For such a small town, Lake Placid, NY has a surprising range of activities, hotels and things to do due to its location in the heart of Adirondack Mountains, one of the most picturesque and beautiful regions in the country.
With dense old forests, crystal clear lakes, towering mountain peaks, waterfalls, and gorges, nature has been very generous to this beautiful destination. Here are the best things to do in Lake Placid, NY on your weekend getaway from NYC.
1. Mirror Lake
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The Village of Lake Placid is breathtakingly beautiful even without serene Mirror Lake with its clear reflection of stately trees and the quaint town. No motor vehicles are allowed on the lake so it is always peaceful and quiet, perfect for leisurely paddling in your kayak or canoe. There is a beautiful 2.7-mile path all around the lake, allowing walkers not only to enjoy the views of the lake and surrounding forests but also to get to know the town better.
There is a lovely little beach on one end, which is the starting point of the swimming portion of the Ironman Triathlon. You will also pass the Winter Toboggan Chute, perfect for sledding in the winter. Once the Mirror Lake is frozen, it becomes one large skating rink for the whole town to enjoy. Kids and adults too love to slide down Toboggan Shute and end up on the ice covering the lake. More New York Lakes
Mirror Lake Drive, Lake Placid, NY 12946, View Map
2. Mount Jo
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Mount Jo is a 2876-foot mountain in the Adirondacks in the High Peaks region about seven miles from Lake Placid. At the foot of the mountain are the historic Adirondack Loj and lovely Heart Lake. Two trails lead to the mountain summit, a short and steep one and another that is considered easy. However, don’t be fooled – it is only easy if you are in very good shape.
But, compared to other mountain hikes in the Adirondacks, Mount Jo is a good introduction and preparatory workout. It is about 2.6 miles round trip on a well-maintained trail. It is especially beautiful during fall when the trees are bursting with colors. The climb, which takes about one hour, ends with a 360 degree-view of the High Peaks Region and Mount Marcy, Cascade Mountain, Indian Pass, and Algonquin Peak. View Map
3. Adirondack Scenic Railroad
© Adirondack Scenic Railroad
Adirondack Scenic Railroad is located in the Adirondack Park and operates on the tracks of the former New York Central Railroad Company that go through the scenic Adirondack Mountains between Utica and Lake Placid. The railroad is operated and maintained by the not-for-profit Adirondack Railroad Preservation Society. Most of their staff members are volunteers passionate about preserving this important piece of American history.
They organize a range of fun excursions such as Beer and Wine train, a fun trip in the air-conditioned train cars that take passengers through some of the most beautiful scenery in the country while they are enjoying great beers and wines with music and snacks. A Loomis Gang Train Robbery is a re-enactment of the famous robbery by the dangerous Loomis gang that kids will love. The railroad tracks are used for trains in spring, summer, and fall and as trails in the winter.
321 Main St , Utica, NY 13501, USA, Phone: 800-819-2291, View Map
4. ADK Aquatics
© ADK Aquatics
Lake Placid is magnificent from any vantage point, but really the best way to see and enjoy it is by being on it. Whether you just want a leisurely boat tour or are an adrenaline junky and need a bit of speed, ADK Aquatics has plenty of fun planned for you with their wakeboard, waterski, tubing, and wakesurfing. Whether you are highly experienced in watersports or are trying it for the first time, they will give you one-on-one training by one of their highly experienced instructors.
Gliding over the clear lake waters with the nearby towering White Mountain is an experience you will never forget. If you prefer more leisurely pursuits, try tubing while being towed by the ADK’s world class Super Air Nautique towboat. Each trip includes a visit to one of the great Adirondack camps, and you will also hear stories about the history of the lake and the mountains.
35 Victor Herbert Rd, Lake Placid, NY 12946, USA, Phone: 518-524-9767, View Map
More ideas: New York Beaches
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5. Bobsled Experience
© Bobsled Experience
Imagine sliding at breakneck speed in a tiny bobsled down the track used in 1980 by the Olympic bobsled athletes, the best bobsledders in the world! All the facilities Olympic athletes used during the Olympic Games held in 1980 in the Whiteface Mountains are still in use today, and you can, just for a while, pretend to be one of those athletes.
