Ready to experience the full-on awesomeness that is Lake Placid, NY? If so then you NEED this hella awesome list of the very best things to do in Lake Placid, NY.
Trust me on this. I know all about some of the top things to do in Lake Placid, NY since my family has had a house in nearby Westport, NY (about an hour away) for the past 30+ years.
As a result, we would routinely visit this epic Adirondack town multiple times per year since hi, it’s awesome and there are a ton of super fun things to do in Lake Placid, NY.
It’s also one of those rare towns in upstate New York that are perfect at basically any time of year since you can easily go hiking/ swimming/boating in the summer (hiking here is epic since Lake Placid is at the very center of the High Peaks region) and sleigh riding/tabogganing/skiing/dog sledding in the winter – at least if you don’t mind seriously cold temperatures.
Because yes, temperatures routinely dip below zero throughout the cold winter months.
And that makes sense since Lake Placid is a veritable winter wonderland that actually hosted the winter Olympics in 1932 and then again in 1980 (If you’ve seen the 2004 movie Miracle then that famous hockey game actually took place here).
Yeah, the lake (weirdly known as Mirror Lake, not Lake Placid) actually freezes through completely and people will routinely toboggan, skate, and dogsled across the top.
So, regardless of whether you want to visit throughout the winter or the summer, this is the list of the best things to do in Lake Placid, NY for you!
Especially since I’m about to use my super savvy, local knowledge to answer all of your most pressing questions about:
- How to get to Lake Placid, NY
- Best Hotels in Lake Placid, NY
- Best Things to do in Lake Placid, NY
- Best Restaurants in Lake Placid, NY
- And more!
So, if you’re ready, let’s swan dive into this post and use this Lake Placid itinerary to help you see this iconic town like a real New Yorker!
This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure for more information. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.
Table of Contents
How to Get to Lake Placid, NY
Luckily for you, Lake Placid is REALLY easy to get to from NYC. It basically sits at the center of the state’s High Peaks Region and is about a 5-hour drive from NYC.
To drive here, just take the New York State Thruway (aka I-87 or the Northway) all the way to exit 30. Get off the exit and turn left onto Route 9 North. You’ll then follow this road to the intersection with Route 73 and then take this road all the way into Lake Placid (about 28 miles).
Conversely, you could always take an Amtrak Train from Penn Station to Westport Station. Fares start at around $28 one-way and the trip will take around eight hours.
That being said Westport is a super small town and there are really no great options when it comes to public transportation (no buses, local trains, taxis, or car rental services) once you get here.
Which is an issue since Westport is still about an hour’s drive away from Lake Placid proper.
Therefore, if you’re looking to use public transportation, I’d probably catch a train to Albany (or a bus to Lake George) and then rent a car once you get there since you’ll need a car to enjoy all of the best things to do in Lake Placid, NY anyway.
Best Hotels in Lake Placid, NY
If you’re looking for a place to stay while enjoying some of the best things to do in Lake Placid, NY then this is the section for you!
Because while there are a ton of great places to stay in Lake Placid, some can be SUPER expensive and others can be, well, lame beyond belief would be the nice way of putting it.
So, to help you pick out the perfect hotel for your Lake Placid itinerary, here are my picks for the best accommodations in Lake Placid, NY! And if you want, you could even book a stay at one of the best treehouses in New York too.
- Wildwood on the Lake (budget, Lake Placid) – Honestly, decent budget hotels are pretty hard to find in the Lake Placid area. But, Wildwood on the Lake does an excellent job of offering well-priced accommodations that still feature all the amenities you’d need for a relaxing stay. So, at this family-owned motel, expect casual rooms with WIFI, coffeemakers, flat-screen TVS, decks/patios, and more. Guests can also enjoy complimentary muffins and coffee in the morning, as well as use of a free shuttle to Main Street, an indoor heated pool, a hot tub, a sauna, ice skating, and kayak/boat rentals.
- Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort (mid-range, Lake Placid) – This is a casual, family-owned, centrally located hotel that offers charming rooms with WIFI, flat-screen TVs, and in-room coffeemakers. There’s also an on-site restaurant/cocktail lounge for guests to use as well as a gym, indoor pool, hot tub, and sauna. Just a really fab option if you’re looking to live the supremely luxe life while checking out all the best things to do in Lake Placid NY.
- High Peaks Resort (Lucury, Lake Placid) – This upscale, modern resort sits along the stunning shores of Mirror Lake and features airy rooms with swank, Adirondack-style decor that pays homage to the area. In-room highlights include stone-tile walk-in showers, WIFI, flat-screen TVs, direct shore access, and fireplaces/whirlpool tubs in suites. Complimentary kayak/paddleboard rentals are also available and guests can dine at a casual, American restaurant before taking a dip in one indoor and two outdoor pools.
- Mirror Lake Inn Resort and Spa (Luxury, Lake Placid) – This four-star, beach front resort in Lake Placid, NY overlooks beautiful Mirror Lake and is easily one of the best all-inclusive resorts in New York. It also comes fully outfitted with a selection of stunning suites that come complete with WIFI, four-poster beds, private balconies/terraces, and marble bathrooms. Guests will also love the hotel’s complimentary afternoon tea, as well as access to a 60-foot indoor pool, a heated outdoor pool, a fitness center, spa, and upscale/more low-key onsite eateries.
Best Things to do in Lake Placid, NY
1. Olympic Sites
This is one of the best things to do in Lake Placid, NY that should come as exactly no surprise to you since the town’s immortal claim to fame is that it hosted not one, but two different Olympic winter games – one in 1932 and one in 1980.
So, why not take some time to explore the town’s multitude of Olympic Sites and see where the proverbial magic happened as it were?
Because in total, Lake Placid is home to four different Olympic sites that include the following:
- Lake Placid Olympic Center – Currently under construction, this facility is home to the actual ice rink (aka Herb Brooks Arena) where the Miracle on Ice game was played, as well as countless gold medals won in figure skating and speed skating. So, step inside, admire the banner and plaque adorned hallways, and explore the Olympic Museum with its wealth of interactive exhibits on Olympic history.
