Between the world-famous waterfalls and the world-class city, travelers find themselves at the center of it all in Central New York state.
When you think of upstate New York, the majestic peaks of the Adirondacks or resorts of the Catskills might come to mind. You might think of water or wine country. Central New York – the counties of Madison, Oneida, Herkimer, Montgomery, Schoharie, Otsego, Chenango and Broome – brings all those experiences together.
Originally called the Central Leatherstocking Region in tribute to the pioneer-era works of legendary American author James Fenimore Cooper, what is known today as Central New York Vacation Region represents the best of upstate New York.
From the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum to the countless Main Streets, Central New York lays claim to the ultimate rural American experience for families, foodies and craft beverage fans alike.
Drive quiet country roads among the rolling hills and beautiful natural scenery. Discover ancient rock formations millions of years in the making. Drink brews rooted deep in rich beer history and craft spirits recognized worldwide.
Historic villages, home to classic small-town American life, stretch for miles and miles through Central New York – and so does the iconic Erie Canal. Explore countless lakes and waterways where visitors can row or swim.
Central New York truly delivers something for every taste, especially flavors of the culinary variety. Be prepared to enjoy a meal made exclusively from local ingredients at one of many restaurants serving up recipes steeped deeply in the agricultural heritage here. Tap in to the American tradition of farmers markets, where growers proudly sell local produce.
When summer exits, fall leaves emerge, providing color and signaling the harvest season. Hand pick a bounty of apples or pumpkins at any one of Central New York’s numerous orchards and patches.
Central New York’s legendary hop yards still thrive as well. Central New York produced 90 percent of the nation’s hops in the late 1800s and the state was the No. 1 beer producer in the U.S. for decades.
Brew Central brings together the stories, traditions and tastes behind a growing constellation of breweries, craft-centric pubs, cideries, distilleries and wineries in Central New York. Visitors to Brew Central can sample the toast of U.S. beer competitions, sip the winners of international awards or stroll through a hop yard in “America’s Craft Brew Destination.”
From the southern tip of New York’s famous Adirondack Park to the peaks of the Catskill Mountains, Central New York reaches far and wide.
The friendly people will welcome you. The picturesque vistas will impress you. Community festivals will thrill you.
Learn More About Some of Our Communities
Binghamton, Endicott, Johnson City and Vestal
Binghamton brings together all the best that Central New York has to offer, from outstanding food and craft brew to rich history and outdoor adventure. A pair of major interstates and three significant rivers meet in Binghamton, the cultural capital of the region with events like the country’s largest projection art festival and a thriving sports scene.
Restaurants, breweries and galleries highlight a downtown bustling with nightlife. The nearby Binghamton University campus brings a youthful energy to the community that includes attractions as varied as the Animal Adventure Park famed for YouTube star April the Giraffe and the event-heavy Roberson Museum and Science Center.
An incredible legacy seeded by innovative industrialists thrives in historic Endicott and Johnson City, home to several of the area’s signature antique carousels. The surrounding hills are filled with agritourism destinations and unique outdoor areas like the IBM Glen.
The two square miles that make up the city of Norwich host a thriving, tight-knit community. This city within Chenango County is known as a great destination for museums, agri-business, dining and shopping. The city of Norwich allows visitors to experience the perfect balance between small-town charm and modern sophistication.
The Norwich Museum District is essential for those who love history. Home to the Northeast Classic Car Museum, the Chenango County Historical Museum and the Bullthistle Model Railroad Society Museum, Norwich provides multiple opportunities to learn about different historic eras.
The city of Norwich hosts many community festivals throughout the year, including the Colorscape Chenango Arts Festival and Blues Fest. The Colorscape Chenango Arts Festival draws thousands of people every year to come and enjoy craft sales, literary art, music and creative culinary arts. The Blues Fest creates a two-day diverse musical experience for all attendees, where they can come and listen to their favorite artists and bands at the Chenango County Fairgrounds.
Little Falls, Herkimer and Old Forge
Situated in Herkimer County, the city of Little Falls is built on both sides of the Mohawk River.
Little Falls has outdoor recreational activities available for every season. Various hiking trails have hidden waterfalls to look for that lead into the Mohawk River. For those who love to ride bikes, the New York State Canalway Bike Trail connects Little Falls to other popular tourist spots in the surrounding area.
