17 Best Things to Do in Waterloo, NY

Waterloo, NY
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The picturesque village of Waterloo in New York is in the heart of the Finger Lakes Region.

This quaint community is between Seneca and Cayuga Lakes and is known for its small-village charm.

The village features shops, restaurants, cafes, art galleries, and museums.

The Seneca Lake State Park Trail, which offers breathtaking Lake viewpoints, is great for hiking and riding.

Waterloo is on the East part of Geneva and is also the county seat of Seneca County.

Here are the best things to do in Waterloo, NY:

Sample Local Wines at the Seneca Lake Wine Trail

View of a vineyard along Seneca Lake Wine Trail
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Sharpen your wine tasting skills at one of the many wineries along the Seneca Lake Wine Trail.

The wine trail is the oldest and most developed in New York State, with more than 30 wineries.

The Seneca Lake Wine Trail offers a variety of wines, from dry reds to sweet whites.

Take the trip, and you'll find a wine that you'll love.

Ripe grapes at Seneca Lake Wine Trail's vineyard
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The Seneca Lake Wine Trail offers tours and tastings, so you can learn about the wine-making process while enjoying your favorite Seneca Lake wine.

You'll cherish unforgettable memories in a stunning Tuscan setting with views of Seneca Lake and vineyards.

Partake in wine tastings along the Seneca Lake Wine Trail.

View of seneca lake from Seneca Lake Wine Trail
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Shop Till You Drop at the Waterloo Premium Outlets

The Waterloo Premium Outlets offer over 70 brand-name stores, including Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, J. Crew, and Nike.

The outlet center is open all year, with different products available in one location.

You'll get many shopping deals, with savings of up to 65% off at stores like Ann Taylor, J. Crew, and Nike.

There are restaurants and cafes within the outlet center.

Premium Outlets is between Rochester and Syracuse, so it's the perfect place to stop for some shopping if you're passing through.

Take Photographs at the Seneca Lake State Park

Lakeside trail of Seneca Lake State Park
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The Seneca Lake State Park is a 3,000-acre state park that offers a variety of recreational activities.

You can find it in Geneva, New York, nine minutes from Waterloo.

The 141-acre Seneca Lake State Park was opened in 1957.

The park has a Sprayground, the first of its kind; it has more than 100 water jets that provide a cool mist on hot days.

The park has an adjacent playground, two excellent marinas, and a swimming beach.

The Seneca Lake State Park also has six pavilions/rented tents perfect for family gatherings or corporate events.

Celebrate National Memorial Day

Waterloo is the birthplace of Memorial Day, and every year on May 30, the village celebrates this national holiday with a large parade.

The New York druggist Henry C. Well organized the first Memorial Day in Waterloo in 1866.

He also suggested that the villagers decorate the graves.

However, they did not heed Well until he collaborated with Gen. John B. Murray and others to plan a formal event.

The first Memorial Day Parade happened in Waterloo on May 5, 1866.

The people of Waterloo have remembered it for 150 years, marking the occasion with celebrations, prayers, and parades.

There was a grand parade with marching bands and soldiers in uniform.

Likewise, the parade featured marching bands, floats, classic cars, military vehicles, and more.

After the parade, there's a ceremony conducted at Waterloo's Memorial Park that honors local veterans.

Booths and food vendors abound.

You can also attend an exceptional memorial service for veterans and civil war soldiers.

Explore the Shops along Waterloo's Main Street

Buildings along Waterloo's Main Street
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Waterloo's Main Street is lined with quaint shops.

Many family-owned businesses are passed down through generations.

The street is also home to restaurants, cafes, and bakeries.

Some shops on Main Street include the Waterloo Outlet Center, which features brand-name stores.

Also located on Main Street is the Seneca Falls Antique Mall, with over 50 dealers selling various items.

You can also explore the Waterloo Depot Museum, housed in a historic train depot.

From Locust Street on the western end to Church Street on the eastern end, Main Street's commercial district spans a distance of 0.3 miles.

Main Street is the perfect place to stroll and window shop.

You're sure to find something unique to bring home with you.

Step Back in Time at the Oak Island

One of the bloody battles during the Civil War happened on Waterloo's Oak Island.

Find it in the M'Clintock House and the American Civil War Monument, found on Locust Street.

