15 Best Things to Do in Cooperstown, NY

Cooperstown, NY

America’s quintessential village, in central New York state, Cooperstown is famous as baseball’s birthplace.

This beautiful little place is home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the Abner Doubleday Field, and the world’s only baseball wax museum!

Even if you are not a baseball fan, however, Cooperstown is the perfect home away from home, with beautiful scenery, a vibrant and eclectic fine arts scene, and living history surrounding you.

Visit New York state’s perfect village and enjoy their excellent food, the comfortable accommodations, amazing craft brews, and all the baseball your heart desires.

Take a look at everything waiting for you in Cooperstown:

National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
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Even if you are not a baseball fan, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown is an American icon.

It deserves to be first on this list.

Situated on Cooperstown’s Main Street, it was first established in 1936 and is a homage to the honorable history of baseball, and all the brilliant sportspeople who played it.

The Museum protects thousands of artefacts, such as photographs and other physical mentos.

These tell the history of the game.

Amongst these is Babe Ruth’s glove preserved from the 1926 World Series and Derek Jeter’s batting helmet.

The Museum’s digital collection is also extensive, and offers a glimpse into the countless moments of brilliance preserved in the Archives.

Heroes of Baseball Wax Museum

The world’s only baseball Wax Museum has amazing life size wax figures from baseball history as well as from Hollywood.

You will see Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jackie Robinson, Micky Mantle and many others.

Just a little further on you will also see Hollywood’s iconic Marilyn Monroe, and Abbott and Costello!

It also features a virtual reality batting cage and a fun “bloopers” show from baseball history.

Enjoy seeing your heroes in lifelike avatars!

Otsego Lake

Otsego Lake
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No visit to Cooperstown can be remotely complete without a stroll down to the Otsego Lake.

Nine metres long, it is the center of the town, and a beautiful place to boat, fish, or merely walk around and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.

It is an amazing place to float for an afternoon, watching the local wildlife from your boat.

For fishing enthusiasts, the Otsego Lake permits ice fishing, and has excellent facilities for smallmouth bass fishing and lake trout fishing.

In the winter, you can also show off your skills at ice skating.

Other places to visit nearby include the Canadarago Boat Launch, the Hyde Hall site, and Betty & Wilbur Davis State Park.

Glimmerglass State Park

Hyde Hall in Glimmerglass State Park
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While you visit Otsego Lake, you must also take the time to go to Glimmerglass State Park.

Only eight short miles out of Cooperstown, the Glimmerglass takes its name from James Fenimore Cooper's Leatherstocking Tales.

The idyllic location is partially forested and has wildlife flitting through it.

The lake aside, a slow walk through the ascent of the park will also give you glimpses of the Beaver Pond and a variety of wild animals and plants.

The Beaver Pond Nature Trail, the Hyde Hall, and the Covered Bridge are all beloved visitor’s spots.

In the winter, you can try out a variety of winter sports including cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, winter hiking, and so on.

In the summer, it is possible to biking, hiking, and picnicking.

Visitors who love a bit of outdoors adventure can also try camping, and enjoy the park’s picnic table and fire ring facilities.

Wood Bull Antiques

Owned by Kip and Judith Coburn, this has been called a “picker’s paradise.

” The barn dates back to 1880 and has been renovated with love by the couple.

It now has about 60 rooms, sprawling out over four floors.

There are a dazzling number of pieces around, the owners once provided a ballpark figure of a hundred thousand pieces.

However, the rooms are arranged carefully, displaying each curio to best effect.

Even if you do not find something you wish to buy, you can take time to just wander around and enjoy the effect of the pieces.

On a nice morning, you can also roam around the four acres of garden that are equally interesting, with waterbodies, statuary, unusual paths, and sculptures all arranged for your viewing pleasure.

Glimmerglass Festival

Glimmerglass calls itself a professional non-profit summer opera company.

It is dedicated to discovering and producing little-known operas or producing innovative versions of familiar pieces.

A thriving center of art and music, the Glimmerglass Festival is unmissable for aficionados of theatre and art.

The Glimmerglass Festival has a strong community base, and a mission to give back to the community.

Every year, if you reach at the right time, you will also have the chance to see the youth of the region putting on the Youth Opera.

Even if you aren’t a huge theatre fan, the shows are always worth a visit for the cheerful and compelling atmosphere along with the immense creativity that is put into every show.

Fly Creek Cider Mill & Orchard

With a long and distinguished history going back over 150 years, the Fly Creek Cider Mill and Orchard is an area of rich heritage.

It is also an amazing place to sit and have a drink.

For kids, there is a play area, called Tractorland, with a paved track and a wooden tractor, where they can spend their youthful energy.

Meanwhile, you and your fellow adults can relax, or explore the extensive collection of vintage John Deere equipment.

For those of you who really appreciate a good drink, the Cooperstown Beverage Trail Tour will take you to four historic spots.

Do not miss New York State’s first official cuisine trail.

Origins Café at Carefree Garden

Origins Café is the center of a garden of Eden, lush foliage and greenery creates a wonderful atmosphere for you to enjoy your delicious and healthy food!

