Ready to visit Corning, NY but not exactly sure what to do or where to go? If so then this massive guide to the best things to do in Corning NY is perfect for you.
I mean, I should know. I’ve lived in New York for 30+ years and have visited Corning more times than I can count.
Therefore, I know exactly where you should and should not go if you want to skip the tourist traps and experience this small New York town like a real local.
So, step away from the generic AF guidebook and give this guide to the top things to do in Corning NY a quick read if you want to use secret insider tips to plan the trip of a lifetime.
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Where to Stay in Corning NY
Looking for an awesome home base from which to experience some of the best things to do in Corning NY?
If so then take a look at this expertly curated selection of hotels that will be perfect for you regardless of your budget.
- Gatehouse Motel (budget) – For anyone on a budget, this family-run hotel is an ideal place to stay. After all, it’s well-located near Route 352 and has well-appointed rooms that include complimentary parking and access to on-site laundry facilities.
- Quality Inn Corning (mid-range) – This place is nothing fancy but this hotel does have everything you need for a cozy stay. So, expect low-key rooms outfitted with free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, in-room coffeemakers, and more. Hot breakfast is also included with your stay as is access to an indoor pool.
- Hilton Garden Inn Corning Downtown (luxury) – This upscale hotel is well-located near downtown Corning and features down-to-earth rooms that include Wi-Fi, TVs, and whirlpool tubs in suites. On-site parking is also available as is access to an on-site pool, gym, and casual restaurant.
1. Corning Museum of Glass
Whether you know anything about glass blowing or not, this is one of the best things to do in Corning NY.
Because glass blowing is an important part of Corning NY’s history as it is what really put the city on the map back in the day.
So much so that Corning actually became known as Crystal City, which brought in a lot of investment into the area.
After all, Corning was the producer of some of the finest cut glass in the country during the medium’s golden era between 1880 and 1915.
However, you can learn all about this and more at the museum. But the star of the show is the glasswork itself, which is truly stunning.
You can spend hours exploring the Corning Museum of Glass’ permanent collection of contemporary and learn all about the history of glasswork before seeing a live demonstration.
Plus, the facility frequently showcases temporary galleries and exhibits that center around the art of glass making.
And If you’re feeling really creative, you can even take classes in glass making too while you’re here.
Address: 1 Museum Way, Corning, NY 14830, United States
Hours: Open daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Price: Tickets start at $20.00 for adults.
2. The Rockwell Museum
Art lovers rejoin because one of the best things to do in Corning NY is to visit the exquisite collection at the Rockwell Museum.
After all, this next-level amazing institution is dedicated to showcasing art that captures the spirit and essence of America.
So, you’ll find a plethora of art by both famous and lesser-known American artists who embody this ethos.
Yup, The Rockwell Museum has a truly impressive permanent collection that you are always welcome to visit and explore.
Additionally, they frequently host temporary exhibits that cover a range of mediums and topics from woodblocks about the AIDs crisis to 19th Century Portraiture.
This museum is also very kid-friendly and boasts an Art Lab that allows kids to make their own arty creations inspired by works within the Rockwell collection itself.
Kids can even host a birthday party here if they want. You know, just in case you happen to be looking for a totally unique party idea and live nearby!
PS: This museum is a Smithsonian affiliate so you know it’s the real deal.
Address: 111 Cedar St, Corning, NY 14830, United States
Hours: Open daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Price: Tickets start at $11.50 per adult.
3. Poppleton Bakery and Cafe
If you have a sweet tooth as I do, then get yourself over to the Poppleton Bakery and Cafe. Yeah, you can thank me later for this sage advice.
See, this enchanting cafe is the ideal spot to grab a bite to eat in the afternoon since they have a range of items to choose from.
But while there are tasty soups, salads, and sandwiches aplenty, the real highlight is the delicious homemade crepes.
And yes, they have both sweet and savory crepes to choose from! So, technically you could have a savory crepe and follow it up with a sweet crepe.
I promise I won’t judge you if you do… I mean, I may have done just that myself!
Oh, and in addition to food, they also serve hot and cold drinks – including many flavors of bubble tea! So, you can just relax and enjoy the cafe vibes like whoa. Because for foodies, this is one of the best things to do in Corning NY.
Address: 23 W Market St, Corning, NY 14830, United States
Hours: Open Monday through Saturday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Price: Most items are under $10.00 each.
