Interested in Ithaca?
We'll send you updates with the latest deals, reviews and articles for Ithaca each week.
Topics include Dining Scene, United States: For Foreign Visitors & more!
Downtown Ithaca is a hidden treasure in the heart of the Finger Lakes Region. Often voted as the most "Englightened City" in America, it's filled with an educated base of proud inhabititants that enjoy all four seasons. It's one of the most picturesque cities in America with its natural beauty.
The heart of downtown is the shopping district which is known as the Ithaca Commons. It is an outdoor pedestrian center of locally owned, one-of-a-kind specialty shops in the heart of downtown. It's known for handmade jewelry, glass, and pottery stores with several long-established shops. Ithaca is known as a "Cosmopolitan" city and features more restaurants per capita than NYC, and Aurora Street which runs up the East side of the City is known by locals as "restaurant row." Visitors can be treated to a variety of food choices from burgers and bagels to steak and sushi.
Just south of the Commons area, one can treat themselves to a world-reknown vegetarian restaurant, shop at the eclectic Dewitt Mall shopping center (former school) and sit outside at Dewitt Park. On the West side of the Commons, Ithaca houses a rich arts and entertainment corridor. The State Theater, a 1,600 seat theater showcases local and national acts and was built in 1928 and was originally built as a car garage but then later converted to a movie theater. Today, it features some of the hottest acts in the nation along with comedy, and local acts. It's on the list of National Register of Historic Places.
Ithaca is a two-college town with the small private Ithaca College on the South Hill (8,000 students) and its neighbor to the east, Ivy League power, Cornell University (30,000 students). Cornell is often called one of the most beautiful campuses in the country, with lush gardens and waterfalls that cut through the main campus. Gorgeous views abound for both campuses with Ithaca College having a straight, full view of the sourthern tip of Cayuga lake, as does Cornell depending where you are. Cornell is a must visit for archictectural and natural beauty buffs. Many of the buildings were built in the early part of the century and yes, are laced with ivy. There is also some more modern structures most notably at the Hotel School, Engineering, Computer Science and the new William H. Gates building which is under construciton. It's a photographer's paradise and boasts the Johnson Museum (terrific views of the city and Cayuga Lake), Sapsucker Woods, Beebe Lake, Cascadilla Gorge, Fall Creek Gorge, and Six-Mile Creek Gorge. College Town is a mix of old and new buildings with a lot of new apartment buildings having sprouted up in the last ten years. College town boasts a nice mix of ethnic specialties and has a vibrant night life.
Just north of the city along Route 13, sits Stewart Park a public park that is free to the public. Today, Stewart Park is a regionally active park with several facilities including tennis courts, a playground with several play structures including a carousel, athletic fields, a duck pond, a spray pool, a municipal golf course, a bocci ball court, and a bird sanctuary. Stewart Park is known for its large play areas and is often used for volleyball leagues throughout the summer and picnics. It's a great place to ride a bike or just sit on one of the swinging benches and take in a beautiful Ithaca sunset. Two main pavillions can be rented out for a nominal fee. There is no public swimming allowed.