With waterfront parks, open-air restaurants, vintage boutiques, and historic downtowns, these New York villages are storybook settings you can revisit time and time again. Explore these walking-friendly, charming locations and see why people are falling in love with New York's villages.  

Updated 3/25/24

Port Jefferson (Long Island)

Port Jefferson

The salty sea breeze fills village boutiques, wine glasses chime from open-air bistros and the marina sunset greets families as they stroll by Ralph's ice cream parlor. This is Port Jeff, a coastal gem whose lively downtown and beachy atmosphere creates a storybook setting. Whether you're exploring Harborfront Park or browsing Main Street's vintage boutiques, this North Shore treasure will have you buzzing all weekend long.

Cold Spring (Hudson Valley)

Cold Spring - Photographer Dallas Phelps

The magic of this town lies in its location—on the shores of the Hudson River and neighboring Breakneck Ridge—it's a dream destination for artists and outdoorsmen alike. Walk its 19th-century streets where you'll discover art galleries and farm-to-fork eateries like Hudson Hil's. Hikers find refuge after afternoons exploring the woodlands of Hudson Highlands.

Ithaca (Finger Lakes)

Ithaca Commons

It may be the rhythmic beat of live music from The Upstairs or the Hogwarts-like architecture of Cornell University, but one thing's for certain, a walk through Ithaca will leave you spellbound. Overlooking Cayuga Lake, this village is a trove of artisan shops, music, and craft beverages. Walk among vintage stores and open-air restaurants at Ithaca Commons, absorb the cascading beauty of Ithaca Falls, and fall in love with this village with every step.

Skaneateles (Finger Lakes)

An aerial view of Downtown Skaneateles in front of Skaneateles Lake in summer

Mirroring the elegance of its namesake lake in every art gallery and B&B, the village of Skaneateles is a favorite for outdoors enthusiasts and wine-lovers alike. Stroll the red brick sidewalks, discover the architecture of the historic district, go for a bite at one of the village's excellent restaurants, or set sail on the lake, and the impressive beauty of the Finger Lakes will reveal itself.

Tarrytown (Hudson Valley)


The setting of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, novelist Washington Irving knew Tarrytown's romantic landscape would captivate the world. View the Gothic Revival architecture of Lyndhurst Estate, with classic mansion tours beginning again in April, and stroll past quaint village shops to a show at Tarrytown Music Hall.

Pittsford (Finger Lakes)


Many villages boast character, but few can compare to the canal-side charm and storied history of Pittsford Village. Whether you're strolling the Erie Canal Heritage Trail, tasting craft beers at Lock 32, or exploring the water with Sam Patch Erie Canal Tours, this village's refined yet down-to-earth atmosphere will have you hooked.

Lake George (Adirondacks)

Lake George Steamboat Company

Travel + Leisure deemed Lake George one of America's most beautiful lakes, and for good reason; the mountains of Adirondack Park and troves of uninhabited islands dotted throughout the lake create a natural playground for exploration. Navigate by kayak or take a cruise with the Lake George Steamboat Company (cruises starting in May) before you head into the village where museums, outdoor restaurants, and live music color the streets.

Cooperstown (Central New York)

Cooperstown - Photos Courtesy of ThisIsCooperstown.com

Baseball's hometown and a popular craft beer hub, this village is known for its sports culture and all-American charm. While the National Baseball Hall of Fame put Cooperstown on the map, it has since grown into a top destination for people seeking artistry and craftsmanship at cultural spots like the Fenimore Art Museum, the Glimmerglass Festival opera—which will return in July—and the Cooperstown Beverage Trail.

Ellicottville (Chautauqua-Allegheny)

Ellicottville Brewing Co. sign

Hidden between the valleys of the Allegheny Plateau lies the small but historic village of Ellicottville. While it’s well-known for its skiing and snowboarding in the winter, Ellicottville is quickly rising in popularity for tourists and travelers year-round. Head down Monroe and Washington Streets and peruse through a plethora of local shops or stop in for specialty brews at Ellicottville Brewing Company. Or plan to stroll through one of their various festivals happening year-round.

Clayton (Thousand Islands-Seaway)

Village of Clayton main street

Voted #1 Best Small Town Cultural Scene for 2022 and 2023 by USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards, Clayton is full of quaint shops, galleries, museums, and outdoor activities all within walking distance. Be sure to stop in at the home of the largest collection of antique and classic boats on display in North America, the Antique Boat Museum, the Thousand Islands Museum for St. Lawrence River history and antique watercraft, and the Thousand Islands Art Center with extensive 20th-century textiles collection.

Saratoga Springs (Capital-Saratoga)

Saratoga Springs

@saratoga_ny on Instagram

This lively and vibrant village is not only known for its famous racetrack. Saratoga Springs is also home to one of the top main streets in the country named by USA Today’s 10Best in 2016. Walk through three centuries of horse racing at the National Museum of Racing or visit the Saratoga Race Course. Don’t forget to take a look at the unique shops and restaurants on Saratoga’s famous and historic main street: Broadway! 

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