Things to do in the Adirondacks — Lake Placid

Advisor - Samantha Vanderhorst
Curated By

Samantha Vanderhorst

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  • Off-the-Beaten-Path Travel

  • Group Travel

  • Road Trip Travel

  • Nature Escapes

  • Family Travel

  • New York

  • Mountains

  • Sightseeing

  • Outdoors

green mountains water river daytime
Curator’s statement

Close to the Canada border, northern New York's Adirondacks region is enchanting with its natural beauty and rich history. These mountains hold both a testament to the past and a sanctuary for wildlife. Established in 1892 by New York State, the six-million-acre Adirondack Park stands as a remarkable example of the nation's commitment to preserving its natural treasures. Lake Placid is one of my favorite places in the Adirondacks. Ranked as one of the 11 best small towns in the US to see fall foliage by Travel and Leisure, I highly recommend taking the time to escape to Upstate New York this fall. I’ve grown up spending my Thanksgivings in the Adirondacks and there's nothing like the fresh air, fall foliage, hiking and hanging by the fire, especially if you’re like me and spending most of your time in a bustling city like NYC.

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Where to stay in Adirondacks- Lake Placid

Whiteface Lodge

Where rustic elegance meets Adirondack luxury in a tranquil mountain retreat.

Lake Placid Lodge

Experience nature's beauty at Lake Placid Lodge.

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Mirror Lake Inn

Offers a timeless and tranquil escape on the shores of Mirror Lake. This charming lakeside retreat beckons with its stunning views, elegant accommodations, and a rich history of hospitality, inviting guests to immerse themselves in the natural beauty and warm hospitality of the Adirondacks.

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Things to do in Adirondacks- Lake Placid

beautiful view chairs sitting waterside trees

Mirror Lake

Only 2.7 miles all the way around, you can take a scenic walk around the town of Lake Placid, while stopping in some places for food and shopping.

Shop

Looking for some Lake Placid swag or a sweatshirt? Check out the USA Spirit shop or the Adirondack Trading co. Pick up a book at Bookstore Plus. Grab a game at the Imagination Station. Looking for Ski and Snowboard gear for the winter? Check out Skis, Snowboards & Clothes. As you wander around Mirror Lake, there's a delightment of shops that you can stop in as you walk around the lake.

Hike

With a variety of hiking selections, spanning from more leisurely hikes lasting a couple of hours to full-day adventures, this destination offers an excellent opportunity to immerse oneself in the wonders of the great outdoors. Check out High Fall Gorge, Hike Mount Jo, Cascade or walk the Owen Pond or Connery Pond trailhead. If you’re an experienced hiker or are looking for a challenge, Mount Marcy is one of the tallest mountains in the high peaks region (this hike can take a full day or longer).

The Olympic Jumping Complex

Not only is this the site of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics, but the complex features an array of activities for visitors. Checkout the stories of great athletes who have competed within this complex. Take the Skyride to see both the Olympic Jumping Complex and all of Lake Placid from up above. Ride down the zipline on a 100-meter ski jump.

The Olympic Center

Stop by the famous rink where the “Miracle on Ice” hockey game in the 1980 Olympics occurred. See where Olympic athletes train in bobsled and skeleton, figure skating, luge, snowboarding, speed skating and ski jumping.

Mount Van Hoevenberg

Introducing one of Lake Placid's most recent trail additions. Hike, bike, climb or ride the cliffside coaster or discover luge.

Golf

Pick up some clubs and play at the Whiteface Golf Club, Lake Placid Club or the Craig Wood golf course. Play miniature golf at Boots and Birdies

Spa Day

Get pampered at the spa at the Whiteface Lodge or Mirror Lake Inn. Treat yourself to a rejuvenating massage, refreshing facial, invigorating body treatment or get your nails and/or hair done.

Experience the lakes

Depending on the weather, use the hotel concierge to book some water activities. There are plenty of options to pick from, ranging from a paddleboard, sail boat, water skis or a kayak.

Day trips

If you’re looking to explore further, Keene Valley is a 20-minute drive away.

Keene Valley attracts climbers with its impressive 46er peaks, as well as offers a cute upstate town. Haystack is right in town and offers a fantastic hiking experience, but Indian Head Peak promises a rewarding view-to-hike ratio. This mountain is nestled by the Ausable River and requires a reservation via hike AMR for access.

If you are looking for local eateries with fresh produce, Rivermade Market is a go-to spot, while the Noon Mark Diner always delights with a classic diner feel and mouthwatering pies. The apple blackberry crumble is a standout. Need a caffeine fix or a baked good? Stop by Old Mountain Coffee Company. Don't also miss the chance to dine at Forty Six for a memorable culinary experience. Try the shishito peppers and pork chops.

Visit the Birchstore for Adirondack-inspired gifts and home goods. Embrace the mountain's aroma with a pine needle pillow, a perfect keepsake to bring the essence of the Adirondacks home.

Places to eat & drink in Adirondacks- Lake Placid

Inside-view restaurant dining

The View: Looking for a fine dining experience with incredible views? This restaurant is the place to be, especially if you are eager to try the flavors of autumn on their seasonal menu.

Kanu Dining Room: Experience the vibrant Adirondack ambiance within the Whiteface Lodge. Sit outside and enjoy some breakfast with a stunning view of the mountains.

Artisans at the Lake Placid Lodge: Indulge in farm-to-table food while soaking in the beautiful views of Mirror Lake. In the evenings, you can typically bask in the warmth of a lakeside bonfire. For those looking for a dining experience aligned with the freshest seasonal ingredients, this restaurant also has a menu that changes seasonally.

The Cottage at Mirror Lake Inn: Right on Mirror Lake with a cozy adirondack feel. It's a go-to spot for not only delectable nachos and classic bar fare, but also a great location to catch sports games. To add to its allure, you can even dine outside inside charming ski lift cabins outdoors.

Smoke Signals: Savor barbecue food by the water while drinking craft beers and enjoying live music.

Lake Placid Pub & Brewery: Drink the iconic Adirondack flavor, Ubu Ale, the well renowned adirondack beer. Whether you’re looking to hang out in a beer tent or you like the atmosphere of an indoor bar, you’ll find a great stop to unwind post hike or walk.

Big Slide Brewery & Public House: The Lake Placid Pub’s newer second location. Great food with a fantastic Sunday brunch. Has 10 house-brewed beers on tab.

Henry’s Tavern or 81-18 Cafe: Stop in Henry’s Tavern for a drink or snack post Mount Van Hoevenberg or grab something from 81 - 18 Cafe with a bunch of choices ranging from vegan options to burgers to sandwiches.

Emma’s Lake Placid Creamery: Stop by to grab a delectable milk shake or soft serve.

Players Sports Bar: Seeking a laid-back spot to watch fall football? Swing by players for some beer and wings.

Need to Know

Looking for more travel inspo? Check out my guide, Girls Trip: A 3-Day 30A Travel Guide.

Advisor - Samantha Vanderhorst

Travel Advisor

Samantha Vanderhorst

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to New York.