The Finger Lakes

We’ve compiled the best of the best in The Finger Lakes - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

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  • 1. Finger Lakes National Forest

    On a ridge between the southern ends of Cayuga and Seneca lakes, 9 miles north of Watkins Glen, the national forest offers more than 30...

    On a ridge between the southern ends of Cayuga and Seneca lakes, 9 miles north of Watkins Glen, the national forest offers more than 30 mi of easy-to-moderate hiking trails through a variety of terrain. The land was patched together when the federal government purchased about 100 farms between 1938 and 1941. The forest encompasses 16,032 acres, so you might feel like you have the place to yourself—regardless of whether you're camping, cross-country skiing, fishing, or hunting. The forest's altitude is higher than most surrounding points, so great vistas are yours for the hiking. Trail maps are available at some trailheads and at the visitor center.

    5218 Rte. 414, Hector, New York, 14841, USA
    607-546--4470

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free
  • 2. Rose Hill Mansion

    Six huge Ionic columns front this restored 1839 Greek Revival mansion overlooking Seneca Lake. The 21 rooms open to the public include servants' quarters, the...

    Six huge Ionic columns front this restored 1839 Greek Revival mansion overlooking Seneca Lake. The 21 rooms open to the public include servants' quarters, the children's playroom, the kitchen, dining room, and parlors. Some rooms are outfitted with the Empire-style furnishings that were used from 1850 to 1890 by the prosperous farm family that lived here. Guided tours of the house begin with an introductory film and are given on the hour weekdays and on the half hour weekends. The grounds include boxwood gardens.

    3373 Rte. 96A, Geneva, New York, 14456, USA
    315-789--3848-May–Oct.

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $10, Closed Mon.
  • 3. Sonnenberg Mansion and Gardens

    The grounds at this 52-acre estate are a magnificent example of late-Victorian gardening and design. The rose garden overflows with 4,000 bushes; the other themed...

    The grounds at this 52-acre estate are a magnificent example of late-Victorian gardening and design. The rose garden overflows with 4,000 bushes; the other themed plantings include Japanese, pansy, blue-and-white, and rock gardens. An early-1900s conservatory houses the orchid collection and other exotic plants. The stunning 1887 Queen Anne mansion was built as a summer home by a wealthy New York City banker and his wife, who became Canandaigua's biggest benefactress. The library, the couple's favorite room, looks out on the Italian garden. The great hall features a massive leaded-glass window and an 1874 Steinway. Walking tours are offered weekdays at 1 and weekends at 10 and 1 from Memorial Day through September.

    151 Charlotte St., Canandaigua, New York, 14424, USA
    585-394--4922

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $14, Early May–late May and early Sept.–mid-Oct., daily 9:30–4:30; late May–early Sept., daily 9:30–5:30
  • 4. Strong National Museum of Play

    Play is taken seriously at the second-largest children's museum in the country, home to the world's largest collection of toys, dolls, and play-related artifacts and...

    Play is taken seriously at the second-largest children's museum in the country, home to the world's largest collection of toys, dolls, and play-related artifacts and to the National Toy Hall of Fame. Within its 282,000-square-foot footprint are interactive exhibits like Reading Adventureland, where you follow a yellow-brick road into a pop-up book of life-size literary creations; Sesame Street (created in collaboration with Sesame Workshop); a pint-size market where kids run the store; and an indoor butterfly garden and aquarium. Also on display are some of dolls and dollhouses of museum founder Margaret Woodbury Strong (1897–1969), who collected some 17,000 dolls throughout her life.

    1 Manhattan Sq., Rochester, New York, 14607, USA
    585-263--2700

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $15
  • 5. Watkins Glen State Park

    The main entrance to this park is in downtown Watkins Glen. Campgrounds are scattered around the beautiful Glen Creek. The waters drop about 500 feet...

    The main entrance to this park is in downtown Watkins Glen. Campgrounds are scattered around the beautiful Glen Creek. The waters drop about 500 feet in 2 mile and include 19 waterfalls. The easy 1½-mile gorge trail runs parallel to the creek, and 300-foot cliffs border the water. One bridge spans 165 feet over the water. The park also has an Olympic-size pool. "Timespell," a computerized light-and-sound show, explains the geological development of the gorge. It's screened on the sides of the glen. The gorge isn't accessible in winter.

    1009 N Franklin St., Watkins Glen, New York, 14891, USA
    607-535--4511

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $8 per car
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  • 6. Abbott's Frozen Custard

    Finish your day at Ontario Beach Park with a true Rochester treat: Abbott's Frozen Custard. You can spot this Rochester institution, opened in 1926, by...

    Finish your day at Ontario Beach Park with a true Rochester treat: Abbott's Frozen Custard. You can spot this Rochester institution, opened in 1926, by the line on a hot afternoon. The custards—thicker and creamier than ice cream due to a slow-churning process—are made fresh daily in old-fashioned flavors ranging from chocolate almond to black cherry to butterscotch.

