24 Best & Fun Things to Do in Utica (NY)

The city of Utica is in Mohawk Valley in Oneida County, New York, USA. It is also the county’s seat.

Utica is the state’s tenth-most populous city. Its population in the 2020 United States census was 65,283.

During the 1800s and the 1900s, Utica’s Infrastructure helped the city to succeed as a manufacturing centre. It cemented its role as a global hub for the textile business.

There are quite some fun things to do in Utica, NY. It has many features that make it a perfect location for a vacation, such as the town’s rich history, beautiful parks, culture, and cuisines.

The city’s low cost of living has attracted foreigners and refugees from other countries to build a home there, encouraging the growth of its economy, colleges, and cultural institutions.

As a first-time visitor, you might be wondering what to do in Utica, NY. Fortunately, there are loads of attractions and activities to do in the city.

Utica is home to art institutions like the William-Proctor Art Institute, which features a rotating display and permanent exhibitions. Additionally, visitors can watch theatrical performances at the Stanley Theatre and the Players of Utica.

For beer lovers, the town has an ample selection of breweries that you can visit, such as F.X. Matt Brewing Company, Woodland Farm Brewery, Bagg’s Square Brewing Company, and Nail Creek Pub and Brewery.

Are you planning an exploration of Utica? Here are the best things to do in Utica, NY.

Things to Do in Utica, NY

1. Roscoe Conkling Park

Roscoe Conkling Park
Credits: Mahmoud Suhail / Shutterstock
Roscoe Conkling Park

If you are a fan of outdoor activities, one of the best things to do in Utica, NY, is to go to Roscoe Conkling Park to enjoy several recreational activities.

Roscoe Conkling Park is a 625-acre Park established in 1909. The Park features a golf course, a ski center, two basketball courts, the Utica Zoo, the south woods hiking trails, picnic areas, and multiple tennis courts.

This awesome Park is famous for winter activities like snowboarding, skiing, tubing, sledding, and cross-country.

Roscoe Conkling Park’s 2.2-mile south woods hiking trail is home to the Mohawk Valley’s different flora, fauna, and dense forests.

At this Park, you can play a game of tennis at one of the tennis courts with your friends or family.

Address: Utica, NY 13501, United States

2. Utica Marsh Wildlife Management Area

Utica Marsh Wildlife Management Area
Credits: Mahmoud Suhail / Shutterstock
Utica Marsh Wildlife Management Area

Utica Marsh Wildlife Management Area is a wetland located on the city’s bank, partly in Marcy, squeezed between the Mohawk River on the south and the New York Barge Canal.

This Area has a hiking trail accessed from the parking space. Utica Marsh Wildlife Management Area features two observation towers, parking areas, trails with Boardwalk, and a pavilion.

This tourist destination provides you will find ample opportunities to see different wildlife.

You can see muskrats, white-tailed deer, Canadian geese foxes, great blue herons, bald eagles, mallards, turtles, sparrows, snakes, and American goldfinches.

The Marshland is situated between the Mohawk River and the Canal. This makes it the perfect location for fishing.

Address: Utica, New York, United States

3. Utica Zoo

Utica Zoo
Credits: chrisforsyth / Flickr
Utica Zoo

During your vacation, one of the best places to visit in Utica, NY, is Utica Zoo. Utica Zoo is one of the main tourist attractions in the city.

The Zoo is home to almost a hundred wildlife species like Bactrian Camel, Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra, Burmese Python, Brazilian Rainbow Boa, Bearded Dragon, Hyacinth Macaw, Red Panda, California Sea Lion, Arctic Fox, Leopard, Tortoise, and Mexican Wolves.

Additionally, Utica Zoo houses endangered animals like Striped Hyenas, Golden Lion Tamarins, Jamaican Boas, Mexican Spider Monkeys, African Lions, and Chinese Alligators.

This tourist attraction holds events throughout the year, such as Winter in the Wild, Pray for the Planet, Spooktacular Harvest Festival, Noon Year’s Eve Celebration, and more.

Address:1 Utica Zoo Way, Utica, NY 13501, United States

4. Utica Memorial Auditorium

Utica Memorial Auditorium
Credits: Doug Kerr / Flickr
Utica Memorial Auditorium

This tourist attraction, called the Utica Memorial Auditorium, is also referred to as Adirondack Bank Center.

