Lake Placid is truly one of New York’s great escapes. From world-class skiing in winter to epic paddling in summer to incredible fall foliage, this postcard-perfect village is an ideal year-round destination. It also happens to be a two-time host to the Winter Olympic Games. Experience the thrill of bobsledding or skiing at the original 1980 Olympic venues, and so much more! Check out our weekend guide for Lake Placid.
Remember to stay as local as possible and keep six feet apart from others not in your party and wear a mask or face covering. Call ahead and check websites and social media to make sure attractions are open and available. Be advised that New York has a travel advisory in effect, which requires travelers from non-contiguous states to quarantine for 10 days upon entering New York State. Travelers may undergo COVID testing to test out. For more details, see the guidelines for the travel advisory here. Most attractions are operating with capacity restrictions and require advance ticketing or reservations, so plan before you go.
4 pm: Check Into Your Hotel
Lake Placid is an historic vacation destination that welcomed travelers to its sprawling, lakeside mountain resorts long before the invention of the car. In fact, the village’s first travelers made their way into the mountains via stagecoach. So if there’s one thing Lake Placid does right, it’s hospitality. After your drive through scenic mountain passes, and along lakes reflecting the sky, check in to your home-away-from-home for the next 48 hours. High Peaks Resort on Main Street is actually three different hotel experiences, all located within a few steps of each other. Stay on the water, bunk up in the resort, or relax in a Lake House made for cozy escapes.This pet-friendly retreat is ideal for anyone who can’t bear to leave their pup behind. Just down the street, the Mirror Lake Inn offers a luxurious twist on lakeside living. Enjoy a family-style room with two bedrooms, a kitchen, and a sitting area, all within a few steps of downtown Lake Placid.
5 pm: Main Street Shopping
In any season, Main Street in Lake Placid is everything a postcard-perfect alpine village should be. In winter, snow-covered rooftops, holiday decorations, and warm, welcoming scents waft from restaurants and shops. In summer, visitors stroll the dog-friendly main street and shop for unique gifts, clothes, and enjoy free weekly concerts at the little park mid-way down Main Street.
Credit: @bigslidebrewery on Instagram
6 pm: Pre-Dinner Flight at a Brewery
There’s more to Lake Placid than Main Street. Drive five minutes to Big Slide Brewery for a view of the Olympic Ski Jumps and great craft beer. The brewery's farm-to-table menu includes wood-fired pizzas, salads made with market-fresh ingredients, and 10 brews on tap. The beer selection changes every month, and restaurant guests can watch the brewing process unfold from every table since the brewery is located inside the restaurant.
7:30 pm: Dinner
For dinner, head to Smoke Signals on Main Street, a favorite of locals and visitors alike for its Southern-style barbecue. In summer, sit outside on the restaurant’s deck, which overlooks Mirror Lake, so named for its still waters, and the distant peak of Whiteface Mountain. In winter, the cozy atmosphere is perfect for families and couples alike. Top of the Park offers small plates and craft cocktails, making it an ideal place to stop and fuel up for further explorations.
Credit: @hungrytroutfly on Instagram
In winter, make sure to go for a cross-country skiing or snowshoeing adventure. Cascade Cross Country Ski Center just outside of town offers everything you need to spend a few hours on skis or snowshoes. Rent gear, grab a map, and enjoy gliding or walking on nearly 12 miles of groomed trails. Après-ski at the onsite bar and restaurant, Knickers, where Nordic comfort fair will warm you up quicker than a hot toddy. Visit during a full moon and join in Cascade’s legendary Full Moon parties and ski from bonfire to bonfire to enjoy free beer and hot dogs, music, and the glow of snow under full moonlight.
If you’re visiting during the warmer months and are up for a bumpy ride, head to Craig Wood Trails for some of the best mountain biking in the area. Twisting singletrack trails wrap through dense forest, providing great beginning and intermediate terrain. There are two bike shops in town that rent out bikes and gear, so don’t worry if you don’t have your own. Mountain biking trail networks crisscross Lake Placid and the surrounding towns, making it a popular destination for knobby tire enthusiasts.
