Ithaca, New York is the MOST underrated place on earth. Everybody always thinks of NYC when they come to New York, but are not aware of the beauty that New York has to offer beyond the city. Ithaca is full of beautiful water and gorges (Ithaca is Gorges) that you can hike around and swim in. It is also located on Cayuga lake, where I would often go to wineries around and also kayak or paddle board in. These are some of my favorite things to do in Ithaca and its surrounding areas:
Ithaca Ale House
This restaurant is located in Downtown Ithaca in Ithaca Commons. They have some delicious dishes that you definitely will not be able to finish in one sitting— I have often made the mistake of ordering too much because everything looks TOO GOOD. Give the Fat Kid Burger a try: It is a burger with GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICHES AS THE BUN! One of my personal favorite dishes is the Buffalo Chicken Spring Rolls. I honestly can have that as my whole meal with a side of fries.
Bandwagon Brew Pub
This place has the most INCREDIBLE fries and dipping sauces— on Wednesdays (I believe—it’s been too long and I forgot) they have discounts on their fries. Try their beer and cider flights, too!
ANY Gorge or Waterfall
In the off-season, you do not have to pay for parking. However, if you do go during the Summer, once you pay for one park, you can get into all of them for the day. Some of my personal favorites are some that you don’t even have to pay for, you can just hike to! The ones you can hike to are First Dam and Second Dam. Although you have to pay at times for Buttermilk Falls and Taughannock Falls, it is SO worth the incredible views.
The BEST Festivals
Ithaca is home to the best festivals I have ever been to. Some include:
- APPLEFEST: I have FOMO everytime I don’t get the chance to go. It is the first weekend of October, and it fills the commons with craft stands, apple-product stands (from the harvest, NOT the technology), and stands from all different restraints around Ithaca.
- Chowder and Chili-Fest: Also what it sounds like— Incredible homemade chowder and Chili (both at different times in the year) all around the commons
- Porchfest: This festival is closer to Cornell. This is what gives the city of Ithaca is unique vibe. Walk around the surrounding neighborhood and blocks, and you will see different music performances happening on porches, frontwards, and parks.
- Woofstock: This festival is at Americana Vineyards in Trumansburg, right outside of Ithaca. It is a fundraiser for dogs and an opportunity to take your dog out to play with others!
Cayuga and Seneca Lake
Cayuga Lake is located closer to Ithaca. I have been kayaking and paddle boarding countless times on this lake. I have also been wine tasting at some incredible wineries around Seneca and Cayuga. I recommend doing a wine tour!
Ithaca Farmers Market
This is quite possibly my favorite place on earth. On the weekends during the Spring, Summer, and Fall, this farmers market is located on Cayuga Lake and sells the freshest produce, along with fresh meals from different cultures and other awesome crafts. They sometimes even have live music!