The Utica Memorial Auditorium is the home of the Utica City Fc Indoor Soccer and Utica Comet hockey teams. In addition, this facility holds a large number of events all year round.

The seating capacity of this facility is almost 4,009, and it can carry close to 6000 during entertaining performances.

Besides sports events, the Utica Memorial Auditorium hosts monster truck shows, circuses, musical concerts, and other exciting performances.

So during your holiday in Utica, make sure you buy a ticket and watch a match or a concert at Utica Memorial Auditorium.

Address: 400 Oriskany St W, Utica, NY 13502, United States

5. Adirondack Scenic Railroad

Adirondack Scenic Railroad
Credits: Russ Nelson / Flickr
Adirondack Scenic Railroad

Among the top things to do in Utica, NY, is to go sightseeing on the Adirondack Scenic Railroad.

This train ride features pristine rivers, towering peaks, valleys, canyons, charming streams, and verdant forests.

The advantage of this train ride is that it helps you see and explore the foreign sides of New York.

Aside from appreciating the beauty of nature, you get to see plenty of animals and birds along the routes taken by the train.

The longest journey is the nine hours round trip starting from Utica to Big Moose Station, while the short ones are from Utica to Holland Patent, Remsen, and Old Forge.

The train operates throughout the year and features themed rides like Family Halloween Train, Polar Express, Easter Bunny Express, and Wine Train.

The non-profit Railroad Preservation Society handles the railroad, and the train crews are primarily volunteers.

Address: 330 Main St, Suite 102, Utica, NY 13501, United States

6. F.X. Matt Brewing Company

F.X. Matt Brewing Company
Credits: Stas Malyarevsky / Shutterstock

The F.X Matt brewing company is the fourth oldest family-owned brewery in the country.

F.x Matt Brewing Company has existed in Utica since 1888 and is known for having a line of beer that won an award in 1888. The name of this beer line is Saranac.

This award-winning Saranac beer line includes Legacy India Pale Ale, Black Forest Bavarian Schwarzbier, and Tan Stout-Amber Lager.

Saranac beer was named after the Saranac rail route, stretching from Utica to Saranac Lake Union Station.

When you visit this attraction, you get to tour the brewery and view the steps involved in the production of the drinks.

Additionally, you will learn about the history of the company and taste samples. At the end of the tour, you will get a free drink.

Address: 830 Varick St, Utica, NY 13502, United States

7. The Stanley Theatre

Stanley Theatre
Credits: Joseph / Flickr
Stanley Theatre

The Stanley Theatre was built in 1928. It was initially created for displaying movies.

For more than forty years, the Theater was owned by the Warner Brothers before it was abandoned in 1974.

The Stanley Theatre began holding live shows after the Community Art Council of Central New York obtained it.

It currently and solely holds live performances, arranged mainly by Broadway Utica.

In 1976, Stanely Theatre was included in the National Register of Historic Places for its unique architecture and importance to the early movie industry.

So if you want a venue to watch a live performance, head to Stanley Theatre.

Address: 259 Genesee St, Utica, NY 13501, United States

8. Tailor and the Cook

Tailor and the Cook
Credits: The Tailor and the Cook / Facebook
Tailor and the Cook

Tailor and the Cook is among the favorite restaurants of the people of Utica. The restaurant offers primarily native and American food.

Two best friends, Chris Talgo and Tim Hardiman established the restaurant.

Tailor and Cook get most of its ingredients from local farms to support the farmers.

Some of the unique dishes served at this restaurant are blue crab seafood Newburg, lamb kofta with baba ghanoush and pistachio, sesame-crusted crispy bao braised pork shoulder, and beef tenderloin au Poivre with white truffle mash, and cognac cream.

Address: 94 Genesee St, Utica, NY 13502, United States

Also, check out our list of things to do in Port Jefferson, and things to do in Yonkers, for a fun vacation in New York.

9. Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute (MWPAI)

Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute (MWPAI)
Credits: Hrag Vartanian / Flickr
Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute (MWPAI)

Munson- William- Proctor Art is a fine art center established in 1919. This art center was established in an international-style building designed by architect Philip Johnson.

