Sometimes the most fun adventures can be found in the most unexpected places! Traveling all over the world is a wonderful journey to be on, and as ardent travelers keep ticking places off their bucket list, it turns out there are even more places that they’re yet to see.
In recent times, travel has become a lot about self-discovery and also discovering the hidden gems of the planet. And while we uncover one gem after another, the key takeaway is this – there’s so much that the world has to offer!
The Gems Hidden Around NY
The average New Yorker’s life is fast and noisy, which is why so many of them seek to travel as a means of de-stressing and letting loose. However, if one can look closely, travel doesn’t have to be thousands of miles away for it to be memorable; there are tons of hidden gems all around the borders of NY, each one with its own set of unique things to offer.
In this article, we’re going to talk about one such town that wasn’t so much hidden but rather undiscovered and has now become a more popular destination thanks to how much smaller the world has become. We’re talking about the chirpy, quaint, yet lively town of Saratoga Springs!
If you’re wondering about all the things to do in Saratoga Springs NY are, read on.
What’s To Love About Saratoga
From streets where you can walk through an array of cultural spots, to restaurants that offer delicious food against the backdrop of countryside fervor, Saratoga really has it all. You can hear the music playing in multiple parts of the town, and there’s always some event or the other that keeps the town’s folk on their toes.
For years, Saratoga Springs has been famous for two things in particular – The Springs and the Horseracing. As you sip on the clean waters and enjoy the beautiful mix of nature and nurture, you can’t help but wonder why you didn’t get here earlier once you actually do. The crowd in Saratoga is so welcoming, and they treat you more like guests rather than tourists.
Planning a Trip To Saratoga Springs
The seasons in Saratoga pretty much coincide with the weather in NY, but it surely is sunnier and more surrounded by nature than the city side. A short trip here is the ideal choice, whether it’s a family, a group of friends, or even just a solo traveler who wants to get closer to nature.
Daniel Case [CC BY-SA 3.0]
The summers in Saratoga are hot but not unpleasant, and there’s so much to explore and see in this beautiful town. From the food to the culture, and even the entertainment, there’s something that each type of traveler can enjoy and experience.
Spice Up Your Trip With These Activities
On your trip to Saratoga Springs, here are 6 ways that you can make your trip interesting:
Check out Congress Park
Probably one of the liveliest spots in town where you can really soak in the Saratoga spirit, Congress Park has something to offer for everyone. It is flanked by beautiful fountains, ponds, wildlife, and also sweet little picnic spots. You can also find springs here from which you can drink fresh water directly, and also a lot of great strolling paths that are perfect for a relaxing walk around the park.
Image by diane cordell via Flickr
A historical place of value here is the Canfield Casino, which was established somewhere in the late 1800s. While it has been shut for a few years now, the building still stands tall and tells a story of its own. The architecture you can view here is beautiful and holds great importance for Saratoga’s history. And just to satisfy the child in you, we recommend taking a ride on the merry-go-round in the park which is over a century old (and still well maintained!)
Enjoy the Springs
You can’t leave Saratoga without fully enjoying the unique beauty of the natural springs here, especially since it isn’t something you’ll get to experience in the city. The Native Americans are said to have used the springs in the early 1600s, for both bathing and drinking. It’s the purity and freshness of this water that’s most inviting, making it also a major site for conservation of clean water. Some of the best springs in the area can be found at the Saratoga National Park, also called the Saratoga Spa State Park.
Image by Peter via Flickr
A great way to explore the springs is to embark on a self-guided tour around the town, and you can always use a map or ask around for assistance. Each of the springs tastes different because of varying mineral composition, like the Polaris which is high in iron or the Tallulah, which is saltier in taste. Don’t forget to check out the 85-years old Geyser Island which has a spout and a variety of mineral deposits around the area. As you walk around checking out the different springs, you truly experience something and refreshing from the get-go!
Entertainment at SPAC
The Saratoga Performing Arts Center is a crowned jewel for the town. This is where the most lavish and exclusive shows can be witnessed, from performing arts and orchestras to beautifully choreographed dance performances from the local groups as well as groups from other countries. It’s a good idea to find out the itinerary of shows happening at the SPAC beforehand so that you can book tickets in advance and catch some wonderful performances from the front row.
Image by Ethan Oringel via Flickr
The New York City Ballets and the Philly Orchestra have been performing here for decades now, and this is actually where the groups originated as well. Apart from the indoor auditorium, shows also happen in the lovely outdoor amphitheater lawn areas. There are restaurants and a jazz bar within the SPAC premises, so you can really enjoy a wholesome evening of art, entertainment, and leisure, all in the same place. The SPAC Is undoubtedly one of the favorite spots in town for both locals and tourists alike.
Visit the Racetracks
Since 1863, horse racing has been a huge part of Saratoga’s culture and social events. One of the most intricate racing circuits operates from Saratoga, and horse racing enthusiasts from all over the world come to witness the annual races. Every summer, 6 weeks are dedicated to intense racing tournaments, and it truly is a sight to behold. You can watch the races, engage in bidding, and even just enjoy a wholesome breakfast on the porch of the Clubhouse as you watch the riders and horses practice.
Even if you’re not enthusiastic about horse racing, the vibrant spirit here during the summer is just infectious. There are a lovely in-house bar and a viewing area from the buffet lounge as well. For most travelers, it’s about getting that much closer to understanding and truly feeling Saratoga’s culture, because horse racing is and continues to be the lifeblood of the town.
Rejuvenate at the Spa
We’re not talking about just any spa here; the Roosevelt Baths & Spa is a famous spa center in Saratoga that has been around since the 20th century. It is a retreat teeming with luxury and absolute bliss, and for travelers who simply want to rejuvenate, there’s no other place to be. There is a total of 42 private bathing rooms, with a therapeutic tub, a table to enjoy a relaxing massage, and also a shower for afterward.
Image by Peter via Flickr
The Spa offers a variety of mineral baths with minerals sourced from their very own natural springs. They even explain the benefits of each type of bath to you, so you can choose the best one and simply soothe your senses as you float in a quiet, serene environment. During the summer, especially, these baths are great to balance body temperature and bust stress.
Stroll Down the Broadway Street
The Broadway Street is more than just a walking street or a street for tourists; it’s buzzing with life from dawn to dusk and lets you blend in with the local crowd. Here, you can find a collection of bars, restaurants, cafes, lounges, street shops, branded shops, and even souvenir and wine stores. You can sip on a glass of locally fermented wine or even visit the Saratoga Winery and pack up a bottle to take home.
Image Source :Saratoga Arms
For great food and ambiance, check out Salt & Char, or even 15 Church for a great ribeye and some fresh vegetables in mushroom sauce. For coffee, Uncommon Grounds is the most “common” spot for tourists and locals too, and shopping market Putnam isn’t too far from Broadway either. The best way to get around the busy area is by walking or even hiring a bicycle. Around the area, you will also find smaller museums, with each of them having its own unique story to tell.
Before Heading Back Home
One thing that you’re going to miss for sure when you head back home from Saratoga is the sheer joy and liveliness in the air. Birds chirping, people laughing, music playing in the background and fresh spring water in several corners of the town; this and so much more defines the unbeatable atmosphere at Saratoga. We guarantee that you’ll want to get away to this delightful little town more than just once, and you’d be surprised how much more there is to discover each time you come around!