Cornell University

#10 in Best Things To Do in The Finger Lakes
Cornell University picture
Jupiterimages/Getty Images

Key Info

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Sightseeing, Tours, Free Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
3.9scorecard
  • 5.0Value
  • 4.5Facilities
  • 5.0Atmosphere

Founded in 1865 by Ezra Cornell and Andrew Dickson White, this Ivy League private university is located in Ithaca. When you're not exploring Cornell's 745 acres, head to Collegetown for budget-friendly eats and university apparel, or nearby Cayuga Lake for more outdoorsy pursuits. 

Recent visitors said the campus is gorgeous – especially in the fall – and an ideal place to take photographs thanks to the beautiful old academic buildings (many of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places). You'll also spot stunning views of the surrounding lakes from the campus's hilltop perch (specifically, the Libe Slope Overlook). Some reviewers bemoaned the lack of available parking and recommended visiting on a weekend when there aren't major university events (hint: avoid homecoming, commencement and home football games). You can view a calendar of events on the university's website

Complimentary general campus tours run several times a day, offering visitors an overview of the university's history, student life, traditions and athletic programs. Register in advance online to choose a tour time and learn more about any other activities that you may wish to attend on the day of your visit. Tours are conducted rain or shine, are mostly outdoors and are wheelchair accessible. Learn more about campus visits by heading to the Cornell University website.

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Skaneateles Lake
Skiing
Type
Time to Spend
1 of 10
#1 Skaneateles Lake

Located about 23 miles southwest of Syracuse, Skaneateles Lake is the sixth-largest of the Finger Lakes. The name means "long lake" in the Iroquois language and indeed, the 16-mile-long lake crosses three counties: Onandaga, Cayuga and Cortland. The historic Skaneateles Village dates back to the Revolutionary War and is filled with local shops, restaurants, inns and bed-and-breakfasts. The sparkling, clear lake is a favorite for boating and fishing. 

Many recent visitors to Skaneateles Lake said it was a favorite stop and loved the charming, historic town, saying that both dining and shopping were excellent. Visitors also commented on the lake's calm and clean "crystal clear" waters and said that even though it's off the beaten path it's well worth a visit. Several recommended one of the local boat tours, such as those provided by Mid-Lakes Navigation, as a way to learn the history of the area. 

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