Coined the Art Mecca of the Mohawk Valley, Little Falls is home to a very culturally diverse and artistic community. The Mohawk Valley Center for Arts hosts many cultural events, including a film and concert series. The center’s 401 Gallery holds various art shows each year.
From locally-owned cafes and bakeries to five-star restaurants, Little Falls also provides the ultimate dining experience. Visitors can choose from a variety of options, including some of Little Falls most famous Italian cuisine. There are also a few popular bars and pubs within Little Falls, which are perfect for a drink and quick bite to eat.
In the rocks forming the nearby Herkimer Diamond Mines, beautiful double-terminated quartz crystals – Herkimer Diamonds – can be found. These phenomenal gemstones, which are indigenous to Herkimer County, are believed to be close to five hundred million years old.
The Adirondack Park dominates the northern part of the county. Here the mountains, forests, and waterways offer hiking, boating, mountain biking, canoeing and kayaking, skiing, snowmobiling and more for anyone seeking some quality time out in the sunshine and fresh air. Visitors will find that the village of Old Forge features New York’s largest water theme park, a newly expanded art center, scenic train rides, restaurants, special events, and a wide variety of shopping.
Cazenovia, Canastota, Chittenango and Hamilton
Centered about the beautiful Cazenovia Lake, the town of Cazenovia provides breathtaking views and historic architecture. Cazenovia Lake is almost four miles long and provides great swimming, boating and fishing destination in the summer months.
In the fall and winter, guests can explore the beautiful walking trails around the lake and truly enjoy everything the Cazenovia community has to offer. Chittenango Falls State Park boasts gorgeous waterfalls great for a day of outdoor adventure. Enjoy a family picnic during the summer or a scenic walk in the fall.
The Lincklaen House and the Brae Loch Inn provide great places to stay year round, with each providing historic lodging and elegant hospitality. Both destinations include fabulous dining options and packages to purchase.
Cazenovia is home to some of the best breweries and wineries in the Central New York region. Enjoy award-winning wine from Owera Vineyards, or delicious hard cider from Critz Farms Brewing and Cider Co.
Celebrate all things “Oz” during the annual Oz-Stravaganza festival in Chittenango, birthplace of L. Frank Baum of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz fame. And if you’re ready to rumble, head to Canastota for Induction Weekend at the International Boxing Hall of Fame. Or visit Hop Fest in Oneida to celebrate Madison County’s strong heritage of growing this beer producing crop.
With its rolling hillsides, culture, arts, and great food, Hamilton’s charm rivals that found anywhere in New England. Anchoring the heart of downtown is the Colgate Inn. If the arts are more your taste, visit the Picker Art Gallery at Colgate University, which offers special exhibitions, lectures and frequently changing displays. Or join award-winning filmmakers and film fans from across the globe each July at the Hamilton International Film Festival.
Amsterdam and Canajoharie
Amsterdam is another beautifully historic community in Central New York that is located along the Mohawk River. The town has over 50 places to eat, including small family-owned restaurants, casual dining and some of the best pizza joints in Central New York.
Amsterdam is well-known for its tight-knit community and welcoming hospitality. The Amsterdam Castle provides guests with a unique experience in none other than a historic castle. The five-star resort allows guests to experience luxury accommodations, great service and fabulous food.
The Amsterdam Riverlink is known as a great place to enjoy a leisurely afternoon. The park includes a newly built pedestrian bridge, walking and bike paths overlooking the Mohawk River. In the summer, free concerts are held in the park, which also includes the River’s Edge Café.
Just down the Thruway, the Arkell Museum in Canajoharie includes works by 19th- and 20th-century American painters such as Winslow Homer and Georgia O’Keeffe as well as early-1900s advertising art for iconic Beech-Nut products. The village comes with its own small-town charm with mom-and-pop shops alongside restaurants.
Don’t miss numerous historic sites throughout the area in other small communities like Fort Plain, Fonda and St. Johnsville.
Utica, Rome, Sylvan Beach and Verona
Known for their great food and amazing breweries, Utica is the 10th most populated city in New York.
Utica is filled with great weekend-long festivals including the Bavarian Festival, Remsen Barn Festival of the Arts and the Great American Irish Festival. One of the largest weekend events in Utica is the Boilermaker 15K Road Race. Each year in July, runners from all over the world make the journey to Utica to participate in the race, which ends at the Saranac Brewery.