    4791 Lake Ave., Rochester, New York, 14612, USA
    877-708--5182
  • 7. Armory Square

    The former factory-warehouse district of redbrick buildings is now a vibrant area with shops, restaurants, and loads of nightlife. The district is named after the...

    The former factory-warehouse district of redbrick buildings is now a vibrant area with shops, restaurants, and loads of nightlife. The district is named after the 1874 armory, now home to the Museum of Science and Technology, near its southern perimeter.

    Syracuse, New York, 13202, USA
  • 8. ARTISANWorks

    Inside this former cannon factory, nearly every inch of the more than 60,000-square-foot bohemian art-gallery-meets-studio-space is chockablock with art, much of it for sale. Some...

    Inside this former cannon factory, nearly every inch of the more than 60,000-square-foot bohemian art-gallery-meets-studio-space is chockablock with art, much of it for sale. Some of the 500,000 pieces have a pedigree: Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Gordon Parks, though about 80% of the collection is local. The eclectic space also includes artist studios, a dinner theater, a courtyard, and a two-story firehouse with a real 1958 pumper truck. The rooftop sculpture garden gives you a view of the city skyline.

    565 Blossom Rd., Rochester, New York, 14610, USA
    585-288--7170

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $12, Closed Mon.--Thurs., Fri. and Sat. 11–6, Sun. noon–5
  • 9. Bully Hill Vineyards

    The views of Keuka Lake from here are spectacular. The wine is less so, and the tours are touristy, but the tastings are fun. Lunch...

    The views of Keuka Lake from here are spectacular. The wine is less so, and the tours are touristy, but the tastings are fun. Lunch and dinner are available at the Bully Hill Restaurant.

    8843 Greyton H. Taylor Mem. Dr., Hammondsport, New York, 14840, USA
    607-868--3610

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free wine tour, $5 tasting
  • 10. Canandaigua Wine Trail

    The Canandaigua Wine Trail includes just five wineries, in Fairport, Canandaigua, and Naples, and two wine centers in Canandaigua....

    The Canandaigua Wine Trail includes just five wineries, in Fairport, Canandaigua, and Naples, and two wine centers in Canandaigua.

    Canandaigua, New York, 14424, USA
    877-386--4669
  • 11. Cayuga Wine Trail

    The Cayuga Wine Trail has 16 wineries stretching from Seneca Falls down to Ithaca, with most concentrated on the western-central lakefront. Montezuma Winery, on the...

    The Cayuga Wine Trail has 16 wineries stretching from Seneca Falls down to Ithaca, with most concentrated on the western-central lakefront. Montezuma Winery, on the trail, is known for its mead (honey wine).

    Romulus, New York, 13065, USA
    800-684--5217
  • 12. Charlotte Genesee Lighthouse Museum

    The lighthouse stands about a mile south of Lake Ontario, giving you an idea of how the landscape has changed since the 40-foot-tall stone structure...

    The lighthouse stands about a mile south of Lake Ontario, giving you an idea of how the landscape has changed since the 40-foot-tall stone structure was erected in 1822. In the 1960s a group of local high school students saved the structure—the second-oldest American lighthouse on Lake Ontario—from rumored demolition.

    70 Lighthouse St., Rochester, New York, 14612, USA
    585-621--6179

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $5, Closed Mon.--Thurs.
  • 13. Columbus Baking Co.

    The smell of its bread baking is so good that Columbus Baking Co. could charge admission. On a side street in Syracuse's Little Italy section,...

    The smell of its bread baking is so good that Columbus Baking Co. could charge admission. On a side street in Syracuse's Little Italy section, the bakery has just one product and makes it 10 paces from where customers buy it.

    502 Pearl St., Syracuse, New York, 13203, USA
    315-422--2913
  • 14. Cornell Botanic Gardens

    The 200 acres of plants and trees adjacent to the Cornell University campus are primarily organized in collections—peonies, rock-garden species, rhododendrons, old-time vegetable and flower...

    The 200 acres of plants and trees adjacent to the Cornell University campus are primarily organized in collections—peonies, rock-garden species, rhododendrons, old-time vegetable and flower gardens, conifers, flowering crabapples, wildflowers. There's even a section for poisonous plants. The winter garden includes evergreens, conifers, and assorted plants with interesting cold-weather colors and textures. The complex's arboretum includes an area with sculptures. Walking and bus tours are available; call ahead for seasonal times. Some tours are free and others are $5.

    124 Comstock Knoll Dr., Ithaca, New York, 14850, USA
    607-255--2400

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free, Daily dawn–dusk
  • 15. Cornell University

    With its historic buildings, weave of natural and man-made spaces, Cayuga Lake views, and two spectacular gorges, the campus of this private university is considered...