- Lake Placid Olympic Jumping Complex – Soar to new heights (literally) at the enormous ski jump complex in Lake Placid! Highlights include watching real ski jumpers fly through the air or going on a zipline ride at 30 miles per hour to help simulate what ski jumping actually feels like. While you’re here, you can also try the brand-spankin’ new Skyride, an 8-passenger gondola that offers visitors sweeping views of the Adirondacks as you climb up to the base of the ski jump towers. From here, take a glass elevator t the sky deck of the ski jump tower and admire the killer views.
- Whiteface Mountain – Easily one of the most famous (and tallest) mountains in the region, Whiteface is known for having some of the best snowboard and ski trails in the region. However, if you’re not big into winter sports, you can always hike to the top (or drive using the Whiteface Veterans Memorial Highway) or climb aboard the Cloudsplitter Gondola for panoramic views of Whiteface as you climb to the summit of Little Whiteface. You could also check out the Whiteface Adventure Zone and disc golf, zipline, or mountain bike your way through the mountain.
- Mt. Van Hoevenberg – Bobsled like a boss on the continent’s longest mountain coaster, The Cliffside Coaster and enjoy one of the unique things to do in Lake Placid. Or, use one of the area’s world-renowned cross-country ski trails to uncover the awe-inspiring natural beauty of the Adirondacks. Afterward, relax with a drink inside The Mountain Pass Lodge as you enjoy all that Mt. Van Hoevenberg has to offer.
Pro Tip: If you really want to experience all of the best things to do in Lake Placid, NY, and are a huge fan of the Olympics, then consider getting the Lake Placid Olympic Sites Passport.
It’s an area-wide pass that will give you access to most of the Lake Placid Olympic Sites listed above. It’ll definitely save you some money and can be picked up at any of the Olympic Sites ticket offices.
It’s also free for kids 6 and under ($35 for everyone else) and gives you complimentary access to (as well as a 20% discount at many activities like the bobsled ride) all of the following:
- Whiteface Cloudsplitter Gondola Ride (open all year long)
- Whiteface Veteran’s Memorial Highway (open throughout the summer and fall)
- Lake Placid Olympic Museum (open all year long)
- A game of Disc Golf at Whiteface Resort (summer only)
- Ice-Skating on the Olympic Speed Skating Oval (winter only)
- Tour of the Olympic Sports Complex Tour (open all year long)
- Olympic Jumping Complex Tour (open all year long)
- Special event and festival admission
2. Shop for Fun Souvenirs at Local Boutiques
If you love shopping then one of the best things to do in Lake Placid is head to Main Street and check out the wide array of specialty shops here.
After all, these shops are truly unique and a walk here provides you with excellent views of nearby Mirror Lake.
Now, some of my personal fave shops include:
- Adirondack Trading Company: This store features a wide range of Adirondack-inspired gifts, home decor, and outdoor gear.
- Where’d You Get That Hat Store: Find a variety of stylish hats, including locally-made options that will be perfect for your outdoor adventures.
- Adirondack Popcorn Company: Treat yourself to gourmet popcorn in novelty flavors, as well as a selection of candies and snacks. Personally, I love the Moose Crunch and get it every time I’m here.
- The Bookstore Plus: A locally-owned independent bookstore where you can browse through a diverse selection of books, toys, and gifts.
Local Tip: If you’re on Main Street and it’s raining then one of the best things to do in Lake Placid NY is to catch a film at the Palace Theatre.
It’s a super cool vintage theater that actually hosts the Lake Placid Film Festival at the end of October.
3. Whiteface Mountain
One of the many best things to do in Lake Placid, NY that is so nice, I actually listed it here twice since, hi, Whiteface Mountain is flipping awesome.
I mean not only is it a premier ski destination with – count em’ – 90 different skiing and snowboarding trails that cover a grand total of 22 miles (FYI the Wilmington Trail is the longest at 2 miles), but Whiteface is also a fantastic place to go hiking or downhill biking throughout the warm summer months too!
So, if you want to climb to the top of this iconic mountain, you could:
- Hike to the Top – The climb to the top of Whiteface is along a moderately difficult, 10.1 mile loop trail that takes you 5,000 feet up to the summit of one of the tallest peaks in the Adirondacks. That’s why, on a clear day, you can see well into Canada and Vermont. You’ll basically start at the Wilmington Trailhead, take that to Marble Mountain, take that to Esther Trail, and then ascend Whiteface and enjoy one of the best hikes in upstate New York.
- Drive Up Via the Veterans Memorial Highway -Open daily – between June 1 and October 8th – from 8:45 am to 5:30 pm., the 5-mile long road up Whiteface starts at the tollhouse and climbs to the top of the fifth tallest mountain in New York, with stunning views and a multitude of scenic overlooks that you can pull off at along the way. Once at the top, you’ll find a full-on stone castle (great for photo-ops) and can even stop for a bite at the aptly named Castle Cafe, From here, it’s about a twenty minute hike to the top where you’ll enjoy next level awesome views and find a cute little science museum about the atmosphere. Also, driving up Whiteface is very much NOT free, so expect to pay $20 for one vehicle and driver, $20 for each additional passenger, $10 each for between 3 and 8 additional passengers, and $20 for one motorcycle and driver.
- Cloudsplitter Gondola to Little Whiteface – To partake in this epic Gondola ride (which is open year-round), head to the Whiteface Mountain Ski Resort and enjoy a glorious, 15-minute ride from the base of Whiteface all the way to the top of Little Whiteface. Once here, you can admire the views and do a bit of hiking before heading back down. Tickets are $20 for adults, $16 for children, and free for kids under 6 or anyone with the Olympic Pass.
4. Go on a Self-Guided Wine Tour
Another one of the best things to do in Lake Placid, New York is to sample some local wine.
No, it’s not a major wine-producing region. But, you can still find some great spots to enjoy wine. Here are a few places in and around Lake Placid where you can taste wine.
- The Cottage Restaurant: The Cottage Restaurant and Cafe is situated directly on Mirror Lake’s waters edge and offers spectacular views of the Great Range of the Adirondack High Peaks.
- Liquids and Solids: This restaurant also offers a selection of wines, and its staff can provide recommendations for wine pairings with your meal.
Local Tip: Lake Placid is more of a beer town than a wine town. So, if you want a drink then head to either The Boat Tasting Room or Big Slide Brewery and Public House.
