25 Best Things to Do in Upstate New York

Beautiful nature abounds in Upstate New York; not only is the area home to several stunning mountain ranges, but it also offers sparkling rivers, caves, amusement parks, lakes, cascading waterfalls, and miles and miles of hiking trails. There are plenty of things to do on a rainy day as well – why not check out the Baseball Hall of Fame, visit the historic home of Harriet Tubman, or learn about the history of racing at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. Photo: frank1crayon/Fotolia


»Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum


Baseball is an integral part of American history and culture, and the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is a must-see destination for anyone interested in the history of the sport. The Hall of Fame was first established in 1939, and it now pays homage to more than 300 of the world's greatest baseball players. The hall's iconic red-brick building houses three floors of interactive exhibits, and a tour of all three floors is included in the price of admission. The museum is open every day of the year except for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day. Address: 25 Main St, Cooperstown, NY 13326, Phone: 888-425-5633 Photo: Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

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»Boxing Hall of Fame

Boxing Hall of Fame


The Boxing Hall of Fame was originally constructed to honor Canastota natives Carmen Basilio and Billy Backus, both of whom were boxing world champions, but it has since grown to include boxers and trainers from all over the world. Exhibits feature everything from old photos and promotional posters to boxing gear worn by some of the world's best boxers; the original boxing ring from Madison Square Garden is another major highlight. The museum is open every day of the week, and every June a special induction ceremony is held to honor the sport's past and current champions. Address: 360 N Peterboro St, Canastota, NY 13032, Phone: 315-697-7095 Photo: Boxing Hall of Fame

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»Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum

Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum


Located on a beautiful 35-acre property beside Willowemoc Creek in the Catskill mountain range, the Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum was established to preserve the history of fly fishing and to share important knowledge with future generations of anglers. The museum portion of the center offers a variety of interesting exhibits detailing the heritage of the sport over the years, while the education center is the perfect place to learn about fly tying, casting, and other aspects of fly fishing. The center is open throughout the year, but hours vary according to the season. Address: 1031 Old Rte 17, Livingston Manor, NY 12758, Phone: 845-439-4810 Photo: Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum

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»Fort Ontario

Fort Ontario


Owned and operated by the state of New York, Fort Ontario is an important historic site that was named for its location overlooking Lake Ontario. The original fort was built in 1755, but the building that stands today was constructed in the 1840s and upgraded during the 1860s and early 1870s. Several structures are open to the public, including two officers' quarters, the storehouse, the powder magazine, and the men's barracks. Guided tours are available, but visitors are also welcome to explore the fort on their own and to enjoy the beautiful picnic areas on the grounds. Address: 1 E 4th St, Oswego, NY 13126, Phone: 315-343-4711 Photo: vrabelpeter1/Fotolia

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»George Eastman House

George Eastman House


George Eastman was the founder of the photography company Kodak, so it should come as no surprise that the George Eastman House is home to one of the world's largest collections of photography equipment. The home was built in 1905, and Eastman lived here until his death in 1932. Many of the rooms still house their original furnishings and decorations, and Eastman's bedroom has been converted into an interactive mini-lab that allows visitors to see how photos used to be developed. Guided tours of the home are available Tuesday through Sunday, and tours of the grounds and gardens are offered during the summer. Address: 900 East Ave, Rochester, NY 14607, Phone: 585-327-4800 Photo: jiawangkun/Fotolia

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»George F. Johnson Carousels

George F. Johnson Carousels



Donated to the Greater Birmingham Parks by shoe manufacturer and philanthropist George F. Johnson, the six George F. Johnson Carousels are wood-carved masterpieces that will make you feel like you've stepped back in time. The wood-carved carousels were all installed in the 1920s, and they can be found in six different parks throughout Greater Birmingham. Johnson came from a poor background and wanted his carousels to be accessible to everyone, so anyone who would like to go for a spin is asked to simply pick up a piece of litter instead of paying an admission fee. Photo: StockVizions/Fotolia

