25 Best Things to Do in Binghamton, NY

Binghamton, NY
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Located on the southern tier of the state of New York, Binghamton is an ideal vacation spot for nature and sports enthusiasts.

The city's well-preserved history will give you a glimpse into the Victorian era.

Also dubbed the "Carousel Capital of the World," the city houses six of the US and Canada's last remaining antique carousels.

Bingham offers visitors the opportunity to experience New York's scenic countryside.

You can enjoy hiking and biking on the city's numerous trails that serve sweeping views.

Apart from historical sites and national attractions, the city has fascinating museums, charming coffee houses, rustic sports bars, lovely parks, delicious food, and much more.

Moreover, Binghamton is only a three-hour drive away from New York City, so visitors also have the option to take a side trip to the City That Never Sleeps.

Are you interested in finding out what else Binghamton has to offer?

These are the best things to do in Binghamton, New York:

Explore Binghamton on Foot and Discover the City's Hidden Gems

Aerial view of Binghamton, New York
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Binghamton is a delightful city with tons of greenery and stunning works of architecture that will win you over.

This charming city is perfect for exploring on foot, and there are lots of things you'll be able to see just by strolling around the area.

Roam around different streets and neighborhoods to explore Binghamton's hidden gems.

A sidewalk at Binghamton
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Try food from different cafes and restaurants, and taste the local cuisine.

Long and peaceful walks along the city's streets and Victorian structures will refresh your mind, body, and soul.

Restaurants at Binghamton
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Check Out the Exhibits at the Discovery Museum of the Southern Tier

The Discovery Museum of the Southern Tier is an interactive children's museum that includes playgrounds, exhibits, displays, gardens, and more.

This 22,500-square-foot attraction is an excellent place to spend a few hours with your little ones.

There is a lot to do for the kids at this museum.

They can explore various exhibits, such as the Erie Canal exhibit, where they can learn how locks work.

Children can also learn to build railroad tracks, explore an ambulance, play as an EMT, experience large-scale grocery shops by themselves, and so much more.

Your little ones won't only be entertained but will also be enthralled and educated.

Bask in the Tranquil Environment of Otsiningo Park

Otsiningo Park is a city park with beautiful greenery, multiple trails, community gardens, playing fields, a seasonal farmers' market, and more.

It has well-kept pavements for walking and biking.

This park is a perfect place if you are looking to walk a mile or two on beautiful treelined paths along the river.

There are designated picnic areas where you can enjoy while relishing the park's peaceful and serene environment.

You can also go fishing in the Chenango River.

Otsiningo Park is the perfect place to appreciate nature and enjoy the tranquil environment.

Sunset over Recreation Park Binghamton
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Known to the locals as Rec Park, Recreation Park is one of Binghamton's more beautiful public parks.

It is the home to one of Binghamton's six antique carousels.

The carousel was made in 1925 by Allan Herschell and has been restored so that visitors would be able to ride it for free.

Exterior of the Recreation Park carousel
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The park also has a seasonal swimming pool, tennis court, ball fields, handicap-accessible playgrounds, multiple walking trails, and more.

After riding the carousel, you can have a lovely picnic amid Recreation Park's beautiful surroundings.

Close view of Recreation Park's carousel
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See Wonderful Animals at the Ross Park Zoo

Tremarctos ornatus in Ross Park Zoo
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The fifth-oldest zoo in America, the Ross Park Zoo was opened in 1875 and has been improved and restored over the years to accommodate its visitors better.

It is open seasonally, from April through December.

The zoo covers an area of about 90 acres and plays a very significant role in Binghamton's wildlife conservation and awareness efforts.

There are several animals in the zoo's lushly wooded environment.

The animals include red wolves, lemurs, red pandas, snow leopards, howler monkeys, penguins, otters, and so much more.

The zoo also has well-maintained walkways, small parks, pavilions, and barbeque areas, along with one of the country's oldest merry-go-rounds.

Visit the Ross Park Zoo to walk around and see the beautiful animals.

Catch a Baseball Game at Mirabito Stadium

Baseball game in NYSEG Stadium
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Formerly known as NYSEG Stadium, Mirabito Stadium is the home of the Eastern League's Binghamton Rumble Ponies.

It was opened in 1992 and is an essential part of the region's baseball culture.

Crowd cheering at Mirabito Stadium
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The stadium offers authentic American sports food like hotdogs and subways, which are best enjoyed when watching live baseball games.