5. High Falls Gorge
Easily one of the best things to do in Lake Placid, NY in the summer, High Falls Gorge is a stunning, 22-acre, privately owned (Translation? You’ll need to pay to get in), a natural oasis that is brimming over with scenic, elevated pathways that you and your family will enjoy.
So, head over to the base of Whiteface Mountain, savor an easy walk through the woods and marvel at one of four different waterfalls that you’ll discover along the way.
Although truth be told, the real highlight of any visit to this picturesque place is a gorgeous, half-mile walk along the center of the Gorge, which continues along the mighty Ausable River and takes you past Climax Falls, Rainbow Falls, Main Falls, and Mini Falls.
You’ll also love the park’s signature, glass-bottom walkways, which give you an aerial view of the amazing gorge below.
Pro Tip: If you can, try and visit in the spring when snowmelt helps to create a really powerful waterfall.
Address: 4761 NY-86, Wilmington, New York
Hours: Open daily, between May 1 and October 31, from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm.
Price: $13.10 for adults and $10.10 for children between the ages of 4 and 10.
6. Go for a Hike
Therefore, you cannot leave the area without doing a gorgeous hike through the amazing Adirondack Mountains. Here are five of the best trails in the Lake Placid area.
- Mt. Van Hoevenberg: This is a 4.3-mile hike is a moderate hike with scenic High Peaks views and an Olympic Sports Complex to explore.
- Wright Peak via Algonquin Trail: A strenuous climb to Wright Peak’s summit with breathtaking panoramas of the High Peaks, including a chance to visit Algonquin Peak.
- Cobble Hill: An easy family-friendly hike offering lovely views of Lake Placid.
- Street Mountain and Nye Mountain Trail: A moderate to strenuous trek to remote peaks with serene forest trails.
- Mountain Colden Via Avalanche Pass Trail: A challenging hike through Avalanche Pass leading to the summit of Mount Colden, showcasing stunning scenery.
7. Mirror Lake
In spite of what many people initially think, the central lake in Lake Placid is Mirror Lake, not Lake Placid.
So, take some time to appreciate this 124-acre natural wonder while walking along the lake’s 2.7-mile perimeter or while doing a fun kayak/canoe trip out onto the lake itself.
Trust me, it’s a quiet and calm lake that is perfect for boating and swimming since no motorized water vehicles are actually allowed onto the lake.
And in the winter? Well, the lake routinely freezes over with ice that is upwards of a foot thick. Therefore, Mirror Lake becomes a great spot for ice skating, hockey, dog sledding, and sledding since you can use a giant toboggan chute to sled down onto the lake itself.
Pro Tip: Looking for some of the best things to do in Lake Placid, NY in the winter? Then do a bit of dog sledding with Thunder Mountain Dog Sled Tours as they whisk you across the almost totally frozen lake.
8. Visit Asgaard Farm And Dairy
Aasgard Farm and Dairy is undeniably one of the best things to do in Lake Placid, NY.
Nestled in the Adirondack wilderness, this idyllic family-run farm offers a captivating blend of rustic charm and gastronomic delight.
Visitors can embark on guided farm tours to witness the dairy’s sustainable practices, meet their herd of goats, and gain insight into artisanal cheese production.
Also, expect to indulge in samples of their award-winning cheeses, expertly crafted with local ingredients.
Moreover, this enriching experience allows guests to understand what farm-to-table living is really like, all while enjoying the breathtaking beauty of the Adirondacks.
Address: 74 Asgaard Way, P.O. Box 605 Au Sable Forks, New York 12912
Hours: Open Thursday from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm, Friday from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm, and Saturday from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.
Price: Nightly rates for a farm stay are $190.00
9. Brewster Peninsula Nature Trail
With hiking trails aplenty, your biggest problem will be deciding which hikes to add to your Lake Placid itinerary. After all, you probably have a limited amount of time here and there are only so many hikes that you can do.
So, if you’re trying to figure out which hikes to add to your list of the best things to do in Lake Placid, NY, then consider tackling the Brewster Peninsula Nature Trail network.
After all, this collection of access roads and well-packed trails are open all year long and take you for a scenic stroll around the lake – with some of the area’s most popular trails being Corridor Trail, Lake Shore Trail, Boundary Trail, and the Ridge Trail.
They’re also pretty dang easy to traverse since most are short (less than a mile long) and have little elevation gains – except for the Ridge Trail which takes you up a local ridge (hence the name).
And if you can’t make it here in the summer, then visit in the winter when these natural pathways become the perfect spot for skiing and snowshoeing.
Pro Tip: You’ll know you’ve found the trailhead when you see a wealth of cars that belong to locals who have already ventured out into the great outdoors.
10. Visit Amazing Local Breweries
Lake Placid, New York is home to a dynamic craft brewing scene that engages local residents and visitors alike.
Therefore, enjoying a bit of craft beer is easily one of the best things to do in Lake Placid, NY – at least if you know where the best bars in Lake Placid are.
Now, these breweries are tucked away in the Adirondack Mountains and provide a welcome retreat for craft beer lovers who also want to enjoy the region’s allure. In particular, check out:
- The Lake Placid Pub & Brewery: This craft beer haven is famous for its Ubu Ale and offers a diverse range of craft brews. It has a cozy atmosphere, ample outdoor seating, and is a great spot for a pint at one of the best breweries in Lake Placid.
- Big Slide Brewery & Public House: This Lake Placid brewery is celebrated for its innovative craft beer. With a warm and inviting ambiance, it’s an excellent spot for a brew and delicious food. Therefore, it is an easy pick for one of the best restaurants in Lake Placid.
- The Great Adirondack Brewing Company: This Lake Placid brewery is known for its diverse beer and delightful pub fare.
Local Tip: Big Slide is my fave. I typically order a flight and the steak with peppercorn sauce.
11. Mount Jo
If you’re looking for a great hike in Lake Placid that won’t leave you coughing up a lung by the end of the day, then consider a nice, moderately challenging trek up Mount Jo.
It’s one of the smaller peaks in the Adirondacks at 2,876 feet tall and is perfect for families and beginner hikers who want to get back into nature.
However, the mountain’s minimal height doesn’t mean that you won’t be treated to stellar panoramas of Heart Lake from the summit.
