Saratoga Springs, New York is an often underrated little town several hours north of the big city. The town is nestled into the countryside on the border of the Adirondacks, the largest National Historic Landmark in the U.S., as well as one of the largest state protected parks. The town itself boasts a number of museums, historic sites, spas, restaurants, and activities, which makes it a great vacation spot.
What to See and Do
One of the biggest attractions that Saratoga has to offer is the Saratoga Race Track, one of the oldest horse racetracks in the country. From late July until Labor Day the city is flooded with people from around the world who come to enjoy the sport and all that Saratoga has to offer.
If you are looking for something a bit more slow-paced there are spas, mineral springs, and historical and outdoor attractions nearby. Saratoga Springs garners it name from the numerous natural mineral springs that it lies atop. Many of the springs are thought to have healing powers, and a number of spas and bath houses have been built throughout the city. Similarly, a number of parks are open to the public to allow access to the mineral springs.
Saratoga National Historical Park is on the outskirts of Saratoga Springs and is dedicated to preserving the site of the Battle of Saratoga, a turning point in the American Revolutionary War.
An artists’ community, Yaddo has hosted a number of famous authors and artists, and the gardens are open to the public free of charge.
Saratoga Spa State Park is a large park in the heart of the city that is home to playgrounds, public pools, 12 miles of multi-use trails, the National Museum of Dance, the Saratoga Automobile Museum, the famous Gideon Putnam Resort, the Roosevelt Baths and Spa, and the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. It is also home to a championship 18-hole golf course.
What to Eat and Drink
Downtown Saratoga has a unique small town feel with grand architecture, fine dining, and numerous independent shops. The summer months offer community activities centered here as well as buskers that fill the streets with music and magic. It’s also home to dozens of restaurants with everything from grab-and-go pizza such as Esperanto and Pizza 7 to fine dining at Maestro’s, Boca Bistro, or Lillian’s just to name a few. There are also a number of classic pubs and breweries, such as Druthers and the Parting Glass, all right downtown.
Where to Stay
Finding a place to stay in Saratoga is as easy as finding a place to eat. During track season a number of homes and apartments are available for rent, but throughout the year there are hotels also. The most famous hotel is Gideon Putnam Resort, which is located within a beautiful park. There are also chain hotels, many of which are within walking distance of downtown. The locally owned Downtowner Hotel and The Carriage House Inn are also right downtown and full of charm.
In Saratoga there is a little something for everyone, making it the perfect place to head to for a weekend getaway.
All photos are courtesy of the author.