Top view of Mirabito Stadium
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Learn about Local History and Culture at Roberson Museum Science and Center

Located in Binghamton, New York, Roberson Museum Science and Center is a local museum focusing on natural history, science, art, and local history.

The historic Roberson Mansion is the museum's centerpiece.

It was built in 1904 and still houses original period furniture.

The museum also has a planetarium where you can see the fantastic view of twinkling stars no matter the weather.

Additionally, it has numerous exhibitions and hosts various events throughout the year.

Visit Roberson Museum Science and Center to learn about the local history and culture and to see the early 1900s mansion.

Admire the Magnificent Craftsmanship of the Phelps Mansion Museum

Exterior of Phelps Mansion Museum
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Located on Binghamton's Court Street, the Phelps Mansion Museum is a brick and stone mansion with three stories.

This historic house museum was built by the famous architect Isaac G. Perry in 1870.

It was the home of Sherman D. Phelps, a businessman and former mayor of Binghamton.

The mansion's Victorian architecture is truly stunning, and its design boasts a lot of rare wood, metal, and glass.

If you enjoy magnificent architecture, visiting this mansion is a must for your trip to Binghamton.

You can also take guided tours of the mansion museum and learn about its history from enthusiastic and knowledgeable tour guides.

Visit this gem of beauty to gaze at the stunning woodwork and craftsmanship of the Victorian era.

Visit Each One of Binghamton's Six Antique Carousels

View of Fred Johnson Park's Carousel
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Binghamton is often referred to as the "Carousel Capital of the World."

The city has a total of six antique carousels that you can ride.

Take a trip back in time by riding the vintage carousels in the town for free.

These carousels are located at different city spots, like the Ross Park, Recreation Park, Fred Johnson Park, George W. Johnson Park, West Endicott Park, and Highland Park.

View inside ross park's Carousel
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These parks have timeless, one-of-a-kind carousels that you can ride.

Some of the carousels even date as far back as the 1800s.

So don't miss out on the chance to ride Bingham's antique carousels when you visit the Carousel Capital of the World.

Horse ride of ross park's Carousel
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Relive the Elegance of the Victorian Era at the Bundy Museum of History & Art

Exterior of Bundy Museum of History and Art
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The Bundy Museum of History & Art is proudly listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

This 1892 Queen Anne home showcases the history of how the Bundy Manufacturing Company became the world-famous multinational technology company, IBM.

The museum features various exhibits, a local art gallery, a hall of fame, a vintage barbershop, the Rod Serling Archive room, and more.

The museum's purpose is to preserve the legacy, relive the Victorian era's elegance and poise, and educate visitors about the fine arts and the local history.

You can take guided tours of the museum or look around by yourself and see the beauty and history oozing out of all its nooks and crannies.

Visit the Bundy Museum of History & Art to escape to an earlier era.

Surround Yourself with Stunning Plant Life at Cutler Botanic Garden

Landscape of the Cutler Botanic Garden
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Cutler Botanic Garden is a stunning seasonal garden open only in the summers.

It is located on Binghamton's 840 Upper Front Street and is a hub for educating and creating awareness about environmental issues and horticulture.

It was established by Frances Cutler in 1978 and was made open to the public in 1979.

The garden showcases some of the most beautiful summer displays and plantings.

The best way to relish the garden's beauty is by taking long walks while appreciating the stunning plant life and enjoying the sweeping views of the landscape.

Try the Rigatoni Ala Vodka at Lost Dog Cafe & Lounge

Lost Dog Cafe & Lounge is a Binghamton staple established in 1994 by The Derangelles, an all-female band.

The cafe is known for serving creatively made comfort food, and all its dishes are cooked with fresh ingredients and are presented with perfection.

Everything you order will be Insta-worthy.

Lost Dog Cafe & Lounge has a lot of delicious items on its menu, but do not forget to try the famous Rigatoni Ala Vodka.

This masterpiece will satisfy your cravings and will leave you wanting more.

Have New York-Style Italian Cuisine at Little Venice Restaurant

Little Venice Restaurant serves mouth-watering quintessential New York-style Italian food.

This restaurant opened in 1946 and has been serving Italian grub to the locals ever since.

Everything on the menu is delectable and served in plentiful portions.

However, make sure you try the meat logs with their iconic sauce and house-made lasagna.

