25 Best Things To Do In Utica, New York - Updated 2023

things to do in utica new york
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Set within the Mohawk Valley, this historic city has a rich history and has welcomed everyone from past US presidents to such literary greats as Charles Dickens over the years. This history is reflected in some of the city’s 19th and early 20th century architectural charms - from the historic Bagg’s Square neighbourhood to the ornate baroque stylings of Stanley Theatre’s gloriously impressive interior. But there’s more to the city than simply its interesting history, and Utica is home to such modernist marvels as the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Museum, and wildlife wonders at the likes of the popular city zoo or the Utica Marsh Wildlife Management Area. Whatever brings you to this corner of New York state, be it a family holiday, trip with friends, or simply for business, there is plenty to occupy your spare time. Read on for some of the things to do in Utica, New York.

For places to stay, you can choose among the Airbnb vacation rentals available in the city.

1. Take a walk through history at Bagg's Square

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Getting its name from a long-since lost hotel which once hosted such famous names as George Washington and Ulysses S Grant, the Bagg’s Square neighbourhood grew up alongside Utica’s booming textile’s industry of the 19th century - and this is reflected in many of the buildings, which feature classic architectural touches from that era. This makes a stroll through the neighbourhood of particular appeal to those who enjoy a little history to their architecture and streetscape - indeed locals proudly label it “New York’s most historic” neighbourhood. From museum’s like the Utica Children’s Museum to eateries like the Bagg’s Square Cafe, you’ll also find a number of things to see and do.

2. Peak inside the beautiful lobby of Hotel Utica (from USD 143)

And, speaking of period architectural charms, the Hotel Utica is a prime example. This historic building, which dates back to 1912, was reopened in 2001 following public restoration. Today, it is run as a Doubletree by Hilton Hotel, but its period architectural delights, exemplified by its lobby, are an impressive feast for the eyes. Pay a visit and you might be able to picture yourself catapulted back in time to a period when everyone from Judy Garland to President Roosevelt was among its famous guests.

Hotel Utica

Address: 102 Lafayette St, Utica, NY 13502

Website: Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Utica

Price: 108 USD onwards

DoubleTree by Hilton Utica

Wifi Available

Address: 102 Lafayette Street

Parking Restaurant Meeting/banquet facilities Bar 24 -hour front desk Fitness centre 3 Golf course (within km) Non-smoking rooms

3. Bike the trail along Barge Canal

Old Erie Canal State Park
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user DASonnenfeld used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Following the route of the Erie Canal and the NYS Barge Canal, this popular biking trail follows the old tow paths for parts of the journey. Parts of the original canal date back more than 200 years, though the enlarged Barge Canal came a century later and splits from Erie Canal to the west of the town of Rome, before snaking its way all the way to Oneida Lake through the farming countryside. Those feeling adventurous can actually ride almost as far as 36 miles (58 km, one way) from one end to the other, but remember to leave enough energy in your legs to make the return journey. Naturally, those feeling less adventurous can enjoy shorter sections.

Erie Canal State Park and New York State Barge Canal

Address: Utica, NY 13502

Website: Erie Canal State Park and New York State Barge Canal

4. Stop by the historical Utica Marina

Erie Canal - Fairport Lift Bridge
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user LtPowers used under CC BY-SA 2.5

Sticking with the canal system now, this time part of the Erie Canal, the Utica Marina is a historic building which sits right on the waterway and today enjoys its use as a banquet hall and multi-purpose facility. Speaking of which, the lower level of the two-storey structure is home to its own restaurant - the Aqua-Vino - and patio seating from which to enjoy the waterside setting while enjoying a bite to eat. The menu includes steaks, seafood, kinds of pasta and gluten-free options among its many tempting choices.

Aqua Vino Restaurant

Address: 16 Harbor Lock Rd, Utica, NY 13502

Website: Aqua Vino Restaurant

Opening hours: Tue - Fri: 11:30am - 2:30pm, 4:30pm - 9pm; Sat: 4:30pm - 9pm (closed on Sun)

5. Get amazed by the magnificent architecture of Union Station

Utica Union Station – Interior Waiting Room - Looking northeast towards Amtrak office
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Benjamin Turon used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Another magnificent example of fine period architecture now. Utica’s Union Station dates back more than a century and boasts beautiful marble-style columns and lofty vaulted ceilings that make it feel almost like a cathedral to transport. Still functioning as a railway station, there’s every chance you may well pass through it on your travels. If you do, make sure you take your camera and factor a few extra minutes into your journey time - because you’ll find it a very tempting target for a few well-timed photos. It also plays host to the Oneida County Public Market, but more on that a little later.