4. Heritage Village of Southern Finger Lakes
Step back in time at the Heritage Village of Southern Finger Lakes! Okay, despite the name, it isn’t really a village.
Instead, it’s a historical site within Corning dedicated to the city’s history. So, while you’re here you’ll find all the components of a small, traditional New England village like an old inn, a post depot, a schoolhouse, a blacksmith, and more!
And yes, the staff really do dress up and play up their roles to make it feel as authentic as possible.
In particular, The Benjamin Patterson Inn (also called The Painted Post Tavern) is the oldest building in the village and dates back to ye olde 1796.
Within the inn, visitors can see the accommodations available to travelers way back when and how they would have socialized, as well as the Patterson’s own private living quarters.
So, this is easily one of the best things to do in Corning NY if you are a fellow history nerd since you’ll learn all about life in old Corning.
Address: 73 W Pulteney St, Corning, NY 14830, United States
Hours: Open Monday/Friday from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm and Tuesday through Thursday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.
Price: Admission starts at $10.00 for adults.
5. The Gaffer District
Do you love shopping? Then an afternoon in the Gaffer District is one of the best things to do in Corning NY for you!
See, the Gaffer District is a strip of 6 blocks that are lined with cute boutique shops, cafes, and restaurants aplenty.
And if you’re into shopping, you’ll find a bit of everything from a farmers market to antique shops to clothing and beauty supplies.
In fact, because there is such a large number of historic buildings in the Gaffer District, you’ll enjoy a visit even if you’re not into shopping,
It also has its own unique and interesting history since the area is named after the Gaffers who were highly skilled master glass blowers.
In fact, you can learn all about them at the Museum of Glass (listed above), which is, of course, in the Gaffer District!
You’ll even find a ton of amazing murals and sculptures around the district that reflect the rich history here.
6. Keuka Lake
Although a visit to Keuka Lake is considered one of the best things to do in Corning NY, it is actually a 40-minute drive from the city.
However, if you’re able to get here, it is worth the drive and the perfect way to spend a day by yourself, on a date, or with the family since this is one of the best lakes in New York.
Because this lake is a popular spot for water sports including boating, kayaking, and paddle boarding. Of course, swimming is also a fun thing to do here too.
But, if you don’t have your own gear, there are numerous places where you can rent equipment on the lake for the day.
Alternatively, there are several parks that surround the lake, including the titular Keuka Lake State Park, which is ideal for a day of mountain biking or hiking in the finger lakes.
As Keuka Lake is in the Finger Lake district, you’ll also find many vineyards nearby where you can stop in for a wine tasting and/or souvenir at one of the best wineries in the Finger Lakes.
7. Goat Yoga at ZiegenVine Homestead
What is goat yoga, you ask? Well, it’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like: yoga with goats! Well, kind of.
See, while you do yoga, the goats (typically kids) get to wander around and interact with you. They climb on you, butt heads, and admire your stellar technique.
Okay, maybe not the last one, but a girl can dream.
Anyway, goat yoga might sound like it’s just a bit of silly fun – and it is, fun, I mean – but it also has health benefits.
Because interacting with animals lowers your cortisol (stress) levels and increases your dopamine and serotonin (happiness) levels.
This ultimately makes you feel good and euphoric, and stress-free. Which I think we can all agree is a good thing!
So if this sounds like your kind of thing or something you’d like to try out then try out goat yoga at the ZiegenVine Homestead.
For anyone feeling stressed or in need of a pick-me-up, this is easily one of the most fun and best things to do in Corning NY!
Address: 8469 Oak Hill Rd, Savona, NY 14879, United States
8. Little Joe Tower
Standing tall and proud above the skyline of Corning is Little Joe Tower, although there’s not much that’s little about it since it’s 187 feet tall!
However, this tower was constructed as part of the Corning Glass Works.
So, painted on the outside of this white tower is the silhouette of Little Joe the glassblower, a symbol of the iconic glassworks operation and where the tower gets its name.
And the reason Little Joe is so tall is that the company used to stretch out the glass for their thermometer tubes along the length of the tower.
Fast forward a couple of years and the tower was fully renovated with a fresh coat of paint a la 2015.
In truth though, Little Joe is actually over one hundred years old and stands as an iconic symbol of the city and its crafty history!