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»Harriet Tubman Home

Harriet Tubman Home


Situated on a 26-acre property in Auburn, New York, the Harriet Tubman Home is the place where the leader of the Underground Railroad lived and died in freedom. Tubman donated the home to the AME Zion Church in 1903, and it now stands as a memorial to her valuable life's work. The home is open to visitors between 11am and 4pm from Monday to Friday, and visits can also be arranged on Saturdays by appointment. A small admission fee is charged to view the home, and a special event commemorating Tubman is held here every year on Memorial Day weekend. Address: 180 S Street Rd, Auburn, NY 13021, Phone: 315-252-2081 Photo: mayatnik/Fotolia

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»Lester Park

Lester Park


As an outdoor exhibit of the New York State Museum, Lester Park offers the opportunity to view a fossilized sea floor that dates back to approximately 490 million years ago. The fossils in the park are known as stromatolites, and they were the first fossils of this type to be found in North America. The land has belonged to the museum since 1914, and visitors are prohibited from taking any rocks or plants from the park. There is no admission fee, and visitors can learn more about the history of the area from educational panels placed throughout the site. Address: Lester Park Rd, Greenfield Center, NY 12833, Photo: ChrWeiss/Fotolia

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»Magic Forest

Magic Forest


The Magic Forest amusement park was constructed in 1963, and it remains a relatively unchanged example of the simple funfairs that were popular in days gone by. There are plenty of unique attractions for visitors to enjoy, including old-fashioned carnival rides, a fairytale-themed walk through the woods, and hundreds of life-sized animal statues that can be admired from the park's safari tram. Another popular feature of the park is the unique horse-diving show that runs two months a year. Visitors are welcome to use the picnic area, and the park is open every day between the end of June and Labor Day. Address: 1912 U.S. 9, Lake George, NY 12845, Phone: 518-668-2448 Photo: Magic Forest

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»Marcella Sembrich Opera Museum

Marcella Sembrich Opera Museum


Tucked away in the Adirondack foothills, the Marcella Sembrich Opera Museum is worth a visit even if you aren't a fan of the opera. The museum is housed inside the former studio of 19th century opera star Marcella Sembrich, and it features items like Sembrich's grand piano and other personal possessions, some of her photos and letters, and costumes and other souvenirs from many of her performances. The property sits overlooking beautiful Lake George, and it boasts a number of inviting spots perfect for a picnic lunch. Admission is by donation, and the museum is open between mid-June and mid-September. Address: 4800 Lake Shore Dr, Bolton Landing, NY 12814, Phone: 518-644-2431 Photo: Mihail/Fotolia

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»National Bottle Museum

National Bottle Museum


Many people aren't aware that bottle making was the first major industry in the United States, but the National Bottle Museum is the perfect place to learn about the history of the art. The museum boasts a collection of approximately 2,000 antique bottles, most of which were made by hand before the process was industrialized. In addition to the bottles, visitors can also admire a variety of glassblowing tools and a miniature replica of a glass oven. Glassblowing demonstrations and classes are regularly held in a separate building near the museum, and the museum sponsors a bottle show and auction every June. Address: 76 Milton Ave, Ballston Spa, NY 12020, Phone: 518-885-7589

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»National Center for the History of Electronic Games

National Center for the History of Electronic Games


Part of the Strong National Museum of Play, the National Center for the History of Electronic Games boasts a collection of more than 20,000 electronic games and consoles. The center was established preserve the history of electronic games, to investigate the ways in which they have changed over time, and to explore the impact they have on our society and our daily lives. The exhibits include everything from classic arcade games to prototypes built by electronic games inventors, and many of the consoles in the museum are in working order and available to be played by visitors. Photo: Arthur Palmer/Fotolia

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»National Memorial Day Museum

National Memorial Day Museum


The town of Waterloo is the federally recognized origin of Memorial Day, and the National Memorial Day Museum was created to share the story of this significant day. The museum's interpretative exhibits provide a step-by-step journey that brings visitors from the origins of Memorial Day to modern times; in addition to learning how the day's significance has changed over time, visitors will be introduced to the people who played important roles in its creation. Other highlights of the museum include a period Mourning Room and an exhibit of Civil War artifacts, and hours of operation are Thursday through Saturday between noon and 5pm. Address: 35 E Main St, Waterloo, NY 13165, Phone: 315-539-9611 Photo: Elnur/Fotolia

