Best places to visit in Elmira
Nestled in the heart of upstate New York, Elmira is a city that boasts a rich history, natural beauty, and a vibrant cultural scene.
1. Mark Twain Country
Mark Twain Study and Center for Mark Twain Studies: Begin your journey through Elmira’s history by visiting the Mark Twain Study, where the famous author wrote some of his most iconic works, including “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” The Center for Mark Twain Studies offers informative exhibits and insights into the life and work of Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain.
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Mark Twain’s Grave: Pay your respects at the Woodlawn Cemetery, where Mark Twain is buried alongside his family. The grave is a serene spot where you can reflect on Twain’s contributions to American literature.
Chemung Valley History Museum: Dive deeper into Elmira’s history by exploring the Chemung Valley History Museum. The museum showcases the region’s rich heritage, from its Native American roots to its role in the Underground Railroad.
2. Outdoor Adventures
Harris Hill Soaring Center: Elmira’s claim to fame as the “Soaring Capital of America” is due in large part to the Harris Hill Soaring Center. Experience the thrill of glider rides and take in breathtaking aerial views of the surrounding countryside.
Tanglewood Nature Center and Museum: Nature enthusiasts will delight in the Tanglewood Nature Center. Hike through scenic trails, observe wildlife, and learn about the local ecosystem at the museum. It’s a great spot for families and anyone looking to reconnect with nature.
Eldridge Park: For a relaxing day outdoors, visit Eldridge Park. This historic park features a beautiful lake, playgrounds, and picnic areas.
3. Art and Culture
Arnot Art Museum: Art lovers shouldn’t miss the Arnot Art Museum, which houses an impressive collection of American art from the 17th to the 21st century. The museum’s diverse exhibits feature paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts.
Clemens Center: Catch a show or performance at the Clemens Center, Elmira’s premier venue for the arts. From Broadway musicals to live concerts, there’s always something entertaining happening here.
Community Arts of Elmira: Immerse yourself in Elmira’s vibrant arts scene by visiting Community Arts of Elmira. This creative hub hosts exhibitions, workshops, and events that showcase the talents of local artists.
4. Historic Sites
Woodlawn National Cemetery: In addition to Mark Twain’s grave, the Woodlawn National Cemetery is the final resting place of many Civil War soldiers. Stroll through this historic cemetery and pay homage to those who served their country.
Chemung Canal Historic District: Step back in time as you explore the Chemung Canal Historic District. This area preserves the history of the Chemung Canal and features well-preserved 19th-century architecture.
Eldridge Park Carousel: The Eldridge Park Carousel is a piece of living history. This beautifully restored carousel is a delight for all ages and offers a glimpse into Elmira’s past.
5. Natural Beauty
The Finger Lakes Region: Elmira is conveniently located near the Finger Lakes, a region known for its stunning lakes, rolling hills, and vineyards. Take a short drive to enjoy the picturesque landscapes and perhaps even visit a winery or two.
Waterfalls of Elmira: Elmira is home to several picturesque waterfalls, including the Tanglewood Falls and Shequaga Falls.
Newtown Battlefield State Park: History and nature converge at Newtown Battlefield State Park. Explore the trails and learn about the Battle of Newtown, a significant event during the American Revolution.
6. Food and Dining
Local Cuisine: Elmira offers a range of dining options to satisfy your culinary cravings. Don’t miss out on trying local specialties like spiedies (marinated and grilled meat sandwiches) and salt potatoes.
Wineries and Breweries: The Finger Lakes region is renowned for its wineries, and Elmira is no exception. Visit local wineries and breweries to sample the region’s finest wines and craft beers.
Farmers Markets: Experience the local food scene by visiting Elmira’s farmers markets. Here, you can purchase fresh produce, artisanal goods, and homemade treats.
7. Events and Festivals
Elmira Street Painting Festival: If you’re visiting Elmira in the summer, be sure to check out the Elmira Street Painting Festival. Talented artists transform the streets with vibrant chalk art, creating a colorful and festive atmosphere.
Wisner Market: Elmira’s Wisner Market is a weekly summer event where you can enjoy live music, shop for local products, and savor delicious food from food trucks and vendors.
Elmira Jazz Festival: Music enthusiasts will love the Elmira Jazz Festival, featuring top-notch jazz performances in a variety of styles. It’s a must-attend event for jazz aficionados.
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8. Accommodation Options
Elmira’s Boutique Hotels: Elmira offers a selection of charming boutique hotels that provide a cozy and unique lodging experience.
Bed and Breakfasts: For a more intimate stay, consider booking a room at one of Elmira’s bed and breakfasts, where you can enjoy personalized hospitality and a homely atmosphere.
Camping and RV Parks: If you prefer a rustic experience, Elmira and the surrounding area offer camping and RV parks for nature enthusiasts.