Want to enjoy our gorgeous lakefront? Start off your morning by driving to the Cass Park Rink/Pool parking lot on the west side of town where you can park your car. You'll easily find the trailhead to the Cayuga Waterfront Trail, a multi-use trail connecting our community’s most popular waterfront parks. Enjoy a walk along the lake with stunning views of Cornell University and the historical inlet. Even if you don't ever get on a boat while visiting Ithaca, it's fun to walk the nearby Allen Treman Marina to view the gorgeous crafts docked there.
Visit the Ithaca College Campus to check out the marvelous panoramic view of Cayuga Lake from the Dillingham Center Fountains. While on campus, explore the scenic duck pond, chapel, and academic quad.
Alternatively, drive a quick 7 miles north on Route 89 to Taughannock State Park where you can walk the 3/4-mile easy trail to see a 215-foot waterfall plunge into a glacial-carved gorge. At the park, you can also bring a picnic, swim in a life-guarded area of the lake or enjoy the Saturday night summer concert series under the stars.
While on the west side of Cayuga Lake visit two Discovery Trail sites: Museum of the Earth at PRI located on Route 96 and Cayuga Nature Center located on Route 89.
If you are visiting on a weekend from April through December, the Ithaca Farmers Market at Steamboat Landing absolutely must be on your agenda. You can choose breakfast or lunch with vendors who sell Belgian waffles, Southwestern, Cuban, Thai and various other cuisines. Shop for locally handcrafted soaps, patio furniture, pottery and clothing there or buy everything you need for a picnic. After the market, proceed to Stewart Park, a lakeside city park with prime waterfront views, and sports and relaxation opportunities and then stop at the Sciencenter for an afternoon of hands-on science fun.
For kayaking and canoe rentals, check out Puddledockers, just off Buffalo Street. Fishing spots along the lake are numerous from platforms at Taughannock State Park to holes in the ice where fishermen venture out gingerly from Stewart Park in winter. Contact any number of fishing charter companies to take you out on the lake for a guided day.
Enjoy dinner at the Boatyard Grill for dining right on the water, or nearby at other restaurants in the West End. Select a cruise on the M/V Columbia with Cayuga Lake Cruises or enjoy an historical narrated lake tours with Tiohero Tours offered daily from Old Taughannock Blvd or Ithaca Farmers Market at Steamboat Landing. Late into the evening, enjoy live music at Castaways with its waterside deck or venture onto the sidewalks and walk to a plethora of West End eateries and bars.
Professional summer theatre at the Hangar Theatre (walk using the Cayuga Waterfront Trail) is not to be missed. Top-quality plays of genres ranging from comedy to musical to drama are held throughout the summer in a cozy former airplane hangar along the lake.
Seasonal Note: Autumn is beautiful in Ithaca and the trees that dot our lake show off their foliage late into the season.
Gorgeous Views: Other top panoramic lake views and scenic views in the
-Driving south on Route 13 South from Triphammer Road towards downtown.
-Driving north on Route 96B approaching Ithaca College.