Union Station

Address: Boehlert Transportation Center, 321 Main St, Utica, NY 13501

Website: Union Station

Opening hours: 7am - 10pm (daily)

6. Enjoy a quiet read at Utica Public Library

Utica Public Library
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Doug Kerr used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Located in another of Utica’s charming period architectural delights, the city library building dates right back to the very earliest years of the 20th century. This large building features an extensive library catalogue, alongside everything from a children’s reading room on the main floor to a genealogy room should your journey plans include a little research into your family history. It even offers loans of garden tools to library members - not something you see every day at your local library.

Utica Public Library

Address: 303 Genesee St, Utica, NY 13501

Website: Utica Public Library

Opening hours: Mon - Tue: 8:30am - 8pm; Wed - Fri: 8:30am - 5:30pm; Sat: 8:30am - 5pm (closed on Sun)

7. Spot a large variety of birds at Utica Marsh Wildlife Management Area

Utica Marsh at Sunset
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Andrey Volk used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Sat on the edge of the city, and next to the Mohawk River, the Utica Marsh Wildlife Management Area’s array of wet meadows, open water marsh and reed grasses make it a must-see spot for birdwatchers and fans of nature. Extending to more than 213 acres (86.2 hectares), it boasts a range of trails and boardwalks, as well as two observation towers from which to enjoy the landscape and the resident and migrating birdlife. There’s even a disability-accessible viewing platform, should you or any of your group have mobility issues.

Utica Marsh Wildlife Management Area

Address: Utica, NY 13502, USA

Website: Utica Marsh Wildlife Management Area

8. Plan a picnic at Proctor Park

Proctor park 4 - panoramio
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user James Stockton used under CC BY 3.0

In actuality, two parks - the F.T. and T. R. - Proctor Park is considered one of the finest open spaces in the city. The 62 acres (25 hectares) F.T. section is well known for its open views and ‘country’ vibe, while the latter is no small part by its array of trees - which range from maples to red oaks. Fans of floral displays will also find much to enjoy - the perfect setting for a little picnicking - while those who wish to enjoy a little sports fun should make their way across the road to the T.R. Proctor Park, which boats no fewer than four baseball fields, as well as basketball courts, soccer pitches and even a running trail.

Proctor Park

Address: Proctor Park, Utica, NY 13501

Website: Proctor Park

9. Visit the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute

Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute, Utica NY
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Kenneth C. Zirkel used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Fans of impressive art will almost certainly find their way to the striking modernist edifice of the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute. Its striking walls contain pieces from more than 300 years of the US art scene - including such world-famous figures as Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock and Georgia O'Keeffe. Japanese prints and examples of European Modernism also feature among the collections, and there’s a regular programme of new temporary exhibitions to enjoy too - so keep an eye on the museum’s calendar for updates nearer the time of your visit.

Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute

Address: 310 Genesee St, Utica, NY 13502

Website: Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 10am - 5pm; Sun: 1pm - 5pm

Price: Free

10. Chug down beers at F.X. Matt Brewing Company

2016 Utica Boilermaker Post-Race Party
Source: Photo by Flickr user John Marino used under CC BY 2.0

Fans of a nice real ale will almost certainly wish to pay the FX Matt Brewing Company a visit. With roots dating back to the 1880s, it also had the privilege of being the first brewery to gain a license at the end of Prohibition in the 1930s. Today the brewery is still in family hands and produces a range of drinks, from its Pale Ale and Adirondack Lager to seasonal fare like its Summer Haze IPA. Its on-site 1888 Tavern hosts 13 different company drafts and unique beers you can’t find anywhere else - perfect for a little R&R after a busy day. What’s more, the brewery also plays host to regular evening concerts during the summer months - so keep your eyes peeled.

