in Upstate New York
There is no denying that Upstate New York captures the essence of the holiday season, offering festive lights, decorations, activities, and opportunities for families and visitors to create cherished memories together. They showcase the region’s picturesque landscapes, small-town charm, and community spirit, making them must-visit destinations for those seeking a bit of holiday magic.
Adirondack Scenic Railroad’s Polar Express: Inspired by the popular children’s book, this train ride takes visitors on a journey to the North Pole, complete with hot cocoa, cookies, and a visit from Santa Claus. It’s popular for its family-friendly atmosphere and the enchanting setting in the Adirondack Mountains. https://adirondackrr.com/utica/polar-express/
Rochester’s Lights on the Lake: This annual event features a stunning display of holiday lights and animated scenes set along the shores of Lake Onondaga. Visitors can drive through or take a horse-drawn wagon ride, making it a beloved tradition for many families.
Lake Placid: The charming village of Lake Placid transforms into a winter wonderland during Christmas, with its picturesque Main Street decorated with lights, wreaths, and holiday cheer. It’s a perfect place for ice skating, shopping, and cozying up by the fireplace.
https://www.lakeplacid.com/ Get their travel guide here https://www.lakeplacid.com/guide/
Saratoga Springs Victorian Streetwalk: Saratoga Springs hosts a Victorian-themed streetwalk, where the downtown area is adorned with twinkling lights, carolers, and horse-drawn carriage rides. The event evokes a sense of nostalgia and holiday spirit.
Albany’s Capital Holiday Lights in the Park: This drive-through light show at Washington Park features more than 125 displays and scenes, including a memorable walk-through display near the Lake House. It’s a beloved attraction for its festive ambiance and charitable contributions to local organizations. https://www.albany.com/holiday/annual-events/capital-lights/
Festival of Lights in Niagara Falls: Witness the breathtaking Niagara Falls illuminated with colorful lights during the Festival of Lights. The falls become a mesmerizing winter spectacle, drawing visitors from near and far. https://www.niagaraparks.com/events/event/falls-illumination
Ithaca Ice Festival: Celebrate the season in Ithaca with ice carving competitions, festive decorations, and holiday music. The highlight is the ice bar, where visitors can enjoy drinks at an ice-sculpted counter.
Old Forge’s Christmas on Main Street: So it is no surprise that people from all over New York State say that Old Forge offers a quintessential small-town Christmas experience. Main Street is adorned with lights, and visitors can enjoy horse-drawn wagon rides, visit Santa, and explore local shops for unique gifts. https://www.adkchristmasonmain.com/
Corning’s Sparkle: Year after year Corning is named one of America’s Best Small towns for Christmas. Corning’s Gaffer District hosts “Sparkle,” a festive event that includes horse-drawn carriage rides, carolers, and a beautiful display of holiday lights. The Corning Museum of Glass also offers special seasonal exhibits including the sparkling tree. There is no other like this must-see tree.