perfect and comfortable ride, giving us excellent gas mileage, an awesome stereo to sing along to, and handling the road conditions like a beast! Mazda, you look good in upstate New York!

Pin This Post For Later!


Read more about our upstate New York road trip here:

Things to Do in The Catskills

7 of the Most Haunted Places in New York

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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!


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, toured 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 […]


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!


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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