Immerse Yourself in the Experience of Ithaca, NY
Ithaca Is Unique...
What makes Ithaca unique? Is it the towering waterfalls, lush ice-age gorges, endless panoramic views? Is it the hiking, the biking, the boating? Is it the beauty of Cayuga Lake, the largest of the Finger Lakes? Perhaps.
But perhaps it's something more. Maybe it's the buzz from Cornell University and Ithaca College. You feel it everywhere—in our museums, our galleries, and in our restaurants. You hear it in our theaters, our nightclubs, our Finger Lakes festivals. You see it downtown on our pedestrian mall, the Ithaca Commons, where PhDs cross paths with street musicians and families stroll the solar system on an interactive "planet walk." You experience it in Ithaca's hotels, B&B's and waterfront cabins. You can't put your finger on it, but there's something special going on here. The bumper stickers say "Ithaca is Gorges," but it's more than that. Ithaca is beautiful and smart and always unexpected. It's intense and laid-back and disdainful of convention. Ithaca is Ithaca. There's a vibe here unlike anywhere else in America. And experiencing it is the only way to discover it.
What to Do in Ithaca, NY
- Hiking and Waterfalls - Take a hike to Taughannock Falls, Cascadilla Gorge or any of the 100-plus waterfalls in Ithaca. In the summer, swimming opens at three different waterfalls in the area!
- Wine - Enjoy a Finger Lakes wine tasting experience on the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail, the nation's first wine trail. Cheers!
- Delicious Food - Savor a meal at the famous Moosewood Restaurant; or any of the county's fine eateries. We have more restaurants per capita than NYC.
- Farmers' Market - Come hungry to the sprawling Ithaca Farmers' Market, open on the lakefront every weekend, April-December, and popping up in various Ithaca locations throughout the week.
- Ice Cream Sundaes - Experience the quaint charm of the city that invented the first ice cream sundae.
- Boating - Go boating on Cayuga Lake. You can rent kayaks at Paddle-N-More in Lansing or Puddledockers in Ithaca, or learn about the this Finger Lake's history and ecology in educational cruises with Discover Cayuga Lake.
- Cornell University and Ithaca College - Start at Cornell's Welcome Center and take in the deck overlooking Beebe Lake as well as an exhibit highlighting famous alumni. Due to visitor restrictions during COVID-19, tour experiences have moved online -- you will also find interesting resources such as Cornell's Rare & Manuscripts home of the official Hip Hop Collection.
- Ithaca's Discovery Trail - The Discovery Trail is a partnership of top attractions: the kid-friendly Sciencenter, the world-famous Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the wild animals of the Cayuga Nature Center, the Cornell Botanic Gardens and arboretum, the amazing fossil specimens at the Museum of the Earth, the art collections at Cornell's Johnson Museum, the local artifacts at the History Center and the timely cultural events at the Tompkins Public Library.
- Ithaca Commons - Stroll the Downtown Ithaca Commons, a pedestrian mall that's the heart of the city's vibrant social scene.
- Music - Enjoy free concerts in Ithaca with music ranging from classical to jazz, funk, and more!
- Coffee - Stop by Gimme! Coffee's original location on State Street and enjoy the award-winning coffee by Roast Magazine's "2013 Chosen Roaster of the Year".
"Ithaca is a Finger Lakes destination in and of itself, blending hippie grunge with the buttoned-up Ivy League atmosphere of Cornell University. As a growing number of spinoff slogans will tell you, Ithaca is art, Ithaca is food, and Ithaca is also festivals." -- Lonely Planet
"Perched on the south shores of New York's Lake Cayuga, Ithaca enjoys a youthful vibe and a restaurant and entertainment scene worthy of cities much larger." -- USA Today
"Glaciation blessed it with hundreds of gorges and waterfalls, while the microclimate of the lakes has created fecund wine country, not to mention a passion for watersports and a town-wide obsession with rowing." Among the best towns and small cities in the US. --The Guardian
Featured in Atlas Obscura: Guide to 9 Cool and Unusual Things to Do in Ithaca, NY
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Photo courtesy of Nico Johnson
The Fingers Lake are known for wineries. Ithaca is known for its beers. But the newest, most impressive beverage addition to the region is craft cider, made from New York's most delicious apples and fruits! Come taste yourself!
Explore the many multi-use trails throughout Ithaca & Tompkins County at IthacaTrails.org and plan your next outdoor recreation adventure. Find info about locations, difficulty, mileage, and more!