Treat Yourself to Tacos and Beer at Garage Taco Bar

Located in Downtown Binghamton, Garage Taco Bar is a relatively new establishment, but it doesn't mean that they don't know what they're doing.

This place provides a laid-back environment, the perfect setting for enjoying delicious tacos and great beer while socializing.

The bar serves other Mexican dishes as well, such as burritos, beans and rice, and much more.

You can also have vegan and vegetarian food here as Garage Taco Bar caters to a diverse customer base.

Book a Luxurious Stay at DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Binghamton

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Binghamton is the perfect place to accommodate you when you visit this delightful city.

This hotel provides numerous amenities to ensure your visit is as comfortable and worthwhile as possible.

It has an outdoor pool, bar, fitness center with a gym, business center, room service, hot tubs, and much more.

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Binghamton is pet-friendly and allows your pets to stay comfortably with you.

Stay at this hotel to treat yourself in the lap of luxury.

Attend a Show at the Broome County Forum Theatre

Exterior of Broome County Forum Theatre
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Do you plan to watch any shows while you're in Binghamton, New York?

The Broome County Forum Theatre is a 1,500-seat performing arts theater in Binghamton.

According to the National Register of Historic Places, it is a historic building.

Marquee and entrance door of Broome County Forum Theatre
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Vaudeville performances and silent films were shown in the original structure, which was constructed in 1919.

It offers a broad range of events, such as recitals, concerts, comedic performances, conferences, and talent shows.

As a hub of culture and entertainment for the Greater Binghamton region, the Broome County Forum Theatre keeps thriving.

Spend an Evening at The Old Union Hotel

Since its founding in 1888, The Old Union Hotel has been a mainstay on Clinton Street in the First Ward of Binghamton.

In its more than 127-year existence, this three-story building has undergone several modifications and updates yet is still a popular tourist attraction.

The very first owners resided in the four-bedroom flat above the bar on the second level.

Craft beers on tap, outstanding wines from all over the world, and custom cocktails made with foreign spirits are just a few of the beverages available at the full-service bar.

The Old Union Hotel's staff and food will be the best part of your stay.

Browse through the Selection at Broome County Public Library

Broome County Public Library, once known as the Binghamton Public Library, opened in 1904 as a gift from Andrew Carnegie.

This building was intended to serve the neighborhood as a community center and a library.

A collection of 14,000 volumes, including fiction and non-fiction books, audiobooks, eBooks, and titles for audio and visual media, may be found on the library's first floor.

The Broome County Historical Society, the Binghamton Museum of Fine Arts, and an auditorium are all located on the second level.

This public library also offers its visitors a variety of events and programs.

Watch an Opera Performance at Tri-Cities Opera

Facade of the Tri-Cities Opera
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For 70 years, Tri-Cities Opera has served as the cultural hub of New York's Southern Tier.

Tri-Cities Opera's goal is to produce opera of the highest magnitude employing the skills of young performers, in line with the heritage of its founders.

This regional opera company was founded by the late Carmen Savoca and Peyton Hibbitt in 1949.

It has a distinguished reputation in the opera industry for its Resident Artist Training Program, exquisite sets and costumes, and spectacular opera performances.

Additionally, the opera company runs a set and costume rental operation for other opera businesses.

Tour the Historic Kilmer Mansion

Front view of the Kilmer Mansion
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Kilmer Mansion located on Riverside Drive is among Binghamton’s remaining historic mansions.

This grand structure is the only remaining mansion built by the prominent couple Jonas and Julia Sharpe Kilmer.

Constructed in 1898, this house and castle edifice includes the last of the grand parlors in the Parlor City.

Visitors can tour the mansion on most Wednesdays at noontime.

You’ll get to admire the classic architectural details like the turrets and towers, along with fine stoneworks like the lions, the gargoyle, and the dragon guards adorning the exteriors.

Step inside and marvel at the gorgeous ballrooms and balconies, see the angel paintings on the ceiling, and observe the impressive woodwork and classic interiors.

Because of its exquisite features, Kilmer Mansion is also available for special occasions like weddings, anniversaries, and other private functions.

Catch Stunning Performances at KNOW Theatre

If you’re looking for one-of-a-kind stage productions, KNOW Theatre has the show for you.

The theater group was established in 1993 by actors who had the common goal of delivering thought-provoking plays of substance and quality.

