Nestled along the shores of Seneca Lake is the one and only town of Geneva, NY. It’s a quaint little village with a deep-rooted, agricultural past that is reflected in some of the best things to do in Geneva NY.
So, if you’re planning a very merry vacay to Seneca Lake and are in search of some Geneva NY things to do then this, my friend, is the post for you.
After all, this ethereal town sits in the Finger Lakes region of New York and is filled with epic, Geneva NY attractions that include wineries, breweries, and various historical sites.
Add in a delightful selection of restaurants that serve delicious, locally sourced cuisine and a state park that is home to some of the best hikes in the Finger Lakes and you have a truly amazing destination.
So, if you’re ready to experience all of the top things to do in Geneva NY like a 30+ year local, then let’s swan dive into this epic guide to some of the all-time best Geneva NY attractions ever!
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How to Get to Geneva, NY
Want to experience all the very best Geneva NY attractions but aren’t 110% sure how to get to one of the best small towns in New York?
If so then don’t worry because there are a couple of different ways for you to get to and enjoy all of the top things to do in Geneva NY.
- Take the Bus – I wouldn’t recommend using the bus since you’ll have to catch a bus from Port Authoirty and take that to Binghamton. Yes, the ride is only 3.5 hours long but once in Binghamton, buses to Geneva/Waterloo aren’t frequent. Therefore, you might have to wait a day before you can do the 2.5 hour bus ride to Geneva/Waterloo. Tickets are cheap though and should only cost around $35 per person.
- Drive Yourself – This will be the best and easiest option since Geneva is 217 miles away from Manhattan, or about a five hour drive away. So, if you have a car, just take exit 8 to I-81 N and follow that for 3 hours until you hit NY-79 W, NY-89 N and NY-96A N. Once here, continue for about two hours and then take E Castle St to Geneva.
- Fly to Rochester and then Take the Bus to Geneva – You could always catch a plane from JFK, LaGuardia, or Newark to Rochester, NY and then take a bus from there to Geneva. I don’t recommend it though since the trip will take 5 hours and cost between $120 and $275 per person.
Pro Tip: Like with most places in New York, you’ll definitely need a car to experience all of the best things to do in Geneva NY. So, if you don’t have your own car, be sure to rent one upon arrival in major cities like Binghamton and Rochester.
Where to Stay in Geneva NY
Contrary to my initial thoughts, there are actually a ton of great, independent hotels for you to stay in while experiencing all the best things to do in Geneva, NY.
Therefore, my top picks for the best hotels in Geneva NY include:
- Fairfield Inn and Suites Geneva (budget) – This chill hotel has modest, welcoming rooms that start at just over $100 per night and that include WiFi, flat-screen TVs, and coffeemaking facilities, A hot breakfast buffet is also included with your stay, as is access to an indoor pool. a gym, and on-site BBQ grills. This hotel is also extremely well-reviewed, making it an ideal place to stay for anyone on a budget.
- Holiday inn Express & Suites Geneva Finger Lakes (budget) – This low-key hotel has casual rooms that start at just over $120 per night. Accomodations here also include everything you need for a supremely cozy stay (WiFi, flat-screen TV, etc.), in addition to a free continental breakfast buffet, use of an indoor pool and hot tub, guest laundry faciltiies, and an on-site gym.
- White Spring Manor (mid-range) – With reasonably priced accomodations that start at just under $140 per night, this 3.5-star Belhurst property features 13 tradtionally stylized, totally unique rooms with WiFI, comfy king/queen sized beds, AC, flat-screen TVs, and access to a 24-hour front desk.
- Vinifera Inn (luxury) – This luxurious inn features 20 modern guest rooms that sit on the second and third floor of a historic, stone castle from the 1880s and that include sweeping views of nearby Seneca Lake. Yes, this property was built in 2003 as an extension of Belhurst Castle. That’s why, all rooms here feature king size beds, jacuzzis fireplaces and spacious walk-in showers.
Best Things to do in Geneva NY
1. Spend a Day at Seneca Lake State Park
Geneva, New York is considered to be the heart of the Finger Lakes. So, it only makes sense that the first spot on this list of the best things to do in Geneva NY is Seneca Lake State Park!
