New York is a lovely place, but most people tend to forget about the state and only focus on the city and MAYBE Long Island. Don't get me wrong, NYC and Long Island are amazing and lovely places, but there are some amazing and lovely places upstate as well. Just be warned; it tends to get pretty freezing up there!
1. Corning (Steuben County)
Located in the Finger Lakes region, Corning is a small city with a big list of things to do. It's nicknamed America's Crystal City and it's the home to all things glass. Yes, glass.
The Corning Museum of Glass is a must-see if you choose to visit this town. The Rockwell Museum is great, too! Most things there are affordable, and those that aren't are worth the money. There's a lot of rooftop dining options available as well. Just bring a coat.
2. Binghamton (Broome County)
I have a few family members in Binghamton, and it's always a treat to go and visit them. Roberson Museum and Science Center is fun if you're looking for something educational; Ross Park Zoo if you're looking for cute animals; and Recreation Park if you're looking for something, well, recreational.
It gets cloudy a lot, but rarely gloomy. It's also a college town, with Binghamton University being a huge thing there.
3. Ithaca (Tompkins County)
Most people just know Ithaca because of Cornell University, but there are loads more to the town than just that! There are tons of scenic waterfalls to look at, shopping opportunities (don't miss the Farmer's Market, even if you have one in your own town), as well as entertainment like theatres and museums.
The Sciencenter is great for kids, and even teenagers and adults may enjoy it.
4. Buffalo (Erie County)
Almost everyone has had buffalo wings, but how many people have visited Buffalo, NY? It is one of the northernmost cities in New York, only about half an hour away from Canada. Points of interest include the Allentown Historic District, the Buffalo Zoological Gardens, the Buffalo History Museum, and the Times Beach Preserve.
5. Niagara Falls (Niagara County)
This is a town even closer to Canada than Buffalo is! If you want to see the beauty of Niagara Falls without having to pay for a passport, there's nothing wrong with staying on the American side of the waterfall. There are tons of hotel and restaurant options to accommodate you during your stay. It can get a bit pricey, but the memories and experiences are worth every single penny.
Some of my favorite things to do include the Maid In America Boat Tour (be prepared to get wet - but don't worry, ponchos are provided and the water isn't as freezing as you would expect), the Helicopter Tour, and the Cave Of The Winds tour. The falls even turn rainbow at night!
I also recommend Old Fort Niagara and Devil's Hole State Park when you're looking to dry off.
6. Syracuse (Onondaga County)
Destiny USA is a MUST VISIT in Syracuse. It is an indoor shopping and entertainment center, and it is so much more than your average mall. There are a bunch of parks to visit too if you prefer to spend your time outdoors. It's really easy to get around, and most of the residents are super helpful and friendly.
7. Albany (Albany County)
Obviously, the New York State Capital building is a good point of interest. There's also the NY State Museum, the Schuyler Mansion, and Park Playhouse. Visit during the summer to catch free outdoor concerts! It's additionally quite the historic place, being not only the capital but also one of the oldest towns in the country.
8. Schenectady (Schenectady County)
Schenectady has so many beautiful buildings and architecture that it's fun to just walk around the city and sightsee. However, if you're looking for something more specific, Schenectady is the home to Rivers Casino & Resort, Via Aquarium, Central Park Rose Garden, and Edison Tech Center. It's a small and quiet town, but not a boring one.
9. Rochester (Monroe County)
The Strong National Museum of Play is a place where kids will never want to leave, and adults will be equally fond of the winery tours. If you like video games, head on over to the National Center for the History of Electronic Games. If you're more of a music person, check out the House of Guitars.
There's also the trampoline park, escape rooms, the Seneca Park Zoo...My point is, there's stuff for people of all ages and all interests here.
10. Beacon (Dutchess County)
If you like hiking, check out the Beacon Mountain trails. If you're a proud nerd, you can't miss the "Doctor Who" themed restaurant called The Pandorica. It's best to go in the fall; the trees are gorgeous, but it'll be a great trip at any time. The town is quaint and cute, so if you get overwhelmed easily, this is the perfect chill spot for you.
11. Glens Falls (Warren County)
Everything is in walking distance here. Being a small town, it gets overlooked a lot, but it is far from dull or boring. It has a homely feel, even to tourists. It's nicknamed Hometown USA!
Like most of the towns I listed above, it has an impressive historical district, including something literally just called The Oldest Building In Glens Falls. The Adirondack Theatre Festival happens here during the summer if you're looking for affordable contemporary plays/musicals. Check out The Shirt Factory, too; I promise it's way more exciting than it sounds.
12. Poughkeepsie (Dutchess County)
The Mid-Hudson Civic Center has a variety of things to do; ice skating, concerts, and conventions. The Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park is the longest elevated pedestrian bridge in the world! The Bardavon Opera House is the oldest operating theatre in the state.
If you like comedy, the Bananas Comedy Club is worth a visit, too! This is another small and quiet town, but that's not a bad thing; it's super convenient and close to everything.