Utica is a lovely city in New York's Mohawk Valley, located along the banks of the Mohawk River at the foot of the majestic Adirondack Mountains. The city, which is New York's 10th-most-populous city, is located just four hours outside of New York City and has turned around its Rust Belt reputation during the 21st century, known today as a melting pot cultural destination that is home to a wide variety of arts institutions.
Visitors can take in theatrical performances at the historic Stanley Theatre, view art exhibits at the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute, or learn about the history of track and field at the National Distance Running Hall of Fame.
1. Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute
© Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute
Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute is a lovely regional fine arts center in Utica, originally founded in 1919. The institute is housed within a gorgeous International-style building designed by architect Philip Johnson for the Brussels' World's Fair of 1958, which has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 2010. It operates three program divisions, including a public Museum of Art, housed next door in the institute's Fountain Elms Building, which showcases extensive collections of European and American art work, including seminal modernist pieces by Picasso, Dali, and Mondrian. Performing arts presentations are held at the institute's 271-seat theater throughout the year, open to the public. The institute also operates a school of art, which offers a variety of courses for art students working across mediums.
310 Genesee St, Utica, NY 13502, Phone: 315-797-0000
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2. The Boehlert Transportation Center at Union Station
The Boehlert Transportation Center at Union Station is an historic Italianate-style train station that has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1975. The gorgeous station, which is named in honor of United States Representative Sherwood Boehlert, was constructed between 1914 and 1914 by New York architects Stem and Fellheimer as a replica of an 1860s-era building. Today, it is serviced by trains from Amtrak and the Adirondack Scenic Railroad, which operates heritage railway excursions between Utica and Holland Patent, Old Forge, and Remsen. The station's stunning architectural elements are on display within its interior, which is home to several restaurants and a full-service barber shop, one of the only barber shops still operating within an American train station today. More things to do in NY
Boehlert Transportation Center, 321 Main St, Utica, NY 13501, Phone: 800-872-7245
3. The Utica Zoo
The Utica Zoo is an American Zoological Association-accredited zoological park in Utica's Roscoe Conkling Park, home to more than 200 animals across a variety of native and exotic species groups. The zoo was originally founded in 1914 and is located on a lot of 80 acres, 40 of which are home to developed animal exhibits. Families can view a wide variety of animal exhibits arranged by continent and habitat, which are home to endangered species like Chinese alligators, Mexican gray wolves, white-handed gibbons, and African lions. Exhibit areas include an African alley, a primate hall, a birds of prey exhibit, and a children's zoo showcasing domestic animals from around the United States and the world. Traveling educational exhibits can often be seen at area events, showcasing animals representing 35 species.
The Utica Zoo, 1 Utica Zoo Way, Utica, NY 13501, Phone: 315-738-0472
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4. Stanley Center for The Arts
Stanley Center for The Arts is the overseeing theater organization of the historic Stanley Theatre, which was opened to the public in 1928 as a silent movie palace in Utica's downtown district. The gorgeous Baroque movie palace was affiliated with Warner Brothers Pictures throughout the 20th century before its abandonment in the mid-1970s, when many of the city's historic theaters were razed as part of the city's Urban Renewal project. After its acquisition by the Central New York Community Arts Council in 1974, it was converted into a performing arts center, used by area groups such as the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute, the Utica Symphony, and the Mohawk Valley Ballet. Throughout its tenure, the center has hosted performing arts legends such as B.B. King, Aretha Franklin, and Diana Ross.
261 Genesee St, Utica, NY 13501, Phone: 315-724-4000
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5. Things to Do in Utica, NY: F.X. Matt Brewing Company
F.X. Matt Brewing Company is a charming family-operated brewery in Utica that is the United States' fourth-oldest family brewery, originally founded in 1888. The award-winning brewery is best known for its famed Saranac line of beers, which include flagship selections like its Adirondack German Amber Lager, Black Forest Bavarian Schwarzbier, Black and Tan Stout-Amber Lager, and Legacy India Pale Ale. Its test beer series, known as the "Beer of the Week" series, has also produced hundreds of experimental and one-off beer varieties. Visitors can stop in at the company's 1888 Tavern for pints of 13 draft beers on tap, including unreleased exclusive pilot beers. Brewery tours are offered throughout the week, showcasing brewing operations.
