Ithaca, New York, tucked into the Finger Lakes Region and home to renowned Cornell University, is a stunning location sitting aesthetically in stunning upstate New York. Travelers make their way to this city for a variety of reasons. The city enjoys a pleasant climate, lovely architecture, and an abundance of stunning nature making Ithaca a must-visit destination.
Travelers looking to visit Ithaca may have a few questions about the city and what it has to offer. So, to help travelers out, here is a guide to Ithaca, Upstate New York’s most beautiful city.
When To Go
Looking into Ithaca’s weather and local happenings in the region, October stands out as the best time to go to Ithaca. This is primarily because of Ithaca’s fall climate, which is usually quite nice with plenty of sunshine even if it is cooling down outside.
Fall is also slightly less crowded despite the fun fall activities in Ithaca and how beautiful the city looks immersed in fall foliage. In the fall temperatures reach as high as 82℉ and as low as 10℉.
It should be stated that anytime is really a good time to visit Ithaca, mid-autumn just happens to be the best.
What To Know When Visiting
Travelers visiting Ithaca should make sure to keep a few things in mind. First, Ithaca is a college town, during the usual times of the year when colleges get busy, Ithaca also becomes busy.
Second, travelers should avoid arriving in June. It is the rainiest month in Ithaca and the rain can really put a damper on outdoor activities.
And third, travelers who want to visit during the summer should do so in July. The June rains have lightened up, the days are long, and all the college kids are back home.
Best Ways To Get Around
Ithaca is an incredibly accessible city, being a college town, it also has many alternatives to cars for getting around the city. The bus system in Ithaca is quite nice, and the city is quite walkable.
Ithaca is a lovely city that is perfect for cycling around. There are many routes through and around Ithaca that are simply fun to ride and will get travelers where they want to get to.
Cars and Rentals
Travelers who want to use their car or rent a car during a visit to Ithaca will have an easy time doing so. Driving in Ithaca isn’t difficult and there are also plenty of car rental services available for travelers to take advantage of.
Taxis and Taxi Services
Travelers visiting Ithaca will be able to use the city’s taxi service and several private taxi services. Travelers will also be able to make use of Uber and Lyft while in Ithaca.
- Ithaca Dispatch – Handles dispatch for Cayuga Taxi, University Taxi, and Yellow Cab
- Collegetown Cab
- Executive Limousine & Sedan
TCAT and Bussing
Many living in Ithaca do so without a car, so public transportation is a popular way to get around the city. Ithaca’s TCAT is a great system for both getting around the city and to close-by destinations. There are 40 TCAT routes in the city.
For travelers looking to get a bit further out of the city, there are Greyhound buses available.
Travelers who don’t want to bother with rentals or bus routes, and don’t mind a little walking, will find that Ithaca is incredibly accessible by food.
According to Walkscore.com, Ithaca receives a 72, meaning it is a very walkable city.
Where To Stay
Travelers to Ithaca will have many choices for where to stay, however, to help travelers out here are three of the top-rated yet affordable hotels that can be found in Ithaca.
Hilton Garden Inn Ithaca – $
Ithaca’s Hilton Garden Inn offers travelers fantastic accommodations and is conveniently located not too far from Cornell University. This hotel features both rooms and suites with an in-room refrigerator, microwave, and Wi-Fi. Travelers will also be able to enjoy their pool and meeting space.
- Address – 130 E Seneca St, Ithaca, NY 14850
- Amenities – Free parking, Free High-Speed Internet (Wi-Fi), Indoor pool, Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room, Bar/Lounge, Karaoke, Board Games/Puzzles, Free Airport Transportation
- Learn more
La Tourelle Hotel, Bistro, Spa – $
Travelers who want everything in one place will love La Tourelle Hotel. Here travelers will have access to their incredible dining and wine selection as well.
This hotel is the home to the August Moon Spa. On top of everything, this hotel is nestled into the Finger Lakes making for a truly stunning location.
- Address – 1150 Danby Rd Route 96B, Ithaca, NY 14850-9406
- Amenities – Free parking, Free High-Speed Internet (Wi-Fi), Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room, Restaurant, Hiking, Kids stay free, Books, DVDs, music for children, Pets Allowed (Dog / Pet Friendly)
- Learn more
Rodeway Inn & Suites – $
Rodeway Inn & Suites is a popular destination for budget-minded travelers visiting Ithaca. This hotel provides comforts, luxuries, and convenience that rival other hotels in the city with a much better value.
In terms of conscience, the hotel is surrounded by local landmarks including Namgyal Monastery (2.2 mi) and Gourdlandia (2.3 mi).