F.X. Matt Brewing Company Shop & Tour Center

Address: 830 Varick St, Utica, NY 13502

Website: F.X. Matt Brewing Company

Opening hours: Tue - Thu: 12pm - 6pm; Fri - Sat: 12pm - 9pm (closed on Sun)

11. Take your children to Utica Zoo

Bactrian Camel
Source: Photo by Flickr user Jeffrey used under CC BY-SA 2.0

A fixture of Utica for more than a century, the popular zoo, which is actually owned by the city, extends to more than 40 acres (16.2 acres) and houses nearly 100 different species - ranging from hyenas and lions to wallabies, zebras, emus and even Chinese alligators. What’s more, the extensive site is split into a range of halls and habitats, including the primate hall, children’s zoo and even a North Trek Nature Trail which features animals found in North America. A real family-friendly day out.

Utica Zoo

Address: 1 Utica Zoo Way, Utica, NY 1350

Website: Utica Zoo

Opening hours: 10am - 4:45pm (daily)

Price: 8 USD (adult); 6.75 USD (over 62, veterans and students); 4.75 USD (ages 3 to 12); free for two-year-olds and under

12. Watch live concerts and musicals at Baroque-style Stanley Theatre

Stanley Theater, Utica, New York - 20210917
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Andre Carrotflower used under CC BY-SA 4.0

This impressive baroque-style theatre dates back more than 90 years and originally opened as a cinema designed by the illustrious Thomas Lamb, who was one of the top names of his day. Today, the cinema has been re-purposed as a theatre and concert venue but has kept its beautifully ornate decor and has played host to such big names at Tony Bennett, REO Speedwagon and the Goo Goo Dolls. Concerts, musicals and impressive architecture - what’s not to love?

The Stanley Theatre

Address: 261 Genesee St, Utica, NY 13501

Website: The Stanley Theatre

13. Sample well-crafted beers at Woodland Farm Brewery

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Another for fans of a nice drink now, the Woodland Farm Brewery will certainly appeal to fans of craft brewing. Opened as recently as 2015, this micro-brewery brews 300 gallons of ale every week and always has at least two of its beers pouring from a firkin. And that list of ales certainly sounds tempting, with everything from the wee heavy ‘Unite the Clans’ to its farmhouse ale Sagey among those available. Those who enjoy wines and spirits will also find them in the brewery’s rustic taproom, which is open six days a week and also serves a range of food.

Woodland Farm Brewery

Address: 6002 Trenton Rd, Utica, NY 13502

Website: Woodland Farm Brewery

Opening hours: Tue - Thu: 1pm - 9pm; Fri - Sat: 11am - 10pm; Sun: 10am - 6pm (closed on Mon)

14. Check out the interesting exhibits at Oneida County Historical Society

Oneida County Historical Society
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user https://www.flick... used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Based out of an impressive historic building, and dating back to the 1870s, the Oneida County Historical Society works to preserve and promote the rich history along the Mohawk River and within Oneida County. Today its collection and research library cares for more than a quarter of a million documents and features a 5000 sq ft (464.52 sqm) exhibition area displaying some of the society’s many pieces. It also runs a weekly programme of presentations from authors, historians and artists - so there’ll be something different for you to enjoy, whenever you visit.

Oneida County Historical Society

Address: 1608 Genesee St, Utica, NY 13502

Website: Oneida County Historical Society

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 10am - 4pm (closed on Sat & Sun)

15. Pay a visit to Adirondack Distilling Company

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Everyone from here is everywhere this weekend! Co-owner Bruce will be at the Distillery on Saturday December 20 from 10...

Posted by Adirondack Distilling Company on Thursday, December 18, 2014

So far this list has featured some nice examples of the area’s ale brewing heritage. But Utica isn’t just home to good beers, the Adirondack Distilling Company - which is based in a former 1920s-era bank - produces a number of small batch bourbons, whiskeys, gins and vodkas. What’s more, it also hosts 30 minute tours of the facility by appointment - complete with complimentary etched souvenir glasses upon their completion, giving you a special memento of your trip.

Adirondack Distilling Company

Address: 601 Varick St, Utica, NY 13502

Website: Adirondack Distilling Company

Opening hours: Tours by appointment

Price: 10 USD (tour price)

16. Plan a day out with the kids at Utica Children's Museum

UticaNY JohnCHieberBuilding
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Magicpiano used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Featuring four floors of fun-filled exhibits, this museum’s self-professed mission is to support a child’s “natural curiosity” and features a range of hands-on exhibits designed to keep your children entertained. Featuring everything from wooden train sets to interactive dinoramas, and art studios to dance floors and space exploration exhibits - there’s bound to be something to enchant the little ones in your life. It also hosts regular special events, like magic days and spy camps - so keep an eye on the calendar when visiting Utica.