830 Varick St, Utica, NY 1350, Phone: 315-624-2480
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6. Oneida County Historical Society
© Oneida County Historical Society
Oneida County Historical Society is the official historical society initiative of the Utica and Oneida County regions, originally founded in 1876 to preserve the Upper Mohawk River Valley and Central New York region's history, culture, and legacy. The center operates a gorgeous 5,000-square-foot public museum gallery space in Utica's downtown district, showcasing a collection of over 250,000 documents, books, images, and cultural artifacts connected to the city's people and events. Rotating exhibits focus on topics such as the community's cultural groups, pioneer history, military history, and industry and economics. The center also operates a research library, which can be accessed by area students and historians, and offers weekly programming showcasing guest artists, authors, and historians.
Oneida County Historical Society, 1608 Genesee St, Utica, NY 13502, Phone: 315-735-3642
7. St. Joseph and St. Patrick Church
© St. Joseph and St. Patrick Church
St. Joseph and St. Patrick Church is an historic Roman Catholic church complex located in Utica's downtown district, consisting of four buildings constructed in the 1870s, including the main church building, which was constructed in 1871 in the German Romanesque architectural style and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is older than any other diocese in New York State other than the diocese of New York City, organized as early as 1826. Visitors can tour the church's beautiful architecture throughout the week as part of self-guided tours and explore its other buildings, including its 1885 St. Joseph's Parochial School, 1906 St. Joseph's Parochial Residence, and 1891 Parish Convent Building.
702 Columbia St, Utica, NY 13502, Phone: 315-735-4429
8. The National Distance Running Hall of Fame
© The National Distance Running Hall of Fame
The National Distance Running Hall of Fame honors the history of distance running in the United States and the legacy of the sport's greatest figures. The hall was originally established in 1998 in Utica due to the city's connection to the prestigious Boilermaker Road Race, one of the United States' largest 15-kilometer road races, which attracts thousands of runners each year. Each year, the hall of fame inducts some of the sport's greatest runners, coaches, donors, and other public figures as part of an annual ceremony at the city's Stanley Theatre. International athletes such as Grete Waitz and Priscilla Welch are showcased alongside regional and national runners in exhibits at the hall's public exhibits, which showcase photography, video, and artifacts connected to the sport's history.
114 Genesee Street, Utica, NY 13502, Phone: 315-724-4525
9. Players of Utica
© Players of Utica
Players of Utica is New York State's oldest community theater, opened to the public in 1913 in Utica's downtown district. The theater, which was originally founded as the Amusement Club, is one of the five oldest community theaters in America, presenting performances in nearby New Hartford through 1999. Following a fire, the company moved its theater location to Utica opening a brand-new theater complex on the corner of the city's Mandeville and State Streets in 2003. Today, it presents a full slate of theatrical presentations throughout the year, ranging from Broadway musicals and dramas to concerts and children's theater presentations. Past performances have included favorite titles like Oklahoma!, South Pacific, and Death of a Salesman.
1108 State St, Utica, NY 13502, Phone: 315-724-7624
10. The Tailor and The Cook
© The Tailor and The Cook
The Tailor and The Cook is a delicious New American restaurant in Utica's downtown district, overseen by childhood best friends and business partner duo Tim Hardiman and Chris Talgo. The restaurant is housed within an historic building on the city's Genesee Street, which formerly housed the city's UTK Tailoring Company. It prioritizes sustainable cooking practices and crafts all of its dishes with locally-sourced, fresh ingredients selected in season. Unique dishes are served up in a warm, inviting atmosphere, showcased on a weekly rotating a la carte or four-course prix fixe menu. Menus rotate frequently, but often showcase favorites like blue crab seafood Newburg, lamb kofta with baba ghanoush and pistachio, beef tenderloin au poivre with white truffle mash and cognac cream, and sesame-crusted crispy bao braised pork shoulder.
94 Genesee St, Utica, NY 13502, Phone: 315-624-3663
11. Nail Creek Pub and Brewery
© Nail Creek Pub and Brewery
Nail Creek Pub and Brewery strives to bring craft brews to the Mohawk Valley, housed within an historic three-family dwelling in Utica's downtown district that dates back to the early 20th century. The company, which was founded in 2008, showcases an ever-changing draft list of local craft brews from New York and regional breweries, served up on tap from the pub's bar. An aging cellar also showcases a wide variety of specialty beers, including barrel-aged stouts and sours. Extensive liquor lists feature an impressive selection of fine scotch, whiskey, and rare premium wines. Creative pub fare served up throughout the day includes Mediterranean grilled cheese sandwiches, shrimp po'boys, and pimento cheese burgers.