Sitting between the professional bobsled driver and brakeman, you will start at the half- track normally used by professional sliders from all over the world. The speed and the rumble of the sled will take your breath away, and you will love every moment.
Bobsled Experience, 87 Bobsled Run Rd, Lake Placid, NY 12946, USA, Phone: 518-523-4436, View Map
6. Brewster Peninsula Nature Trails
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In summer or winter, Brewster Peninsula Nature Trails are great for stretching your legs, snowshoeing, mountain biking, running, hiking, cross country skiing, or just strolling along and enjoying the nature and the view of the lake. It starts at the gate with Corridor Trail, which starts by going down slightly and continues to descend until it flattens out at the point where it meets three other trails.
It is about .75 miles long, and it takes less than 15 minutes to walk it. Lake Shore Trail goes along the shore of Lake Placid, ending at a dam. It is fairly rocky and uneven but great fun and quite scenic. It is 0.4m long, adding up to 15 minutes of travel time. You can also take Boundary Trail and Ridge Trail.
Peninsula Way, Lake Placid, NY, View Map
7. Herb Brooks Arena
© Herb Brooks Arena
Lake Placid Herb Brooks Arena became a household name all over the world when the US men's hockey team took the gold medal after winning the game against the Soviet Union. There were other miracles in this wonderful arena with three indoor and one outdoor skating arenas – 16-year-old figure skater Sonja Henie became an Olympic gold medalist in 1932, local Jack Shea and his teammate Irving Jaffee won two gold medals the same year, and in 1980 Eric Heiden won five.
It is also a place where locals can skate all winter long and occasionally bump into one of the great skaters such as Scott Hamilton or Rachel Flatt. Every year, this 7,700-seat arena named after the Miracle on Ice coach proudly hosts international and national figure skating competitions, Stars on Ice hockey, and many other events.
2634 Main St, Lake Placid, NY 12946-3648, Phone: 518-523-1655, View Map
More ideas: Weekend Getaways from NYC
8. High Falls Gorge
© High Falls Gorge
Only a short drive from Lake Placid and about a mile from Whiteface Mountain Ski Resort are four magnificent waterfalls spilling over rocks into a dark deep crevice that nature carved over a billion years ago. There is a half-hour trail to the Gorge that is easy and suitable for anyone, and it is by far the most beautiful trail in the area.
You will cross over sturdy bridges, walk on glass floor walkways, and stroll along nicely groomed paths and trails. There is even a wheelchair accessible path. An easy half mile round trip along the nicely maintained trail brings visitors to steel bridges and precarious walkways from which they have a close view of the falls. High Falls Gorge is equally fascinating in the winter, but you will need a pair of snowshoes or Yaktrax to see the waterfall’s ice formations.
4761 NY-86, Wilmington, NY 12997, USA, Phone: 518-946-2278, View Map
9. Olympic Ski Jump Complex
Since Lake Placid is commonly known as America’s winter sports capital, you’ve got to stop by the Olypmic Ski Jump Complex during your visit. View the giant ski jump structures used in the Winter Olympics while enjoying other activities available in the area. The ski jumps are massive— standing at over 100 meters tall— and are still used today by experienced athletes. Time it right and you may catch athletes displaying their talents as they fly great distances and flip through the air. While the jumps are too dangerous for everyday visitors, you can still get your share of thrills by riding the ziplines adjacent to the ski jumps.
As you ride it, you’ll almost feel like you’re flying off the ski jump yourself. Visitors may also ride the scenic gondolas up to the base of the ski jump towers or check out the beautiful sky deck where you’ll find sweeping views of Lake Placid.
Olympic Ski Jump Complex, 2634 Main Street, Lake Placid, New York 12946, Phone: 518-523-1655, View Map
10. Jackrabbit Trail
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The 50 km long Jackrabbit Trail that was founded in 1986 offers a great opportunity for scenic and fun cross-country ski touring. The trail, which stretches from Keene, Lake Placid, and Saranac Lake to Paul Smith, connects populated areas and four ski centers, and it includes longer sections of fun wilderness skiing.