- Address – 654 Elmira Rd, Ithaca, NY 14850-8745
- Amenities – Free parking, Free High-Speed Internet (Wi-Fi), Free Breakfast, Pets Allowed (Dog / Pet Friendly), Business Center with Internet Access, BBQ facilities, Non-smoking hotel, 24-hour front desk, Parking, Wi-Fi, Breakfast available, Breakfast buffet
- Learn more
Where To Eat
Ithaca is full of amazing restaurants ranging from affordable options for college students to upscale dining great for visitors to the city.
Those looking for a great breakfast in Ithica should look no further than the Ithaca Bakery. Breakfast lovers will love savoring the delicious flavors of their terrific sandwiches, homemade entrées and salads, artisan bread and bagels, superb pastry, outstanding cheeses, and great fair-trade coffee!
- Address – 400 N Meadow St, Ithaca, NY 14850-3227
- Contact – +1 607-273-7110
- Cost – $$-$$$
- Fan-Favorite – Southwest Sourdough Bread
MIX Kitchen and Bar
Regardless of whether Travelers are looking for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or drinks in the evening, MIX Kitchen and Bar is the perfect place to stop by. Their goal is to provide a fun dining atmosphere that provides multicultural cuisine to its visitors.
- Address – 205 Elmira Rd, Ithaca, NY 14850-5301
- Contact – +1 607-319-4248
- Cost – $$-$$$
- Fan-Favorite – The Duck Confit
The Heights Restaurant
Established in 1995 by Culinary Institute of America graduate James Larounis and his wife Heidi, the Heights Restaurant brings classic fine American dining with a Mediterranean element to Ithaca.
On top of fine cuisine, they also have an incredible and renowned wine list to choose from.
- Address – 903 Hanshaw Rd Ste 19, Ithaca, NY 14850-1530
- Contact – +1 607-257-4144
- Cost – $$$$
- Fan-Favorites – Arincini Ball
Top Rated Sights
Ithaca New York is surrounded by stunning attractions from the Finger Lakes to local waterfalls. The city itself is beautiful with its aesthetic architecture and locations like Cornell University.
The Finger Lakes
The Finger Lakes
The Finger Lakes, found just on the doorstep of Ithaca, are an ideal destination for all four seasons. Home to 11 aesthetic lakes in central upstate New York, the Finger Lakes are a great destination to escape to.
Travelers can one or multiple nights or just make it into a day trip. The region around the lakes is also known for its wine, so travelers can look forward to enjoying a drink while soaking up the beauty of the region.
Robert Treman State Park
Robert Treman State Park
Robert Treman State Park is a beautiful location home to stunning falls and a mix of easy and challenging trails. Popular destinations in the park include The Lower Falls which is just a short walk from the parking lot.
There is even a swimming area hear complete with a lifeguard. Travelers looking for more of a challenge can venture up to The Upper Falls and Gorge trail.
One of the USA’s most iconic universities for both academics and architecture, visiting Cornell University is a popular activity for many visiting Ithaca. Travelers with no interest in ever studying here will still be to enjoy a stroll through the university’s grounds is worth it as this is a truly stunning university.
A Perfect Day In Ithaca, New York
It’s not hard to spend a perfect day in Ithaca, especially for nature lovers. A must-do is hiking Downtown’s gorge, where heading outdoors and onto the trail leads travelers past eight waterfalls.
Dining out at one of Ithaca’s farm-to-table restaurants is also a must, whether it’s for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Finally, a walk through the Cornell Botanic Gardens or a trip to any of the local state parks gives another much-needed dose of nature before visitors get back on the road home.
Q: Where Does Ithaca Compare To Its Neighbor Syracuse?
Syracuse is a much larger city than Ithaca meaning it will have some of the amenities that larger cities have that Ithaca may lack. However, Ithaca is much closer to the Finger Lakes and is perhaps the most aesthetic city in New York and perhaps most of the country.
However, from both, travelers will have great access to nature and will have many fun places to explore both on the way there and once they arrive.
(The Ultimate Travel Guide To Exploring Syracuse, New York Like A Local)
Q: How Does Exploring The Falls Around Ithaca Compare With Niagara Falls?
Exploring both would be incredible for travelers to do as they are quite different. The falls around Ithaca are stunning but much smaller than Niagara, however, they offer travelers the chance to enjoy beautiful hikes and stunning landscapes on their way to experience the falls.
Q: How Does Ithaca Compare To Rochester New York?
Rochester is perhaps the most neighborly town in the US and is located right on Lake Ontario. Rochester is nearly seven times larger than Ithaca meaning it is a much busier place, but still quiet to visit. Ithaca offers a more quiet, peaceful, and aesthetic atmosphere for travelers to explore.