Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Corning, NY

  • Published 2022/07/04

Corning, also known as the “Crystal City,” is a small city in New York’s Steuben County.

It is renowned for its developed glass industry and advanced technology methods.

Corning is home to the famous Corning Inc., which is one of the top 500 Fortune companies.

The city has its own glory and glamour, thanks to its stunning surroundings.

Even though the community is small, it is very friendly and welcoming.

Here are the best things to do in Corning, New York:

Fall in Love with Glass Art at the Corning Museum of Glass

Interior of the Corning Museum of Glass

AP Group of Photographers /

The Corning Museum of Glass opened in 1951 and has been a world-famous tourist attraction ever since its establishment.

Not like a conventional art museum, this one is known for displaying glass artwork and holding exhibitions all about glass.

In a nutshell, the Corning Museum of Glass is all about the glass industry’s past, present, and future.

Its recent expansion involved the addition of a 100,000-square-foot area dedicated entirely to modern glass art and glass technologies.

This new part of the museum is designed in such a manner that visitors may admire the exhibitions under natural light.

Exterior of the Corning Museum of Glass

Kit Leong /

Skylight and natural lighting are the building’s main sources of light.

Demonstrations on the process of converting glass into art are held here on a daily basis.

You can actually participate and enjoy the process of making glass art.

The museum also organizes workshops and classes in which you can prepare your own items.

The place is definitely very fun and exciting to visit.

View of Corning Museum of Glass' gift shop

Kit Leong /

Explore the Heritage Village of Southern Finger Lakes

The Heritage Village of Southern Finger Lakes may seem like a small and unexciting area at first glance, but you will be surprised to learn how much this tiny village offers.

From some of the best restaurants to breathtaking views, the heritage village is nothing less than a perfect place.

The village is set up in a kind of a vintage vibe that makes you understand why it is named the way it is.

For some exciting activities, you can start by joining a workshop at a blacksmith shop like Cooley Blacksmith Shop.

In addition, the shop uses only traditional methods, setting it apart from the other shops in the village.

You can also enjoy food and some homemade cookies at the Benjamin Patterson Inn.

The Heritage Village of Southern Finger Lakes organizes a lot of events on a regular basis.

With different themes, these events give participants the opportunity to explore their creative sides.

Admire the Amazing Works of Art at The Rockwell Museum

Exterior of the Rockwell museum

Brian Logan Photography /

The Rockwell Museum is located in the City Hall building and is famous for its unique and beautiful collection of Native American art.

The museum has permanent as well as rotating exhibitions, but these are a bit different from regular exhibitions.

The collection displayed in these exhibitions is extraordinary and rotates only twice or thrice a year.

Side facade of The Rockwell Museum


What makes this museum famous among visitors is that it allows you to understand art in its true form even if you are not an art student.

The entire museum is covered with art pieces from different places, allowing you to educate yourself about American art.

The Rockwell Museum displays works of some of the most famous Native American artists, including Tommy Garcia and Albert Bierstadt.

You can also join the museum’s special art events, concerts, workshops, and more.

Shop till You Drop at Corning’s Gaffer District

Welcome sign of Corning's Gaffer District

Spiroview Inc /

Corning’s Gaffer District, located downtown, is the perfect place for shopping and collecting new things.

The place is named after master glass blowers known as Gaffers.

The district is filled with beautiful streets that are loaded with lovely restaurants and boutiques.

A storefront at Corning's Gaffer District

Spiroview Inc /

Even if you are not much of a shopper, the place is still good for exploring due to its historical setup.

The streets are full of natives and will give you a chance to communicate with one or a couple of them.

While in this part of the city, you should definitely not miss grabbing a cup of coffee from Market Street Coffee and Tea, which is hands down the best coffee shop in the area.

The market is very well-managed and offers affordable items.

Buildings of Corning's Gaffer District

Spiroview Inc /

Enjoy a Satisfying Meal at Hand + Foot

Hand + Foot is one of the best places to have lunch in the city.

The restaurant is located on W Market Street and offers an extensive menu with dishes that will appeal to every palate.

Whether you are a fitness lover or are crazy about eating junk, Hand + Foot has got you covered.

Some of this restaurant’s best and top recommended dishes include its artichoke, pretzel bread, tostones, and tuna poke.

