Here is a nice place to go hang out with the college crowd. Downtown Ithaca has an outdoor pedestrian mall, plenty of restaurants and cafes, and places to just hang out. Nearby is Cornell University, where Carl Sagan once taught.
The point of contact is for the Ithaca Downtown Partnership.
Address: 171 E. State St., PMB#136 Center Ithaca NY
Directions: From I-86, take Highway 13 north.
- Hiking and Walking
When I've seen US cartoons/films showing the 'open for the season' signs I have never really understood what it means - the football/soccer season, cricket season? I realised that 'the season' is the time that the warm weather arrives so that everyone can enjoy the outdoor life.
On this trip we saw many campsites that were open for the season just a shame that the season in question was winter!! I know it was Easter but it was colder than Christmas so we were told.
We were only there for two days and during a cold spell so we did not get the most out of this region but a very pleasant stay nontheless. I could not help noticing a vast array of activities that would be on offer in the summer - taking in the scenery, swimming, yachting, hiking - a place that embraces the beautiful countryside.
The great outdoors is what this area is all about - enjoy
This is the only park open in the winter and even when we were there in an unusually cold Easter, other parks were not safe enough to be opened - i.e. too icy
Follow the signs and park up. There is a 20 min walk to the falls along easy terrain along the gorge. This was a pleasant walk - quite a spectacular deep gorge really.
This is higher than Niagara apparently. The effect of the frosting due to the spray makes for a good pic I think.
Science Centre at Ithaca is a great museum come activity centre. We arrived to see a lot of young children and we thought that it would be too young for us but no, it was great fun.
Things we enjoyed -
the shouting chamber - sound proofed but records the decibels 105db was my record
making and launching paper planes and rockets at a target
dancing on the musical stairs
using ice to create images at the infrared camera
We just had great fun here - it is so hands on. There is also outside play areas and mini/crazy golf when it is warmer
We had trouble finding the place so get a map of directions before you go. If you have children of primary age this will be a great place to see
Directions: See the website for directions
Lots of pretty trails with ponds and exotic plants. A very nice big pond near the middle of the area with a wooden floating bridge that expands into an "island" in the middle of the pond. They call it "Meditation Isle."
Address: Forest Home Road
Directions: The best approach is to take Forest Home Road. Since you don't plan to drive your car into Fall Creek, look on the other side.
Like Cascadilla creek, this one runs through a gorge, but it doesn't pass close to downtown, and there's no walkway. If you get down to the bottom of this gorge, it's a wild place, and you have to stay alert if you don't want to get killed. For the more adventurous.
Directions: You can get into the gorge anywhere, but as climbing up waterfalls is a lot easier than climbing down, I suggest that you start from Lake St and head upward.
Most creeks around here pass through deep gorges, and Cascadilla is no exception. The special thing about Cascadilla is that there are stairs down into the gorge from the College Ave bridge, and then a walkway along the bottom, allowing you to follow the creek downtown, passing all the quaint waterfalls on the way.
Address: College Ave
Directions: From downtown, take State Street up the steep hill. Turn left on Mitchell Road, and left again on College Ave.
The campus of Cornell University is located in beautiful Ithaca. It is located on East Hill, which overlooks downtown and Cayuga Lake. This historic, top-ranked, Ivy League university should not be missed if you are a college student. The architecture of the buildings consist of Gothic, Victorian, and Neoclassical styles. Collegetown, which is located just south of the campus, has restaurants and some stores. My overall impression of the campus was that it is extremely hilly and quite large, and close to nature (waterfalls and gorges), I might add.
Directions: East of downtown Ithaca; south of Ithaca-Tompkins Regional Airport.
- Study Abroad
One of the buildings that will catch your eyes in downtown Ithaca is the historic Clinton House. Located adjacent to the Ithaca Commons, it was built in 1828-1829 as a hotel and its architecture is a Greek Revival style. It now contains mostly offices, as well as a small theater, the community arts ticketing center, and a branch of the Tompkins County Visitors’ Center. At least 4 U.S. presidents have stayed here as guests.
Address: 116 N. Cayuga St.
Directions: Downtown Ithaca
- Arts and Culture
- Historical Travel
There are lots of breathtaking waterfalls and gorges on and near the Cornell University campus. While strolling around the Cornell campus, you feel like you're hiking in a mountain or a national park. Many waterfalls and gorges are accessible by foot, including the Fall Creek Gorge, Cascadilla Gorge, and Ithaca Falls. But there are countless small waterfalls everywhere. You can get tired very easily visiting these waterfalls, because you are kind of doing mountain hiking.
Directions: Cornell University campus and the Ithaca area.
- Hiking and Walking
- Mountain Climbing
- National/State Park
Located just outside of Ithaca to the south, Buttermilk Falls is a great state park that combines the scenery of Ithaca Falls with the hiking trails of Cascadilla Gorge. Picnic Areas are set up to enjoy the view, and there is even a small swimming area, though this is not necessarily recommended. Hiking trails start at the base and take you high above the falls. Unlike the shorter Cascadilla Gorge trail, however, one can continue on through a network of hiking trails into the hills.
If in a hurry, you can get a quick glimpse to the left of the falls when traveling south on Route 13.
Directions: Follow Route 13 south from town. It is located on the left a little ways past the Home Depot.
- National/State Park
Ithaca College's campus is newer and less architecturally appealing than Cornell's, but it does have the advantage over Cornell in height. It sits on the top of South Hil and has fantastic panoramic views over the Ithaca valley and Cayuga Lake. Though it is technically a liberal-arts college, it is about triple the size of the typical liberal-arts school, with about 6,000 students. That also includes some graduate students.
In addition to the views, Ithaca College also has nationally recognized theater and music programs, you may want to see if there is a performance in the college's brand-new peformance facilities. The college also has very good Division III baseball and football. The annual Ithaca College - SUNY Cortland game is a great local rivalry.
- Theater Travel
Fall Creek decends below Beebe Lake into a gorge, but it does not have an established trail like Cascadilla to the south. The Fall Creek gorge is on the northern end of Cornell's central campus. There are two ways to enjoy the gorge. The first is from a footbridge that crosses high above the gorge, connecting the Cornell campus to the Cornell Heights neighborhood on the other side. You can access the footbridge from a path found on the northern side of University Avenue from the Johnson Art Museum.
As Fall Creek descends towards the Inlet and Cayuga Lake, it forms into a massive waterfall, known as Ithaca Falls. The falls are quite striking, and can be accessed by the short path at the bottom of the falls off of Stewart Avenue.
- Hiking and Walking
- Adventure Travel
"Collegetown" is the neighborhood immediately to the south of Cornell's central campus, and is where many Cornell students live. The retail center of the neighborhood has a number of shops, mostly restaurants and bars. Also found in the center is Cornell's performing arts center.
Next to the performing arts center is the beginning of the Cascadilla Gorge Trail, which winds down through the gorge all the way to downtown. It is closed and dangerous to walk in the winter, late fall and early spring, but in the summer it is absolutely fantastic. Going down (or up) allows you to walk past a series of waterfalls, bridges and spots where you feel like you are miles away from civilization.
Address: Top - College Avenue, Bottom - University Avenue
Directions: Top of the trail - walking/looking towards the entrance of Cornell University (to the north), turn left behind the Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts, which borders the gorge. The entrance to the gorge is on the right, with steps leading down.
- Hiking and Walking