So, to enjoy one of th best things to do in Lake Placid, NY, just choose between one of the two trails: the Long Trail at 1.3 miles long and the Short Trail at 1.1 miles long – trails that are exceptionally beautiful throughout the fall season and perfect for snowshoeing in the winter (fyi, the Long Trail is better for this in the winter).
Pro Tip: If you really want to challenge yourself, you can do Mount Jo as part of the Lake Placid 9er challenge, which includes hikes up nine of the smaller mountains in the area.
12. Go Biking
Because of the area’s many mountains, biking is one of the best things to do in Lake Placid NY.
It is an activity that offers you an exceptional outdoor experience in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains. So, be sure to use top Lake Placid bike trails like:
- Riverside Drive Loop: This loop trail treats you to remarkable views of the Olympic ski jump tower and the tranquil river’s of the area
- Adirondack Loj Road: Venture along Adirondack Loj Road, one of Adirondack Park’s most iconic routes. With the High Peaks as your backdrop, its scenic grandeur shines throughout every season.
- Franklin Falls Loop: This cycling loop takes you past Whiteface and McKenzie mountains. It’s perfect in the fall season when the foliage transforms Lake Placid.
13. John Brown Farm
Love history almost as much as I do? Then mosey on over to the John Brown Farm, which is easily one of the best things to do in Lake Placid, NY.
After all, it was the former residence of the famous abolitionist John Brown, who led an ill-fated raid, in 1859, on the US Arsenal in Harper’s Ferry.
Yeah, he basically wanted to procure enough weapons to help the slaves of the South become liberated. But, not surprisingly, he was eventually captured, imprisoned, and executed in Virginia.
However, upon his death, his body was returned and then later buried at his home in North Elba, where you can now find the John Brown Farm.
So, step inside this quaint museum, which is filled with authentic, historic furniture that shows you exactly how the Brown family lived way back when.
While here, also learn about this famous man’s life, pay your respects at this living memorial, and explore one the area’s picturesque trails.
Also be on the look out for periodic historic reenactments that help tell the story of this fascinating man’s life.
Address: 115 John Brown Rd, Lake Placid, NY 12946
Hours: Open daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, except Tuesdays.
14. WhiteBrook Dairy Bar
If you are looking for the best things to do in Lake Placid NY, The WhiteBrook Dairy Bar is a delightful treat for ice cream enthusiasts.
While you are there don’t forget to try their fries, ice cream, and cheeseburger for around $15.
Yeah, it’s a sweet indulgence that perfectly compliments a day of outdoor adventures in the Adirondacks.
Also, don’t forget to bring cash since they don’t accept cards. This is also a seasonal restaurant. Therefore, they are typically closed from Labor Day through Memorial Day.
Local Tip: I always get the peanut butter dip when I stop by, It is so flipping good. Portions are also generous.
Address: 5660 NY-86 Scenic, Wilmington, NY 12997.
Hours: Open daily from 11:30 am to 9:00 pm.
Price: Most items are under $5.00
15. Sky Flyer Zipline
The Sky Flyer Zipline in Lake Placid, NY, is a great adventure that lets you soar above the stunning High Peaks region of the Adirondacks.
Located at the Olympic Jumping Complex, this thrilling zipline experience promises breathtaking views and heart-pounding excitement.
Once you arrive, expect a thrilling ride down the zipline, suspended high above the picturesque landscape.
Also, you’ll be securely harnessed, ensuring your safety as you take in the panoramic vistas of the Adirondack Mountains.
The zipline is typically open during the summer and early fall months, offering visitors the chance to experience the beauty of Lake Placid from a unique perspective.
So, expect to feel a rush of adrenaline as you zip through the crisp mountain air.
Lastly, It’s an adventure suitable for individuals, families, and groups, making it one of the top things to do in Lake Placid NY.
Address: Mt Van Hoevenberg, 31 Van Hoevenberg Way Lake Placid, NY 12946
Hours: Open daily From 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Price: Starts at $45.00 for adults.
16. ADK Aquatics
Whether you’re looking to do a bit of water skiing this summer or want to enjoy a scenic fall boat tour, the friendly staff over at ADK Aquatics have got you covered with a wide selection of tours and boat trips to choose from.
Now in operation for well over ten years, the experts over at ADK Aquatics have a wide variety of services for you to choose from including:
- Wakeboard Lessons
- Waterski Lessons
- Wakesurf Lessons
- Tubing Excursions
- Scenic Boat Tours
Because whether you’re a total beginner or a full-on expert, they have the perfect instructor and services for you aboard the Super Air Nautique.
So, what are you waiting for? Enjoy one of the best things to do in Lake Placid, NY by getting out onto the water and embracing a one of a kind experience, filled with stellar views of the surrounding, Adirondack Mountains.
After all, their epic private boat tours will take you past some of the great Adirondack camps of the past and introduce you to the region’s unique history, with expert commentary from a local guide.
Pro Tip: Definitely call in advance and make s reservation since ADK Aquatics is popular and often totally booked during the peak season.
Address: 35 Victor Herbert Rd, Lake Placid, NY 12946
Hours: Open daily from 8:00 am to 7:00 pm.
Price: Private boat tours of Lake Placid start at $220 per hour and are booked for a minimum of 1.5 hour.
17. Beat the heat with a Swim at the Public Beach
Mirror Lake Beach in Lake Placid, NY, is an iconic American lakeside retreat.
Open during the warmer months, it’s the perfect spot for swimming in the crystal-clear waters of Mirror Lake. Plus, lifeguards ensure safety, and you can rent kayaks, paddleboards, and rowboats for added fun.
With the stunning Adirondack High Peaks as a backdrop, you’ll find a beautiful sandy beach, a scenic walkway, and a place to soak up some reays.
Whether you’re taking a dip, sunbathing, or just admiring the majestic mountains, Mirror Lake Beach remains one of the best things to do in Lake Placid NY.
18. The Wild Center
Just a short, 40-minute drive away from Lake Placid is the Wild Center in Tupper Lake. it was once the Natural History Museum of the Adirondacks and is now an incredible, highly interactive museum that educates visitors about the region’s many unique, local ecosystems.
So, step inside this amazing center or learn and see over 900 different animals that are native to the area, including river otters, porcupines, owls, snakes, frogs, and freshwater fish.
You can also embark on a naturalist-led guided canoe trip or experience Forest Music as you walk along the area’s many forest trails and listen to an expertly curated collection of music that is broadcast through one of twenty-four different speakers.