    With its historic buildings, weave of natural and man-made spaces, Cayuga Lake views, and two spectacular gorges, the campus of this private university is considered one of the most beautiful in the country. Founded in 1865, Cornell is a mixture of modern structures and ivy-covered 19th-century buildings. Wear your walking shoes; there is almost no public parking near the campus center. Free 75-minute tours of the campus leave daily from Day Hall, at Tower Road and East Avenue.

    144 E Ave., Ithaca, New York, 14853, USA
    607-254--4636

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Weekdays 8am–10pm, Sat. 8–5. Tours daily at 9, 11, 1, and 3
  • 16. Corning Museum of Glass

    One of the world's premier glass museums, the Corning Museum of Glass displays pieces ranging from contemporary glass sculpture to Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis...

    One of the world's premier glass museums, the Corning Museum of Glass displays pieces ranging from contemporary glass sculpture to Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Comfort Tiffany stained-glass windows to glassware crafted by Egyptians 3,500 years ago. About 10,000 of the more than 45,000 glass objects in the museum's collection are on display at any one time. Interactive exhibits show the history, beauty, and creativity of 35 centuries of glasswork. Glassmaking demonstrations are given throughout the day and a workshop encourages you to make your own glass souvenir ($10–$30); even preschoolers may participate. In the 18,000-square-foot gift shop you can buy works from local or internationally known glass artists, from a $5 glass-bead bracelet to a $17,000 Pepi Hermann cut-crystal platter, as well as utilitarian items, like the namesake CorningWare. Also available is Steuben Glass, founded in Corning; Steuben masterpieces have been presented as gifts to foreign heads of state and are in museums around the world. The museum adjoins a glass studio, which serves as a workshop for professional gaffers and an educational center for glass students.

    One Museum Way, Corning, New York, 14830, USA
    607-937--5371

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $19.50, Late May–early Sept., daily 9–8; early Sept.–late May, daily 9–5
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  • 17. Creamery Museum

    Lake history and local farming take center stage at this 1899 barn-style building where butter bound for New York City was produced. Exhibits here also...

    Lake history and local farming take center stage at this 1899 barn-style building where butter bound for New York City was produced. Exhibits here also feature the prickly, cone-shape teasel—a plant used in mills to "tease" the nap of wool. Skaneateles was a teasel-growing center until the 1950s, when synthetic fabrics replaced much of the demand for wool.

    28 Hannum St., Skaneateles, New York, 13152, USA
    315-685--1360

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free, Closed Sun.--Thurs., May–Sept., Thurs.–Sat. 1–4; Oct.–Apr., Fri. 1–4
  • 18. Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars

    Many consider Dr. Frank's the best wine in the Finger Lakes. The winery, overlooking Keuka Lake, was started in the early 1960s and is run...

    Many consider Dr. Frank's the best wine in the Finger Lakes. The winery, overlooking Keuka Lake, was started in the early 1960s and is run by the grandson of the founder. A Ukrainian immigrant, Dr. Frank was a pioneer in growing classic European grapes in the region. Cabernet francs, Rieslings, pinot noirs, and chardonnays (all European, or vinifera, varietals) are among Dr. Frank's offerings. The Rieslings are excellent, and the pinot noirs are really coming into their own. Also look for rkatsiteli (ar-kat-si-tel-lee), a spicy wine made from an Eastern European grape.

    9749 Middle Rd., Hammondsport, New York, 14840, USA
    800-320--0735

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free
  • 19. Elizabeth Cady Stanton House

    The meticulously restored Elizabeth Cady Stanton House is where one of American feminism's most important leaders shaped social reform as she raised seven children. Stanton's...

    The meticulously restored Elizabeth Cady Stanton House is where one of American feminism's most important leaders shaped social reform as she raised seven children. Stanton's feminist colleague, Susan B. Anthony of Rochester, was a guest in the house. A tour helps you to understand Stanton's charisma and power. The house, a mile east of the Declaration Park and visitor center (across the canal), is open early March through mid-December, with tours daily at 11:15 and 2:15 and more frequently in summer.

    32 Washington St., Seneca Falls, New York, 13148, USA
    315-568--0024

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free
  • 20. Erie Canal Museum and Syracuse Heritage Area Visitor Center

    Orient yourself to Syracuse and the region by watching the introductory film in the museum theater. Then make your way to a replica canal boat...

    Orient yourself to Syracuse and the region by watching the introductory film in the museum theater. Then make your way to a replica canal boat in a circa-1850 building where real canal boats were weighed when the Erie was a major player in U.S. commerce. A re-created general store, an 1800s canal office, and a postal area are interspersed with exhibits about Syracuse musician Libba Cotten and others who shaped the region.

    318 Erie Blvd East, Syracuse, New York, 13202, USA
    315-471--0593

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $5, Mon.–Sat. 10–5, Sun. 10–3

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