Watertown, New York is full of a wide variety of things to do that will keep visitors busy for a day trip or a weekend. The town offers many opportunities for outdoor activities and to learn more about the history of the region. There are several places for entertainment, recreation centers, historic sites, rivers, parks, and more for a fun-filled and memorable visit to Watertown, such as viewing a variety of animals at the New York State Zoo or sampling the freshest apple cider and cider donuts around.
1. Burrville Cider Mill
© Burrville Cider Mill
The Burrville Cider Mill in Watertown, New York is one of the oldest establishments in Jefferson County, built back in the year 1801. Guests are greeted with the smell of some of the best apple cider in the North Country, as well as freshly made cider donuts. At the Burrville Cider Mill, visitors watch as the delicious, crisp New York apples are made into apple cider or snack on cider and donuts as they take in the beautiful view of the 30-foot waterfall. The Burrville Cider Mill is open to visitors from Labor Day weekend through the day before Thanksgiving.
18176 County Rd 156, Watertown, NY 13601, Phone: 315-788-7292
2. New York State Zoo at Thompson Park, Watertown, NY
The New York State Zoo encompasses thirty-two acres of Watertown’s Thompson Park and is the world’s only zoo dedicated to the wild animals of the state of New York, as well as wild places with animals that were at one time native to the state. Visitors can get up close to black bears, climb an authentic Adirondack fire tire, view the rare wolverines and their playful antics, and much more. Along with the ecosystems in the New York State Zoo built around these native New York State animals, the grounds also include a Butterfly House and the Olmsted Pond surrounded by wildflowers.
1 Thompson Park, Watertown, NY 13601, Phone: 315-782-6180
3. Public Square, Watertown, New York
The Public Square in the town of Watertown, New York is an open area located in the center of the town, designated on the National Register of Historic Places as the Public Square Historic District. The square is where the town began, stretching outward from the site, with many of the establishments and buildings surrounding the Public Square dating back more than one hundred years. There is also a historic, well-maintained small park featuring a number of historic statues, offering a great place to relax for a while, and is a particularly beautiful spot during the holidays.
1200 Franklin St, Watertown, NY 13601, Phone: 315-785-7775
4. Soldiers and Sailors Civil War Monument
The Soldiers and Sailors Civil War Monument is located within the Public Square in Watertown and was built back in 1891 to honor the residents of North Country who fought during the Civil War. This historic monument stands at fifty feet in height and was constructed out of granite. On top of the column is an “allegorical figure of Victory.” The monument also features commemorative bronze plaques along the west and east elevations and a bronze sailor and soldier on the south and north sides. The Soldiers and Sailors Civil War Monument was repaired, stabilized, and cleaned in 2012.
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5. Honor the Mountain Monument
© North Country Honors the Mountain
The Honor the Mountain Monument is a centerpiece of the beautiful and historic Thompson Park, constructed in Tower Square. The monument was designed, built, and then unveiled on July 1st of 2016 to serve as a lasting statement by the community of North Country of connection and gratitude towards the service and sacrifice of the soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division, as well as their family members, along with the Fort Drum Civilian Workforce. Since it was reactivated in 1985 at Fort Drum, the Tenth Mountain Division has been the United States Army’s most deployed unit.
34 Thompson Park, Watertown, NY 13601
6. The Crystal Restaurant, Watertown, New York
© The Crystal Restaurant
The Crystal Restaurant is the oldest restaurant in Watertown, New York, opened back in 1925. The locally owned and operated dining establishment replaced the early saloons that once occupied the town’s Public Square during the turn of the 19th century. Originally owned by Jerry and Dennis Valanos, the Dephtereos family bought the restaurant in 1943, continuing the belief of offering good meals at fair prices to everyone. Today, The Crystal Restaurant is still a thriving part of the old Watertown.
87 Public Square, Watertown, NY 13601, Phone: 315-782-9938
7. Dry Hill Ski Area
© Aleksandra Suzi/stock.adobe.com
Enter a winter wonderland of skiing, night skiing, snowboarding, and even snow-tubing at the Dry Hill Ski Area. This affordable family winter sports destination is conveniently located just a quick drive to the south of Watertown and offers a tremendous amount of fun for all of those looking to get have a great time in the snow. Dry Hill features three beginner runs, three intermediate runs, and one advanced run with a vertical drop of 300 feet, ensuring that there’s something for every skill level. Onsite lodging is available for guests who want to make a weekend out of their trip to Dry Hill, along with an onsite restaurant and food and bar kiosks.
18160 Alpine Ridge Road, Watertown, New York 13601, Phone: 315-782-8584
8. Art's Jug Restaurant, Watertown, New York
© Art's Jug Restaurant
Art's Jug Restaurant in Watertown, New York is another one of the Sboro family’s restaurants and has been a part of the local community since 1933. Four generations of this restaurant family have carried on the same business principles and traditions that have helped Art’s Jug become a popular destination for dining in northern New York. The restaurant’s menu has expanded over the years, specializing in Italian cuisine and including pizza, prime rib, veal, chicken, seafood, and steaks.
820 Huntington St, Watertown, NY 13601, Phone: 315-782-9764
9. Maggie's, Watertown, New York
Located within a brick three-story building that once contained the Watertown Thermometer Company, Maggie’s on the River features all of the warehouse charm of the building’s exposed beams and original brick walls, but has been restored to provide an excellent setting for a memorable dining experience. Maggie’s overlooks the Black River, a popular destination for kayaking for testing skills with the “Hole Brothers” rapids, located just right outside near the restaurant’s deck. The restaurant is known for serving some of the best burgers in town, however, the menu also includes an array of appetizers, soups, gourmet salads, and steaks.