Saranac Brewery is family-owned and has operated in the same location since 1888. Brewing over 50 kinds of beer, the brewery is continuously expanding in size and varieties. You can tour the brewery and visit their historic 1888 Tavern, which includes 13 different draft lines of Saranac’s award-winning beer.
Some of the best foods Utica has to offer are actually native to the city as well. Tomato pie, Utica greens, half-moon cookies and chicken riggies are Utica classics that you can’t visit the area without trying.
Rome also offers fine restaurants and recreation, famous sites, natural wonders, and world-
Honor America Days is when the town of Rome celebrates all things American the last weekend of July with a patriotic parade through town followed by an evening Symphony Orchestra Pops Concert on the lawn of Fort Stanwix National Monument with a stunning fireworks finale.
The Canal isn’t the only waterway you’ll find in Oneida County, which is situated on the shores of Oneida Lake. Twenty-two miles long and five miles wide, it’s the largest lake in New York State by volume and home of the historic community of Sylvan Beach. There is the wonderful midway at the Sylvan Beach Amusement Park, with everything from bumper cars to the Galaxi roller coaster.
Take a scenic ride through the rolling hills of CNY on the Adirondack Scenic Railroad. This all-season attraction is perfect for soaking up the beauty of the regions.
Cooperstown, Cherry Valley and Oneonta
Cooperstown is a filled with rich history and quintessential small town charm. Home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Doubleday Field and great places to eat and drink, Main Street and its one stoplight act as the hub of Cooperstown. In the summer, multiple events are hosted, making it a great destination for family fun.
The Farmers and Fenimore Art museums offer a unique opportunity to explore upstate culture and art history. You can experience rural history that has shaped our land and world-class art exhibits within walking distance from each other.
Cooperstown also provides great places to stay with luxurious accommodations perfect for any getaway. Many of these accommodations include packages in collaboration with Cooperstown’s most popular destinations, including Brewery Ommegang, Baseball Hall of Fame and Mel’s at 22.
During the late 1700s, the small village of Cherry Valley was the gateway to America’s Western Frontier. “Tiny” in size only, Cherry Valley became an artist haven during the 1960s and 70s, a place where Allen Ginsberg and other beatnik-types called home. The Cherry Valley Museum documents the history of the area and visitors can experience fine dining, shopping treasure hunts, and superb lodging in Cherry Valley.
Catering to butterfly enthusiasts, BBQ aficionados and baseball enthusiasts looking for compliments to the Baseball Hall of Fame experience, a visit to the City of Oneonta will be one where travelers with a variety of interests will be satisfied. Escape your world and be transported to the lush and tropical greenery of the Joseph L. Popp Butterfly Conservatory, tantalize your taste for sweet BBQ dishes at the world-famous Brooks House of BBQ, explore Main Street’s quaint and locally-run shops, take in a ballgame at historic Damaschke Field or enjoy a leisurely outing along the Susquehanna River.
Middleburgh, Cobleskill and Sharon Springs
Settled at the corner or New York State Routes 145 and 30, Middleburgh is a quaint town filled with historic charm nestled right in Schoharie County.
Middleburgh is known for its popular hiking spot, Vroman’s Nose. The local favorite includes a few different hiking trails, all perfect for an easy-to-moderate family hike. All trails are properly marked and guests can even bring their dogs along on their outdoor adventure. Vroman’s Nose provides beautiful views of the countryside and is a great place to have a picnic at the top.
Wanting to share his passion for brewing with the community, Justin Behan filled an empty storefront on Main Street and created Green Wolf Brewing Co., another local favorite in Middleburgh. Every batch of beer brewed at Green Wolf Brewing Co. is made from 100 percent local hops and over 90 percent New York-grown and malted grains.
Howe Caverns near Cobleskill is a great place for a day of exploring and family fun. Visitors can experience the hallowed caves almost 156 feet below the Earth’s surface on one of Howe Cavern’s famous cave tours. The journey will take you through limestone corridors, massively formed boulders and mysterious stalactites.
This historic village of Sharon Springs in northern Schoharie County was once world-renowned, with socialites and health enthusiasts attracted to the waters, magnificent views and clean air. Many of the village’s historic buildings, including bathhouses, hotels and homes dating back to the mid-1800s, have been brought back to their original grandeur.