Catch their award-winning performances at the 63-seater Binghamton City Stage, the only black-box theatre in downtown Binghamton right on Carroll Street.

Check their website for upcoming and current season shows and book tickets for plays you’re interested to see.

You can also catch events like the annual Playwrights and Artists Festival held in November.

KNOW Theatre also offers acting classes for teens and adults led by Tim Gleason, the Founder and Artistic Director of the theater group.

Shop for Organic Goods at the Old Barn Market and Gluten Free Bakery

Go for healthier alternatives and shop at the Old Barn Market and Gluten Free Bakery.

Right on State Street, you’ll find an array of quality organic products and gluten-free items sourced from local farms and artisans in the area.

What began as a hobby of selling canned and preserved goods paved the way for Karen and Jeff Allen to open the store in 2012 and later add Old Barn Market Coffee Bar in 2020.

Many of their products are certified organic or sustainably raised from the family farm like chickens, eggs, rabbits, and grass-fed sheep; you can also find dark brown, blue, and green eggs occasionally for sale at the shop.

Aside from meat products, you can pick some delicious jellies, jams, sauces, and gluten-free baked goods made fresh from the store.

Choose from yummy Artisan Yeast Rolls or Sweet Breads and try their Jumbo Muffins in assorted flavors like Chocolate Chip Zucchini, Banana Chip, Pumpkin Spice, and more.

Likewise, you can order other baked treats like Corn Bread, Buttermilk Biscuits, donuts, cakes, bars, cookies, and cinnamon rolls.

Drop by the Old Barn Market and Gluten Free Bakery from Tuesday to Saturday.

Play Rounds of Golf at the Ely Park Golf Course

For some friendly golf games, Ely Park Golf offers you challenging play with fantastic views to enjoy.

This 224-acre golf facility is located on Ridge Street and is operated by Indigo Golf Partners; it was also designed by Ernie Smith and was opened in 1933.

You’ll feel like a pro playing at this 18-hole par 71 golf course with its well-groomed fairways, rated at 69.4 and with a 115 slope rating.

If you want to practice and level up on your game, you can access the driving range, chipping area, and putting green.

They also have cart rentals and teaching classes available at the course, and you can sign up for tournaments, too.

In case you want to have a quick snack, Ely Park Golf Course also sells chips, pretzels, crackers, trail mix, and handhelds like hotdogs, donuts, muffins, and honey buns; you can also order drinks like soda, canned beer, seltzers, water, and energy drinks.

See the Spectacular LUMA Festival

One of the spectacular events you can enjoy in Binghamton is the LUMA Festival held in early September.

What was started by a film editor and street photographer back in 2015 has now become a much-awaited yearly downtown event.

Utilizing 3D animation, and powerful projectors, visitors will get to experience a huge outdoor art gallery, transforming structures and buildings into magnificent animated canvases.

From symphonies to live motion actors, the festival has something different for audiences each year.

Hop to one location and watch shows at your own pace to appreciate each presentation.

Join the crowd on this free show and be awed by the artistry at the LUMA Festival.

Join the Fun Spiedie Fest & Balloon Rally

Hot air balloon at Spiedie Fest & Balloon Rally
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A fun, family-oriented annual event, the Spiedie Fest & Balloon Rally held at Otsiningo Park is one you shouldn’t miss.

The local story goes back to 1983 when some families argued about who had the best spiedie recipe but ended the friendly competition by starting the annual Spiedie Fest Cooking Contest.

Spiedies, by the way, are marinated meat cubes cooked on a skewer and normally served up in a long roll; it's said to be the food that made Binghamton famous.

View of the Spiedie Fest & Balloon Rally
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In celebration of this popular food, this award-winning event happens for four days usually in the first week of August.

Aside from getting your fill of delicious spiedies, your family will enjoy lots of attractions like live music performances, shows, contests, and sports tournaments, plus rides and games your kids will enjoy.

Of course, you’ll get to watch more than 25 hot air balloons color the sky.

Have fun at the Spiedie Fest & Balloon Rally!

Colorful balloon at Spiedie Fest & Balloon Rally
Sean Murphy Studios / Shutterstock.com

Final Thoughts

Whether you want to spend time alone, go on museum tours, enjoy exquisite cuisine, or spend time with family and friends, Binghamton has a lot to offer.

There is no shortage of attractions to see and activities to do in this vibrant city.

Start planning your trip, and use this list of things to do in Binghamton, New York to guide you.

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