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»National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame

National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame


Set right across the street from the Saratoga Race Course, the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame is a true celebration of the sport of thoroughbred racing. The museum boasts an extensive collection of artifacts that trace the history of racing from the 18th century to the present day; highlights include trophies from the United States and abroad, a collection of more than 300 paintings, and old racing-themed board games. Visitors can also try out an interactive horse riding simulator and learn about some of the biggest names in the sport over at the Hall of Fame. Address: 191 Union Ave, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866, Phone: 518-584-0400 Photo: National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame

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»National Toy Hall of Fame

National Toy Hall of Fame


One of the most unique halls of fame in the world, the National Toy Hall of Fame is a collection of the best toys of all time. Children are more then welcome here; in fact, the entire museum also serves as a children's play area. The collection includes more than 60 toys, and visitors can also nominate their favorite toy to the hall of fame if they believe something is missing. The hall of fame can be found on the top floor of the Strong National Museum of Play, and admission is included in the general museum admission fee. Address: 1 Manhattan Square Dr, Rochester, NY 14607, Phone: 585-263-2700 Photo: National Toy Hall of Fame

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»National Warplane Museum

National Warplane Museum


Found on the grounds of the Geneseo Airport, the National Warplane Museum is a military history museum that was established in 1994. The museum is best known for restoring and displaying vintage military aircraft that were built during the Second World War; many of the aircraft are airworthy and others are undergoing restoration. The museum is open year round, but the best time to visit is during the annual Geneseo Airshow, which is held over the course of three days every July. Warbirds and other classic aircraft are flown right off the all-grass airstrip, and lucky visitors might even have the chance to chat with the pilots. Address: 3489 Big Tree Ln, Geneseo, NY 14454, Phone: 585-243-2100 Photo: nvphoto/Fotolia

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»Old Erie Canal Heritage Park

Old Erie Canal Heritage Park


Opened in 2016, Old Erie Canal Heritage Park was created to give visitors a chance to see what life was like on the Erie Canal between the late 1800s and the early 1900s. It's easy to feel connected to history while you're here; as soon you enter the park, you'll find yourself walking along the path of the original Erie Canal Lock 52 and seeing your surroundings from the same vantage point as the canal boats of days gone by. The other primary highlight of the park is the Erie House Tavern, which dates back to 1895 and has been fully restored. Address: 1575 Rooker Dr, Port Byron, NY 13140, Phone: 315-730-4495 Photo: Old Erie Canal Heritage Park

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»Old Fort Niagara

Old Fort Niagara


Perched on a bluff overlooking Lake Ontario, Old Fort Niagara is a National Historic Landmark and one of the most popular attractions in the Niagara area. The fort was first built in 1726, and one of its structures holds the honor of being the oldest building on the Great Lakes. Much of the fort has been carefully restored to its original 18th century appearance, but it also features some architecture and fortifications from the late 1700s and even the 1800s. The site is open to visitors throughout the year, and daily programs include film presentations, musket demonstrations, and guided or self-guided tours. Address: Fort Niagara State Park, Porter, NY 14174, Phone: 716-745-7611 Photo: Alexandar Iotzov/Fotolia

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»Seneca Iroquois National Museum

Seneca Iroquois National Museum


Founded to preserve and share the culture and the history of the Seneca and other Iroquois Nations, the Seneca Iroquois National Museum has an excellent selection of permanent and temporary exhibits. Highlights of the permanent exhibits include a partially reconstructed longhouse and an exhibit on the Great Law, while temporary displays cover various other aspects of traditional life. In addition to the exhibits, the museum also features a gift shop that sells handmade items like baskets, jewelry, feather ornaments, and traditional corn husk dolls. Group tours are available by advance reservation, and the museum is open every day of the week except for Sundays. Address: 814 Broad St, Salamanca, NY 14779, Phone: 716-945-1760 Photo: Seneca Iroquois National Museum