500 Newell St, Watertown, NY 13601, Phone: 315-405-4239
10. Jean's Beans, Watertown, New York
© Jean's Beans
Jean’s Bean in the Upstate town of Watertown, New York was established back in 1953, owned and operated by the Fuller-Bowman family since it originally opened. Originally operating in multiple locations, the remaining Jean’s Beans is famous for its freshly made salads, fish fry, baked beans, doughnuts, and rolls. Each item on the menu is made fresh every day on the premises without any preservatives. The restaurant’s origins come from a French chef by the name of Jean who peddled his soon famous baked beans during the early part of the twentieth century along the streets of Syracuse, New York.
259 Eastern Blvd, Watertown, NY 13601, Phone: 315-788-7460
11. Sci-Tech Center
© Sci-Tech Center
There is a wealth of knowledge and wonder to behold at the Sci-Tech Center. The Sci-Tech Museum is home to over 40 incredible and interactive exhibits across a 3,6000-foot facility, all of which are designed with one goal in mind: to spark the imagination and interests of all visitors no matter what their age. Sci-Tech is the only hands-on science center in the entire Northern New York area, meaning guests can be certain that when it comes to this part of the state, you’re getting a one-of-a-kind experience. Tours can be booked for groups and the museum even offers party packages for children with a distinct love for science.
154 Stone Street, Watertown, New York 13601, Phone: 315-788-1340
12. Boots Brewing Company
© Boots Brewing Company
Who says only big breweries can deliver tremendous flavor? Boots Brewing Company does this and more from their small-scale craft brewery and taproom in Upstate New York. Located in Historic Downtown Watertown’s recently renovated Lincoln Building, Boots Brewing Company tells a story with every pint they serve. More importantly, they pay special attention to each batch they brew as the brewmasters here have an unwavering and uncompromising dedication to craft brewing. Sample several beers at their taproom like the Stag and Stars, an Irish dry stout, or the Battle Buddy, an American pale ale. No matter what your preference is when it comes to beer, Boots Brewing Company is sure to have you covered with twelve beers on tap and six available on deck.
89 Public Square, Watertown, New York 13601, Phone: 315-405-8395
13. Yellow Barn Winery
If you’re tired of the same old winery experience and want to try something new, look no further than the Yellow Barn Winery. Although the winery was opened in 2006, the building that it’s housed in dates back to the 1800s and was actually once a horse farm and dairy farm. Today, the 500 acres of farmland have been transformed into vineyards, and the 5 acres that the barn sits on is now the home of a classy tasting room and gift shop. Relax in the barn-style setting of the winery while sampling the exemplary wines that the Yellow Barn has to offer. The winery is open from Friday to Monday, starting noon until 5 pm in the afternoon, and offers a variety of white and red wines for sale and sampling.
18876 County Route 66, Watertown, New York 13601, Phone: 315-782-1824
14. Things to Do in Watertown, New York: The Escape Works Inc.
If you’ve never tried an escape room, now’s the time to give it a go with The Escape Works Inc. With an interactive and personal aspect, escape rooms will allow your strengths and the strengths of others to come into play as you work together with your companions to solve mysteries, puzzles, and find clues to achieve the common goal of making it out of your escape room. The Escape Works features several themes such as The Family Fortune, The Bank Heist, The Ship, The Safe Zone, CSI Room, and more. Although rooms may sometimes be open to walk-ins, it is best to book in advance to ensure that you get the room theme of your choice.
140 Stone Street, Watertown, New York 13601, Phone: 315-771-0787
15. Roswell P. Flower Monument
Pay tribute to the only native northern New Yorker to have been voted as governor of New York at the Governor Roswell P. Flower Monument. The monument was revealed to the public in 1902 and stands tall at 18 feet in the Historic District’s Public Square. Magnificent and worthy of photos, the statue was designed and built by August and Louis Saint Gaudens, while the granite pedestal on which the statue stands was crafted by Henry Bacon. The best way to enjoy this historic monument is to make it a stop on a leisurely trip through Watertown’s Downtown area, with other historic and scenic stopovers along the way.
Downtown, Watertown, New York 13601, Phone: 315-785-7705
16. Zero Latency New York
© Mariia Korneeva/stock.adobe.com
Technology has definitely come a long way and it’s brought another level of gaming experiences to the public. At Zero Latency, avid gamers can take on various challenges that are so realistic it’ll feel like you’ve been transported to another galaxy. Home to all kinds of virtual reality games, guests at Zero Latency can expect to be outfitted with a reality-altering VR headset, an ultra-performance VR computer housed in a lightweight backpack, and a pick-up controller that delivers pinpoint accuracy for players to engage with their chosen game’s virtual world. Several game options are available to guests including Far Cry, Sol Raiders, Undead Arena, Zombie Survival, and Mission Maybee. Make sure to an appointment ahead of time to avoid disappointment.
Salmon Run Mall, Watertown, New York 13601, Phone: 315-804-0569
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17. Watertown Golf Club
© New Africa/stock.adobe.com
For golf lovers traveling to or passing by Watertown, the Watertown Golf Club, fondly referred to as “The Park”, is a must-play course. The course can be found in the center of Watertown's historic Thompson Park and features 18-holes set across a rare and challenging layout characterized by strategically located bunkers, rolling fairways, and several sets of tees. Tee times can be booked ahead of time with the club which is open seven days a week. Make sure to stop by the clubhouse and restaurant after your time on the course to wind down and tuck into a great meal.
1 Thompson Park, Watertown, New York 13601, Phone: 315-782-4040