However, the real highlight of any visit here is the Walk, a series of connected, elevated platforms that allow you to walk among the treetops and savor awe-inspiring views of the surrounding landscape.
Along the way, you can also sit inside a giant bird’s nest, bounce around in the Spider’s Web, walk into a giant tree, or just admire beautiful Tupper Lake.
Address: 45 Museum Dr, Tupper Lake, NY 12986
Hours: Open daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Price: $20 for adults, $18 for military/seniors (65+), $12 for kids (5-17), and free for kids under 5/members.
19. Enjoy a Meal at Smoke Signals
Known for its chill decor (imagine brick walls with elegant wood tables) and expansive outdoor patio overlooking the lake, this restaurant is a great place to go for delicious barbeque and a large selection of craft beers on tap.
The service is also great and you can choose from a variety of barbeque classics like beef brisket, baby back ribs, and pulled pork.
And, yeah, don’t even get me started on the signature rib nachos, which are basically the best thing on the menu, with the Habanero Hog Sauce and cornbread coming in at a close second since they are full-on food crack.
Add in some live music and you have the perfect place from which to eat your way through Lake Placid.
Pro Tip: This is not the place to go if you’re vegan/vegetarian because aside from a few salads, they really don’t have a ton of options.
And if you need other foodie hotspots then try:
- Tail of the Pup – This is a super chill, outdoor bbq spot that has been around for well over 80 years, It’s definitely a local institution and has a bit of a vintage feel about it. Super informal and just a great place to go with the family that is about mid-way between Saranac Lake and Lake Placid. Try any of their smokehouse items or the Brisket and Beans appetizer.
- Big Slide Brewery – Just a popular local brewery with great pub grub and even better craft beers. Try the award winning IPA and pair it with some pretzel nuggets (served with homemade ale cheese and maple mustard) and their brick oven pizza, The Pizza of Pizza.
- The Cottage – This upscale eatery sits on the edge of Mirror Lake and is known for innovative, refined, American-style dishes. Try the mushroom stew which is made with a mushroom and brie broth that is served to you in a bread bowl and drizzled with truffle oil.
- Whiteface Lodge – Not only is this just an all-around great hotel, but the restaurant is pretty dang awesome too. So, make a reservation in the Kanu Restaurant and watch as the chef prepares your food right in front of you. They also have a great wine list that is perfectly paired with their seared sole – made with fennel, leeks, asparagus, wild rice, and a garlic lemon vinaigrette. Also save room for their tiramisu for dessert.
- Black Bear – Just a chill place to come with the family and order classic American food. They’re most well-known for their steaks though so try the Montreal Steak, which is a16 oz. grilled ribeye with sautéed mushrooms, onions, and topped with Montreal Steak seasoning.
Address: 2489 Main St, Lake Placid, NY 12946
Hours: Open daily from 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm.
Price: Entrees start at around $15 each.
20. Treat Yourself to a Day at the Spa
Indulging in a spa visit and a bit of relaxation amid the breathtaking Adirondack Mountains is one of the best things to do in Lake Placid, NY.
In the heart of the Adirondacks, you’ll find top-notch spas offering a wide array of premium treatments
Here are my picks for three of the all-time best spas in the area.
- The Spa at Mirror Lake Inn: This spa offers a range of therapeutic treatments that are paired with stunning views of the lake. Massages, facials, body wraps, and couples’ treatments are all on offer, as is the use of the sauna and hot tub.
- The Whiteface Lodge Spa: Enjoy the rustic, yet luxurious, decor while enjoying massages, body treatments, and facials with natural ingredients. An outdoor hot tub and indoor pool are also on-site, as is a eucalyptus steam room and a cedar wood sauna.
- The Spa at High Peaks Resort: Known for its soothing ambiance, this spa has a variety of massages, facials, and body treatments on offer. Afterward, relax in the tranquil lounge area or unwind in a hot tub with a view of Mirror Lake.
21. Adirondack Scenic Railroad
Love trains and looking for another one of the best things to do in Lake Placid NY? If so then hop aboard the Adirondack Scenic Railroad and prepare for the ride of a lifetime.
Yes, Thendara station is a long, 2.5-hour drive away from Lake Placid, but the trip is more than worth it since you’ll enjoy a scenic, 57-mile journey through the Adirondack Park and along Moose River – a trip that eventually ends in the South at the station in Utica.
In total, the journey should take around 3 hours and will take you along the historic tracks that were once operated by the New York Central Railroad Company.
You’ll also love how passionate staff members are since most are volunteers who are only too happy to answer all of your most pressing questions and share their love of trains with you as you make the most of your Lake Placid itinerary.
Pro Tip: Because of rough winters, trains only run seasonally, starting in May and running through October. However, do be on the lookout for fun special events abroad the train, like fun, themed dinners and special beer and wine trains.
Address: 2568 NY-28, Thendara, NY 13472
Hours: The train ride takes around 3 hours and trains typically depart once in the morning and once in the afternoon.
Price: Tickets start at $35.00 per person but vary by excursion.
22. Unwind with a Drink at Top of the Park
Top of the Park offers a breathtaking view of this charming Adirondack village. So, as the sun sets behind the majestic mountains, you can unwind with an amazing craft cocktail.
With the Adirondack High Peaks as your backdrop, Top of the Park is one of the best things to do in Lake Placid NY that invites you to savor the natural beauty and tranquility that Lake Placid has to offer.
Personally, I order the cheese board, the Greek board, the mac and cheese, or confit chicken wings when I come here.
So, be prepared for more innovative food that doesn’t consist of generic hot dogs and hamburgers.
Local Tip: Zach the bartender is AMAZING. He will actually craft you a custom drink and ask you loads of questions to create an individual cocktail just for you.
You can also check out some of the breweries in Lake George if this place is packed.
Address: 2407 Main St, Lake Placid, NY 12946
Hours: The Kitchen is open from 3:00 pm to 10:00 pm daily while the bar is open from 3:00 pm to 12:00 am daily.
Price: Cocktails are around $12.00 each.
23. Go Bobsledding at the Mt. Van Hoevenberg Olympic Bobsled Run
If you want the ultimate adrenaline rush while enjoying some of the top things to do in Lake Placid NY then give the Lake Placid Bobsled Experience a try.