Moreover, the place boasts a simple yet beautiful boho design that you’ll love capturing in photos.

Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth at Poppleton Bakery and Cafe

Poppleton Bakery and Cafe is famous for serving some of the best homemade desserts, soups, crepes, and salads in the entire city.

The place opened in 2013 and has been a major attraction in the city since then.

All the items of this bakery are made from scratch, without any preservatives or additives.

They use some of the best quality ingredients, which are procured from local producers in the city.

All the food is made by hand, and the servings are prepared with a lot of love and expertise.

Poppleton Bakery and Cafe is the perfect place to satisfy your sweet tooth.

You can be assured that whatever you order on the menu is going to be delicious and will uplift your mood.

Grab an Ice-Cold Beer at Market Street Brewing Co.

Market Street Brewing Co. is one of the most famous places in the city for grabbing delicious beers.

The brewing company has a very friendly and welcoming staff and an excellent music collection.

The vibe of this place is quite cozy and will definitely make you feel at home.

The building in which Market Street brewing is located has also won the prestigious PAN Award for its outstanding architecture and historical structure.

Try the Exquisite Food and Drinks at The Cellar

The Cellar is the best restaurant in the city when it comes to the number of options and the dishes they serve.

Along with delicious food, the place also serves tasty wines and unique cocktails.

You should also try their martinis, as those are magnificently good.

Just like their food menu, The Cellar’s drinks menu is also extensive, allowing you to choose from a wide variety of spirits.

Dig into Melt-in-Your-Mouth Desserts at Dippity Do Dahs Homemade Ice Cream

For all those people who do not consider their meal complete without dessert, Dippity Do Dahs Homemade Ice Cream is the place to visit.

This ice cream parlor offers its diners nothing less than bliss.

It serves various types of ice cream, such as sundaes, shakes, ice cream sandwiches, waffle cones, and more.

With its beautiful and colorful desserts, Dippity Do Dahs Homemade Ice Cream will definitely have a special place in your heart.

Get Tickets to a Movie Screening at Palace Theatre

Corning’s Palace Theatre is different from your usual multiplexes and cinema screens.

The theater is famous for screening movies with the most comfortable and efficient arrangement, along with an aesthetic and old-world vibe.

Palace Theatre is divided into two smaller theatres.

While it was established in the 18th century, it was only opened for entertainment purposes in 2009.

Later, modern facilities such as recliner chairs and tables were added to make it more comfortable.

Palace Theatre is one of the most famous theaters for watching movie shows in Corning, and you should definitely give it a try.

Have a Few Moments of Peace at St. Mary’s Church

St. Mary’s Church is one of the most respected places in the city of Corning.

The city’s people consider the church to be the ultimate home of God.

Its atmosphere is very serene and holy, making it very peaceful.

The church is also famous for its architecture and engineering.

Upon visiting the church, you will be surprised by its precisely made architecture.

The priests and staff at the church are very humble, and you can meet them personally after 4:00 p.m.

This place is a definite must-visit if you are looking for some positivity and motivation in your life.

Admire the View of the City from Little Joe Tower

Daytime view of Little Joe Tower

Kit Leong /

Corning is home to the famed Little Joe Tower, which served as the city’s trademark until 1989, when it was replaced with a new design.

The tower was created in 1912 to meet the needs of the majority of the Corning tubing industry.

Aerial view of Little Joe Tower

Kit Leong /

You can’t miss it, with an iconic glassblower silhouette painted on one of the city’s best-known structures.

Attractions like the undulating hills, stunning historic area, and quaint hamlet situated in the valley are all within driving distance from the tower.

Photographing the Corning skyline with the iconic “Little Joe” in the foreground is a unique way to commemorate the city’s role in developing the glass industry.

Gaze at Amazing Artworks at West End Gallery

Corning has a vibrant art scene, and West End Gallery is one of its testaments.

It’s easy to fit a quick stop at this gallery into your itinerary of must-see attractions in New York.

The family-owned firm in Corning has been in operation for 44 years and showcases stunning sculptures, paintings, jewelry, and glass.

Displays and excellent artwork by more than 50 renowned artists are displayed at the gallery’s well-known exhibits.

Walk-ins are always welcome at the gallery, which is open from Tuesday through Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. for special appointments and space bookings.

