Once upon a time, Saratoga Springs, New York was a magnet for famous and infamous New Yorkers, from the Vanderbilts, Whitneys and Rockefellers to bootleggers and gamblers who made their home during Prohibition. Fortunately, Saratoga’s offerings are now more family-friendly than booze and bookies.
A 3-hour drive from Midtown Manhattan, you can visit the historic racetrack, hike and fish, or even take a leisurely stroll down quaint Main Street in Saratoga Spring. Rainy day activities can be found at the Saratoga Children’s Museum or the local library, which has a great children’s room. Here are some of our favorite things to do in Saratoga Springs, New York, with kids. Find more local towns to explore in our Guide to family-friendly day trips and weekend getaways.
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Best Things to Do in Saratoga Springs, NY
1. Saratoga National Historical Park – Still water
Outdoor families love hiking along the trails of this Revolutionary War battlefield, where embankments were designed by Polish General Thaddeus Kosciuszko, who is memorialized on bridges along the BQE and Interstate 87. The wildflower-strewn trails here are short enough that even young children can hike or be carried. Artifacts from the Battle of Saratoga are displayed in the visitor center, where children can dress up in period uniforms. Ask a ranger to direct you to the monument to Benedict Arnold. Arnold, best known as a renegade, is said to have fought valiantly for the settlements here.
2. Congress Park – Saratoga Springs
No trip to Saratoga Springs is complete without a stroll through Congress Park, just off Broadway, where little kids love to take a ride on the carousel. At $1 per person, each child can take multiple rides without major expense. The seasonal carousel typically opens weekends in early May, then expands to daily hours from mid-July to late July.
3. Saratoga Racetrack – Saratoga Springs
The racing season runs from mid-July through Labor Day weekend each year. Admission is inexpensive — $7-10 for adults, and kids 3-12 get in free — and families can easily spend an entire day on the trail. Start with strawberries and cream over breakfast in Saratoga, where kids can watch horses warm up and friendly jockeys trot by and salute. If you think your kids will be anxious in the stands (it can be hard for them to see there too), picnic near the paddocks – another great way to see the horses up close on their way to and from the track. The race track also has a play area for small children near the main gate.
Grab a handful of candies from the Saratoga Candy Co.
4. Downtown Saratoga Springs – Saratoga Springs
This quaint Victorian town was once home to Vassar College and is a great place to visit for strolling along Broadway and sitting in Congress Park. On Broadway, find a collection of shops appealing enough for parents and children. While mum and dad can window shop at one of the jewelry stores, boutiques and art galleries on the street, the kids love a trip to a toy store. G. Willikers, North County Bookstoreor the Saratoga Candy Co.
5. Saratoga Springs Public Library – Saratoga Springs
The children’s room at this local library has a fantastic selection and a great playroom for toddlers. It’s a perfect destination when you’re looking for quiet gaming and low-key entertainment.
6. Saratoga Automotive Museum – Saratoga Springs
Car-mad kids love to visit the vintage cars on display here, including rotating exhibits like the current one showcasing James Bond cars.
The Ausable Chasm is a natural wonder not to be missed. This is an easy day trip on your Saratoga Springs getaway.
7. Usable Chasm – Usable chasm
Ausable Chasm prides itself on being the Grand Canyon of the Adirondacks. With walking and hiking trails for all ages, this geological formation has enticed visitors for decades and is well worth the 2-hour drive from Saratoga. There are many ways to visit the sinkhole, from floats on the river to cable bridges and cargo nets.
8. The Saratoga Children’s Museum – Saratoga Springs
Perfect for a visit on a rainy day or a few hours from the summer sun, this museum has a variety of exhibits for elementary school children, including a fire truck, bank, grocery store, classroom, and more. .
Take a wild walk with the goats at Into the Woods Goat Farm. Photo courtesy of the farm
9. In the goat farm in the woods – Medium grove
Into the Woods Goat Farm offers a variety of goat experiences throughout the year. From snowshoe goat treks in the winter, to wild walks in the spring, summer and fall, to plenty of goat yoga classes, this is a once in a lifetime experience your family will never forget!
ten. Saratoga Strike Zone – Saratoga Springs
The Saratoga Strike Zone is a one stop shop for family fun. A bowling alley, bumper cars and ball pit await you with all the ingredients for a fun night out on the town.
