3 Days 95 Miles
A Winter Escape to Spa City: Things to Do in Saratoga Springs in 36 Hours
The sound of snow crunching under our boots, the smell of a crackling fire, and the taste of a steaming mug of hot cocoa are just a few of the things that make us long for a winter escape. But it’s not always easy to find a destination that has everything we’re looking for: great food, fun activities, and plenty of ways to relax and rejuvenate.
Enter Saratoga Springs, New York. This charming little city nestled in upstate New York’s picturesque region has it all: rejuvenating spas, world-class dining, unique shops, and a wide variety of winter activities, all set against the backdrop of the stunning Adirondack Mountains.
So, whether you’re looking for a romantic escape or a family-friendly vacation, Saratoga Springs is the perfect place to spend a winter getaway. Here’s your 36-hour long weekend guide to everything this charming city has to offer.
Day 1 – Roosevelt Baths & Spa
Labeled ”Spa City” for its more than 30 natural healing mineral springs, Saratoga Springs has been a popular destination since the late 19th century. Your spa-focused weekend getaway to Saratoga Springs begins at the historic Gideon Putnam Hotel, located in the heart of Saratoga Spa State Park. After checking in and dropping your bags off in your room, head to Roosevelt Baths & Spa for an invigorating massage or facial. With its mineral-rich waters and therapeutic treatments, Roosevelt Baths & Spa is sure to help you relax and recharge.
A Brief History Lesson
The Gideon Putnam Hotel opened in 1935 with 87 guestrooms, but was in the works for much, much longer. Gideon Putnam, for whom the hotel is named after, has a long and exciting history in Saratoga Springs. His vision was to create a spa destination that would rival those in Ballston Spa. After years of planning and development, the Gideon Putnam Hotel finally opened its doors to the public in 1935, welcoming thousands of guests.
With the above in mind, we can’t think of a better place for you to start your relaxing weekend than at the historic Gideon Putnam Hotel.
After your spa treatment, here’s what’s on tap for the rest of your Friday afternoon and evening.
- Stroll through Saratoga Spa State Park: Take a relaxing stroll through the State Park and explore all this charming city has to offer. Make sure to stop by the Saratoga Springs Visitor Center, where you can pick up a map and get information on all the best things to see and do in the area.
- Saratoga Winter Sleigh Rides: Make a memorable winter experience riding through the Saratoga region’s winter wonderlands on a horse-drawn sled, as you discover the splendor of the Southern Adirondacks.
Where to Eat Near Saratoga Spa State Park
After your horse-drawn winter carriage ride, it’s time for dinner at Hattie’s! Saratoga Springs is home to many great restaurants, but one that you definitely don’t want to miss is Hattie’s Restaurant. This local favorite has been serving up Southern-inspired comfort food since 1938, and is the perfect place to warm up on a cold winter night.
The sun has set, your belly is full, and it’s time to end your first day in Saratoga Springs with a little nightlife. Head to The Ice Bar at the Adelphi Hotel, where you can enjoy creative cocktails in a truly unique setting: an ice bar made entirely out of frozen blocks of ice!
Day 2 – Exploring Saratoga Springs
Rise and shine; it’s a beautiful winter day in Saratoga Springs! Start your day with a cup of coffee and a delicious breakfast at Sweet Mimi’s Cafe, located just a one-mile walk from the Saratoga Racecourse. There’s a lot to see and do today, so you’ll want to get an early start.
Ski and Ice Skate
After fueling up, it’s time to hit the ice at the Lapland Lakes! This winter wonderland offers something for everyone, with both ice skating and cross-country skiing available.
Saratoga Race Course
First established in 1863, the Saratoga Race Course is a National Historic Landmark and one of the country’s most iconic horse racing tracks. Even if you’re not a horse racing fan, it’s worth visiting the Saratoga Racing Museum & Hall of Fame, located across the street from the racecourse grounds.
After working up an appetite by skating and walking around the racecourse, it’s time for a tasty lunch. Head to Caffe Lina, where you can enjoy live music, delicious food, and a cozy atmosphere.
Take an Architecture Photo Walk
After lunch, it’s time to get a little exercise and fresh air with an architecture photo walk. This self-guided walking tour will take you past some of Saratoga Springs’ most beautiful buildings, including the Canfield Casino and Collective 131.
No trip to Saratoga Springs is complete without a visit to the nearby village of Ballston Spa. Just a 15-minute drive away, this quaint village is home to many historic buildings, including the National Bottle Museum and the Saratoga County History Center.
Where to Eat Near Saratoga Springs
To round out your day, enjoy a delicious dinner at the Salt and Char Steakhouse. This steakhouse is the perfect place to relax and indulge after a long day of exploring.
Alas, your second day in Saratoga Springs has come to an end. But don’t fret, tomorrow is your last day, and we have festivals, farmer’s markets, and more fun activities planned. Be sure to get a good night’s sleep so you can make the most of your last day in this wonderful city.
Day 3 – Healing Mineral Springs
You can’t end your trip to ”Spa City” without one more spa visit, can you? Start your last day in Saratoga Springs with a soak in a healing mineral springs bath. There are several spas where you can enjoy the therapeutic benefits of these natural springs.
Just a few of the spas you can choose from include Roosevelt Baths & Spa, Complexions Spa, and Adirondack Salt Cave. Roosevelt is the largest and most popular of the three, offering a variety of treatments in addition to mineral baths, such as massages, facials, and body wraps.
After your spa visit, it’s time to get out there and enjoy all that Saratoga Springs has to offer on your last day.
Saratoga Farmers’ Market
From December all the way through to April, you’ll find the Saratoga Farmers’ Market taking place every Saturday from 9:30 am – 1:30 pm. This market is the perfect place to stock up on fresh produce, local honey, artisanal cheeses, and so much more.
Annual Artisan Market
If you’re looking for a unique souvenir to take home with you, the Annual Artisan Market is the place to go. This market features a variety of handmade goods from local artisans, including pottery, jewelry, woodwork, and more.
Explore Art and Culture
You just have to explore Saratoga Springs’ art and culture scene before you leave. Start at The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College, where you can see rotating contemporary art exhibitions. Then, head to the Saratoga Automobile Museum to learn about the history of the automobile industry in Saratoga Springs.
Holiday Lights Spectacular
From the end of November to New Years Eve, the Holiday Lights Spectacular light display is a must-see. More than 150,000 lights are on display throughout Congress Park, and the whole family will enjoy walking through this winter wonderland.
From mineral springs baths to delicious steak dinners, there’s a world of exploration waiting for you in Saratoga Springs.