The building was for Brussels’ World Fair of 1958. It was included on the National Register of Historic Places list in 2010.

The Munson-William-Proctor Art Institute has three divisions. The art museum division has a rotating exhibition and a permanent display featuring exhibits from the 1600s.

The Performing Arts division of the institute arranges plays, events, and concerts by successful and upcoming artists.

The Art School division organizes educational classes and programs for everyone.

Throughout the year, the Munson- William- Proctor Art Institute organizes events like piano performances, modern art exhibitions, annual art festivals, yoga sessions, film screenings, and antique car and motorcycle shows.

Most of these events can be attended by the public for free, so drop by and watch a show or admire some artwork. It’s one of the fun things to do in Utica, NY.

Address: 310 Genesee St, Utica, NY 13502, United States

10. F.T. Proctor Park

F.T. Proctor Park
Credits: Melody Mellinger / Shutterstock

This 62 acres Park is the smallest in Utica. Yet, it is seen as the “crown jewel” of the city’s parks.

Olmsted Brothers Landscape Architects initially designed the Park as a “country park.

F.T. proctor Park has a butterfly garden, stunning green lawns, a creek, a lily pond, the Bathhouses, a wide array of trees, stone staircases, and eye-catching colorful flower plants.

The magnificent entrance to the Park has stunning seasonal flowers planted by conservancy volunteers and garden clubs.

If you visit the Park during summer or spring, you can even swim in the Starch Factory Creek that flows through it during these seasons.

T. Proctor Park has various trees, such as maple trees, hemlock, hawthorn, witch hazel, hophornbeam, birches, black Cherry, and many others.

Address: Utica, NY 13501, United States

11. Oneida County History Centre

Oneida County History Centre
Credits: Oneida County History Center / Facebook
Oneida County History Centre

Oneida County History Centre is a historical society founded in 1876.

This historical society’s priority is to preserve the history of the Mohawk River Valley and Oneida County through collecting and displaying artifacts.

Oneida County History Center features rotating displays and permanent collections.

The center also has a 5000-square-foot public museum in the downtown district.

When you visit this public museum, you will see thousands of artifacts, old paintings, drawings, and over 250,000 historical documents

The museum holds lectures and events throughout the year and invites well-known authors and historians.

Address: 1608 Genesee St, Utica, NY 13502, United States

12. Pixley Park

Pixley Park
Credits: matimix / Shutterstock

This Park is a famous spot for people who want to relax with their loved ones. It is close to one of Utica’s Middle Schools.

Pixley Park features several basketball courts, jungle gyms, a slide, and a soccer field.

The Park also has many grassy areas suitable for children to play about and a spray pool for the summer season.

So if you feel uncomfortable visiting Roscoe Conkling Park, you can head to Pixley Park and have a fun time.

Address: Matthews Avenue and Noyes Street, Utica, NY 13502, United States

13. Sculpture Space

Sculpture Space
Credits: Anne White / Flickr
Sculpture Space

Sculpture Space is an art organization that picks 20 sculptures yearly and provides them free access to skilled sculpting studios for two months.

During the two months, these sculptors work on their pieces and exhibit the work at events held by the institute or give them away to be sold during charity auctions.

When you visit Sculpture Space, you will be provided with a tour of the place to admire the works made by these talented sculptors.

Address: 12 Gates St, Utica, NY 13502, United States

14. Players of Utica

Players of Utica
Credits: Andrey_Kuzmin / Shutterstock

Player of Utica was established in 1913. It is the oldest community theater in the state.

This community theater was previously known as The Amusement Club Theater. It is one of the earliest community theatres that was established in the county.

Player of Utica, which opened opposite New Hartford, staged productions until 1999, but after a fire, the theatre chain moved to Utica.

This community theater currently features concerts, broadway musicals and tragedies, and children’s theater throughout the year.

Player of Utica opened another theater complex in 2003 at Mandeville and State Street Intersection.

Some of the well-loved performances included in past productions are Death of a Salesman, South Pacific, and Oklahoma.

Address: 1108 State St, Utica, NY 13502, United States

15. Utica Station

Utica Station
Credits: Adam Moss / Flickr
Utica Station

Among the best places to visit in Utica, NY is Utica Station. This tourist attraction has existed since 1914 and is famous for its magnificent architecture.

