15 Best Things to Do in Rome, NY

Rome, NY
Mahmoud Suhail / shutterstock.com

When you first hear Rome, you immediately think of the city in Italy, but there’s also a same-named hidden gem in New York state.

Rome lies in Leatherstocking Country, which James Fenimore Cooper made famous in his “Leatherstocking Tales.”

Initially, it was an ancient portage site of Native Americans.

Over the centuries, Rome has witnessed various historical events, particularly in the American Revolution.

This place has a lot of things going for it, from history, good food, and fantastic scenery.

If you’re planning to visit, here are the best things to do in Rome, New York.

Visit Fort Stanwix National Monument

The grounds of Fort Stanwix National Monument
Mahmoud Suhail / Shutterstock.com

Fort Stanwix is “the fort that never surrendered.” s

It’s one of the most important historic sites in the area, and you should put it on top of your itinerary.

Once you get there, there are many things to do, so you won’t ever be bored.

Interior of a cabin at Fort Stanwix National Monument
Zack Frank / Shutterstock.com

You can browse various exhibits and displays to learn more about the monument’s history and the American Revolution.

You can also join a ranger-led tour of the area to learn more about the Fort Stanwix National Monument.

A canon displayed on the grounds of Fort Stanwix National Monument
Zack Frank / Shutterstock.com

Have a Casual Meal at Sugarbeets

On West Dominick Street, you’ll find Sugarbeets, which provides a contemporary casual dining experience that you need after a long day of traveling and sightseeing.

The place has an extensive menu filled with exciting and unique dishes to ensure patrons will never get tired of the food.

Try out their chicken parmesan or the grilled sirloin steak if you want something that truly represents the cooking skills of the restaurant’s staff.

They also have some baked cod and ravioli if you prefer those dishes instead.

However, one of the place's highlights is the cocktails they serve.

Check out their drinks menu and order whatever suits your fancy.

Satisfy your cravings at Sugarbeets!

Walk the Mohawk River Trail

If you’re looking for a pleasant walk, look no further than the Mohawk River Trail.

The path cuts through various residential areas, business districts, and historic areas and gives people a pleasant and relaxing experience.

Start your journey at Beacon Street and let the trail take you through the city.

While walking the Mohawk River Trail, you’ll get a glimpse of the city's heart.

Take in as much of your surroundings as possible and soak up the beauty and relaxing atmosphere.

Visit the Animals of Fort Rickey Discovery Zoo

A visit to the zoo is always a fun and exciting experience that you’ll never regret, and Fort Rickey is no different.

Enjoy many engaging activities and fun animal interactions designed to cater to people of all ages.

The Fort Rickey Discovery Zoo features daily hands-on presentations of their native and exotic animals.

Bring your kids to the petting zoo and give them the chance to feed and mingle with some deer in large scenic enclosures.

Dine at DeSalvo’s Catering and Restaurant

The owner and founder of DeSalvo’s, Richard DeSalvo, grew up in Rome, New York.

His roots give him a special connection with the community and a passion for serving the people there with unique dishes from family recipes.

The place offers elevated Italian-American classics and favorites designed to please every palate.

When you head to this restaurant, one of the first things you should try is their specialty pizzas.

DeSalvo's Catering and Restaurant offers a wide variety of topping options, and you can mix and match however you want.

You can also sample some of their amazing chicken wings by the pound.

Buy as much as you want since you can’t have enough wings in your diet.

Follow the Pitch Pine Bog Conservation Area And Nature Trail

The Pitch Pine Nature Trail is a popular trail for many people, whether for hiking, trail running, or simply walking.

It’s not a difficult trail, which is part of the appeal.

You can focus more on the lovely environment and appreciate the natural world's beauty.

To make the experience more fun, you can take your dog with you and even go without a leash in some areas.

The trail takes around an hour to complete, and the best time to visit is from April to November.

Try the Drinks at the Vine & Fig

Vine and Fig is Rome’s contemporary neighborhood restaurant that strives to give its patrons the best dining experience possible.

Whether you’re looking for a nice glass of New York state wine, some excellent craft beers, or just a nice meal to share with your loved ones, this is the place to visit.

Their meals use fresh ingredients plucked from the garden on their property.

You can taste all of their love and passion in every bite.

Head over there and have a pleasant, relaxed dinner with your traveling companions.

Order wine and pair it with some nice bacon crostini.

You can also order some snacks like pickled vegetables, beef jerky, or marinated olives if you’re looking for a much lighter meal.

With these casual and eclectic dishes, you’re sure to have an exciting and unique food journey you won’t find anywhere else.

Give the Vine & Fig a shot and partake in the adventure you’ll find there.

Learn the Local History From the Rome Historical Society

Learning local history is one of the best ways to get to know any place you’re visiting, and Rome has had a long and interesting one.

The State Board of Regents chartered the Rome Historical Society to foster historical study and share what they’ve learned with as many people as possible.

If you’re interested in history, this is the place you should visit Rome Historical Society.

They can point you to the many historic sites in the area and tell you stories you won’t learn from casual research.