Not only will you be guided through the trip by a pro brakeman and driver, but you’ll actually get to cruise along the Mt. Van Hoevenberg Olympic Bobsled Run – a track that was used for various pro bobsled, luge, and skeleton events in the 1932 and 1980 Olympic Games – at speed of over 55 miles per hour.
Plus, in addition to the actual ride itself, you also get a free Bobsled pin, a team t-shirt, a complimentary team photo, and coupon for 20% off your next bobsled ride.
Just know that this is one of the best things to do in Lake Placid NY that is weather dependent. So, if the weather does not cooperate, staff will be happy to reschedule your ride.
Pro Tip: This activity is SUPER popular so be sure to make reservations at least 3 days in advance.
Address: 220 Bobsled Run Ln Rd, Lake Placid, NY 12946
Hours: Open Friday through Tuesday from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm to book tickets. The bobsled rides themselves vary by season and currently run 10:00 am to 1:00 pm on Saturdays only.
Price: Rides start at $350 for three people.
24. Cloudsplitter Gondola Ride for “Whiteface Mountain”
Whether it’s winter or summer, you’ll never run out of things to do in Lake Placid NY since the Cloudsplitter Gondola Ride offers you an unparalleled experience.
See, this thrilling ride allows you to ascend to the highest peaks while you enjoy breathtaking views of the area.
Now, your journey commences at the base of Whiteface Mountain and takes you to the summit of Little Whiteface in an approximately 15 minutes.
As you climb into the air, you’ll be granted unobstructed views of Lake Placid, Lake Placid Village, Lake Champlain, and the surrounding mountains.
To enhance your experience, visit the Cloudspin Bar and Grill before or after your ride for some delicious refreshments.
Address: Whiteface Mountain, 5021 Route 86 Wilmington, NY 12997
Hours: Open from 8:00 am until 4:30 pm daily.
Price: Starts at $25.00 per adult.
25. Jack Rabbit Trail
if you love the great outdoors and want to spend as much time outside as humanly possible, then be sure to hop (get the lame pun?) on the Jack Rabbit Trail and enjoy the raw, all-natural beauty of this magical area.
And while you probably won’t be able to tackle the entire trail since it’s a solid, 50-km long, you will enjoy doing a bit of cross-country skiing on a historic trail that was first founded in 1986.
You’ll also love the scenic views since you can start in Keene, pass through Lake Placid, and then end up in Saranac Lake/Paul Smiths. Plus, if you stay on the well-marked/well-maintained path, you won’t need to pay any fees while passing through places like the Whiteface Club.
Also, snowshoeing is 100% allowed on this trail and is best enjoyed on the section on Old Mountain Road, between Whiteface Inn Lane and the lean-to.
Address: North Elba, NY 12946
Hours: Open twenty-four hours per day.
26. Explore Ausable Chasm
Hiking to Ausable Chasm ranks among the top things to do in Lake Placid, NY. See, this natural wonder begs hikers to embark on an unforgettable adventure.
Once you arrive be prepared to be awestruck by the chasm’s grandeur, a result of centuries of carving by the Ausable River.
Also, Hikers have various trail options, each providing a distinct perspective of the chasm’s dramatic landscape, including towering walls, cascading waterfalls like Rainbow Falls, and lush greenery.
For a leisurely experience with panoramic views, the “Rim Walk” is ideal. It offers a stroll along well-maintained pathways on the chasm’s edge.
On the other hand, the “Inner Sanctum” trail brings you closer to the river, immersing you in the chasm’s captivating surroundings.
Either way, expect to witness mesmerizing geological formations and the soothing sound of rushing water as you hike.
Lastly, Maps aren’t provided, so remember to snap a picture of the map out front to stay on course.
You won’t find guides on the trails, so rely on the colored posts at intersections to navigate. It’s also worth noting that AuSable Chasm is about a 50-minute drive from Lake Placid.
Address: 2144 US-9, Ausable Chasm, NY 12911, United States
Hours: Open daily from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.
Price: Tickets start at $19.95 for adults.
27. Adirondack Wildlife Refuge Center
Love animals and looking for one of the best things to do in Lake Placid, NY? If so then be sure to visit Adirondack Wildlife Refuge Center.
After all, this epic spot opens up starting in May and is a great place to visit if you want to get to know the local creatures that call the Adirondack Mountains of New York home.
Plus, you’ll feel good supporting this organization since it was started by Steven Hall, who began the effort to rescue, rehabilitate, and then release animals back into the wild.
So, epic animals you’ll see during your Lake Placid itinerary include red fox, black bears, gray wolves, and more.
Address: 977 Springfield Rd, Wilmington, NY 12997, United States
Hours: Open Thursday through Monday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.
Price: No fee but please donate.
28. Six Nations Iroquois Cultural Center
If you want to learn more about the indigenous people who were the first inhabitants of the area then add a visit to the Six Nations Iroquois Cultural Center to your list of the best things to do in Lake Placid NY.
Sadly, this spot is only open in July and August. But, if you happen to visit Lake Placid in the summer (or at other times of the year if you make an appointment) then you can explore upwards of 3,000 artifacts that relate to the right history and culture of the Haudenosaunee.
Translated to “people of the long house” in English, the values and traditions of these amazing people are reflected within a fun gift shop and through an educational center.
Highlights include lectures, photographic stories that are read aloud, and the retelling of the story of the creation of the Haudenosaunee participatory government.
Address: 1466 County Hwy 60, Onchiota, NY 12989, United States
Hours: Open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm in July and August.
29. Go White Water Rafting
Full disclosure? I went “white water rafting” on the AuSable River and it is really not white water rafting. It’s more floating along the river.
So, if you are looking for Class III or Class IV rapids then this is not the place for you.
PLEASE, go elsewhere in the Adirondacks since there are much better rapids in places like Indian Lake.
Yeah, this place is only about 60 minutes from Lake Placid and is home to the Indian River, which plummets around 150 feet into the Hudson River over the course of 3 miles.
However, if you are visiting AuSable Chasm anyway and want to hang out on the river then feel free to give it a try.
The experience is just 10-30 minutes long and is suitable for families who want to basically just get out onto the river.
Address: 2144 US-9, Ausable Chasm, NY 12911
Hours: Varies by season by open seven days a week in summer from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Price: $15.00 per person for additional tours, no reservation required.
