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Saratoga Insider Favorites

Want the inside scoop on the top things to do while in Saratoga Springs? Check out our itinerary of some of the best ways to truly experience the Spa City, compiled from some of the Saratoga.com staff's favorite spots.

Saratoga.com Staff Favorites

Stroll Down Broadway

Photo by saratogaphotographer.com

You can't truly experience Saratoga Springs until you've wandered up and down Broadway, the heart of Downtown Saratoga's shopping and dining scene.

Where to Shop

The key to browsing the shops on Broadway is to walk from one end to the other, checking out every shop that strikes your fancy. For Saratoga souvenirs, you can't go wrong with Impressions of Saratoga, Dark Horse Mercantile, and Crafter's Gallery. Great specialty stores and boutiques include Tushita Heaven, Saratoga Tea & Honey, Kilwins, Saratoga Olive Oil, and Celtic Treasures. Need to update your wardrobe? Check out Lifestyles of Saratoga, Union Hall Supply Company, and Caroline and Main.

Where to Eat

a waitress taking an order from patio diners Photo by saratogaphotographer.com

Weather permitting, patio dining is the perfect way to people watch and experience the atmosphere of Saratoga Springs. There are so many must-try restaurants with patios up and down Broadway that you're sure to find something you're in the mood for, whether it's authentic Mexican cuisine from Cantina, mouth-watering steak at Salt & Char, or delicious pub fare at Pig N' Whistle.

Make Memories at Favorite Local Hotspots

a crowd watching a ballet performance at spac in the evening Photo by saratogaphotographer.com

If you're looking for the quintessential Saratoga experience and fun activities that will appeal to the entire family, try these local favorites.

Catch a Performance at SPAC

Whether you're attending the NYC Ballet, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Saratoga Jazz Festival, or a Live Nation concert, Saratoga Performing Arts Center is the place to be in the summer. The airy but sheltered amphitheater offers great views from both the orchestra and the balcony. With 5,200 interior seats, SPAC has a spacious and yet intimate atmosphere that makes every show more enjoyable. For cheaper seats, grab a blanket and claim your spot on their sprawling lawn to enjoy an afternoon or evening under the stars.

Play a Round of Mini-Golf

Head out for a low-key family afternoon or date night at Saratoga Mini-Golf. The course is scenic and embraces nature rather than gimicks, with rocks, waterfalls, trees, and ponds providing a relaxing atmosphere. Make sure to stop by their snack stand for some soft-serve ice cream, pizza, or hot dogs before you leave.

Explore the Saratoga Farmers' Market

Do what the locals do and go shopping for locally-grown produce and other products from around the region at the Saratoga Farmers' Market. In the summer, the market is held in High Rock Park, where you'll also find some of the Spa City's famed public mineral springs. From November through April, check out the Lincoln Baths building in Saratoga Spa State Park for the Saratoga Farmers' Market's winter offerings.

Experience Saratoga on Summer Mornings

a family having a picnic by a pond in congress park Photo by saratogaphotographer.com

Don't wait until the middle of the day to get out into the Spa City -- especially if you're visiting in the summer, you'll want to get an early start in order to experience the peaceful, relaxing side of bustling Saratoga Springs.

Have a Low-Key Morning in Downtown Saratoga

Be an early bird and beat the crowds by taking in Saratoga Springs' atmosphere in the morning. Stop for breakfast at local bakeries like Sweet Mimi's, Mrs. London's, or the Bread Basket, then head out to Congress Park. Saratoga's picturesque city park is lovely any time of day, but the morning is one of the best times to take in the scenery and watch the ducks by the ponds.

Visit the Track Before the Crowds Arrive

One of the best ways to experience the Saratoga Race Course is to get there early -- so early, in fact, that entrance into the track is free (you'll still need to leave by 10 am and then return as a paying attendee to watch the races later on). Watching the horses work out on the track is a stunning memory you'll cherish from your time in Saratoga, and a great way to take in the beauty of the track and the thoroughbreds without the crowds. If you didn't stop for a bite to eat at a local bakery, treat yourselves to a classic Clubhouse Breakfast on the Porch overlooking the racetrack.

Explore Off Broadway

storefronts along beekman streetPhoto credit: Brian Thiem

As much as we love Broadway (and we do), you need to branch out into side streets to experience everything the city has to offer.

Take in the Arts on Beekman Street

Beekman Street Arts District, located to the west of Broadway, is the perfect place to spend a few hours browsing the art galleries and boutiques. Take the opportunity to chat with local artists and stop for a bite to eat at local restaurants like The Barrelhouse and The Local Pub and Teahouse.

Explore Eats on the Side Streets

You'll miss so much if you don't venture out into the city and check out fun local places you may have otherwise driven right past. Explore pubs and taverns along Caroline Street, like the Saratoga City Tavern, taste top-notch cuisine on Union Ave at The Brook Tavern, or enjoy Mexican and Southwestern fare at the Mexican Connection, tucked away behind the Saratoga Race Course.

Enjoy the Outdoors in Saratoga Springs

parents pushing a stroller in saratoga spa state park Photo by saratogaphotographer.com

For a city full of shopping, dining, and attractions, Saratoga still has plenty of natural spaces to spend some time enjoying a picnic or a nice stroll. Pack a lunch and a camera before heading out to one of our favorite scenic spots. These are also great choices if you're looking for the perfect backdrop for a photoshoot.

Saratoga Spa State Park

Saratoga Spa State Park has it all -- beautiful lawns, tall pine trees, the regal Hall of Springs, a reflecting pool, hiking trails, mineral springs, tennis courts, a golf course, and swimming pools. No matter what time of year, the park is a stunning place to enjoy a day outside. If you're visiting in the winter, go exploring on skis or snowshoes.

Yaddo Gardens

Yaddo is a 400-acre artists retreat tucked away in the woods beyond the Saratoga Race Course. While the mansion, which has hosted many famous literary figures, isn't open to the public, Yaddo Gardens is free and open to visitors all year long. The estate's beautiful rose gardens, fountains, colonnade, and sculptures make the perfect backdrop for a picnic.

Ready to head out into Saratoga Springs and experience the excitement, scenery, and charm for yourself?

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