Go to the Bellamy Harbor Park

View of a bridge at Bellamy Harbor Park
Mahmoud Suhail / Shutterstock.com

You'll find Bellamy Harbor Park next to the Mohawk River, Erie, and Barge Canals.

They dug the first few shovelfuls of earth that would ultimately become the Erie Canal near this area.

As a result, the harbor park has a lot of historical significance to the community.

The waters of Bellamy Harbor Park
Mahmoud Suhail / Shutterstock.com

The place has a kayak launch for people who’d want to explore the canal further.

If you’re not interested, the Bellamy Harbor Park is also bike friendly, so you have an alternative way of getting around.

There are also a lot of park trails that connect to this place, making it a great starting point if you want to explore Rome further.

View from Bellamy Harbor Park's bridge
Mahmoud Suhail / Shutterstock.com

See the H. P. Sears Oil Co., Inc. Service Station Museum

The H.P Sears Oil Co. Inc Service Station Museum is a one-of-a-kind service station that opened in 1929.

After a full restoration, it is a testament to the good old days and the different aesthetics and technology of the period.

The station holds much historical significance in Rome as the second of many oil company stations.

The Sears Service Station Museum is hard to miss.

Outside, you’ll find a pair of clock face gas pumps and two authentic light poles and fixtures sitting between them like two silent guardians.

You’ll also see a bright red oil change pit, which patrons of the station used over seventy-five years ago!

Likewise, you’ll find more of these historical artifacts the more you explore.

Go back to a time long gone and imagine what it was like to live in that era.

Get some station memorabilia to decorate your home.

Try the Pizzas of Dicastro’s Brick Oven

Food is what Dicastro does best.

They serve the only wood-fired brick oven pizza in the area, giving the place a distinct niche in their community.

They also specialize in various house-made pasta and sauces, and you can also choose from their gluten-free menu.

Dicastro’s pizzas come in many flavors, so you can be sure there’s at least one you’ll fall in love with.

Try out the four cheese, chicken bacon ranch, or bee sting pizza if you’re looking for a great meal.

Watch a Play at the Rome Community Theater

Community theaters are unique and exciting places to visit, allowing you to see lesser-known talents from the local area.

Watch some of your favorite plays and shows and see these smaller productions' unique takes.

Each theater group has its interpretations and identity.

It’s always an excellent experience to see new and unique variations of old and well-loved stories.

The Rome Community Theater has shows going on year-round, so if you’re looking to catch a particular play, make sure you plan accordingly.

Explore the Rome Sand Plains Unique Area

The Rome Sand Plains Unique Area is a great place to visit if you want to do some hiking and outdoor exploration.

There are a lot of trails to follow, ranging in difficulty, so you can find one you’re most comfortable with and go with that.

One of the trails you can follow is the Sand Dune Trail, which starts at a former mining pit.

You’ll find yourself walking along old wood roads and logging paths filled with pitch pines.

These pines keep the dunes stable against the westerly wind.

Spend the day at the Rome Sand Plains Unique Area.

Try the Food From the Boyz From Italy

For over 20 years, the family-owned Boyz from Italy has served its patrons with the best dining experience imaginable.

They pride themselves on their homemade Italian dishes made using family recipes passed down from generation to generation.

They’re also proud of their New York-style hand-tossed pizza.

Sample their menu and start with a delectable appetizer, such as chicken tenders, fried cauliflower, or garlic bread.

Then, oder some salad or soup to pair with the restaurant’s specialty pizzas or some of their Italian specialties.

Don’t forget to complete your meal with some refreshing and incredible drinks.

Grab a hearty meal at Boyz from Italy!

Visit Fort Bull and Fort Wood Creek

The British built two forts in 1755 to protect the two ends of the Oneida Carrying Place, a strategic land portage between Wood Creek and the Mohawk river.

These two forts are Fort Bull and Fort Wood Creek.

The place has an exciting historical position, an excellent destination for people interested in learning more about the local area’s history.

If you want to visit, call ahead and book an appointment to secure a schedule.

Dine at La Roma Pizzeria

Don’t forget to try New York pizza while you’re there.

Of course, you have to go to the place that offers the best.

For more than 33 years, La Roma has provided the residents and visitors of Rome with exquisite pizza and other Italian dishes.

Using his old family recipes, the owner and founder of this restaurant have created Italian dishes that are absolutely to die for.

Try out specialty pizzas, such as homemade lasagna or stuffed shells, to get a perfect sense of the restaurant's flavors.

You can also sample their lunch specials or family packs if you’re eating with many people.

Make sure everyone gets a fair share from the Boyz from Italy’s generous servings.

Final Thoughts

With so many things to do, a visit to Rome can seem overwhelming, so remember to take it slow.

You have all the time in the world.

Sticking to a relaxed and pleasant pace is the best way to have a trip.

Eat all the food you want, and visit all the sites in the area.

It may not be as famous as the city in Italy, but it’s just as exciting and magical.

Book your trip today and try the many things to do in Rome.