After all, Seneca Lake State Park is situated on Seneca Lake, the largest of the eleven Finger Lakes.
And while you’re out enjoying this gorgeous slice of nature, there are loads of awesome things to do.
So, feel free to take a kayak out on the water, have a fantastic little picnic, or simply relax on one of the many Finger Lakes beaches here.
Also, although Seneca Lake State Park is great for adults, it’s even better for kids! Because in addition to enjoying the beaches and the playgrounds, children can spend hours at the Sprayground.
See, this part of the park is filled with over 100 water jets that spray water at random intervals. Therefore, your little ones will definitely be squealing in delight after enjoying one of many Geneva NY things to do.
Address: 1 Lake Front Dr, Geneva, NY 14456
Hours: Open year-round from dawn until dusk.
Price: $8 for cars entering the park.
2. Pop by Many of the Best Wineries
Geneva, New York is known for its many fantastic wineries. And although there are several in the area, three wineries consistently stand out from the crowd.
The first noteworthy winery in Geneva, New York is Three Brothers Winery and Estates – a facility so amazing that it is actually home to three separate wineries and one microbrewery.
And if you purchase their tasting experience pass, you’ll be able to sample all of the best products from each of their unique wineries and breweries. Yup, that sure sounds like quite a fun day to me!
Next up on this list of top Geneva NY attractions is Ravines Wine Cellar. In fact, this winery may be the most traditional one in Geneva, as Ravines Wine Cellar implements Old World European wine-making practices when creating most of its products.
As a result, they’ve won many awards throughout the years, particularly for their rieslings. So, during your visit, be sure to try their different riesling varieties and maybe even buy a bottle (or ten) to take home with you.
And last but certainly not least, there’s Ventosa Vineyards. Because if you’re a fan of dry red wines then this Geneva winery is the one for you. V
That’s because Ventosa Vineyards only grows vinifera grapes, which means that they only produce dry red wines.
In other words, they’ve honed their craft to perfection. Therefore, you can’t go wrong with a glass (or case) of their cabernet franc, Sangiovese, cabernet sauvignon, or pinot noir.
3. Stop by a Few of the Coolest Breweries
But wine isn’t the only type of alcohol that’s popular in Geneva. In fact, Beer is high up on the list too.
And while I’ve already mentioned the microbrewery at Three Brothers Winery and Estates, that’s certainly not the only amazing brewery in town.
So, if you can only visit one brewery as part of your Geneva NY itinerary, let Lake Drum Brewing be it. I mean, their downtown Geneva brown, oud bruin, and Pulteney pilsner are all quite popular.
But, if you’re not a beer fan, you can always enjoy their top-notch ciders instead.
Plus, since there are so many great breweries in Geneva, you can easily hop from one to another. As a matter of fact, it’s encouraged!
Because just around the corner from Lake Drum Brewing you’ll find Twisted Rail Brewing Company with its divine assortment of porters, IPAs, and stouts.
And the last Geneva brewery that I want to highlight is WeBe Brewing. This hidden gem isn’t in the center of town like many others on this list of the best things to do in Geneva NY.
Rather, it’s about two miles outside the city center. Additionally, all of the ingredients used to make WeBe Brewing’s beers – including the grain – are locally sourced! So, you know you’re only getting the highest quality beers at this Geneva brewery.
4. Experience the Annual Finger Lakes Beer Festival
But, the vast array of beer-related things to do in Geneva NY don’t end with breweries. In fact, people here love beer so much that there’s also a fantastic annual Finger Lakes Beer Festival for visitors to attend.
See, every October, all of the best breweries in the Finger Lakes come together for the annual Finger Lakes Beer Festival.
In total, over 40 breweries show up at this festival and allow you to sample loads of wonderful beers and even buy a few bottles to take home with you.
However, on top of all of the beer-related fun, you can also listen to live music, snack on tasty foods, participate in a cornhole competition, and even race around a NASCAR race track!
Address: Garages at the Glen in Watkin Glen
Hours: Typically the last weekend of October between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm.
Price: Between $20 and $45 per person depending on the day and how many events you attend.
5. Keep an Eye Out for Seneca White Deer at Deer Haven Park
Calling all animal lovers! Because one of the best things to do in Geneva NY for you is pop by Deer Haven Park.
