Thoughts unavoidably turn to the North Pole this time of year, and the lesser-known North Pole sits in the shadow of Whiteface Mountain in New York's Adirondack Park. It's a real town (hamlet, actually, in the town of Wilmington) in the state's northeast corner, just about 12 miles from Lake Placid. Appropriately, it's home to Santa's Workshop, believed to be the nation's oldest theme park.

Originally published 12/10/2019


5 pm: Grab grub at 'Dack Shack
'Dack Shack

There's comfort food with an attitude at the ‘Dack Shack, a one-of-a-kind roadside diner in downtown Lake Placid, serving up burgers, shakes, seafood, and so much more. Enjoy indoor and outdoor dining, fire pit seating, craft beers and a camp cocktail bar!

7 pm: Skate the Olympic Oval
Lake Placid Winter Olympic Museum - Photo Courtesy of Lake Placid Winter Olympic Museum

Glide on over to one of the nation's few remaining outdoor ice-skating ovals, the very same one where Eric Heiden made Olympic history. Bring your own skates or rent, warm up around the fire pit at center ice, and check out the events at the Olympic Center next door.


10 am: Visit Santa's Workshop
Santa's Workshop - Photo Courtesy of Santa's Workshop

Explore the charming and retro Santa's Workshop, North Pole's signature attraction. Visit Santa and Mrs. Claus in their very own home and the live reindeer in their barn; ride the steam train, carousel, and other kiddie rides; catch the musical review, puppet show, or Nativity Pageant; and visit the U.S. Post Office to send a letter postmarked from the North Pole. Special events keep the festivities going year-round!

12 pm: Enjoy an Adirondack-style Lunch

Head over to Up a Creek for American cuisine in an authentic Adirondack-style eatery. This popular hidden gem serves up gourmet breakfast, lunch, and savory specials for dinner.

2:30 pm: Tour the Olympic Jumping Complex      Olympic Jumping Complex - Photo courtesy of Olympic Jumping Complex

Soar to new heights at the Olympic Jumping Complex and ride the elevator to the skydeck at the top of the 120-meter jump tower. Also on-site, grab a tube to conquer the 700-foot snow-tubing hill. Plan your visit for February 9-11, 2024, and join the excitement as the FIS Ski Jumping World Cup returns to the iconic venue!

6 pm: Taste BBQ at Smoke Signals    
Smoke Signals

Credit: @olivetreevacations on Instagram

Feast on BBQ staples with innovative, genuine, low and slow smoked barbeque overlooking Mirror Lake, downtown idyllic Lake Placid, and the high peaks. Enjoy a dozen craft and local beers on tap, fresh ingredients, and regular live music.

8 pm: Speed Down the Toboggan chute
Toboggan Run - Lake Placid - Photo by NYS ESD

If you still have energy to burn before bed and the weather allows, see if the 30-foot-high toboggan chute is open to send you flying onto frozen Mirror Lake.


10 am: Skate Mirror Lake
Mirror Lake Ice Skating

A plowed track around the entire perimeter of frozen Mirror Lake allows for free skating. If needed, skates are available at Lake Placid Skate Rentals.

11:30 am: Take a Dog sled tour on Mirror LakeDogsled Rides on Mirror Lake - Photo by NYS ESD

When Mirror Lake freezes over, mushers set up shop for real, live dog sled rides on the lake. Walk down to the lake and book your ride directly for this paw-some experience.

1 pm: Olympic bobsled & gondola rides      Whiteface Cloudsplitter

Join a professional driver and brakeman for a thundering half-mile bobsled experience at the Olympic Sports Complex. Riders must be taller than 52 inches and reservations are encouraged. An alternative is a ride on the aptly named Cloudsplitter Gondola (pictured) to the top of Little Whiteface. Grab lunch at the mountain at spots like Legends and Growler's Grill.


By plane: Adirondacks Regional Airport, 96 Airport Road, Saranac Lake, NY 12983-30 minutes to Tupper Lake or to Lake Placid
By train: Amtrak to Westport Station: 1 hour to Tupper Lake or 45 minutes to Lake Placid (by shuttle, taxi or rental car)
By bus: Trailways or Greyhound to Saranac Lake for Tupper Lake or to Lake Placid
By car:
From Albany: 2.5 hours
From Boston: 5 hours
From NYC: 5 hours
From Philadelphia:6 hours
From Montreal: 2 hours

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