Things to do in Ithaca
August 9, 2005 2:17 PM   Subscribe

Just moved to Ithaca, NY for grad school. When not studying, what should I do in the area? Anybody familiar with this place have any suggestions? Bonus points if you can help me earn Ithaca Dollars...
posted by herc to Society & Culture (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Well, if you like the outdoors then you're in luck. I'd suggest hiking in Buttermilk Falls, the gorges, Treman park, and the Sapsucker Woods sanctuary.

You can also check out the Carl Sagan planet walk in the Commons and go on a few winery tours. The Cornell Cinema shows decent films for cheap. They have a bunch of grad student events at the Big Red Barn on campus--social hours, etc.

Is there anything in particular you like to do?

I was bored out of my mind a lot of the time there as a college student (when I wasn't studying until my eyes bled), but I found the place a lot more interesting my senior year when I finally had a car.
posted by divka at 2:35 PM on August 9, 2005

eat at Moosewood.
posted by By The Grace of God at 3:05 PM on August 9, 2005

If you like the outdoors, buy proper gear and enjoy! State Land, State Parks. Most are free in upstate NY.
Eat all the $5 a pound salmon you can and the best shrimp there is (better than Pacific, and much better than the Gulf shrimp).

Studded snow tires are worth the investment for the winter season... you can either cry about the snow; or smile as you drive happily through it.

I have a VW Camper. Upstate NY was my Walden experience for 18 months. Enjoy lucky you!

posted by buzzman at 3:15 PM on August 9, 2005

There are often decent concerts and films at Cornell or Ithaca College. And as with any college town, there's lots of bars, restaurants, and used book stores. Don't forget to check out the farmer's market too.
posted by hyperizer at 3:36 PM on August 9, 2005

Here's an earlier AskMe comment with my Ithaca recommendations. Feel free to e-mail me with any other questions or if you want suggestions...I went to Ithaca College.
posted by Vidiot at 4:14 PM on August 9, 2005

And here's how to get Ithaca HOURS.
posted by Vidiot at 4:20 PM on August 9, 2005

If you go to Cornell, I'd highly recommend volunteering at the Public Service Center.
posted by Sibrax at 4:41 PM on August 9, 2005

Ithaca is my favorite place ever. I lived there for nine years, and I wish I were there now as a matter of fact. All of the above suggestions are great; I'd especially like to second hiking -- it's an absolutely gorgeous area -- and the farmer's market, where you must eat at the Macro Mamas booth (peanut lime noodles, *aagghghhh*). Here's a bunch of other random Ithaca stuff upon which, in no particular order, I look back with fondness:
  • If you like beer, you will love the Chapter House, but hurry up and go before all the undergrads get back. If you'd rather get smashed on expensive booze, try Stella's instead (College Ave.). If you don't drink, I cannot help you.
  • Take a walk, picnic, nap, or whatever in the Cornell Plantations. Nothing to do with cotton, I promise.
  • The Cayuga Nature Center has a 6-story treehouse. 'Nuf said.
  • The Sciencenter is fun if you can get yourself into goofy-hands-on-science-experiments-for-little-kids mode. But moreover, its playground features the most awesome swingset on which I have ever swung. And I have done a lot of swinging.
  • If you're into gardening but don't have the space for it, check out the community gardens. I had a plot there one summer and it was a great experience; not only is it beautiful when all the gardens are in full bloom, but the people were just friendly and generally pleasant to be around.
  • The Common Ground is the gay bar. No, not "a" gay bar... "the" gay bar. It's also housed in a double-wide trailer. But you'd never know it from inside, I swear! Plus they have a nice patio/garden area, which comes in handy on Friday and Saturday nights when it gets packed. CG's is the only place I ever went out dancing.
  • I really like food, so whenever I go back to Ithaca my "to-do" list is largely restaurant based. My suggestions: for expensive but amazing Thai, Thai Cuisine. For cheap but plentiful Thai, Little Thai House (Dryden Rd. near College Ave. intersection). For pizza, The Nines (College Ave.). For Korean, The Four Seasons (Eddy St.). For bagels, breads, sandwiches, salads, etc., Ithaca Bakery (their cheddar chive sourdough bread = OMG). For small bites of food and large amounts of wine, Just A Taste. For both the best subs (anything from vegan to chock full o' meat) and the worst website in the world, Shortstop Deli. For Vietnamese, the rather unimaginatively named Vietnam Restaurant (Dryden Rd. near College Ave. intersection). The best Chinese food used to be found in a very unassuming little place in Cayuga Mall, but I can't remember the name and I don't even know if it's there anymore. Moosewood always gets mentioned in conversations about food in Ithaca, but to be honest I am not a fan. I've eaten there a handful of times and it's very inconsistent (though always pricey).
As you can see, I just loooove to talk about Ithaca, so if you have questions at all feel free to drop me an email (it's in my profile).
posted by purplemonkie at 5:23 PM on August 9, 2005 [3 favorites]

