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Welcome to New York

When you say you’re heading to New York, people may ask if you mean the city or the state. While the city often grabs the spotlight as one of the nation’s most prominent cultural centers and the most populated megalopolis, the rest of the state is a tourist destination in its own right. Picturesque landscapes, vibrant towns and thrilling outdoor recreation entice travelers to explore every diverse region of the Empire State.

While Niagara Falls often takes top billing in the array of New York tourist attractions, destinations like the Finger Lakes and Adirondack Park claim comparable thrills. In contrast to these natural retreats, New York City ranks as North America’s most exciting urban center. More than 8 million people reside within the town’s relatively small boundaries along the Hudson River, all contributing to a city that pulses with energy. A trip to the Big Apple provides a nice contrast to the state’s more rustic retreats.

Adirondack Odyssey

The largest preserved parcel of public land in the contiguous states is found in the Adirondack Park, located in Upstate New York. Jagged mountaintops, verdant valleys and serene lakes make this one of the most beautiful areas of the Eastern U.S. Sample the sights with a drive along a scenic byway, and then get out into the wilderness with a hike. Several festivals attract visitors to the small towns that speckle the surrounding region. To the north, Lake Placid provides a pleasant base camp, with much to explore relating to the town’s athletic history — the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics took place here.

In Central New York, the Finger Lakes region is home to several long, slender lakes that shimmer with otherworldly beauty. Many waterfalls are hidden within the rocky hillsides. Head to one of several state parks for hiking, biking and outdoor recreation. Watkins Glen State Park is an especially stunning stop, with 19 picturesque waterfalls tumbling over a deep, rocky gorge. The Seneca Lake Wine Trail takes you to the charming vineyards nestled in the undulating hills.

Southeastern New York is home to the Catskill Mountains. Like the fictional Rip Van Winkle, whose long slumber was set in this region, you’ll lose track of time when you explore this craggy wilderness. With the exquisite scenery, it’s no wonder the region was once home to a thriving arts community, the Hudson River School. Visit the Thomas Cole National Historic Site, named after a famous landscape painter, and head out on the Hudson River School Art Trail to learn how this landscape inspires artists to day. To the north, Saratoga Springs entices visitors with natural waters and the Saratoga Racetrack, a historic horse-racing venue.

The Big Apple

Perhaps no American town can claim as many iconic sights as New York City. You may feel like you’ve already visited the Big Apple from its many star turns in movies or television shows. But to truly experience the City that Never Sleeps, you must gaze out from the observation decks of its glittering skyscrapers, take in a musical or comedy on Broadway or stroll the meandering paths in lush Central Park. At sites like the Statue of Liberty and the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum, the city’s story is told and retold to generation after generation.

Head to the Top of the Rock Observation Deck or up the Empire State Building for boundless views, and then take the Staten Island Ferry to see the skyline above the waters of New York Harbor. Art lovers won’t want to miss the Metropolitan Museum of Art or Museum of Modern Art, while Lincoln Center and Radio City Music Hall are the places to go for lively performing arts. Feel the pulse of the town at energetic gathering spots like Times Square and Rockefeller Center. After spending some time in the big city, you may find yourself ready to buy a classic “I Love New York” shirt.

Western New York is home to the state’s second-largest city, Buffalo. Sitting on the shores of Lake Erie, the city endures deep snows throughout the winter but relatively mild temperatures during the summer. The so-called City of Lights gained prominence through the early 20th century, and today’s visitors will find beautiful architecture in the art deco and neoclassical styles. Frank Lloyd Wright’s Darwin D. Martin House Complex is a must-see for those interested in design. A number of renowned museums share art and artifacts related to a range of interests, including fine arts, automobiles, science and aerospace history. With hopes of revitalizing the downtown area, the new Canalside Buffalo development includes bike trails, ice skating rinks and beautiful views of the harbor.

Niagara Dazzles

The roaring waters of Niagara Falls dazzle the senses. Images and videos of the falls don’t do justice to the experience of these thundering cascades in person. Niagara Falls State Park and the surrounding area offer a variety of ways to experience the torrential phenomena, whether you prefer donning a poncho and walking to Cave of the Winds or taking an excursion on the historic Maid of the Mist tour boat. Enjoy a meal at the Top of the Falls Restaurant as you gaze at the curtains of water below. Each night, the falls are illuminated with colored lights, putting on a magical show. To get away from it all, hike the Niagara Gorge Trail or visit Devil’s Hole State Park.