During Memorial Day celebrations, Waterloo organizes a living history camp on Oak Island.

Reenactors set up encampments in the same areas as the actual Civil War soldiers.

Explore the camp and learn what life was like during that period.

The event also features a parade, one of the largest in New York State.

There will be musket cleaning and cannon firing, cooking, kid-friendly games and crafts, and live entertainment.

Learn about the history of Waterloo at the Seneca Museum of Waterways and Industry, located on Fall Street.

Discover the Peter Whitmer Log Home

Exterior of the Peter Whitmer Log Home
Jake from Utah, United States, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Peter Whitmer Log Home is a historic log cabin built in 1807.

The log cabin was the home of Peter Whitmer, Sr., one of the eight men who approved the Articles of Incorporation for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The Peter Whitmer Log Home is a replica of the original cabin.

The log cabin is open for tours, and you can learn about the life of Peter Whitmer and his family.

You'll explore a late 1900s structure and its furniture, and you'll get a new appreciation for its past.

Children will find these antiques fascinating makes this one of the best things to do with them.

Take a Ride on the Finger Lakes Scenic Railway

The Finger Lakes Scenic Railway is a vintage train that takes you on a journey through the Finger Lakes region.

The train runs from mid-April to mid-December and departs from Waterloo, New York.

You can find it in Geneva, New York, nine minutes from Waterloo.

The two-hour ride takes you through the picturesque region, and you'll see the stunning scenery of Seneca Lake.

Enjoy a delicious meal while riding a train along the Finger Lakes Scenic Railway.

The Finger Lakes Railway is a great way to experience the Finger Lakes region and fall in love with the stunning fall foliage, and it's perfect for all ages.

Enjoy the Thrill at the Del Lago Resort & Casino

The del Lago Resort & Casino is the perfect place to enjoy the thrills of casino gaming and horse racing.

The resort features slot machines and table games such as blackjack, roulette, and poker.

The del Lago Resort & Casino Vine Showroom will let you see the newest comedy and entertainment performances.

The Vine, chosen as 2019's Showroom of the Year, offers the best acoustics of any local entertainment venue in the village.

You can go to the Sociale Cafe Bar for a custom cocktail during a night out.

The del Lago Resort & Casino is a great place to relax and enjoy the company of your friends.

Explore the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge

Scenic view of Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge
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The Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge is a refuge established in 1938.

The 10,000-acre refuge is home to various wildlife, including bald eagles, ospreys, herons, and migrating waterfowl.

It's in Seneca Falls, New York, 14 minutes from Waterloo.

Part of the Atlantic Flyway, Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge is a popular stopover for migrating birds.

Great egret on Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge's water
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The refuge also has a 3.5-mile self-guided auto tour, which is a great way to see the refuge's diverse wildlife.

The refuge is located east of Seneca Falls and is a great place to go for a nature hike or a leisurely walk.

The Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge is open year-round and offers a variety of activities, including hiking, fishing, hunting, and bird watching.

A chipmunk eating a nut at Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge
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Capture the Finger Lakes Experience at the Cayuga-Seneca Canal Trail

The tree-lined corridor of the Cayuga-Seneca Trail has a wide, level stone-dust path that is enjoyable for running, walking, and riding.

The 6.7-mile trail will take you through farmland, small towns, and the Cayuga-Seneca Canal.

The Cayuga-Seneca Trail, a perfect miniature of the Finger Lakes region itself, allows travelers to experience almost every terrain imaginable in one location.

The Trail is ideal for hiking, running, riding, or simply strolling through a beautiful unobstructed landscape.

Find waterways, such as lakes and canals, marshes that burst with life, tranquil woodlands, and agricultural fields.

These areas showcase the trail's farms and wineries.

You might spot kayakers and boats if you can see the Cayuga-Seneca Canal through the woods.

The Cayuga-Seneca Canal links Cayuga Lake and Seneca Lake to the Erie Canal, which means you can continue your journey by boat if you want.

Enjoy a Day at the Lafayette Park

Situated near the courthouse, Lafayette Park is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the outdoors.

The park cannons are a replica of the guns used during the Battle of Waterloo.

The park also has a playground, basketball courts, and a picnic shelter.

In the winter, Lafayette Park turns into a Winter Wonderland.