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Spend a summer day at Brown’s Public Beach in Saratoga Springs. Photo courtesy of Saratoga Springs
11. Saratoga Lake – Saratoga Springs
You can’t take a trip to the Adirondacks without spending time by a lake. Saratoga Lake has two lakeside areas open to the public. waterfront park is FREE and offers visitors access to a kayak launch and a swimming beach. Brown’s Beach charges guests for day use and is open for swimming, paddleboarding, kayaking, and canoeing.
12. Saratoga Performing Arts Center – Saratoga Springs
SPAC is set in 2,400 acres of unspoiled parkland surrounded by hiking trails, geysers, and natural mineral springs. In season, the arts center hosts a variety of shows ranging from New York City Ballet to Kidz Bop.
Take a guided tour of Saratoga Spa National Park.
13. Saratoga Spa State Park – Saratoga Springs
There’s a ton of activity going on at this park: miles of trails, pools, ice skating, biking trails and more. Perhaps the most famous, the spa is home to 12 natural mineral springs. Ranger-led tours take you around the park. Grab a tasting cup and sample what these waters have to offer.
14. Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College – Saratoga Springs
In addition to its rotating exhibitions in its galleries, the Tang also hosts a series of Family Saturdays with FREE family programming, as well as lawn concerts and gallery tours.
15. National Racing Museum and Hall of Fame – Saratoga Springs
If your family wants to experience what it takes to become a champion on the racetrack, this is the place! Be sure to check out his HorsePlay! Gallery, which houses interactive exhibits aimed at children.
Be sure to stop by Darling Donuts for artisan sweets with inventive flavors that change frequently!
Where to Eat in Saratoga Springs, NY, with Kids
16. darling donuts – Saratoga Springs
What would a vacation be without a little sweet treat? Darling Donuts’ menu is filled with inventive flavors like everything from bagels and pizza, but it changes weekly, so be sure to check its instagram And Facebook page to get the scoop.
17. Druthers Brewing Company – Saratoga Springs
At least one member of my family claimed that Druthers had the “world’s best macaroni and cheese!” With a menu filled with classic pub fare from burgers to loaded mac and cheese, you can’t go wrong.
18. Mrs. London’s Bakery – Saratoga Springs
Delicious pastries and treats make any trip to Mrs. London a sweet outing. The café also offers an extensive menu of soups, sandwiches, salads and quiches.
19. Saratoga Gelato – Saratoga Springs
Saratoga Gelato handcrafts its gourmet Italian gelato. With 24 flavors prepared daily in-store, it’s hard to pick a favorite.
20. taquero – Saratoga Spring
Tacos And donuts?!?! Yeah! Dreams come true! Taquero serves rice bowls, tacos, salads and donuts seven days a week.
21. Uncommon ground tea and coffee – Saratoga Springs
This laid-back neighborhood cafe has been serving the best New York-style bagels since 1992. The Uncommon Grounds menu also includes salads, smoothies and coffee.
22. Wasabi – Saratoga Springs
Wasabi offers the only all-you-can-eat sushi in the region. Its menu features a wide variety of Japanese dishes, including appetizers, yakitori, stir-fried noodles, fried rice, a la carte sushi and sashimi, classic sushi rolls, and over 25 specialty rolls.
23. At Hattie’s – Saratoga Springs
Located in downtown Saratoga Springs, Hattie’s has been serving Southern-style cuisine for nearly 80 years. You can’t come to town without trying Hattie’s award-winning fried chicken! The dish was even featured on Bobby Flay’s Food Network show “Throwdown.”
The Bluebird Spa City Motor Lodge offers newly renovated rooms and modern amenities in a historic inn.
Hotels in Saratoga Springs, NY
24. Bluebird Spa City Motor Lodge – Saratoga Springs
Bluebird Spa City Motor Lodge is located in the heart of downtown Saratoga Springs and is within walking distance of many area attractions, restaurants and shops. Bluebird Spa City Motor Lodge is a 42-room boutique hotel with several different room configurations to suit your family’s needs. The sunny interior atrium is the perfect place to gather with family and friends. Guests are also welcome to grab a cup of coffee on tap, use the free bikes, or take advantage of the outdoor rooftop seating area.
Originally published in 2010. Unless otherwise indicated, photos by the author