Adirondack Ski Touring Council members are in charge of the construction and maintenance of the Jackrabbit Trail. Skiers do not have to pay a trail fee while passing through Whiteface Club, Cascade Cross-Country Ski Center, and Lake Placid Club trails if they stick to the well-marked jack Rabbit Trail. Snowshoeing is allowed, and the best snowshoeing is on the section of Old Mountain Road between Whiteface Inn Lane and the lean-to and between McKenzie Pond Road and McKenzie Pond. More ideas: Weekend Getaways from NYC
Lake Placid, New York 12946, Phone: 518-523-1365, View Map
11. John Brown Farm
© John Brown Farm
John Brown Farm in North Elba, Lake Placid is the home of John Brown, the Underground Railroad conductor and insurrectionist who moved to the Adirondack Mountains in the hopes of establishing a community where freed slaves and abolitionists could live in peace and work on land. After assaulting the U.S. Arsenal at Harper's Ferry, Brown was captured, imprisoned and hanged on December 2, 1859.
He was buried in front of his home in North Elba on December 8, 1859. HIs simple 1855 house is still furnished with period furniture and personal belongings that belonged to the Brown family. Visitors are invited to look around and enjoy beautiful trails in the surrounding area. This National Historic Landmark and New York State Historic Site occasionally has special events, lectures, and Civil War encampments.
John Brown Farm, 115 John Brown Rd, Lake Placid, NY 12946, USA, Phone: 518-523-3900, View Map
12. Lake Placid Olympic Museum
© Lake Placid Olympic Museum
Lake Placid is the only place in North America to have hosted two Winter Olympics. The Lake Placid Olympic Museum celebrates both the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics and their effect on Lake Placid and the region.
Located in the Olympic Center in Lake Placid, the museum, which opened in 1994, holds a diverse collections of objects linked to the games such the "Fram III" bobsled from the 1932 Olympic Games, the skates used by Jack Shea in 1932, and various memorabilia from the 1980 hockey team Miracle on Ice. The museum hosted the Olympic torch when it went around the United States before the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, and it hosts annual Lake Placid film forum.
2634 Main St, Lake Placid, NY 12946, USA, Phone: 518-302-5326, View Map
13. Lake Placid Sleigh Rides
© Lake Placid Sleigh Rides
There is something romantic about gliding along a snowy path through the forest in a sleigh pulled by a couple of wonderful horses.
Lake Placid Sleigh Rides will take you to explore the Olympic Village while sipping a cup of hot cocoa. During the day, you will have fantastic views of the High Peaks, Sentinel ranges and the Ski Jumps. On a crisp, clear night, you will be able to see millions of stars while snuggled under a warm blanket. With lanterns to light the way, you won’t be able to find more romance in the mountains.
The sleighs are pulled by healthy, strong Belgian draft and Clydesdale horses, which will happily pull the sleigh through the scenic The Lake Placid Club, over small hills, through the fields and forest, and over many streams. The experience is equally unforgettable whether the light snow is falling over the path or the fields are covered in wildflowers.
2830 Wilmington Rd, Lake Placid, NY 12946, USA, Phone: 518-241-3388
14. Algonquin Mountain
Are you an experienced hiker? Step up to the challenge and climb up Algonquin Mountain during your visit to Lake Placid. Holding the spot of the second tallest mountain in New York, Algonquin Mountain will put any hiker’s skills to the test and generously reward you with the most breathtaking views from its summit. While the hike is relatively short (4.3 miles to reach the top), the climb up continuously grows steeper and steeper reaching a total of nearly 3,000 feet in elevation gain.
Along the way to the top, you’ll come across several sights to admire such as the Mclntyre Falls waterfall, the former Marcy Dam, and a lot of alpine vegetation. Algonquin Mountain hosts most of its visitors during the summer, and offers free parking to its guests. While less popular, heavily experienced climbers may also take the extra challenge of climbing up the mountain during winter given they have all necessary safety equipment.
