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An image of the grounds of Cornell University in early autumn, showing vivid fall colors.

Ithaca

The natural world of Ithaca is breathtaking. You can easily escape your desk by hiking trails along the gorges, taking dips in waterfalls and lakes, biking on woodland paths, skiing down slopes and across fields, or picnicking in the area's many state parks.
“There was no better option for me than Cornell Law and its location in Ithaca.”
Zellnor Myrie '16
New York State Senator
Portrait of Zellnor Myrie

Cornell University overlooks Cayuga Lake, and many gorges and waterfalls are just steps from the Law School. Schedule a Law School or campus tour here.

Ithaca weather allows for a variety of outdoor activities, ranging from boating, swimming, and hiking in the summer to cross-country skiing and ice skating in the winter.

When taking a break from your studies you can jog or bike on trails in one of Ithaca’s local or state parks. Enjoy wine tasting year-round and apple picking in the fall. Rent a kayak or take sailing lessons on Cayuga Lake. Visit an organic winery or farm. Or head eight miles north to Taughannock Falls, the tallest waterfall in the northeast. There’s no end to the ways you can explore and get active.

It’s not uncommon to run into friends, neighbors, professors, or fellow students on any downtown street. Ithaca has more restaurants per capita than New York City, and it attracts diners from all around the world. Ithaca was recognized as one of the “foodiest” towns in the U.S. by Bon Appetit magazine. Ithaca is home to the famous Moosewood Restaurant, whose award-winning vegetarian cookbooks attract diners from around the country.

Explore
Ithaca
Activities

According to a local bumper sticker, “Ithaca is gorges”, and most people here would agree.

Located in the heart of the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, Ithaca is surrounded by waterfalls, gorges, lakes, and parks. With a four-season climate and close access to kite sailing, skiing, skating, mountain biking, hiking, polo, canoeing, windsurfing, and other sports, Ithaca is an ideal place for getting outside.

Outdoor Activities

State Parks and Waterfalls

Educational Outdoor Activities

Mountain Biking

Golf Courses

Family Outdoor Fun

  • Ithaca Farmers’ Market
    The Ithaca Farmers’ Market is open from April-December. Best time to go, when it’s nice out and on a Saturday or Sunday!
  • Ringwood Raceway
    Go-kart racing open April-October

Sledding

Sledding is one of Ithacans all-time favorite winter sports! Get a sled, find any hill in Ithaca, and go. Local favorites include Cornell Plantations and Taughannock Park. **Avoid Libe Slope, as it is dangerous and against Cornell regulations to sled down.

Downhill Skiing

Cross-country Skiing

Ithacans ski on many of the local golf courses, trails, or at Sapsucker Woods or Podunk Ski Touring in Trumansburg.

Ice Skating

Indoor Activities and Nightlife

Indoor Activities

For a more complete listing, please visit VisitIthaca.

Performing Arts

Movie Theaters

  • Cornell Cinema
    Cornell Cinema screens nearly 400 films per year, including first-run, foreign, and classic films. The cinema is a program of the Department of Theater, Film, and Dance and is cosponsored by the Dean of Students.
  • Cinemapolis
    Located downtown, Cinemapolis shows independent and new release films.

Nightlife

As a college town with a thriving local music scene, Ithaca has a wide variety of clubs and bars. Whether you feel like going for a few drinks or dancing all night, the list below will give you some ideas on what to do and where to go.

  • The Haunt
    Live music and DJ’s and drink specials. Go to 80’s night on Saturdays for the most fun dancing in Ithaca!
  • Mahogany Grill
    The Mahogany Grill is a nice place for a casual drink and meal. Seating outside in the summer.
  • Ithaca Ale House
    Great food, atmosphere, and beer selection — nearly 20 on tap! Sit outside to people watch during the summer.

Getting to Ithaca

Ithaca is located in the heart of the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. Natural beauty surrounds the campus with its many gorges, lakes, and parks. In fact, the Law School is bordered by Cascadilla Gorge. Its waterfalls and trail lead to downtown Ithaca.

Ithaca is easily accessible by plane, bus, and car. Most major Northeastern cities are a reasonable drive or a short flight.

Approximate Distances to Major Cities

  • Syracuse: One hour
  • Rochester: One and a half hours
  • New York City: Four hours
  • Philadelphia: Four hours
  • Toronto: Four hours
  • Boston: Five and a half hours
  • Montreal: Five and a half hours
  • Washington, D.C.: Six hours
Airlines, Taxi Cabs, and Rental Cars
Directions
Hotels and Restaurants

Ithaca has a wide variety of accommodations and cuisines.

Hotels

The following business-style hotels are close to campus, and many have shuttles to campus and to the airport.  This is just a brief listing of local hotels.  If you plan to visit campus during Cornell University’s graduation weekend, be prepared to stay outside of Ithaca. Alternative towns include: Dryden, Cortland, Elmira, Syracuse, and Binghamton.

The Statler Hotel at Cornell University
On-campus

Best Western University Inn
Only about 2 miles from the law school and near food and stores.

Courtyard by Marriott – Ithaca
Close to the airport and the Ithaca and Triphammer malls.

Homewood Suites by Hilton
Located at the Triphammer Mall.

Hampton Inn Ithaca
Downtown location, newly built.

Hilton Garden Inn
Relatively new hotel off of The Commons.

Country Inn & Suites
Near Ithaca College on South Hill.

Hotel Ithaca
Near The Commons and close to everything downtown.

For a complete list including inns and B&B’s, please visit Visitithaca.com.

Restaurants

The following scale is per person for dinner with an appetizer, entrée, dessert and beverage plus tax and gratuity. Some of the restaurants have lighter fare as well; please call ahead to get exact estimates.

$$$$ – $50+

$$$ – $30+

$$ – $20+

$ – $15+

Heights Cafe & Grill
$$$$
Cayuga Heights/Corners Community
One of Ithaca’s most upscale restaurants with an extensive wine list.

Moosewood Restaurant
$$
Downtown/Commons Area
If you don’t know of this vegetarian restaurant by its world-famous cookbook, definitely you will remember forever after you taste the terrific food.

Maxie’s Supper Club and Oyster Bar
$$/$$$
Downtown/Route 13
Cajun menu with all the frills. Don’t forget your colorful beads when you walk into Maxie’s.

Taste of Thai
$$
Commons
Best place to eat wonderfully prepared Thai food that is priced just right and in a great location on The Commons to boot.

The Boatyard Grill
$$/$$$
On the Inlet
Comfort food with a twist. The Boatyard has one of the more beautiful views in Ithaca.

Glenwood Pines
$/$$
Route 89
Overlooking the lake and very casual.

Ithaca Bakery
$
Downtown/Route 13
Gourmet deli and bakery.

Viva Taqueria
$/$$
Commons
Good healthy Mexican food in a fun atmosphere with margaritas, of course.

For a complete list, please go to VisitIthaca.com.

4
hours to New York City, Philadelphia, and Toronto
5 1/2
hours to Boston and Montreal
6
hours to Washington, DC

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