The train station was designed by two New York architects named Stem and Fellheimer. It is served by Amtrack and the Adirondack Scenic Railroad in Utica, NY.

The Utica Station, owned by Oneida County, was named for the retired U.S Representative Sherwood Boehlert, R- New Hartford.

The station’s gorgeous architecture is attributed to the Italianate style used to build it.

The Utica Station has a restaurant, a farmer’s market, and a barbershop. The barbershop is one of the few barbershops still operating today.

In 1975, the Utica station was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Why don’t you pay a visit to this stunning train station and admire the beautiful and incredible architecture?

Address: Boehlert Transportation Center, 321 Main St, Utica, NY 13501, United States

Planning to explore New York? here is a list of things to do in Cooperstown, and fun things to do in Oneonta for a memorable vacation.

16. Boilermaker Road Race

Boilermaker Road Race
Credits: John Marino / Flickr
Boilermaker Road Race

One of the fun things to do in Utica, NY, is to join the Boilermaker Road Race.

Boilermaker Road Race began in 1978 with just 800 runners. In recent times, it has grown to become the biggest event in the city, with over seventeen thousand participants from around the world.

Boilermaker Weekend features a wheelchair race, health and fitness expo, corporate cup, 5k road race, school competitions, an after party, kid’s race, youth Olympics, and police and firefighter competitions.

Boilermaker Road’s 15k race was the biggest in the country for ten years until 2006. This yearly event happens every July, hoping to encourage physical health and wellness.

By participating in this race, you get to keep fit and make new friends.

Address: Utica, New York City, United States

17. Utica Public Library

Utica Public Library
Credits: melystu / Flickr
Utica Public Library

If you are a fan of books, you should pay a visit to Utica Public Library. This historical Library has existed since the early 20th century in Oneida County, NY.

In spite of its age, it has continued to be a place where people could go and learn through books.

Utica Public Library is a five-story building with a neoclassical style, designed by Hastings and Arthur C. Jackson in 1903. Utica Public Library was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.

This Library welcomes a large crowd of people who come to get books for educational and recreational purposes, get answers to their questions in the information center, or simply find peace from all the city’s noise.

If you are looking for anything based on local historical documentation and community services, Utica Public Library has it. Everyone can access the library.

Address: 303 Genesee St, Utica, NY 13501, United States

18. St. Joseph and St. Patrick Church

St. Joseph and St. Patrick Church
Credits: Johnida Dockens / Flickr
St. Joseph and St. Patrick Church

St Joseph and St. Patrick Church is a Roman Catholic Church complex in the downtown district of Utica.

The complex consists of the180 feet long church, which was constructed in 1871. The church was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.

Furthermore, the church is known for its gorgeous German Romanesque architecture, historical wall paintings, and attractive stained glass windows.

The complex consists of the St. Joseph’s Parochial School, Parish Convent building, and St. Joseph’s Parochial Residence.

You can visit St Joseph and St. Patrick Church on a self-guided tour and admire the church’s stunning architecture.

Apart from admiring the church’s aesthetics, You can also spend some quiet time.

Address: 702 Columbia St, Utica, NY 13502, United States

19. Riverside Center

Riverside Center
Credits: G-Stock Studio / Shutterstock

If you like to shop, one of the top things to do in Utica, NY, is to visit Riverside Center and shop until you drop.

Riverside Centre features well-known retail shops like Walmart and furnishing shops like Adirondack Furniture and Lowe’s.

If you like to play games or if your kids are interested in playing games, Riverside Center has a game centre that you can visit.

This shopping center also has other retail shops. You don’t have to worry about parking space because Riverside Center has many parking spaces that accommodate all types of vehicles.

Address: 710 Horatio St, Utica, NY 13502, United States

20. Woodland Farm Brewery

Woodland Farm Brewery
Credits: Nitr / Shutterstock

Woodland Farm Brewery was opened in 2015. It is one of Oneida County’s first farm breweries.

This tourist attraction focuses on barrel-aged beers and lagers. The Brewery brews 300 gallons of beer every week.

Woodland Farm Brewery is family-friendly, with plenty of indoor and outdoor seating arrangements.

The Brewery’s kitchen provides fresh and mouthwatering meals. Aside from the hand-crafted beer, the brewery offers spirits, ciders, and wines.