720 Varick St, Utica, NY 13502, Phone: 315-793-7593
12. Things to Do in Utica, NY: Motus
Motus is a delightful modern American gastropub in Utica's downtown district, helmed by executive chef duo Vincent Petronio and JD Smith. The restaurant showcases avant-garde dishes on seasonally-changing menus, crafted from the finest local ingredients. Diners can choose from a wide variety of inventive house specialties at lunch and dinner throughout the week, including favorites like housemade semolina pasta platters with French shallots and house-ground chili, chicken roulade with parsley butter and marcona almonds, porter-battered cod with house-cut boardwalk fries, and paella a la marinara service for two filled with littleneck clams and scallops. Shareable appetizers include elegant selections like beet Napoleon and cheesesteak poutine.
234 Genesee St, Utica, NY 13502, Phone: 315-624-9090
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Ventura's was founded in 1943 by married duo Marie and Rufus Ventura and has been one of Utica's most beloved dining institutions for more than 75 years. The restaurant has been a favorite of New York Yankees players and enthusiasts since its opening, hosting the likes of legends like Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, and Whitey Ford throughout its tenure in the city's downtown. Diners can enjoy a wide variety of classic pasta entrees served up throughout the week at lunch and dinner, including favorites like homemade cannelloni, fettuccine alfredo, ziti al forno, and linguine con vongole. Land and sea entrees range from classics like cotolette di pollo to seafood platters stuffed with shrimp, haddock, scallops, and frog legs.
787 Lansing St, Utica, NY 13501, Phone: 315-732-8381
14. Things to Do in Utica, NY: 72 Tavern and Grill
© 72 Tavern and Grill
72 Tavern and Grill is a delicious sports bar in Utica's Adirondack Bank Center, serving as a one-stop destination for enjoying the city's best pub food and sports' biggest weekly games. The restaurant, which is helmed by the ORB Food and Beverage Group, is the first of its kind in the Mohawk Valley to feature a 160-inch high-definition LED video wall, which broadcasts NFL, NHL, NCAA, and other weekly national sporting events. Diners can enjoy excellent pub fare throughout the week served up from the restaurant's bar, including favorites like grass-fed avocado burgers, signature steak hoagies, bourbon-drenched pork chops with peaches and sweet onions, and havarti and fontina grilled cheese sandwiches. Shareable appetizers include mahi mahi tacos, buffalo chicken nachos, and platters of tavern wings drenched in a choice of creative sauces.
400 Oriskany St W, Utica, NY 13502, Phone: 315-801-7272
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15. Woodland Farm Brewery
© Woodland Farm Brewery
Woodland Farm Brewery is a craft brewery that proudly brews traditional beer styles with an emphasis on barrel aging and lagers. The brewery's tap list features numerous varieties ranging from happy IPAs and European-inspired easy-drinking lagers to high-octane and malty brews, along with nearly every variety in between. At the Woodland Farm Brewery in Utica, visitors can sample the many beers, take a look at the barrels and brewing operations, and have a bite to eat. The menu is focused on quality, fresh ingredients and includes the brewery’s twist on pub food, such as pizzas, sandwiches, burgers, and the tot waffle.
6002 Trenton Rd, Utica, NY 13502, 315-864-3051
16. Utica Memorial Auditorium
© Arturs Stiebrin¸s/stock.adobe.com
Built in 1959 by the City on the old Erie Canal, the Utica Memorial Auditorium takes advantage of a central location and showcases its diversity. It continues today to be a premier entertainment venue in New York, hosting a wide variety of local, state, and national entertainment programming that ranges from family shows to concerts to sports. Just a few of the numerous performers who have taken the stage at Utica Memorial Auditorium include Kenny Rogers, ZZ Top, Bruce Springsteen, The Grateful Dead, Phish, Avenged Sevenfold, and Godsmack. The Ice Capades and the Harlem Globetrotters have also made appearances here.
Utica Memorial Auditorium, 400 Oriskany St W, Utica, NY 13502, 315-790-9070
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