Utica Children's Museum

Address: 311 Main St, Utica, NY 13501

Website: Utica Children's Museum

Opening hours: Thu - Fri: 10am - 4:30pm; Sat: 10am - 4;30pm; Sun: 12pm - 5pm (closed from Mon - Wed)

Price: 8 USD (adults); 7 USD (seniors, veterans, students); 6 USD (under 17s); free for children under 2

17. Light a candle at St. Joseph & St. Patrick Church

St Joseph's Church Utica
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Agreen54 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Whether it’s the impressive architecture in this late 19th-century building, or if you’re looking for a church in which to pay your respects while on your travels, St. Joseph and St. Patrick Church in Utica’s Columba Street is worth a visit. Along with regular masses and other services, this Roman Catholic church also hosts a range of communal events, such as special open-air ‘Under the Tent’ lunches and even movie nights.

St. Joseph & St. Patrick Church

Address: 702 Columbia St, Utica, NY 13502

Website: St. Joseph & St. Patrick Church

18. Unwind and relax at Pixley Park

Utica college and pixley park 2 - panoramio
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user James Stockton used under CC BY 3.0

A popular spot for unwinding with family or friends, this small park next to one of the city’s middle schools features a number of basketball courts as well as a soccer field and playground facilities like a jungle gym and slide. There’s also plenty of grassed space in which to let the kids run and tire themselves out, as well as a spray pool in the summer months. So, if you are looking for a pleasant location in which to while away a relaxing hour, then why not give it a whirl.

Pixley Park

Address: Matthews Avenue and Noyes Street, Utica, NY 13502

Opening hours: 6:30am - 9:15pm (daily)

19. Enjoy a leisurely stroll across Chancellor Park

Chancellor Park, Utica, New York
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Kenneth C. Zirkel used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Another peaceful park in which to relax, Chancellor Park sits at the corner of First Street and Bleecker Street and features a number of simple facilities, such as tennis and bocce courts, as well as swings and a jungle gym for the little ones. Its paths will also make for a nice place for a gentle walk with your other half, should you wish to take in the air during a break in your busy travel itinerary.

Chancellor Park

Address: 313 Elizabeth St, Utica, NY 13501

Website: Chancellor Park

20. Relish an American dinner at The Tailor and the Cook

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Smashed Fingerlings, Old Chatham "Boujee Blue", Fermented Garlic Honey, Pea Shoots #thetailorandthecook #smallplates #keepitlocal #downtownutica #baggssquare

Posted by The Tailor and the Cook on Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Situated within the historic Bagg’s Square neighbourhood, this popular and atmospheric restaurant’s self-professed “true farm to table” experience has earned it glowing word-of-mouth from impressed diners, who loved the food and service from the waiting staff. Dishes range from pan-roasted duck breast to grilled flank steak, and vegan risotto. It also sources many of its ingredients locally and from within the state, with the likes of bread from Utica Bread and greens from Radicle Farms making for a true New York eating experience.

The Tailor and the Cook

Address: 94 Genesee St, Utica, NY 13502

Website: The Tailor and the Cook

Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 5pm - 9:30pm; Fri - Sat: 5pm - 10:30pm (closed on Sun)

21. Enjoy bowling with friends at AMF Pin-O-Rama Lanes

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Kick off the summer right and strike it up with a Summer Games season pass Save big and enjoy 3 games of bowling plus...

Posted by AMF Bowling Co. on Friday, May 27, 2022

With no fewer than 48 bowling lanes, as well as a gaming arcade and pool tables, you’ll find plenty to keep you, your family and friends entertained during a visit to AMF Pin-O-Rama Lanes. Located on Genesee Street not far from the town’s Memorial Parkway, the venue is open from afternoon until well into the evening - sometimes closing as late as midnight - so you’ll have ample opportunity to slot a visit into your travel itinerary during a visit to Utica. There’s even a sports bar, should you want to make a real evening of it. And, if you’re a real bowling enthusiast, there’s also an on-site pro shop to pick up equipment and souvenirs of your visit.