See, as the name of the park kind of implies, you can see Seneca white deer at Deer Haven Park. These beautiful deer typically hang out in the park each spring. And
while there is a small chance that you may be able to see the deer on your own, I highly recommend booking a tour to see them instead. After all, the locals know exactly where the Seneca white deer like to hang out.
It’s also important to note that the Seneca white deer are wild animals. So, please remember to give them their space as you explore one of many top Geneva NY attractions.
Pro Tip: The park also offers fantastic military history tours if you prefer that to wildlife spotting.
Address: 5479 NY-96A, Romulus, NY 14541
Hours: Open Thursday through Saturday from 9:00 am to dusk. You can also use the app to do the Majesty and Mystery guided driving tour.
6. Explore the Geneva History Museum
Many people visit Geneva for its gorgeous nature spots and impressive food scene. But, learning about this town’s unique history at the Geneva History Museum is another one of the best things to do in Geneva NY.
See, Geneva, New York was originally home to the Seneca tribe and wasn’t influenced by colonists until the Seven Years’ War in the mid-1700s. Then, in 1806, Geneva finally became an official village.
So, stop by the Geneva History Museum today and learn more about Geneva in the modern era too. Along the way, you’ll also learn loads of fun facts about the town, including ones about its innovators, landscape, art, and more.
Heck, there’s even a neat permanent exhibit specifically for kids called The Charles Bauder Children’s Discovery Room, where your little ones can enjoy engaging, hands-on activities.
Pro Tip: This is a small museum so plan on spending between 30 and 90 minutes here.
Address: 543 S Main St, Geneva, NY 14456
Hours: Open Tuesday through Saturday from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm (and Monday through Saturday from 9:30 am to 4:00 pm in the summer).
Price: There is a suggested donation of $5 per person.
7. Take a Stroll down Main Street
Whenever I visit a small town like Geneva, New York, I always feel like a stroll down main street is a great idea.
After all, it’s usually the hub of the town and is brimming over with cute shops, delicious restaurants, and friendly faces.
And since the community here is so close-knit, I often feel like I’ve stumbled upon the real-life version of Gilmore Girls’ Stars Hollow.
Because that’s exactly what Geneva’s main street – aptly named Main Street – feels like. I mean, It’s packed to the brim with charming spots, like Beef & Brew, where you can grab a pint.
Or, opt for some delightful Asian-inspired food at Man Yuan Asian Cuisine while you befriend a few locals along the way.
And if you wander a little off Main Street, that’s okay too! As a matter of fact, it’s encouraged since you’ll find quite a few Geneva New York hidden gems on many of the crossroads here.
Come to think of it, Stomping Grounds is a fantastic place to buy a few books. Early Possessions Boutique is also an amazing place to find a new outfit or two. And don’t forget Geneva Gelato, which serves up some fantastic scoops of ice cream.
8. Dine at Delicious Eateries
Despite the fact that Geneva, NY has a population of just 13,000 people, it has quite a few noteworthy restaurants to add to your list of the top things to do in Geneva NY.
Therefore, I highly recommend dining at these culinary gems – and making reservations in advance!
The first fabulous restaurant in Geneva, NY is F.L.X. Table. This eatery boasts a prix fixe tasting menu that evolves based on seasonal ingredients. Simply put, you’ll enjoy only the finest and freshest ingredients while eating here.
And although the plates at F.L.X. Table are absolutely wonderful, it’s actually the restaurant’s set-up that draws people in. Because at F.L.X. Table, there are only 14 seats and no division between the kitchen and the dining room.
In other words, you can chat with talented chefs as you enjoy the mouthwatering dishes they lovingly prepare. If you’re lucky, you might even get to savor a custom-made menu.
However, since you can’t eat at F.L.X. Table every single night, you can check out some other restaurants in town, including Halsey’s Restaurant.
This Italian-inspired eatery is known for its massive wood-fired meatballs and its fantastic wood-fired pizzas. That’s why You really can’t go wrong with any dish on the menu.
And last but certainly not least, The Rusty Pig is one of the most highly rated restaurants in Geneva, New York. Serving up modern American-style food, it’s the perfect place to get a comforting, casual bite to eat.
