Generally speaking, when people visualize New York’s cities they think of our bigger areas like New York City, Albany, Syracuse or Buffalo. We love taking day trips to delightful small towns in our state, but how about visiting some of our smaller cities for a change? Full of charm and plenty to keep you busy, these 11 cities aren’t too big or too small…they’re just right!
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
The largest city to make our list with a population of over 30,000 residents, you can find this magical place at the southern end of Cayuga Lake in Tompkins County. There's plenty to keep you busy in this city, but more specifically this area will appeal to our adventurers. Within Ithaca you can find several insanely beautiful waterfalls to explore, serene gardens and a famous farmers market.
If you happen to know anything about the city of Rye, it's most likely something related to our iconic amusement park. A population of roughly 15,000 residents that falls right along the shores of the Long Island Sound in Westchester County, this city has several attractions worth checking out. Whether you're looking to spend an exciting day at Rye Playland or get closer to nature at the Marshlands Conservancy, you'll be sure to have an amazing day outside.
Located at the top of Canandaigua Lake in Ontario County, this small city is full of huge hidden gems. With a population of just over 10,000 residents, you'd never know such big attractions were hiding here. An incredible area to explore during our summer months, there's plenty of exciting outdoor adventures for you to take here. View New York in a thrilling new way on a zipline tour at Bristol Mountain Adventures and cool off with a trip to Roseland Waterpark, or maybe you're looking for a more peaceful setting and would better enjoy a stroll through Sonnenberg Gardens!
4. Saratoga Springs
A truly charming area to visit especially during the summer, you can find this beautiful city just north of Albany. One of the best things about this city is that there's a variety of things to do, all within a small radius. Home to the oldest racetrack in America, the peaceful Yaddo Gardens, a fantastic state park and plenty of areas to go shopping and dine out, we could gush about Saratoga forever!
5. Glen Cove
One of the larger cities on our list, you can find Glen Cove on the northern shore of Long Island in Nassau County. A favorite place to experience breathtaking views by the water, this city has a population of roughly 27,000 residents.
Frequently referred to as the City of the Hills, you can find this remote area while you're traveling along I-88 in Otsego County. From an out-of-towner's perspective this city may not look like much and may be a difficult one to pronounce, but our residents know all that Oneonta has to offer! Featuring a main street that's often the host of many wonderful events and where you can find some great places to eat, this city is the home of the famous Brooks' House of BBQ! Looking for something specific to check out? Recently reopened, visitors can have their hearts melted at the Joseph L. Popp, Jr. Butterfly Conservatory, where you can check out incredible wildlife up close.
Just east of Niagara Falls, this Niagara County city has a population of just over 21,000 residents. Featuring the Erie Canal's Flight of Five Locks, this area is home to a lot of New York's history. Spend the day exploring the Lockport Nature Trail or the Lockport Caves and reward yourself afterwards with a tasty beverage from one of the local wineries!
A city filled with lots of small town charm, this Ulster County treasure has a population of roughly 23,000 residents. The city is home to a ton of fascinating historical sights like the New York Trolley Museum and the Rondout Lighthouse. Speaking of which, want to hear some exciting news? Just this week Kingston opened its first public fishing dock on Rondout Creek!
Found along the Chemung River in Steuben County, this underrated city has a population of just over 11,000 residents. While the thought of traveling somewhere to visit a museum may not normally interest you, we assure you that the Corning Museum of Glass is like nothing you've ever experienced. Something that should be on every New Yorkers bucket list, this museum is something that can only be fully appreciated in person. Admire the glass works of art from afar or get a little closer and even create your own glass while you're here, this museum will surely blow your mind.
Right on Lake Ontario not too far from all of the Finger Lakes, you'll find this scenic city in Oswego County. Just off of the coast you can view the beautiful Oswego Harbor West Pierhead Lighthouse, a lovely sight to see. One of our favorite activities to do while we're out in this area of New York is to take full advantage of all the great fishing you can do out here!
Concluding with one of the smaller cities on our list, having a population of just over 11,000 residents, this area is one of the great places you can visit in New York along the St. Lawrence River. Up north and practically kissing Canadian territory, this remote area is home to the intriguing Frederic Remington Art Museum, an American artist who's work normally featured an Old West theme.
It’s hard to pick just one favorite city off of this list! What’s your favorite city in New York to visit?