The cutesy-chic town of Saratoga Springs really does have something for everyone. This historic city in New York’s capital region—the slogan is ‘Health, History, Horses,’— buzzes all year long but it is particularly beautiful in the fall. You can head to local orchards and pumpkin patches, take a fall foliage drive, attend a festival or shop on the beautiful Main Street.
When you arrive you may feel like starting your day with a dose of culture. If so, take your pick between two small, but amazing, little museums. The Saratoga Automobile Museum celebrates the automobile and educates about the role of the automobile in New York State and the rest of the world. A special exhibit of original James Bond vehicles is on display until January 2024. The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame pays tribute to Saratoga’s long racing history. “A Tremendous Machine: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Secretariat’s Triple Crown” is on display though March 2024.
Where to Eat Lunch in Saratoga Springs
Finally, it’s lunchtime. Don’t miss the landmark southern restaurant Hatties; for 85 years this hot spot—fried chicken is the speciality— has been delighting diners. Or try Scallions, know for their unique homemade soups and paninis and gluten free sandwiches.
Try Saratoga's Famous Mineral Springs and Spas
In the afternoon, it’s spa time. The town is famous for its mineral hot springs, which were revered by Native Americans. They are among the few naturally carbonated springs in the country, the result of a geologic fault that allows water trapped in shale layers to surface. The waters are thought to have strong healing and curative properties. The best place to “take the waters” is at the 1935 Roosevelt Baths & Spa in the Gideon Putnam Hotel. If you stay in the grand throw-back hotel, first opened in 1935, you can keep the relaxation going for longer.
In August, everyone heads to the world-famous Saratoga Race Course to place their bets and see and be seen by the whose who of the Northeast. In the warmer months, the world-famous Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) headlines first rate performers in an open-air setting. Some of their concerts and other programming go well into the fall, too.
Try SPAC's Culinary Programming this Fall
This fall SPAC is offering some innovative culinary arts programming. On October 13, guests can attend the three-hour special event, The Joy of Oysters, which will feature cocktails, oysters, live shucking and other treats. In addition, author Nils Bernstein, the author of The Joy of Oysters will be hand to speak and answer questions. On November 4, The Mushroom Experience will spotlight the beauty of fungi through a multi-course dinner and even mushroom-infused cocktails.
Another way to while away an afternoon is by visiting the Saratoga National Historical Park; you’ll get some fresh air and learn all about the Battle of Saratoga from the American Revolution. (Actually, two battles, fought 18 days apart.) Enjoy the golf course, as well as the classical architecture and historic outdoor pools.
Where to Eat Dinner in Saratoga Springs
There are so many options for dinner, that it’s hard to narrow it down. You can try steak or seafood at the farm-to-table steakhouse Salt & Char. For more than 40 years Wheatfields Restaurant & Bar has been a Saratoga staple, serving up local fare, including handmade pasta & vegan-friendly items in a warm Italian bistro with renowned wines.
Where to have Brunch in Saratoga Springs
The next morning, head to the beautiful Congress Park in the center of town; it contains the historic Canfield Casino and many hot springs. Then how about some brunch? Sweet Mimi’s Cafe & Bakery in downtown changes its menu frequently, but regulars rave about the likes of pistachio pancakes and the grilled banana bread platter. The Merc, also in downtown, thinks brunch is so important that they serve it every day they are open. The menu is large and the plates are small—and the craft cocktails are as well known as the food.
Once you are fueled up, and before bidding adieu to this charming town, marvel at the architecture as you shop until you drop down pretty Broadway, arguably one of the most picturesque main streets in New York.
Take Amtrak to Saratoga Springs