Adirondack Loj Rd, Lake Placid, New York 12946, View Map
15. Lake Placid-North Elba Historical Society Museum
© Lake Placid-North Elba Historical Society Museum
While enjoying all the sights, tastes, and sounds of present-day Lake Placid, take a visit to this museum to learn more about the area’s rich history together with that of North Elba. Everything about the museum is characterized by history from its diverse range of artifacts, to its founding history, to its very building. The society which created the museum and shares its name, was founded over 70 years ago, and has been passionately documenting and preserving the community’s history for the benefit of its residents and visitors.
The museum as well as the society found their home in the former Penn Central Railroad Train Station, making its location truly unique and interesting to visit. Children and adults alike will enjoy viewing thousands of historical materials including books, photographs, period clothing, and more. While visiting, be sure to check out the Stedman and Moses Collection of Glass Plate Negatives where you’ll see how Lake Placid looked and changed throughout 1898 to 1940.
242 Station Street, Lake Placid, New York 12946, Phone: 518-523-3830,
16. The Spa at Mirror Lake Inn
© The Spa at Mirror Lake Inn
If you’re looking for the most luxurious and relaxing experience to go with the stunning views of Lake Placid, look no further than The Spa at Mirror Lake Inn. With its long list of awards including a AAA Four Diamond Award, its easy to understand why it’s regarded as the most popular spa in the area. Get ready to be pampered with their impressive range of treatments. Give yourself a new look with a manicure, pedicure, or hair treatment at their salon, or experience complete relaxation through any of their 1 to 4 hour spa and facial packages.
For those looking to cater to their health and wellness, The Spa also offers cryotherapy as well as salt therapy. Their fitness center is also worth visiting with its 60-foot indoor lap pool, whirlpool, sauna, gym, and yoga studio. After availing their services, clients are also welcome to use the well-equipped men’s and women’s sanctuaries. Be sure to book your appointment in advance before visiting! More info
77 Mirror Lake Drive, Lake Placid, New York 12946, Phone: 518-523-2544, View Map
17. Boots and Birdies Miniature Golf
© Devin Allphin/stock.adobe.com
Create meaningful memories with your family by visiting Boots and Birdies Miniature Golf. Being family owned and operated itself, Boots and Birdies knows the importance of family bonding and aims to offer its visitors with the best opportunities to do so.
Challenge each other to some friendly competition (and laughs along the way) by playing through the 18-hole miniature golf course. As you play your way across the whimsical western-themed course, you’ll also have the opportunity to enjoy the wonderful views of the Adirondack mountains. After the game, children can then test their luck and hunt for gemstones, fossils, and other treasures at the custom-built mining sluice for a truly western experience.
Boots and Birdies Miniature Golf, 1991 Saranac Avenue, Lake Placid, New York 12946, Phone: 518-837-5309, View Map
18. Adirondack Foot Sanctuary
© Adirondack Foot Sanctuary
Aptly named, the Adirondack Foot Sanctuary truly is a haven to relax and rejuvenate your feet! Sit back and pamper your feet to any of their professionally and therapeutically designed treatments. The Adirondack Foot Sanctuary puts your well-being first with completely natural ingredients and aromas— all intentionally selected to target certain aspects of your health and inner wellness.
Choose from any of their standard treatments such as the Athlete’s Favorite which includes a foot soak with detoxifying himalayan salt to relieve and rejuvenate aching feet.
They also offer seasonal treatments such as the Fall Harvest Ritual which incorporates cinnamon bark, eucalyptus, and wild orange peel which not only exfoliate and ease sore muscles, but also support your immune system. Boost the relaxation with any of their special add ons such as warm basalt stones, moor mud masks, and others.
2565 Main Street, Lake Placid, New York 12946, Phone: 518-523-8983, View Map
19. Lake Placid Center for the Arts
© Lake Placid Center for the Arts
Nestled within Adirondack Park, the Lake Placid Center for the Arts is bursting with creativity. No matter the age, everyone who visits the center is sure to leave inspired with a newfound appreciation for the arts. Stop by as a spectator and admire true world-class entertainment, or immerse yourself within the numerous art education programs offered. Serving as a creative outlet to the entire community, the Lake Placid Center for the Arts hosts performing and visual arts all year round in disciplines such as music, dance, theatre, film, and visual arts.