For an only-found-here experience, head out of Lake Placid to neighboring Wilmington for a guided fly fishing trip on the West Branch of the Ausable River. This world-famous stretch of fly fishing waters is highly oxygenated, and anglers have been known to land trout up to 20 inches long. Find a local guide at one of two outfitters in town, the Ausable River Two Fly Shop, where head guide John Ruff is renowned as the father of the Ruff’s Fly, or the Hungry Trout, home to famous pro fly fishing guide, Rachel Finn.
2 pm: Explore Museums and Olympic Memorabilia
It wouldn’t be a trip to Lake Placid without dipping your toes in the village’s epic sports history. Visit the Olympic Center on Main Street and experience the exhibits of competitions past at the Lake Placid Olympic Museum, which includes footage of the famous “Miracle on Ice,” then head to the Olympic Sports complex and take a 26-story elevator to the top of the 120k tower at the Olympic Jumping Complex (pictured). The views are spectacular.
3 pm: Mirror Lake Activities
In winter, the frozen surface of Mirror Lake comes alive with ice skaters, cross-country skiers, pond hockey tournaments, and dog sledding teams. For just a few dollars, take a thrilling dog sled ride across Mirror Lake. Two teams offer a unique perspective on the surrounding landscape, Thunder Mountain Dog Sled Tours and Mike Arnold Dog Sled Rides.
If you’re visiting during the summer or fall, hop on a captain-narrated scenic cruise at the Lake Placid Marina and explore the lake that named the town. Lake Placid’s stories, including a ghostly tale of an unsolved crime, come to life as you travel around the lake and between the two islands.
7 pm: Grab Dinner
A local favorite for its inventive cocktails and farm-to-table menu, Liquids & Solids is the perfect spot for an after-adventure dinner. Order a Smoked Ale. This deceptively named cocktail is a signature of the bartender/owner, and includes spiced rum, smoked ginger and cardamom, coriander syrup, and lime. As of December 2020, Liquids & Solids is operating mostly as takeout-only with some outdoor dining available, so call ahead and check their website before visiting.
Find Something Sweet
There’s nothing better than a sweet treat at the end of a meal. If you’re still hungry, hit up Emma’s Lake Placid Creamery on Main Street. This Lake Placid landmark may have a line out the door during the summer months, but one taste of their maple soft serve makes it worth it.
After a stroll around scenic Mirror Lake walking path, stop by Bluesberry Bakery for a made-from-scratch apple strudel or cinnamon bun.
9 am: Head to Whiteface
No trip to Lake Placid is complete without a visit to Whiteface Mountain (pictured). If you’re visiting in winter or early spring and are up for a day on the slopes, skiing or snowboarding and take a break to enjoy the delicious snacks on offer at the Taste of NY Cafe in the base lodge. For anyone new to the sport, the Bear Den Lodge offers learn-to-ski programs for all ages. If you’re visiting during the summer or fall, go to the summit of Little Whiteface, where a scenic viewing platform offers a new perspective on Lake Placid. While in the area, stop at the North Pole, open year-round. Take a trip down nostalgia lane at Santa’s Workshop, a Christmas-themed favorite for generations that offers the chance to see Santa’s reindeer, go shopping, and have a visit with Kris Kringle himself. NOTE: Whiteface has extremely limited availability for winter 2020/21. Please plan ahead and purchase tickets in advance.
Wrap up your visit with a meal at Peak 47 at the Whiteface Lodge. This family-friendly Adirondack lodge offers casual dining in a rustic-chic Adirondack setting. It’s a great place to toast your adventures in Lake Placid!
By plane: Adirondacks Regional Airport, 96 Airport Road, Saranac Lake, NY 12983: 40 minutes to Lake Placid from airport
By train: Amtrak to Westport Station: 45 minutes to Lake Placid (by shuttle, taxi or rental car)
- From Albany: 2.5 hours
- From Montreal: 2.5 hours
- From Boston: 5 hours
- From NYC: 5 hours
- From Toronto: 6 hours
- From Philadelphia: 6 hours