Finding Little Joe is also easy since there aren’t exactly a ton of 187-foot tall towers in Corning.
And if you can’t seem to see it, just head between Brisco Bridge and Bridge Street Bridge on the south side of Chemung River.
Trust me, it’s worth making the trip over here since this local landmark is one of the best things to do in Corning NY!
Address: Chestnut St, Corning, NY 14830, United States
Hours: Open all day every day.
9. Hand + Foot
Hand + Foot is where the good people of Corning NY go to spend some quality time together, and they invite you to do the same.
And you should since the sense of community is strong here, whether you’re a local or just visiting. In fact, that’s exactly what makes stopping by Hand + Foot one of the best things to do in Corning NY!
One of the other reasons has to be the drinks menu. Because this thing is extensive with a capital “E”.
Yup, there are cocktails, spirits, wine, and bottled beers available from all over the world. There’s also an INSANE amount of Kentucky bourbon and more.
So, if you can think of it, chances are Hand + Foot has got it.
There’s good food too, with all your favorite home-cooked crowd pleasers making the menu like brisket, fish fry, buttermilk chicken, and plenty of sandwiches.
Plus, there are a lot of Asian-inspired entrees on offer like Korean rice cakes, poke bowls, fried rice, and noodle dishes too.
You’ll also love that the name of this warm and inviting bistro comes from a card game played by the family that owns the place.
Because sitting down in a friendly social environment to play cards is what inspired the creation of this incredible cafe.
Address: 69 W Market St, Corning, NY 14830, United States
Hours: Open Monday through Thursday from 4:00 pm to 11:00 pm and Friday/Saturday from 11:30 am to 11:00 pm.
Price: Entrees start at around $12.00 each.
10. Market Street Brewing Co.
Looking to whet your whistle with some finely crafted local beers in a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere? If so then head on down to the Market Street Brewing Co.!
This family-owned brewery and pub have been brewing and selling their own beer for 25+ years on good old Market Street in central Corning.
And when they’re not making and pouring their own alcohol, the folks at MSBC bring in guest beers from other craft breweries in the area.
So, visitors can enjoy lagers, IPAs, and dark ales as well as special seasonal beers on tap.
What, not in the mood for a frosty cold one? Well, then you can check out their well-rounded cocktail menu which is full of a ton of fruity favorites.
Also, there’s always wine, amirite?
Because like some of the best breweries in NYC, part of what makes Market Street Brewing Co. one of the best things to do in Corning NY is its history.
In fact, MSBC’s building is an award-winning historical renovation. So, the bar is entirely made from antique pieces repurposed from different demolition projects.
Plus, part of the mirror on the bar was even once a wedding gift owned by Prince Charles and Princess Diana of England. So, yeah, this local pub has a genuine Royal connection which is pretty damn impressive in good old Corning, NY.
Address: 63 W Market St, Corning, NY 14830, United States
Hours: Open Tuesday through Thursday from 11:30 am to 9:00 pm and Friday/Saturday from 11:30 am to 10:00 pm.
11. The Cellar
Anyone looking for the hottest meal ticket in town should take advantage of one of the best things to do in Corning NY and head down to this exciting eatery!
See, at The Cellar their goal is to create the finest dining experience possible for their guests.
Therefore, it’s no surprise that passion, honesty, integrity, and excellence are all part of their core values since they’re super serious about their food!
But what food do they serve? Well, a little bit of everything. No, not a buffet. Think fusion!
Because the folks at The Cellar are all about modern dishes with creative flair – made to the highest standard – that you’re sure to remember.
We’re talking small plates with lamb lollipops, tempura sushi rolls, and Wagyu tallow fries. So, imagine wood planks piled high with caramelized walnuts, pickled fennel, and dried figs.
Don’t worry; they’re not above serving a plate of chicken and waffles too.
It’s just that it comes generously adorned with Ithaca Cheddar and chives and drizzled in sriracha maple syrup and smoked pepper butter that will BLOW YOUR MIND.
In fact, your Insta account and stomach will both be grateful in equal measure.
Address: 21 W Market St, Corning, NY 14830, United States
Hours: Open Monday through Thursday from 4:30 pm to 8:30 pm and on Friday and Saturday from 4:30 pm to 9:00 pm.
Price: Entrees start at $21.00 each.
