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Saratoga Insider Favorites

Current and former staff members tell their top picks, favorite places, and fondest memories in Saratoga.

in the park, two angel statues spraying water, beautiful plants and red and white flowersCongress Park Staff Favorites

Strolling Down Broadway

You can find a lot of great spots when strolling down Broadway. My favorites are Saratoga Tea & Honey, Sweets at Kilwins, and unique shops like Impressions of Saratoga, Crafter's Gallery, Lather Soap Bar, and Lifestyles of Saratoga. Grab apps or drinks at any of the many great outdoor patios!

-Valleri James

Returning to Saratoga

Saratoga is such a magical place. Growing up in town meant attending concerts at SPAC every summer, playing mini golf with my grandparents at Saratoga Mini-Golf, and finding the best lunch spots off campus during my senior year of high school.

When the opportunity presented itself to move back to Saratoga, my husband and I jumped on it. He'd never been to Saratoga before we met, so it's been a blast showing him my favorite spots around town. On Saturdays we walk to the Saratoga Farmers' Market to grab breakfast and stock up on produce. We've also been working on finding our favorite Happy Hour spot - right now Mexican Connection is in the lead, mostly because who can pass up tacos?

My biggest insider secret is easy: See the city on foot and don't skip the side streets. I'm still finding hidden gems I didn't know about even though I'm a native.

-Samantha Niro

Fun Out On the Town

When I came home from college to my hometown Burnt Hills, there was only one place to "go out" and have fun… Saratoga. My girlfriends and I spent many nights in "Tin and Lint," singing You're So Vain (the song mentions Saratoga) and dancing all night at the metro. When it came time to choose a place for my wedding reception, we knew it had to be Saratoga Springs and chose the Holiday Inn. This was truly the most magical day of my life. After the wedding, we didn't want the party to end, so we went to the Parting Glass and played darts and laughed into the wee hours of the morning. Seventeen years later, it's amazing how much is the same, Saratoga Springs is still the place to be, but now instead of dancing the night away, my husband and I go for the amazing restaurants and wonderful boutiques.

-Sara Mannix

Sweet Summer Mornings

One of the favorite pastimes that my fiancée and I love to do happens during summer mornings in the Spa City. We love to meet up at Mrs. London's, grab a few breakfast goodies (danishes, scones, or cakes) and some coffee and head over to Congress Park. We sit ourselves on the park benches and enjoy the delicious breakfast while watching the ducks waddle in and out of the pond. Eventually little children and parents show up, and it's magical watching the kids smile as they stare and chase after the ducks.

-Brian McGrath

Funky Art & Culture

Beekman Street is one of my favorite areas in Saratoga Springs to visit. I have spent many an afternoon browsing the art galleries and chatting it up with the talented local artists. I particularly love the work of Frankie Flores. Not only are his lively and colorful paintings of horses, landscapes, and jazz themes breathtaking to look at, it has also been great getting to know the artist behind the canvas. At night, Beekman Street is a fun spot "off-Broadway" to grab a great dinner.

-Jennifer Manz

Picnics & Pictures in the Park

The Saratoga Spa State Park is incredibly beautiful in every season - definitely one of my top Saratoga destinations. Favorite memories in this 800-acre park include summertime picnics with the birds singing and the sun peeking through the clouds, breathtaking fall foliage, winter cross-country skiing expeditions, and leisurely springtime tennis games. But one memory tops them all: I had my wedding photos taken in the Saratoga Spa State Park! The lovely grounds and stately Lincoln Baths made such a beautiful backdrop.

-Destiny Malone

Wake Up With the Horses

You're on vacation. For months, you have anticipated the glory of sleeping in. You have been looking forward to allowing your body to dictate when it will awaken. You can't wait to roll out of bed whenever you please. Not so, my friends! Set that alarm clock or schedule that wake up call for 6:30 AM. That's right! You haven't experienced Saratoga until you have arrived at the Saratoga Racetrack at a dewy 7 AM to watch the horses work out. In stark contrast of the screeching alarm, the racetrack is peaceful and quiet at this hour of the day as the horses diligently prepare for the day ahead. We usually stop at the Bread Basket to grab some sticky buns and juice on our way, but if you prefer, the Racetrack does offer an elegant breakfast. This perfect Saratoga morning is well worth the wake up call.

-Lisa Bishop

Growing Up in Saratoga

For several years we lived down the street from the Oklahoma Track and the Fasig-Tipton stables. In season, each morning I was in awe as I stopped to glance at the horses galloping around the track. I felt so lucky to see such beauty every day!

My most cherished memories revolve around raising my son in Saratoga. Since we lived within walking distance of the Race Course - my son soon discovered that selling my "home made" iced tea in front of our house was a great way to earn a little extra money. I say "a little" but he was clearing about $100 a week!! On occasion he would sing to attract more business and could do quite an impression of track announcer Tom Durkin. Little did he know that only eight years later he would meet "Sam the Bugler" while working at Siro's and have the opportunity to meet Tom Durkin by special invitation. That was a very big day for him! Ahh, so many wonderful memories living in Saratoga!

My restaurant of choice for a casual meal is Circus Cafe,* aside from their first-rate burgers, Christel and Colin are just so warm and welcoming!! It's kind of like the old TV show "Cheers"..."Where everyone knows your name..." I have found that dancing the night away and listening to Sarah Pedinotti sing at One Caroline Street Bistro* is a great way to start the evening!

If I had to pick just one thing that I can't seem to get enough of is the beat of the bongo drums!! I love the variety of people that gather on Broadway with their drums and just play!! It's absolutely incredible!!

-Colleen James

*Note: The Circus Cafe & One Caroline are now closed.

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