Opt for the heavy kevy’s famous beef brisket, the flamekeeper burger, or the “getting piggy with it” pulled pork tacos.
9. Watch a Performance at the Smith Opera House
If you’re looking for the top things to do in Geneva NY at night then a visit to the Smith Opera House is a must.
See, the story of the Smith Opera House begins in 1894, when it was called the Geneva Theatre. While it remained open for quite a few years, it ended up falling into disrepair. Luckily, in 1931, it was renovated and turned into the cultural hub of town that you see today!
As a result, the Smith Opera House now hosts loads of artistic performances. And despite its name, operas aren’t the only shows that this venue showcases. There are also ballets, movies, concerts, and so much more!
So, add a stop at the Smith Opera House to your Geneva New York itinerary and turn it into a night out on the town! After all, this historic venue sits right in the middle of town.
Therefore, you can easily grab dinner at one of the area’s amazing restaurants, sip on a pint at a local brewery, or savor a scoop of ice cream before heading into the show of your choice.
Address: 82 Seneca St, Geneva, NY 14456
Hours: Varies by performance but shows are held in the morning and throughout the evening on weekends. Check their website for more info.
Price: Tickets start at just $6.50 each.
10. Explore the Johnston House
Along with Rose Hill Mansion, the Johnston House is easily one of the top things to do in Geneva NY for any and all of my fellow history nerds out there!
Because this uber-fab historic home was first built back in 1822 by Scottish immigrant, John Johnston. Eventually, he became a prominent local citizen who was known for promoting the use of better farming techniques, like drain tiles to increase productivity.
As a result, his home and farm quickly became one of the most famous agricultural centers in the United States throughout the 19th-century.
So, drop in and see how the Johnston family lived here between 1822 and 1877. After all, this building is now filled with fully-furnished, period piece rooms and fascinating exhibits on farming technology, innovation, and immigration – as these topics relate to the history of this incredible family.
Plus, as an added bonus, you can even check out the Mike Weaver Drain Tile Museum and see an extensive collection of modern and ancient drain tiles too!
Address: 3523 East Lake Road at Route 96A, Geneva, NY
Hours: Check their website for info on opening times for the 2022 season.
Price: Suggested donation of $3 per person.
11. Spend a Night at Belhurst Castle
When I first found out about Belhurst Castle – a jaw-dropping castle in the middle of this small town in New York – it was quite a surprise to me.
In fact, with its conical spires and oriel windows, this ridiculously cool castle looks like it was plucked straight out of Germany and brought to the states!
However, there’s a reason why Belhurst Castle looks like it’d be right at home in Europe. See, when the castle was built in the late 1800s, many of the materials were imported from across the Atlantic! And after four years of hard work, Belhurst Castle finally came to be.
That’s also why you can actually spend the night in this historic building. As a matter of fact, it’s one of the best places to stay in town.
I mean, who wouldn’t want to stay in a castle? Sleep in their four-poster bed, enjoy a meal at Edgar’s Restaurant and get pampered at the on-site Isabella Spa & Salon.
To add to Belhurst Castle’s appeal, there’s also a winery on the property. And, not gonna lie, their award-winning wines are absolutely incredible. If you can, try the pinot grigio, merlot, or dry rosé.
And even if you’re not much of a wine drinker, Belhurst Castle won’t disappoint you as you experience all the best things to do in Geneva NY.
Especially since you can always try some Belhurst craft beer or Belhurst hard cider from Mabel’s Oat Soda Co. instead!
Address: 4069 W Lake Rd, Geneva, NY 14456
Hours: The front desk is open twenty-four hours per day.
Price: Rooms start at around $350 per night.
12. Enjoy a Guided Tour of the Rose Hill Mansion
Belhurst Castle isn’t the only architectural wonder in town since Rose Hill Mansion is also worth a visit. It’s also situated right on the shores of Seneca Lake and is a stunning, Greek Revival-style building that is certainly a sight to behold.
Now, during the colder months, you’ll only be able to get a glimpse of Rose Hill Mansion from the outside. But that may be enough since you can take in the towering columns, the well-manicured lawns, and the adorable shuttered windows.
