The Best New York Cities to Visit (That Aren’t NYC)
New York City is a huge draw for tourists and visitors from all over. But, although it’s the biggest and most popular city in the state, it’s not the only one. New York has multiple other cities that all have something excellent to offer visitors and the people who live there too. Whether you’re looking for somewhere that’s almost as bustling as NYC or you want somewhere a little quieter to visit, you can discover somewhere in New York state that suits your desires. You don’t have to have access to Broadway or Times Square to find plenty of fun things to do.
Take a look at these alternative options for cities to visit in New York, which are sure to give you some ideas.
Buffalo is the second-largest city in New York state, after New York City. For a time, it had a bit of a bad reputation, but the city has since cleaned up and is a desirable place to visit again. There are some great things drawing people to the city, from buildings by architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright to great sports teams. If you’re a bit of a foodie, you’ll have no problem finding a restaurant in Buffalo, NY that’s to your taste. Culture lovers will discover some excellent museums and galleries. Plus, it’s just a half-hour drive to Niagara Falls, so it’s easy to throw in a trip to the famous landmark.
Albany is a beautiful city with some stunning historic buildings. It’s also on the west bank of the Hudson River, which makes it the perfect place to hop on a river cruise. Older buildings such as the New York State Capitol are combined with more modern masterpieces, such as the performing arts center The Egg and the Empire State Plaza. Albany is home to the New York State museum too, as well as the Albany Institute of History & Art. Fantastic restaurants can be found in the city, with everything from Ethiopian to Chinese, Indonesian, Greek, and Peruvian food available.
Ithaca is a college town, home to Cornell University and Ithaca College. But that doesn’t mean that you can expect to be surrounded by rowdy undergrads during your visit. What you can expect is an excellent choice of museums and galleries, including the Museum of the Earth, Cayuga Nature Center, and Johnson Art Museum. Ithaca is located on Cayuga Lake, which means that it’s also an incredible place to spend some time outdoors. It’s a green and pleasant city where you can find opportunities for lots of outdoor activities, as well as lots of events and festivals that provide plenty of entertainment.
As its name suggests, the city of Saratoga Springs is in the vicinity of some natural mineral springs. The city is known for a number of other things too, including thoroughbred horse racing. The springs became a big draw for tourists in the 1800s, and they’re still a big selling point for anyone who wants to visit. If you want to visit for a relaxing spa day (or spa week), you can choose from a number of places to book your treatments. If that’s not your sort of thing, Saratoga Springs has more to offer. You can visit the Saratoga Springs State Park, Congress Park, Yaddo Gardens, and other outdoor locations.
Rochester is a good choice of destination if you’re going with your family. It has plenty of fun things to do for all ages. You can head to the Seabreeze Amusement Park or head to High Falls to stand in awe at the size of the waterfall. The Seneca Park Zoo is a fun place to visit with the kids too. If you enjoy visiting museums as a family, there are multiple options to choose from that are great for all ages. There’s the Rochester Museum and Science Center, Strong National Museum of Play, National Toy Hall of Fame, and World Video Game Hall of Fame.
Another beautiful city with some lovely historic buildings, Syracuse offers lots to see and do. It has great opportunities for shopping, visiting museums, discovering restaurants and cafes, and more. You can find the Rosamond Gifford Zoo, the Erie Canal Museum, and the huge shopping mall and entertainment complex Destiny USA. There are some excellent places for outdoor activities too, such as Onondaga Lake Park.
Pay no attention to New York City if it doesn’t appeal to you. There are other options that are just as good or even better than NYC.