30. Enjoy a Boat Tour of Lake Placid
Let’s be real. There are about 10,000 different boat tours for you to enjoy if you are looking for the best things to do in Lake Placid NY.
But, most of us don’t have a small trust fund that we can use to pay for a tour. So, that’s where this $20 boat tour of Lake Placid comes in mighty handy.
Now, what you might not know is that the lake in the downtown area is Mirror Lake, not Lake Placid.
Yeah, Lake Placid is actually super posh since most of the land along the lake is privately owned by some of the wealthiest people on the planet.
However, the Lake Placid Marina Boat Tour will take you out onto this VIP lake as you enjoy stunning views and get up close and personal with the gorgeous homes here.
You’ll also learn about the history of this incredible place and get away from the hordes of tourists at Mirror Lake.
Address: 30 George& Bliss Ln, Lake Placid, NY 12946
Hours: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Price: $20.00 per person.
Best Things to do in Lake Placid in Winter
31. Go Snowboarding
If you’re passionate about snowboarding and skiing, Whiteface Mountain is a must-visit and one of the best things to do in Lake Placid NY in the winter.
After all, Whiteface has hosted two winter Olympics and features amazing slopes that are designed to thrill snowboarders and extreme skiers after an adrenaline rush.
In addition to Whiteface, there are other fantastic snowboarding spots in the region. Titus Mountain, for example, boasts an impressive 90 trails and a remarkable 3,166-foot of vertical drop.
Alternatively, Gore Mountain is located about an hour to the south. It is an alpine ski resort with 100 trails and 14 lifts, You can also relax at the nearby Nordic Center in between runs.
32. Go Snowmobiling
If you are looking for some great winter sports to try in Lake Placid, snowmobiling is a thrilling way to explore the stunning winter wonderland of the Adirondack region.
With a network of well-maintained trails and breathtaking scenery, this area offers an exhilarating snowmobiling experience that you will be happy to add to any Lake Placid itinerary.
Here are some of the best trails where you can go snowmobiling during your next weekend in Lake Placid.
- Tug Hill Plateau: This is a premier destination for snowmobilers in the Adirondack region. Known for its extensive network of less-traveled trails, Tug Hill Plateau is hidden in the western Adirondacks.
- Tupper Lake: Just a short drive from Lake Placid, Tupper Lake is home to numerous snowmobiling trails that cater to riders of all skill levels. It’s great for diverse terrain and spectacular views.
33. Cascade X-C Ski Center
If you visit Lake Placid in the winter and don’t go skiing, did you really visit Lake Placid at all? And, just in case you were wondering, the correct answer to that question is of course, a hearty “no”.
Therefore, if you plan to visit the great white north (aka Lake Placid) during the deep freeze (aka winter), then be sure to stop by Cascade Country Center.
As the name suggests, this place offers visitors excellent cross-country skiing opportunities within it’s more than 20 kilometers of well-groomed trails.
However, the fun doesn’t stop there since this Nordic ski center also operates as a full-on restaurant, store, and budget accommodation center that can house up to 30 people.
So, stop by today and rent some skis. Also, check out the epic trails of Mt. Van Hoevenberg and grab some Nordic-inspired fare at the Knicker’s Bar and Restaurant.
Finally, spend the night in one of five bunk rooms that sleep anywhere between two and eight people – with WIFI, microwaves, toasters, and TVs all available for guest use.
Pro Tip: Eat on the sundeck that overlooks the MacIntyre Range and try the satisfying, Backcountry Bowl.
Address: 4833 Cascade Rd, Lake Placid, NY 12946
Hours: Open daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Price: Most entrees start at around $9 each.
34. Ice Fishing
Ice fishing is a fantastic activity to take advantage of the Adirondack Park’s quiet winter splendor. Connery Pond, about 5 miles from the center of town, is one of the greatest spots for ice fishing close to Lake Placid.
This is a great location away from the crowded tourist areas to wait for a bite to eat while taking in all the natural beauty of the region because it is surrounded by Whiteface Mountain.
A steep half-mile hike is needed to reach the shore at Copperas Pond, some 6.5 miles from downtown, for anglers seeking an even more tranquil location. It is renowned for making late-season northern pike and yellow perch accessible.
- Connery Pond: Connery Pond, which is only a 15-minute drive from Whiteface Lodge, is a fantastic spot for some ice fishing. With trees all around it and Whiteface Mountain in the distance, Connery Pond is a breathtaking spot. To catch brown trout, pumpkinseed, splake, sunfish, and yellow perch, you’ll cast your line here.
- Lake Clear: Lake Clear is one of the best ice fishing locations in Upstate New York if you don’t mind sharing the ice with others. Lake Clear, which can be reached in 25 minutes, is home to brown trout, northern pike, salmon, smelt, and yellow perch. It’s also a great place to catch big fish.
- Lake Colby: Although Lake Colby is one of the most well-known spots in Upstate New York for ice fishing due to its accessibility, the activity itself remains unaffected. The waters of Lake Colby are home to a wide variety of fish. Brown trout, brown bullhead, landlocked salmon, largemouth pumpkinseed, rainbow trout, rock bass, smallmouth bass, and yellow perch are all here.
35. Snow Tubing
Snow tubing is among the best things to do in Lake Placid, NY, especially in a region brimming over with rolling hills.
For a local snow tubing experience, Kiwanis Teddy Bear Park and Lake Placid Golf Course offer enjoyable options.
However, if you’re looking for larger hills and a bit of excitement, look no further than Mount Pisgah. It boasts two thrilling runs that cater to all ages and that provide sweeping views of McKenzie Mountain.
Approximately an hour’s drive to the south, Tubby Tubes in Lake Luzerne beckons adventure enthusiasts with a plethora of unique snow tube runs, featuring options like a family-sized run, ideal for those looking to enjoy snow rafts and ensure a memorable outing.
After all, they also even offer nighttime tubing sessions, allowing you to enjoy the thrill of snow tubing under the starry Adirondack sky, creating a magical and unforgettable experience during your visit to Lake Placid.
36. Downhill Skiing
Downhill skiing in Lake Placid, New York, is a winter enthusiast’s dream come true.
Nestled in the majestic Adirondack Mountains, this region is home to a variety of exceptional skiing destinations, which makes this one of the best things to do in Lake Placid NY.