However, during the warmer months – more specifically, from May to October – you can also take a guided tour of the home’s incredible interior!
Because Rose Hill Mansion was originally built in the 1850s. And as you explore the inside of this home, you’ll be transported back to that time period through extensive collections of photos, diaries, and letters.
Yup, you can’t ask for a more personalized peek into life in 1850s New York. On top of all that, you’ll even find many artifacts pointing back to the Rose Hill Mansion’s farm origins as you enjoy another one of the best things to do in Geneva NY.
Pro Tip: An awesome, one-hour guided tour of the building is available at 11:00 am and 2:00 pm on Thursdays from July 8 through October 28.
Address: 3373 NY-96A, Geneva, NY 14456
Hours: Open seasonally (July 8th through October 31st) Thursday through Saturday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm and on Sundays from 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm.
Price: Tickets are $10.00 for adults, $8.00 for seniors, $6.00 for children (10-18), and free for anyone 9 and under.
13. Explore Red Jacket Orchards
Spread out across 600+ acres of property on beautiful Seneca Lake, Red Jacket Orchards is easily one of the top Geneva NY attractions for anyone looking to get back to nature.
After all, this charming, family-owned farm has been around for 50+ years and features upwards of 300 acres of apple trees and 250 acres of fields filled with strawberries, apricots, and just about any other fruit you can imagine.
So, be sure to visit during apple picking season or just stop by their on-site store to purchase a variety of homemade baked goods, fresh cold-pressed juices, artisanal cheeses, fruits, and speciality foods that are indigenous to the Finger Lakes region.
Pro Tip: If you can only get one thing while you’re here, try their cold-pressed juice since that’s what they’re known for.
Address: 957 Routes 5 and 20, Geneva, NY 14456
Hours: Open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm and on Sunday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.
Price: Depends on what you buy!
14. Uncle Joe’s Pizzeria
As someone who is originally from New York City, I almost NEVER eat pizza outside of the tri-state area. Yeah, I’m just super picky about the pizza I eat and always find pizza from other parts of New York to be super disappointing.
However, not so with Uncle Joe’s Pizzeria! Because everything here – from the delicious pizza to the retro-inspired decor to the warm and welcoming service – is awesome with a capital “A”.
And that makes sense since they’ve been around since 1978 currently run Cosentino’s Ristorante too!
So, stop in and order something off their classic, Italian-inspired menu, like the sweet and sour wings, the lasagna, or any one of their pizzas.
It’s nothing fancy but it’s perfect if you’re looking for a delicious, low-key meal while checking out all the best things to do in Geneva NY.
Pro Tip: Portions here are HUGE so either come hungry or be prepared to eat lots of leftovers.
Address: 99 N Genesee St, Geneva, NY 14456
Hours: Open Wednesday and Thursday from 11:00 am to 10:00 pm, Friday from 11:00 am to 11:00 pm, Saturday from 4:30 pm to 11:00 pm, and Sunday from 4:30 pm to 10:00 pm.
Price: Pizza starts at $3.25 per slice.
15. Kindred Fare
Are you a diehard foodie looking for some of the best things to do in Geneva NY? If so then hit up Kindred Fare since I pinkie promise you. will NOT regret it.
After all, this well-reviewed, low-key, Geneva-area hot spot is known for its locally sourced, seasonally available, American fare that includes homemade bread, premium beers, and delicious craft cocktails like the Charlie Chaplin.
So, if you’re looking for generous, well-priced portions of tasty comfort food to soak up all that alcohol after a day of wine tasting, then this is the place to be.
And if you’re in the mood for it, try their fried calamari with chickpea as a starter, pair it with a fried rice bowl with pork belly and egg as your entree., and then end your meal with some decadent creme brulee for dessert.
Trust me, so flipping good (FYI, the crispy chicken sandwich is also delish).
Pro Tip: Stop by on Mondays for a special themed, prix fixe menu that includes free corkage if you bring a bottle of your favorite wine.
Address: 512 Hamilton St, Geneva, NY 14456
Hours: Open daily from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm.
Price: Entrees start at $25 each and the Monday prix fixe menu is $40 per person for an appetizer, entree, and dessert.
Map of the Best Things to do in Geneva NY
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