Get Active at Park Avenue Sports Center

Park Avenue Sports Center offers a wide range of athletic activities, from golf to hockey to water sports.

It is located in the heart of Corning, making it an ideal location for a sports facility.

Championship mini-golf holes are scattered around the center, surrounded by raised grass and trees with a stunning waterfall motif.

If you’re looking for a fun way to spend time with your friends and family and perhaps meet new people in the park, the Water War is a great option.

Interested groups may also use the park’s sophisticated banquet and event arena, which caters to various events, including weddings, birthdays, family reunions, and more.

Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth at Dimitri’s Confectionery Treats

Suppose you’re looking for something new to do in Corning.

Dimitri’s Confectionery Treats is a great place to do just that.

The store was established by Themistocles James Dimitri in 1916.

Dimitri’s Confectionery Treats provides a wide variety of sweets, including classic and modern favorites, gift baskets, handcrafted Ghirardelli dipped treats, and more.

The candy shop has over 60 years of expertise in the sector, making it one of the city’s most popular candy businesses.

Thanks to its chocolate trails and other specific items, Dimitri’s Confectionery Treats is one of the city’s main attractions.

Corning’s popular candy shop is a lovely place to unwind and enjoy yourself.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Spend Time at the Tranquil Keuka Lake

Aerial view of Keuka Lake

antsdrone /

One of the most famous places for water adventure sports, Keuka Lake is a perfect spot to start your mornings.

A 40-minute drive away from Corning, this serene spot is definitely worth the side trip.

The environment around the lake is very still and calm.

The lake is also ideal for water adventure games such as kayaking and paddle boarding.

A boat docked at Keuka Lake

antsdrone /

Keuka Lake is calm and safe, with no risk of high waves.

The best part about this lake is that rental facilities for kayaking, boating, paddle boarding, and many more activities are available here.

Different types of boats using various technologies are made available by Keuka Watersports.

Even if you just want to enjoy some quiet time and walk around in a cool breezy environment, Keuka Lake is the perfect place for you.

The calm waters of Keuka Lake

Bruce Goerlitz Photo /

Experience Goat Yoga at ZiegenVine Homestead

Trying out goat yoga is a unique way to spend your downtime while you’re on vacation in corning.

A famous goat farm, ZiegenVine Homestead is a place that allows you to enjoy yoga with goats.

Located 20 minutes away from Corning, the farm is not only famous for organizing this unique type of yoga practice but is also renowned for breeding a variety of livestock.

ZiegenVine Homestead breeds goats, pigs, chickens, turkeys, and cows on a very scenic property located in the southern Finger Lakes region.

The farm is the perfect place to reconnect with nature and feel the peace and energy from within.

Learn about Aviation History and Ride a Glider at the National Soaring Museum

Aircrafts displayed on the grounds of National Soaring Museum


Located between Corning and Elmira, the National Soaring Museum helps visitors understand the history, science and technology behind aircraft and flying mechanisms.

The museum has an extensive collection of gliders from the past and the present.

Some of the gliders date back to the 19th century, while others are still being used in the present-day aviation field.

The museum also highlights the events, individuals, and sites that were important during the course of the development of motor-less flights.

What makes this experience more interesting is that you can ride a glider and admire the views of this beautiful city from the sky.

Whether you’re a local or a visitor, you can become a member of this museum and contribute to preserving the history of soaring high in the sky.

Go Back in Time at the National Warplane Museum

The National Warplane Museum is an hour’s drive from Corning, near Horseheads.

Specifically located in the town of Geneseo, the museum is famous among people who are interested in military and war history.

The museum was opened with the primary objective of preserving artifacts that were used during the First World War and the Korean War.

The National Warplane Museum has a collection of 20 airplanes in total.

What makes it more interesting is that the planes are still operational today.

Along with the planes, you can also find other articles of war gear such as bombers, missiles, flight simulators, as well as some military trucks.

Final Thoughts

Corning, New York, is a great place to visit because of all the things you can do, learn, and see around the area.

The city has something that every type of traveler will love: beautiful structures, numerous outdoor activities, a vibrant music scene, and well-known shopping shops and vineyards where visitors can rest and enjoy.

Numerous public museums and libraries also make it a fantastic destination for scholars and educators.

Whatever type of vacation you’re after, this city promises you an enjoyable and memorable experience.

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