The interior of Woodland Farm Brewery is done in stunning raw woods and has large tables indoors and outdoors.

The staff and services are excellent. Additionally, the Brewery provides live music featuring local musicians on Tuesdays and Sundays.

Address: 6002 Trenton Rd, Utica, NY 13502, United States

21. Adirondack Distilling Company

Adirondack Distilling Company
Credits: YuriiVD / Shutterstock

This tourist attraction is known for making different kinds of quality gins, vodkas, and whiskeys in tiny batches.

Adirondack Distilling Company is located in the center of Utica’s District. The building that serves as the distillery was once a bank built in 1920.

Adirondack Distilling Company mixes locally made ingredients free from gluten, a carbon-neutral distillation process, energy efficiency, and hand-crafted Copper obtained from Germany.

Additionally, when you visit the distillery, you could have a short tour of the facilities and receive a pair of engraved glasses as a souvenir.

Address: 601 Varick St, Utica, NY 13502, United States

22. Bagg’s Square Brewing Company

Bagg's Square Brewing Company
Credits: Brent Hofacker / Shutterstock

The next brewery you can visit in Utica, NY, is Bagg’s Square Brewing Company. The Company is situated in the Doyle Hardware building in Utica’s Bagg’s Square District.

The Doyle Building used to be a warehouse factory, and even up till today, its charm hasn’t worn off despite its old age.

Bagg’s Square Brewing Company has beers such as Ziege Pale Ale, Yuletide Winter Warmer, and Elder Speech Stout.

The brewery has wines like Tug Hill, Raphael, Wölffer, and Fox Run. Bragg’s Square Brewing Company has two types of ciders: the Wolffer Hard Red Cider and Seasonal Hard Cider.

You can try their drink specialty, which is the Heller Stern Spritzer; it consists of Elderflower Syrup mixed with Fever- Tree Tonic Water, Abner Doubleday’s Play Vodka, a lemon twist, and Tug Hill Bubbly Blush Carbonated Wine.

For meals, the brewery offers Bavarian Pretzels and fried Brussels sprouts with golden raisins, fried eggs, honey mustard dipping sauce, and crispy bacon.

Furthermore, the brewery hosts events like College Night, Taco & Turntables, Karaoke, and open mic and live music.

Address: 330 Main St Suite #1, Utica, NY 13501, United States

23. Nail Creek Pub and Brewery

Nail Creek Pub and Brewery
Credits: Chatham172 / Shutterstock

Utica, NY, is a city filled with breweries, so don’t be surprised to see another brewery on this list.

Nail Creek Pub and Brewery is in a three-family building in the city’s downtown district. This building has existed since the 1900s.

The Brewery’s goal is to bring craft brew to the Mohawk Valley. Nail Creek Pub and Brewery was established in 2008.

Nail Creek Pub and Brewery feature an old cellar with a large variety of beers, including barrel-aged stouts.

The Brewery has a large selection of alcohol, such as premium wines, fine scotch, and whiskey.

Nail Creek Pub And Brewery’s food menu consist of pimento cheeseburgers, shrimp po’boys, and Mediterranean grilled cheese.

Address: 720 Varick St, Utica, NY 13502, United States

24. Lava Spa

Lava Spa
Credits: Rido / Shutterstock

Are you looking for what to do in Utica, NY? Then, treat yourself to a relaxing and rejuvenating experience at Lava Spa.

At Lava Spa, you can get treatments ranging from a couple’s massage to facials, waxing, and nail services.

Additionally, Lava Spa offers different treatments like massages with oils for the head, shoulder, and neck and mud baths for sore feet.

After a long day of sightseeing and exploring, you will need to relax, and Lava Spa has what it takes to cure you of all the acquired stress and tiredness.

Address: 2707 Genesee St, Utica, NY 13501, United States

Explore other parts of New York, check out our list of things to do in Ellicottvillethings to do in Alexandria Bay, and things to do in The Hamptons.

Plan Your Trip to Utica

A vacation to Utica, NY, should be on your to-do list because it is filled with many places to visit, cuisines to try, and things to do.

You will undoubtedly have lots of fun. Utica has something you will enjoy regardless of the occasion or reason for visiting. Ensure to check the city out.