AMF Pin-O-Rama Lanes

Address: 1724 Genesee St, Utica, NY 13502

Website: AMF Pin-O-Rama Lanes

Opening hours: Mon - Wed: 3pm - 10pm; Thu: 3pm - 11pm; Fri: 3pm - 12am; Sat: 12pm - 12am; Sun: 12pm - 9pm

Price: 2.22 USD onwards

22. Get your retail fix at Riverside Center

Lowe's Home Improvement 02
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Miosotis Jade used under CC BY-SA 4.0

One for the shopaholics among you now, the Riverside Center retail park at Horatio Street is chock full of big names - from supermarket giants like Walmart to home furnishings at the likes of Adirondack Furniture and Lowe’s. Gamers will no doubt want to swing by the likes of GameStop, while the keep-fit fans among you will surely find your way into GNC Live Well. And that’s just a quick sample of the businesses based at the site. What’s more, there is ample parking, so you’ll have no difficulty getting there by car, or in ferrying your many bags of purchases back to your accommodation.

Lowe's Home Improvement

Address: 710 Horatio St, Utica, NY 13502

Website: Lowe's Home Improvement

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 6am - 9pm; Sun: 8am - 7pm

23. Buy some local produce from the Oneida County Public Market

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Our winter market season begins Saturday, the 8th! We hope everyone had a wonderful and healthy holiday season with...

Posted by Oneida County Public Market on Tuesday, January 4, 2022

But, if you’d rather stay away from the big-name brands and chains, then how does picking up fresh, locally-produced goods and foods sound? If that is your idea of shopping heaven then you’ll want to visit the Oneida County Public Market. Running every Saturday from 9am to 1pm, the market is located at the REA Wing of the impressive Union Station (mentioned earlier), meaning you could tick two items off this list in the one visit. Vendors range from crafters to family farmers - offering a real mix of goods, from unique souvenirs to tasty foods.

Oneida County Public Market

Address: REA Wing at Union Station, 321 Main Street, Utica, NY 13501

Website: Oneida County Public Market

Opening hours: Sat: 9am - 1pm (closed from Sun - Fri)

24. Brush up on your game at Valley View Golf Course

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by City Of Utica-Valley View Golf Course on Friday, February 13, 2015

Delighting golfing fans for almost a century, Valley View Golf Course’s 18 holes will certainly prove appealing to lovers of the sport during their visit to Utica. Its undulating fairways, water features and tree-lined holes will make for a lush setting while tackling a round in the open air, while those seeking to get their hand in will enjoy the on-site chipping and putting practise facilities, as well as the nearby driving range to the west of the course. And, after completing your game, the Valley View Cafe serves a range of sandwiches and beverages. Those looking for something more substantial can also try the Italian dishes and full bar in Daniele’s, which is located on the upper floor.

Valley View Golf Course

Address: 620 Memorial Parkway, Utica, NY 13501

Website: Valley View Golf Course

Opening hours: 7am - 7pm (daily)

Price: 20 USD (18 hole greens fee); 10 USD (10 hole greens fee); Memberships and specials available too. See website.

25. Enjoy a rejuvenating treatment at Lava Spa

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by Lava Spa Inc on Saturday, October 8, 2016

Holidays are all about a little rest and relaxation, and what better way to do so than with a soothing massage or spa treatment? Lava Spa offers a wide array of spa services, from refreshing and rejuvenating facials to couples’ massages. Other services include the likes of waxing and nail care treatments. There’s tension-easing spa treatments available as well - such as mud puddles for aching feet and hot oils for the neck, head and shoulder. And, even if you’re travelling instead for work, a spa visit may be just what you need to relieve any stress you may have encountered during your business dealings.

Lava Spa

Address: 2707 Genesee Street, Utica, New York 13501

Website: Lava Spa

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 11am - 6pm (8pm by appointment); Sat: 11am - 5pm; Sun: 11am - 5pm (by appointment only)

Price: 10 USD onwards

Plenty to see and do in Utica

Utica NY
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Saffron Blaze used under CC BY-SA 3.0

From family-friendly fun at the likes of the town zoo and the children’s museum to more grown-up attractions like the popular breweries and such architectural beauties as Union Station (pictured) and the Stanley Theatre, there is a lot to see and do during a visit to this corner of New York state. What will you decide to do first during your travels?

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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I'm a writer and photographer based in the heart of the beautiful Scottish Highlands. A professional journalist by trade, I have written for and edited several newspapers, magazines and websites....Read more

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