12. Dippity Do Dahs Homemade Ice Cream
Caramel Latte, Cake Batter, Coconut Almond Fudge, PB & J, Maple Walnut, and Blue Raspberry Sorbet. Is your mouth watering as much as mine is right now?
Well, that might just be because Dippity Do Dahs homemade ice cream parlor is the place where sugary dreams come true…literally!
Starting life on Memorial Day in 2013, Dippity Do Dahs’ owners drew inspiration from enjoying ice cream while on a family vacation at a local dairy farm.
Now they have 22 signature flavors that can be served to you in a number of ways.
So, you can have a traditional cone, a milkshake, an ice cream sandwich with cookies, a cake, or even an ice cream pizza – whole or by the slice!
However, the creativity doesn’t stop there since Dippity Do Dah has several seasonal flavors to help make the holidays extra special, like Caramel Apple Pie or Pumpkin for the fall!
Therefore, grabbing a couple of scoops here is definitely one of the best things to do in Corning NY for anyone with a sweet tooth.
Address: 46 E Market St, Corning, NY 14830, United States
Hours: Open Tuesday through Thursday from 3:00 pm to 8:30 pm and Friday/Saturday from 12:00 pm to 8:30 pm.
Price: Ice cream starts at $4.75 each.
13. Palace Theatre
Wanna catch a movie? Then head on over to Corning’s very own local picture house! Because catching a movie here is deffo one of the best things to do in Corning NY in the evening.
Situated in the historic Gaffer District on good old West Market Street, this movie theatre is not your average multiplex.
In fact, the folks at Palace Theatre put an emphasis on comfort, convenience, and a pleasant old-timey vibe.
So, each of their two auditoriums (which they call houses) feature seats that are larger and more comfortable than in regular cinemas. It also doesn’t hurt that each theater can seat anywhere between 75 and 100 people.
Some of the seats were even purpose-built with small tables for all your fave snacks. Just be sure to get there early as this place is incredibly popular.
This delightful theater is also older than it looks. So, while this business first opened for business in its current state in 2009, it was originally known as the Little Princess Theatre way back in the 1800s!
Yup, now that’s what I call a local legacy.
Address: 17 W Market St, Corning, NY 14830, United States
Hours: Shows are Monday through Thursday at around 6:00 pm, Fridays at around 6:00 pm/9:00 pm, Saturdays at around 3:00 pm/6:00 pm/9:00 pm, and Sundays at around 3:00 pm/6:00 pm.
Price: Tickets start at $9.90 for an adult.
14. National Soaring Museum
Situated between Corning and nearby Elmira, the National Soaring Museum is perfect for anyone interested in aviation and its history.
Because the region – and especially Elmira – has a long history of “soaring” that dates back to 1930. In fact, Elmira is known as the Soaring Capital of America.
And The National Soaring Museum is particularly unique because it is one of only two museums in the entire United States that focuses on motorless aircraft.
So, visitors will have a great time exploring their extensive glider collection, some of which date back to the 1890s.
There is even a Hall of Fame that has information about all the important people in the world of Soaring.
Plus, did I mention you can actually ride on a real glider? Yup, told you this was one of the best things to do in Corning NY!
Just be aware that you will have to arrange the flight ahead of time (for an extra cost), but it’s an amazing once-in-a-lifetime experience that is 110% worth it IMHO.
Address: 51 Soaring Hill Dr, Elmira, NY 14903, United States
Hours: Open daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Price: Tickets start at $9.00 for adults.
15. West End Gallery
If you love art, then a trip to the West End Gallery is definitely one of the best things to do in Corning NY.
Located on Historic Market Street, this gallery has been operating in Corning for well over 40 years.
Plus, you’ll find a wide variety of art on display at the West End Gallery in a range of mediums and styles.
And any frequent visitors out there will know that the gallery is always changing up their exhibitions and featuring something new.
In fact, The West End Gallery has something for everyone with displays that feature ceramics, glass, oils, acrylics, and watercolors. Heck, there are even some bronze sculptures and wood carvings too.
Truth be told though, most exhibits feature specific artists, although they occasionally do group showcases around specific themes.
However, for true connoisseurs, private viewings are available. But, if you’re just curious or passing through, walk-ins are more than welcome.
Address: 12 W Market St, Corning, NY 14830, United States
Hours: Walk-ins are welcome from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm every Tuesday through Saturday.
Price: Free unless you purchase something.