Can I ask what you're studying as a grad student? I'm also a grad student at Cornell, although I lived in Ithaca for a year before starting as well, so I've known the "townie" side as well as the "gownie".

Also, you don't need studded tires in Ithaca. I drive a MINI Cooper all seasons in Upstate NY and Ithaca is nothing like Syracuse or Buffalo in terms of winter snow.

Eating at Moosewood is a little overrated and you'll find many other places that are more suited for a grad student's budget with less hype. Here's a starting point for food.

Definitely get to know people involved with the Farmer's Market and you'll probably find that that is one of the best places to use HOURS as well.

I haven't had any problems finding things to do and enjoy in Ithaca, but I also know that I'm really lucky to have made some great friends at school and we can do anything and nothing and have fun and also, my husband and I are very good at amusing ourselves at home, so there you go.

Anyway, if you have any specific questions about the area, feel free to contact me at the email listed in my profile!
posted by stefnet at 5:32 PM on August 9, 2005

When I was in Ithaca the Chapter House brewed their own beer. MMM. It's been awhile since I lived there but down in the common there were 5 or 6 bookstores in a four block radius. Also College Town Bagels is a local favorite. There's also lots to do at Lake Cayuga. Swimming and concerts in the summer. Ithaca has a great communications program so they're always bringing in filmmakers. There's plenty to enjoy. And some small wineries in the area as well.
posted by captainscared at 5:49 PM on August 9, 2005

Candypants is playin at The Chapterhouse this thursday (aug 11)..can't miss that. also, finest breakfast (well..brunch from 10 to 2) in the land can be found at DeWitt Cafe (inside Dewitt mall..) afterwards you could slide over to Ithaca Guitar Works (that's in DeWitt mall too..come to think of it, theres 2 good bookstores in there, a drum store, a healthfood store and moosewood. i cannot recommend moosewood though..the cookbooks are swell but the restaurant is eh...)
Also, the not-widely known but oh so delightful Ludgate Farm market is up on Hanshaw road. i go out of my way to shop there. one last place: Phoenix Books is on the north side of Rt. 13 about 6 or 8 miles east of ithaca. one of the best used bookstores i've seen. i lied, there's still more: Gimme Coffee..go there, drink it, you will not regret it.
posted by The_Auditor at 7:40 PM on August 9, 2005

One of my favorite restaurants in Ithaca is Maxies.

I second a lot of the other suggestions. Here are a few more:
The gorges are also a cool place to look for fossils. Just pull apart loose pieces of wafer-y rock and look at the smooth sides for little shells and such.

The Cornell Orchards have a lot of good cheap fruit from various breeding experiments. The cider there just can't be beat.

The Friends of the Tompkins County Library hold a hugemongous used book sale twice a year (I think the next one is coming up in October). It's one of the largest booksales in the country and they have this cool system where books get progressively cheaper as the sale goes on (and the books get more and more picked over). Good and good for you.

Dunno what else to say. Do get outdoors a lot during the long and awful cold time, it may be cold, but there's no better way to beat the cabin fever than to have an hour of outside time every day.
posted by Mercaptan at 9:49 PM on August 9, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks for all the wonderful suggestions! When I get settled, maybe I'll try to set up an Ithaca meetup! Right now, my life is all about unboxing.
posted by herc at 1:05 PM on August 10, 2005

« Older Marlboro's new logo. legal? effective?   |   日本語がわかりません Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.