Slide down a sledding hill and skate around an ice rink.

During the summer, the park's fountain is a great place to cool off.

Lafayette Park is a great place to bring the kids or to enjoy with your friends.

Lafayette Park is also home to various events, including the Waterloo Festival for the Arts and the Waterloo Summer Concert Series.

The park is excellent for bringing the family for a picnic or enjoying the fresh air.

Discover the Serenity of the Cayuga–Seneca Canal

Daytime view of Cayuga–Seneca Canal
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The Cayuga–Seneca Canal is a 20-mile canal that connects the Finger Lakes region to the Erie Canal.

It's in Seneca Falls, New York, 12 minutes from Waterloo.

Formerly known as the Seneca River, the Cayuga-Seneca Canal has historically been a vital part of the economy for Waterloo and Seneca Falls.

Built in 1825, the Seneca River, now the Cayuga-Seneca Canal, is one of the oldest canals in North America.

Lock three of Cayuga–Seneca Canal
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The 9,800-acre wetland area is one of the best places to see waterfowl.

In mid-May, you'll see migrating warblers and songbirds.

The Cayuga–Seneca Canal is also where you can walk, bike, relax, and enjoy the scenery.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Visit the Women's Rights National Historical Park

Women's Rights National Historical Park's statue
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Founded in 1980, the 6.83-acre Women's Rights National Historical Park is in Seneca Falls, New York.

It's just seven minutes from Waterloo.

The Women's Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls tells the story of the women's rights movement.

The Women's Rights National Historical Park is in the heart of the Finger Lakes region and is adjacent to Seneca Falls.

Exterior of Women's Rights National Historical Park's convention
Kenneth C. Zirkel, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You can find the First Wave in the Visitor Center lobby.

This piece is a bronze sculpture of twenty people symbolizing both men and women who attended the first Women's Rights Convention.

The park features a variety of exhibits, including the Seneca Falls Convention Center, which is the site of the first women's rights convention.

The park features a Visitor Center, which is a great place to learn more about the history of the women's rights movement.

Interior of Cady Stanton home at Women's Rights National Historical Park
Jane023, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Bond with Family at the Roseland Waterpark

Roseland Waterpark, a 56-acre water adventure, is a great place to take the family for a fun day.

You'll find it in Canandaigua, New York, 32 minutes from Waterloo.

The waterpark has nine different attractions and activities; it's the largest waterpark in the Finger Lakes region.

The waterpark features a variety of slides, pools, and a lazy river, where you can float around and relax.

Roseland Waterpark also has concession and picnic areas, where you can buy food and drinks.

It's one of the best places to hang out in Canandaigua Lake due to its serene atmosphere and picturesque beauty.

Tour the Seneca Museum of Waterways and Industry

The town's visitor center is inside this museum.

Its main entrance is in Seneca Falls, New York, seven minutes from Waterloo.

The museum describes how the town grew up around the canal and how the "falls" vanished after the construction of the two neighboring locks.

The sheer quantity of prominent industries once based here but no longer are is particularly intriguing.

These industries include the Sylvania Electronics company, a maker of fire engines, and the Gould pump manufacturer.

The Gould pump manufacturer made some of the first TV and cathode-ray tubes in the USA.

Take an elevator to the lower levels to see more exhibits.

Adults and children will have a grand time at the museum, which is definitely worth the trip.

Have Some Fun at the Cayuga Lake State Park

The Cayuga Lake State Park is a 7,000-acre state park that offers a variety of recreational activities.

You'll find it in Seneca Falls, New York, 13 minutes from Waterloo.

The state park has campsites, which are perfect for RVers, and tent campers.

The Lake also has 14 rustic cabins equipped with stoves, lights, and refrigerators.

Playgrounds are also available for the kiddos, and a day-use area features picnic tables and grills.

The state park also has a swimming beach open from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Cayuga Lake State Park also has lodges perfect for family reunions or corporate events.

Fishing is also popular at the Cayuga Lake State Park, and you can fish for bass, perch, and trout.

Final Thoughts

Waterloo, New York, is where you can enjoy history, culture, and natural beauty.

There is something for everyone to enjoy in Waterloo, whether you are with your loved ones or you're looking for a great adventure alone.

Make Waterloo your next stop for a memorable weekend.


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