In fact, a number of art schools have found their home in the center including the Lake Placit School of Ballet. If you prefer to experience the art firsthand, there are a number of virtual and in-person classes and programs brought by the New York State Council of the Arts.
17 Algonquin Drive, Lake Placid, New York 12946, Phone: 518-523-2512, View Map
20. Smoke Signals
© Smoke Signals
Stop by Smoke Signals and get a taste of what is arguably Lake Placid’s most mouthwatering barbecue. Smoke Signals has been making waves since its opening in 2013, and continues to draw in locals and visitors alike. Smoking all their barbeque in house, their dishes will seem comfortingly familiar yet new at the same time as they put their own creative twist to traditional barbeque staples. Some of their crowd favorites include the Award Winning Wings, BBQ tacos, and carved beef brisket. The menu also offers several gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options as well.
Smoke Signals is a great option for families with young children, and is open from Thursdays to Tuesdays. Dine indoors or enjoy your meal outside with a great view of the lake. More ideas: New York Glamping Spots
2489 Main Street, Lake Placid, New York 12946, Phone: 518-523-2271, View Map
21. Big Slide Brewery & Public House
© Big Slide Brewery & Public House
Recognized as one of the best restaurants in the Adirondacks in 2020 and 2021, a visit to Big Slide Brewery & Public House surely won’t disappoint. Known for their hybrid 3.5/5 barrel brewery, be sure to sample their extensive range of beers, from light ales to dark stouts, all crafted in the brewery located in the middle of their bar and dining area.
Aiming to continuously have 10 exceptional beers on tap, you’ll have the opportunity to expand your palette and try some extremely unique beers like a Chili Pepper Pale Ale. Big Slide Brewery & Public House also boasts of its delicious selection of farm-to-table food, most of which use the freshest, locally-sourced ingredients. While there, be sure to try some of their fresh oysters and hearth-oven pizzas. Gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options are also available on the menu.
5686 Cascade Road, Lake Placid, New York 12946, Phone: 518-523-7844, View Map
22. Dining at Mirror Lake Inn
© Dining at Mirror Lake Inn
Find some of the area’s most exceptional dining options at Mirror Lake Inn. Whether you’re looking to sit down for some fine dining or casual comfort food, you can take your pick while admiring the beautiful lake-side view of the Adirondack Mountains. Using only the freshest ingredients and recognized through their multiple awards, The View Restaurant and The Cottage Restaurant both offer unique and innovative seasonal menus for every meal of the day. The View Restaurant, Mirror Lake Inn’s fine dining option, is the only restaurant within the area to receive AAA’s Four Diamond rating. Ideal for any special occasion, expect luxurious dishes such as the truffle cauliflower potage, Faroe Island salmon, and butternut squash risotto, and pair them with a bottle from the restaurant’s award-winning wine selection. The Cottage Restaurant, the inn’s equally delicious yet laid back dining option, offers some of your favorite comfort foods together with an impressive selection of beers and wines. Some of their standout dishes include the cottage chili, fresh pastrami sandwich, and flatbread pizzas.
77 Mirror Lake Drive, Lake Placid, New York 12946, Phone: 518-523-2544
23. The Breakfast Club, Etc
© The Breakfast Club, Etc
Want to have breakfast for dinner? Stop by The Breakfast Club, Etc to get a taste of Lake Placid’s go-to breakfast food. Opened by a pair of friends in 2011 after noticing the need for greater breakfast options throughout the day, The Breakfast Club, Etc has garnered a lot of well deserved attention throughout the years from locals, guests, and even the press. Get the whole breakfast experience no matter the time of day through their homemade food, coffee, and signature drinks. Some of their menu highlights include varieties of röstis, benedicts, breakfast sandwiches, smoothie bowls, and many more. They also have a number of signature cocktails including some of the best bloody marys and mimosas in town. And what breakfast would be complete coffee? Be sure to try any of the handcrafted drinks from their artisan espresso bar.
2431 Main Street, Lake Placid, New York 12946, Phone: 518-523-0007, View Map
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