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5 Things to Do For Family Weekend

Family Weekend marks the midpoint of the semester. It’s a chance to wind down for a weekend and spend some much needed time with the family. And what better place to wind down than Ithaca? Here’s everything you need for an amazing Family Weekend in the Heart of the Finger Lakes. Come for your kid, and stay an extra day for you!

Taughannock Falls Ithaca New York


1. Experience What Makes Ithaca “Gorges”

With over 150 waterfalls and gorges, a trip to Ithaca simply isn’t complete without experiencing a few. Why not take a trip to Taughannock Falls – the tallest waterfall east of the Mississippi (that’s right - taller than Niagara Falls!)? Or you could enjoy a hike through Buttermilk Creek, where the over 500ft tall Buttermilk Falls greets you at the entrance. Robert H. Tremen State Park has a dozen waterfalls six trails through spectacular rocky gorges and wooded sections – perfect for a fall hike. These are just a few of the waterfalls in Ithaca and Tompkins County.

Ithaca Commons walking tour

2. Stroll the Ithaca Commons

Visit the award-winning Downtown Ithaca Commons. A four-block pedestrian shopping area known for its decidedly Ithaca “vibe” with over 100 unique local shops, restaurants, street vendors & street entertainers; and, the best part, it’s adjacent to Cornell University & Ithaca College!

Grab dinner at Coltivare, our farm-to-bistro experiential restaurant, or the legendary Moosewood Restaurant, famous for their vegetarian menu and bestselling cookbooks), or maybe try both on an Ithaca is Foodies walking tour of downtown where you can experience tastings, enough for a full meal at a variety of signature downtown restaurants. Or check out The Watershed for tea and cocktails – soon becoming a local favorite.

Six Mile Creek wine tasting

3. Savor the Finger Lakes Best Wines

Named America’s Best Wine Region in 2018 by USA Today reader's choice poll, the Finger Lakes boasts reds, whites, and rosé that sommeliers rave about as excellent food-friendly wines. While known for our Rieslings, the Finger Lakes is becoming a destination for all craft beverages, with distilleries, breweries, and cideries popping up alongside award-winning wineries. Take in the fall scenery along the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail, America’s first organized and longest running wine trail in the country, or stay closer to town and explore Ports of NY, Six Mile Creek Vineyard, or Liquid State Brewery.

Ithaca New York Farmers Market

4. Go to the Farmers Market

The Ithaca Farmers Market is consistently ranked in Top 10s throughout America – and for good reason. Boasting a gorgeous location at the Steamboat Landing on the Cayuga Inlet, seasonal produce, and local vendors ranging from jewelry to clothing, to any type of prepared and delicious foods you can think of, the Ithaca Farmers Market is an experience all its own. Afterward, take a stroll along the Cayuga Waterfront Trail to either Cass Park or Stewart Park for more gorgeous lake views while enjoying your bounty. 

Cornell Botanic Gardens

5. Visit the Cornell Botanic Gardens

You will forget that you're on a college campus. Don’t miss the Cornell Botanic Gardens as the flowers and foliage prepare for their winter naps. Stroll through the herb and winter gardens or drive through the loops offering a scenic vista of Cornell University and the arboretum. The grounds are open from dawn 'til dusk, year round -- there is no admission fee and parking is free for the first hour.

These are just a few of the happenings in Ithaca during Family Weekend. For more information on these and other events, check out the rest of our site, or call us at the Visitors Center at 607-272-1313.

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The official web site of Ithaca, New York and Tompkins County Convention and Visitors Bureau in the Finger Lakes. Complete guide to Ithaca, NY hotels, attractions, dining, shopping and recreation with maps and driving directions.
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