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»Star Trek Original Series Tour

Star Trek Original Series Tour


The original Star Trek sets were dismantled in 1969, but the Star Trek Original Series Tour offers the next best thing: the world's most accurate replica of the original sets. The sets were carefully built using the original blueprints, and they look exactly as the original sets did between 1966 and 1969. Tours begin on select dates in April and run until the fall; the highlight of the year is the annual Special William Shatner Event held every May. Tickets can be purchased at the door or online, and plenty of free parking is available outside the studio. Address: 112 Montcalm St, Ticonderoga, NY 12883-1353, Phone: 518-369-9967 Photo: filistimlyanin1/Fotolia

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»Susan B. Anthony Childhood Home

Susan B. Anthony Childhood Home


Constructed in 1832, the Susan B. Anthony Childhood Home is where the famous suffragette lived with her family between the ages of 13 and 19. The visitor center offers fascinating exhibits that cover topics like the many causes championed by Anthony, her early influences, and the trial she faced for voting in 1872. The site is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the museum is open between 11am and 5pm every day of the week except Monday. Groups of more than 12 people are asked to make advance appointments. Address: 17 Madison St, Rochester, NY 14608, Phone: 585-235-6124 Photo: drimafilm/Fotolia

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»The Wild Center

The Wild Center


Nestled in the heart of Adirondack Park, the Wild Center is a natural history center set on a beautiful 81-acre property crisscrossed with miles of trails. Guided trail walks are offered every day in the summer, as are canoe trips down the river that runs through the property. Thanks to an attraction known as the Wild Walk, visitors also have the chance to climb a series of bridges and platforms that rise up above the forest. It's worth making time for the center's indoor exhibits as well; highlights include live animal exhibits and a wide-screen theater that regularly plays interesting films. Address: 45 Museum Dr, Tupper Lake, NY 12986, Phone: 518-359-7800 Photo: The Wild Center

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»Washington's Headquarters State Historic Site

Washington's Headquarters State Historic Site


The first publicly owned historic site in the United States, Washington's Headquarters State Historic Site served as George Washington's residence during the last year of the American Revolutionary War. Washington made some of his most important contributions to the nation on this site, including rejecting the proposal of an American monarchy and ending the infamous Newburgh Conspiracy. Visitors are welcome to explore the on-site museum, take a guided tour of the historic Hasbrouck House, and admire Washington's former office. Hours of operation vary according to the season, but the site offers a variety of special programs for visitors of all ages year round. Address: 84 Liberty St, Newburgh, NY 12550, Phone: 845-562-1195 Photo: Washington's Headquarters State Historic Site

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»Wilder Homestead

Wilder Homestead


Sometimes also called the Boyhood Home of Almanzo Wilder, the Wilder Homestead is the childhood home of Almanzo Wilder, husband of the well-known author Laura Ingalls Wilder. The two-story farmhouse was built in 1843, and the property also features eight outbuildings including three barns, a corn crib, and a pump house. Guests are welcome to make use of the on-site picnic pavilion, and information can be obtained at the site's visitor center. The home has been carefully restored to accurately reflect the period when it was inhabited by Almanzo Wilder, and it's open to visitors every day of the week during the summer. Address: 177 Stacy Rd, Malone, NY 12953, Phone: 518-483-1207 Photo: Wilder Homestead

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»Adirondack Experience

Adirondack Experience


Consisting of 23 buildings spread out over a beautiful 121-acre property, the Adirondack Experience is one of the biggest museums in upstate New York. There are also more than 60,000 square feet of exhibit space to explore, and visitors to the museum will learn all about how people have lived, worked, and played in the Adirondack Mountains over the past two centuries. The museum is open to the public between late May and early October, and during this time it also hosts a variety of interactive workshops, live music performances, antique shows, and other special events. Address: 9097 NY-30, Blue Mountain Lake, NY 12812, Phone: 518-352-7311 Photo: Adirondack Experience


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25 Best Things to Do in Upstate New York