What are the top attractions in Ithaca, NY?

Ithaca, NY is frequently called a “College Town,” and rightly so, as the small city in upstate New York boasts three colleges: Ithaca, Tompkins Cortland Community College and Cornell University. Ithaca sits on the shores of Cayuga Lake, which is the largest of the Finger Lakes. It boasts many gorges to visit and stunning waterfalls and there is plenty to do: 

Robert Treman State Park: This State Park is an area of tremendous beauty, featuring Enfield Glen, a rugged gorge of great beauty. There are nine miles of hiking trails pass that 12 waterfalls, of which the Lucifer Falls is a 115-foot drop. Camping sites, RVs or cabins allow people to stay in the park overnight. 

Cornell University: Cornell is an ivy-league college founded in 1865, that sits on 2,300 acres. It is a federal land-grant institution and is an endowed research university. Cornell features eight undergraduate schools and four graduate or professional colleges. It features gardens and walkways that the public is invited to enjoy. 

Ithaca College: In 1892, Ithaca began as a music conservatory, training professional-caliber students. It has since grown into a liberal arts college with 6,200 undergraduate and 470 graduate students. Ithaca College overlooks the heart of the city of Ithaca, and is surrounded by New York’s Finger Lakes region. It also boasts paths open to the public. 

Cornell Lab of Ornithology: The Cornell Lab is a nonprofit organization that is a leader in the study, appreciation and conservation of birds of all species. Visitors to the lab can take a tour to learn about the work the scientists do at the lab and go on a guided bird walk. 

Triphammer Falls: Triphammer Falls is located on the Cornell University campus. It contains two drops; at one is a power station for the Beebe Dam and at the bottom of the second is a closed hydraulic lab built for the College of Civil Engineering in 1898 to study water purification and observe the flow of the water from the falls. 

Cascadilla Gorge Trail: The Cascadilla Gorge Trail connects downtown Ithaca with the Cornell University campus. This historic set of stone trails and staircases, which ascends 400 feet, was originally constructed in the late 1920s. It leads visitors through the gorge formed from ancient bedrock and past six waterfalls. The lower gorge is closed during the winter months. 

Cornell Botanic Gardens: Cornell Botanic Gardens is a mature botanic garden, arboretum, and network of nature preserves on the university campus. It is open yearround. The gardens feature spaces for ornamental and practical herbs, ornamental grasses, conifers and more. The F.R. Newman Arboretum hosts collections of maples, oaks, crabtrees and others on its 100 acres. 

Ithaca Waterfalls: Ithaca was formed around its gorges, carved from glaciers. It has some of the best waterfalls in New York. The tallest waterfall is Taughannock Falls at 215 feet, and the smallest is Foaming Falls at 15 feet. 

Buttermilk Falls State Park: This State Park gets its name from a foaming cascade formed by Buttermilk Creek as it flows to Cayuga Lake. There is a small lake, hiking trails, a campground and Larch Meadows, which is a wetlands area through which the nature trails wind. 

Johnson Museum of Art: Also located on the grounds of Cornell University, the Johnson Museum of Art opened in 1973 and features a permanent collection of more than 35,000 works of art. 

Ithaca Children’s Garden: This is an award-winning public garden which spans three acres. It is designed for children to promote environmental stewardship. The gardens feature a bird habitat garden, a hands-on nature zone, a memorial garden, and a kitchen garden. 

Sciencenter: Sciencenter, a hands-on science museum, offers 240 exhibits, educational programs, a miniature golf course, and a seasonal outdoor science playground. 

Cayuga Nature Center: The Cayuga Nature Center offers more than five miles of hiking trails, a six-story tree house you can climb, and live animals to watch. 

Ithaca Farmers Market: The Ithaca Farmer’s Market is open from April through December and is located at Steamboat Landing on Cayuga Lake, and then January through March in The Space. It sells local-grown products including artisianal gifts, fruits, vegetables, pastured meat, baked goods and other items from 160 member-owners. 

Six Mile Creek Vineyard: Six Mile Creek is Ithaca’s oldest vineyard. They produce a variety of wines and spirits, including vodka, gin, and Italian spirits such as Grappa, Limoncella, Orangecello, and Amaretto. You can also rent the site for events. 

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