9 Best Places and Things To Do in Elmira, New York

Elmira, New York, is a vibrant city nestled in the picturesque Finger Lakes region. Known for its rich history, natural beauty, and cultural attractions, Elmira offers a wide range of experiences for visitors. Whether you’re interested in outdoor activities, art and culture, or exploring local history, Elmira has something for everyone. Here are some of the best places and things to do in Elmira:

1. National Soaring Museum

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The museum features a variety of exhibits that take visitors through the history of soaring, from its early beginnings to modern advancements. Learn about the pioneers of gliding, the development of gliders, and the innovative techniques used in the sport. The exhibits include historical artifacts, interactive displays, and educational materials that provide a comprehensive overview of the world of soaring.

2. Eldridge Park

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Elmira’s Eldridge Park is a delightful recreational area that offers a range of activities for families. The park features beautiful gardens, a carousel, paddleboats, and a miniature golf course. Visitors can relax by the lake, enjoy a picnic, or take a leisurely stroll through the well-maintained grounds.

3. Arnot Art Museum

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Art lovers should not miss the Arnot Art Museum, which houses an impressive collection of American art from the 17th to the 21st centuries. The museum features works by renowned artists such as Thomas Cole, Winslow Homer, and Robert Rauschenberg. With its elegant architecture and diverse art collection, the Arnot Art Museum offers a delightful cultural experience.

4. Chemung Valley History Museum

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To delve into the local history, head to the Chemung Valley History Museum. This museum showcases the fascinating heritage of the Chemung Valley region, including exhibits on Native American culture, the Civil War, early industries, and the Underground Railroad. The museum provides insights into Elmira’s past and its significant contributions to American history.

5. Tanglewood Nature Center & Museum


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The nature center boasts several well-maintained hiking trails that wind through forests, meadows, and along scenic ridges. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or a more challenging hike, there are trails suitable for all skill levels. Along the way, you can admire the diverse plant life, listen to the sounds of birds and other wildlife, and breathe in the fresh air.

6. Mark Twain’s Summer Home

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Mark Twain’s summer home, also known as Quarry Farm, is a historic and significant place located in Elmira, New York. It holds great importance in the life and literary career of the renowned American author, Samuel Clemens, who wrote under the pen name Mark Twain. Quarry Farm sits on a hill overlooking the Chemung River Valley, providing a serene and picturesque backdrop. Twain found inspiration in the tranquil surroundings, and the views from the property are said to have influenced the settings and descriptions in his novels.

7. Newtown Battlefield State Park


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Newtown Battlefield State Park is the site where the Battle of Newtown took place on August 29, 1779. It was a significant battle between American forces led by General John Sullivan and the British-allied Iroquois Confederacy. The battle was part of the larger Sullivan Expedition, which aimed to subdue the Iroquois and secure the western frontier for the American colonies.

8. John W Jones Museum

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The museum showcases the life and contributions of John W. Jones, who was born into slavery in Virginia in 1817 and later escaped to Elmira, New York. Jones became a prominent figure in the abolitionist movement and worked as a stationmaster on the Underground Railroad, assisting freedom seekers in their journey to Canada. The museum features exhibits and displays that provide insights into the life and experiences of John W. Jones. You can explore artifacts, photographs, documents, and personal belongings that highlight his role in helping enslaved individuals find freedom and his impact on the community.

9. Ernie Davis Statue

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The statue commemorates the life and achievements of Ernie Davis, who was born and raised in Elmira. Davis gained national recognition as a talented football player during his time at Syracuse University in the late 1950s and early 1960s. He became the first African American to win the Heisman Trophy, awarded to the best college football player in the United States.

These are just a few highlights of the many attractions and activities Elmira has to offer. Whether you’re interested in history, nature, arts, or simply enjoying the local charm, Elmira promises a memorable experience for visitors of all ages and interests.