So, some of the best places to go skiing in Lake Placid include:
- Whiteface Mountain: Renowned for its challenging slopes and breathtaking vistas, Whiteface Mountain boasts the East Coast’s steepest vertical drop at 3,430 feet. With over 288 skiable acres, 90 diverse trails, high-speed lifts, gondola rides, and the thrilling wilderness terrain of “The Slides” it’s a premier skiing destination.
- Mt. Pisgah Recreation Center: Located 15 minutes from Lake Placid, Mt. Pisgah offers a more family-friendly skiing experience with gentle slopes perfect for beginners.
- Olympic Ski Jumps: Lake Placid’s Olympic venues offer skiing opportunities, with the Olympic Ski Jump being a unique and iconic choice.
37. Horse-Drawn Sleigh Rides
Ready to go on a horse-drawn sleigh ride through a veritable winter wonderland of awesome? If so then this is easily one of the best things to do in Lake Placid, NY for you!
Especially since come wintertime, this is easily one of the most fun/romantic activities in the region.
So, stop by Country Dream Farms and embark on the trip of a lifetime as well cared for, Belgian draft horses bring you through a magical, snow-capped, winter wonderland.
After all, not only will you get warm blankets to snuggle up under, but you’ll also be able to stop by the historic John Brown Farm while sipping on a fresh mug of hot cocoa.
Seriously, would more could you ask for from a trip to Lake Placid?
Address: 200 John Brown Road Lake Placid, NY 12946 (they’re based in Plattsburgh but have an outpost in Lake Placid)
Hours: Open Monday through Friday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Saturday from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, and Sunday from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm.
Price: Starts at $40 per adult and $15 per child (age 4 to 10) per 15-minute ride.
38. Check Out the Winter Carnival
So, while the area’s annual Winter Carnival is not located in Lake Placid, it can be found in nearby Saranac Lake, which is just 15 minutes away.
So, if you plan your weekend in Lake Placid for early February, you’ll be able to enjoy an iconic American celebration that transforms the village into a winter wonderland.
With over a century of tradition, this beloved event showcases the best of American winter culture.
Travelers can witness the splendor of the Ice Palace, a remarkable architectural feat made possible by using blocks of ice harvested from Mirror Lake.
Other fun events include parades, thrilling winter sports, live music, and delicious food.
39. Try Winter Sports Classes
Lake Placid, New York, is a premiere destination for winter sports enthusiasts. Therefore, one of the best things to do in, NY is to hone your cold-weather skills and try a winter sports class.
Whether you’re a novice eager to learn more or an experienced athlete seeking refinement, Lake Placid has you covered. My personal faves include:
- Whiteface Mountain: Located in Wilmington, this renowned ski resort offers skiing and snowboarding lessons for all levels. They also have certified instructors and comprehensive programs on offer.
- Lake Placid Olympic Legacy Sites: The Lake Placid Olympic Legacy Sites, including the Olympic Center, offer a range of winter sports activities and classes. You can find lessons in ice skating, bobsledding, and other sports.
40. Go ice Skating
As Mirror Lake freeze over, an abundance of cold-weather adventures await. So, one of the best things to do in Lake Placid NY in the winter is to ice skate along a diligently maintained 2-mile route.
Open for use at any hour once the ice is deemed sufficiently thick, this is the perfect place to go for some winter fun.
However, If you’re looking for a change of scenery, consider ice skating at the Wilmington Youth Center. Located near Whiteface Mountain, this place welcomes the public free of charge.
Snowshoeing is one of the best things to do in Lake Placid, NY, and offers an enchanting winter experience amidst the stunning Adirondacks.
Also, the region boasts numerous pristine trails like ones near the Cascade Cross Country Ski Center and around Mt. Van Hoevenberg Olympic Sports Complex.
These trails offer well-maintained, wind through snow-covered forests, and feature breathtaking panoramas of the area.
42. Cross-Country Skiing
Get a taste of authentic winter in Lake Placid, NY by doing a bit of cross-country skiing.
Situated amidst the Adirondack wilderness, Lake Placid is filled with flawlessly groomed ski paths, that are perfect for skiers of all levels.
For the best trails, head to Cascade Cross Country Ski Center or the Mount Van Hoevenberg Olympic Sports Complex.
Both are renowned for their meticulously maintained tracks and awe-inspiring mountain vistas.
You’ll also find warm, welcoming smiles, equipment rentals, and friendly, knowledgeable staff eager to assist skiers of all levels.
Best Things to Do in Lake Placid NY FAQs
Is Lake Placid NY Worth Visiting?
Yes, Lake Placid, NY is absolutely worth visiting. After all, this incredible town in the Adirondacks has everything you could want for a weekend getaway.
Highlights include amazing skiing, epic boating, stunning fall foliage, and historic facilities from its past as a host of the Winter Olympics.
What is Lake Placid Best Known For?
Lake Placid is best known for hosting the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics. So, be sure to visit a wide variety of Olympic facilities as you enjoy the best things to do in Lake Placid NY.
Is Lake Placid Worth Visiting in Summer?
Yes!!! Lake Placid is definitely worth visiting in the summer. Sure, it will be crowded. But, you can do fun things like climb to the top of Whiteface, ride the bobsled, go rail biking, and more.
Why Visit Lake Placid?
You can visit Lake Placid to visit former Olympic sites, climb incredible mountains, take amazing boat tours, and so much more.
What Netflix Movie was Filmed in Lake Placid?
The Netflix movie that was filmed in Lake Placid was Love Hard.
What is the Best Time to Visit Lake Placid?
If you are looking to save money and avoid crowds then spring is the best time to visit Lake Placid.
However, winter is a great time to visit if you’re into skiing, fall is a great time to visit if you want to see vibrant foliage, and summer is a great time to visit for hiking and water sports.
Additional New York Travel Resources You’ll Love
- The Ultimate New York Road Trip itinerary
- Best Things to do in Poughkeepsie
- Best State Parks in New York
- Best Things to do in Lake George
- Best Things to do in Beacon
- Best Christmas Tree Farms in New York
- Best Things to do in New Paltz
- Ultimate Guide to Lake Placid in the Winter
- Best Things to do in Saranac Lake NY
- Best Things to do in Woodstock