17 Best Places and Things To Do in Ithaca, New York

Ithaca, New York, known as the “Gorges” city, is a vibrant and picturesque destination located in the Finger Lakes region. Surrounded by rolling hills, cascading waterfalls, and stunning gorges, Ithaca offers a wealth of natural beauty and cultural attractions. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a food lover, or a history buff, there are plenty of things to do and see in Ithaca. Here are some of the best places to visit and activities to enjoy in this charming city:

1. Robert Treman State Park


Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_H._Treman_State_Park

Known for its enchanting gorges and waterfalls, Robert Treman State Park is an outdoor lover’s paradise. Hike along the trails, swim in the natural pools, and cool off under the picturesque Lucifer Falls.

2. Buttermilk Falls State Park

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Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buttermilk_Falls_State_Park

Another gem in the area, Buttermilk Falls State Park offers picturesque scenery, cascading waterfalls, and challenging hiking trails. Cool off in the natural swimming pools formed by the falls during the summer months.

3. Cornell Botanic Gardens

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Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cornell_Botanic_Gardens

Immerse yourself in the tranquility of the Cornell Botanic Gardens, a beautiful 4,300-acre botanical garden and arboretum. Explore a variety of themed gardens, including the stunning Robison Herb Garden and the serene Nevin Welcome Center.

4. Cayuga Lake

View of the southern end of Cayuga Lake

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Cayuga Lake is one of the most prominent features of the Finger Lakes region in upstate New York. As the longest of the glacially formed Finger Lakes, Cayuga Lake stretches approximately 38 miles in length and offers a picturesque setting with its clear waters, rolling hills, and charming lakeside communities. The lake’s natural beauty is captivating, with its deep blue waters surrounded by lush greenery and vineyards. The rolling hills and scenic vistas provide a stunning backdrop for outdoor activities and leisurely drives along the lake.

5. Cascadilla Gorge Trail

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Lace up your hiking boots and embark on the Cascadilla Gorge Trail, a scenic trail that winds through a gorge, offering breathtaking views and the soothing sounds of cascading waterfalls.

6. Sciencenter

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Perfect for families and science enthusiasts, the Sciencenter is an interactive museum where you can engage in hands-on exhibits, experiments, and learn about various scientific concepts in a fun and engaging way.

7. Ithaca Falls Natural Area

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Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ithaca_Falls

Ithaca Falls Natural Area is a breathtaking natural gem located in the heart of Ithaca, New York. It is a popular destination for nature lovers, photographers, and those seeking a peaceful escape into the beauty of the outdoors.

8. Museum of the Earth

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Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Museum_of_the_Earth

The museum boasts an impressive collection of fossils, minerals, and geological specimens. The exhibits showcase the Earth’s evolution over millions of years, providing insights into the planet’s geologic processes, ancient ecosystems, and the diversity of life that has existed throughout history.

9. Johnson Museum of Art


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Situated on the Cornell University campus, the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art is a must-visit for art enthusiasts. The museum showcases a diverse collection of over 35,000 works, ranging from contemporary art to ancient artifacts.

10. Stewart Park

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Nestled on the southern end of Cayuga Lake, Stewart Park provides a picturesque setting for outdoor activities and relaxation. Take a leisurely stroll along the waterfront, enjoy a picnic, or rent a paddleboat and explore the lake.

11. Ithaca Children’s Garden


Image Source: https://www.ithacachildrensgarden.org/

A delightful place for families, the Ithaca Children’s Garden offers interactive exhibits, whimsical sculptures, and themed gardens that encourage children to explore, play, and connect with nature.

12. Namgyal Monastery

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Ithaca is home to the North American seat of the Dalai Lama, the Namgyal Monastery. Visitors can learn about Tibetan Buddhism, attend meditation sessions, and explore the monastery’s serene grounds.

13. Allan H. Treman State Marine Park

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Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allan_H._Treman_State_Marine_Park

Allan H. Treman State Marine Park is a beautiful waterfront park located in Ithaca, New York, on the southern end of Cayuga Lake. Spanning over 91 acres, this park offers a wide range of recreational activities and amenities for visitors to enjoy. The park is a popular destination for boating enthusiasts. It features a marina with boat launches and docks, allowing visitors to explore Cayuga Lake by sailboat, powerboat, or kayak. Fishing is also a favorite activity at the park, with opportunities to catch various species such as trout, bass, and perch.

14. Bebee Lake


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Beebe Lake is known for its natural beauty, surrounded by trees, gardens, and rolling hills. The lake itself is calm and reflective, creating a tranquil atmosphere that invites relaxation and contemplation. The lake is encircled by a well-maintained trail that provides a pleasant route for walking, jogging, or leisurely strolls. The trail offers picturesque views of the lake and the surrounding landscape, making it a popular spot for exercise and connecting with nature.

15. Triphammer Falls

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Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triphammer_Falls

Triphammer Falls is a captivating waterfall located on the campus of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. This scenic attraction is a popular destination for both visitors and members of the university community. Triphammer Falls is a picturesque waterfall formed by Cascadilla Creek as it cascades over several rocky ledges. The rushing water creates a mesmerizing display, especially after rainfall or during periods of higher flow. The combination of the falls and the surrounding natural landscape provides a stunning backdrop for photography and admiration.

16. Mulholland Wildflower Preserve

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The preserve is renowned for its stunning display of wildflowers, especially during the spring and summer months. As you explore the trails, you’ll encounter a diverse array of vibrant blossoms, including trilliums, violets, orchids, and many more. The vibrant colors and fragrant aromas create a sensory delight for nature enthusiasts and photographers alike.

17. Sunset Park

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Sunset Park offers panoramic views of the surrounding area, including the city of Ithaca and Cayuga Lake. Visitors can enjoy breathtaking vistas, especially during sunrise and sunset, when the sky lights up with vibrant colors. The park features a picnic area with tables and benches, providing a pleasant spot to have a picnic lunch or a snack while taking in the views. It’s an ideal setting for a casual outdoor gathering with family and friends.

These are just a few highlights of the numerous attractions and activities that Ithaca, New York has to offer. Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or simply a relaxing getaway, Ithaca provides a perfect blend of natural beauty, art, history, and culinary delights to make your visit memorable.