Ohh Saratoga, about 2 and a half hours North of NYC – Saratoga is a popular tourist destination in the Summer. When I was in College people used to tell me that they came to my hometown to visit in the summer. I couldn’t imagine why anyone would come here, like — couldn’t they go to the beach?
As I’ve gotten older and lived in other areas, I’ve come to appreciate all that Saratoga has to offer — especially in the summer. Here’s my itinerary for a 3-day weekend in Saratoga during the summer.
The History of Saratoga
Health, Horses, History. That’s what you will see on all the signs in downtown Saratoga. Known for it’s history (and role it played during the Revolutionary War), Saratoga also has many natural water springs that you can still go to and drink daily (be aware, they don’t all taste amazing but are worth it for your health). Founded roughly in 1776, this town has houses from the Victorian age that just scream come see me. It’s also known for it’s horse racing, Saratoga Race Track is the horse track of the summer season (more on that in a bit)!
Where To Stay
There are so many options in and around Saratoga for places to stay — but don’t leave it until the last minute to choose that option. Hotels sell out fast in the area even though there are quite a bit of them. Coming with a lot of people or for a special occasion (we always see Bachelor and Bachlorette parties around)? Then look into renting a home for a few days, it will be more affordable and there are more of those options than hotels!
Walk Along Broadway
Broadway is without a doubt the place to be for shopping, dining and bars in Saratoga. It’s a must at least once during the weekend but if you can manage to go every day it’s going to be worth it. Need some drinks? You have options — almost every restaurant does a happy hour at some point during the week/weekend, you can also find Caroline Street hosting a number of bars for late nighters (bars in Saratoga stay open until 4am).
Stop by Yaddo or Congress Park
In the morning, I highly recommend taking a stroll through both Congress Park and Yaddo Gardens — while not close to each other (and would need to drive to one location and the other). I recommend trying to fit both in. Maybe not on the same day but try going after breakfast.
Congress Park has a lot to offer — not only can you find spit and spat there but you can find some ducks (that you’re not supposed to feed but everyone does), a merry go round (circa 1920’s that yes is still in use), an old casino and if you’re lucky a play happening in the center of the park.
Yaddo is just as amazing — built in the 1800’s by husband to wife, Yaddo Gardens offers a little sanctuary away from the tourists, it’s quick too so you don’t have to be there too long to get the full experience. It’s the perfect place to go before you head to the track.
Saratoga Race Course
This is the number one reason why people come from all over the world to Saratoga in the summer. Yes, all over the world….just this past year some family met people from France who came here for opening day.
Part of Saratoga’s history, the Race Course has been around since 1863. Known for being open the end of July through Labor Day, the track brings some big name horses who raced during the year’s triple crown. Tourists come wearing their fancy hats and fancy dresses, all decked out for the race track. Don’t feel like dressing up? Don’t worry, a lot of locals get there early and grab a picnic table and just hang out.
Admission is (please note prices below are for normal racing days, prices increase on special event days like the Traver’s Stakes):
- $5 in advance for Grandstand, $7 the day of
- Clubhouse Seating is $8 in advance, $10 on the day of
You can bring your own coolers in so it can end up being a pretty affordable day out. Parking is usually about $10.
Saratoga Performing And Arts Center
This is probably #2 on the list of things that people come to Saratoga for and is a must if you’re only here for a weekend. Known to hold concerts almost daily through the summer, it also houses the ballet and Philadelphia Orchestra. The Orchestra is usually here for a month in August and has multiple shows a week. It’s the perfect relaxing activity after a day of betting and walking around town.
Saratoga State Park and Golf Course
If you’re looking for some physical activity, head to the Saratoga State Park and Golf Course (SPAC is a part of the park). Admission to the park is by car load — it’s a great place if you have children and want them to have a place to play — pools, park grounds, disc golf, and volleyball are just some of the activities within the park.
The golf course has two different courses, a 9 hole par 29 and an 18 hole course. Perfect for all levels.
This is also where you can find multiple springs to get some health and fresh water, for just a sip or to take home with you.
Where to eat
Last but not least is where to eat out. There are so many places for you guys to try that it’s hard to pick just a few — the #1 is Druthers Brewery however. While it’s fairly new, it’s the number one spot for us locals all year round.
Other notables are Boca Bistro (if you’re feeling Spanish food), Cantina (Mexican), Salt & Char (Steak) and Wheatfields (Italian). Looking for a place to go that’s close to the bars? Try Bailey’s. Looking for BBQ? Try BBQUSA