The menu changes with the seasons to keep the freshest and most enjoyable local food on your plate.

The cafe is completely vegan and vegetarian friendly, with organic produce and plenty of tasty gluten-free options.

Once you have finished your lunch, you can take a look at the greenhouse.

It has a rich variety of plants you can take home to put on your desk, or give as a gift!

Fenimore Art Museum

Fenimore Art Museum
Beyond My Ken, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Closely associated with its sister organization, The Farmers’ Museum, the Fenimore Art Museum is a bastion of folk art and Native American art.

It was established in 1899 to promote an interest in the early history of New York state.

Over the years it slowly developed into its present form due to the support of many people, including the well-known collector Stephen Carlton Clark.

Built on the site of James Fenimore Cooper’s farmhouse on the shore of Otsego Lake, the gorgeous neo-Georgian structure and its beautiful scenery are as impressive as the art collection it hosts.

They have many events suitable for children as well, and a few that are suitable for the entire family.

Abner Doubleday Baseball Field

Abner Doubleday Baseball Field
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Another unmissable spot of baseball history, the Abner Doubleday Baseball Field is known to all those who love America's beloved game.

In 1907, it was declared that “the first scheme for playing baseball,” was probably devised by Abner Doubleday right here at Cooperstown.

The community of Cooperstown sought for a way to immortalise this piece of their history.

In 1916, on President John Tener’s suggestion, a ground that was once believed to have hosted the first game of baseball was turned into a memorial to Doubleday.

In the present day, the field has seating for over 9000 people and is a historic stadium for baseball teams.

Even if you can’t watch a match, it is worth a visit just to look at the beautiful stadium surrounded by majestic trees.

Farmers’ Museum

Farmers’ Museum
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It would be wrong to assume that just because Cooperstown is the heart of baseball, that baseball is all there is to this charming town.

Along with the vibrant art scene typified by the Glimmerglass opera and the Fenimore Art Museum, the deep roots and heritage of rural America is preserved in the Farmers’ Museum.

Visitors have the opportunity to learn about the daily life in rural American in the mid-1800s.

The Historic Village is about 19th-century life, comprising real buildings that were gathered from rural towns from all over the state and restored brick by brick in their new home.

You can now enjoy seeing what a real smithy from the 1840s would have looked like!

For those fascinated by the history of brewing, a recent exhibit from 2019 depicts the history of brewing, hops and barley in New York State.

The Museum is fantastic at bringing in visitors through activities and demonstrations, and children are always excited by the farm animals and the opportunity to travel on horse-drawn wagons.

Cooperstown Bat Company

The Home of Baseball also has the home of baseball bat creators, the Cooperstown Bat Company.

The company was established in 1981 and is the third oldest bat company in the entire country!

While the company is still majorly focused on creating professional bats for players, they are also well-known for making custom bats with laser engravings.

You can request a history of the company and also have a custom bat made for you or for a friend.

You can also find out more about the surprisingly fascinating details of how professional bats are made.

The company creates bats from woods like hand split maple, ash, and yellow birch, all of which, according to them, are from a 350 mile radius of the town.

They also swear by the Route 20 Maple which are widely considered the best wood for baseball bats.

Howe Caverns

Howe Caverns
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How can you go to Cooperstown and not approach America’s second most popular natural attraction.

The first is Niagara Falls, and right here in Cooperstown you can go a hundred feet below the ground to visit the second.

The Howe Caverns tours are family-friendly and they pride themselves in offering cave activities which don’t require you to bring advanced gear.

They also offer fun escape rooms!

The Howe Caverns tour starts by moving 156 ft below the earth’s surface.

The tour will take you through amazing carved limestone galleries to a subterranean riverbed.

The history of the earth will be open in front of you as your guide describes the geology you are walking through.

The Lake of Venus is a particular favorite for visitors.

Barnyard Swing Mini Golf

For people with kids, this is a heaven-sent.

Not only are there plenty of activities for the whole family, there is also a chance to enjoy yourself with beer on tap, sodas and seltzers.

Their mission and vision is to provide groups and families with memories that they will keep through their entire lives.

Amongst others, you have a chance to enjoy a 18 hole course of Mini Golf, laser tag, and gem mining!

The gem mining mimics the California gold rush and is a game where you pan for gems in a water sluice.

When you’re all tired out, enjoy sundaes and cones from the sassy cow creamery!

They also pride themselves on being community-based and get all of their ingredients from local sources.

How can you not love it?

Guided Yoga with Goats

The final thing on the list may be unexpected, but I promise that you will love it.

Visit the Gilbersville Farmhouse to enjoy yourself with baby goats, and enjoy the view of Catskill Mountains.

This is held on over 125 acres of farmland and promises to be a relaxing and amazing end to your vacation.

It is a guided yoga glass, with cute baby goats.

The friendly little goats are amazing for lifting your mood as they will walk around making you smile as you attempt your yoga poses.

There is lodging for guests, a glamping village and even a boutique style farmhouse!