College Planning Guide

Top Ten Things to Do at Ithaca

Want to know a secret? Much of the learning you’ll do in college will happen when you take time away from the books (but not too much time!) and give yourself the opportunity to experience new things and meet new people in a new place: here!

So here are the top ten things you can do in Ithaca that have absolutely nothing to do with homework:

1. See the stars.
The Clinton B. Ford Observatory at Ithaca College sponsors public nights one Friday a month. Grab a date and get a front-row seat to a celestial show.

2. Shop 'til you drop.
The Commons in downtown Ithaca is one of the few remaining pedestrian malls of its kind in the country, undergoing a major renovation and upgrade in 2015. Its unique shops and sophisticated-yet-funky atmosphere are far removed from those in a typical mall. With the Downtown Ithaca Student Discount program, you’ll find tons of great buys in and around The Commons, from vintage clothes and jewelry to records, comics, used books and fantastic fresh foods, all within a cozy walking distance of one another. Plus it's also the home to free street performances, live music, and annual festivals throughout the year.

3. Grab a local bite.
Sure, Ithaca has a lot of the same big restaurant chains you might know from home, but it’s the unique and celebrated local options that make dining out in Ithaca a foodie paradise. With dozens of delicious and diverse restaurants in and around a few square blocks of downtown, it’s often hard to pick just one place. From the world-famous vegetarian Moosewood Restaurant to the locally famous Maxie’s Supper Club and Viva Taqueria, the variety is nothing short of mouthwatering. Plus, the town offers authentic cuisine from all around the world: Greek, Korean, Indian, Ethiopian, Thai, Chinese, Japanese... the list goes on and on!

4. Take in a show.
Who needs Broadway when there’s Ithaca College theater just steps away? The production value of such classics like Chicago and Children of Eden make for something almost better than the Great White Way. The theatre department contributes only a fraction of the productions available to students every year. Collectively, student organizations such as IC Players and Macabre Theatre Ensemble put on dozens of shows a semester, and relatively cheaply! And let’s not forget the School of Music. Pop into Ford Concert Hall almost any night of the week and see students showcase their talents. You won’t be disappointed.

5. Get physical.
Ithaca College has been ranked among the top 25 fittest colleges in the country and that's no surprise when you see all the options available for staying active both on-campus and off. Join one of dozens of club or intramural sports teams, get fit and make friends at the fitness center, or check out the beautiful Athletics and Events Center. Plus, students can take a long list of physical activity classes like rock climbing or scuba diving and get academic credit. How cool is that!?

6. Join a club.
With over 150 student organizations to choose from, you’re sure to find one that matches your interests. Whether you’re passionate about skiing, poetry, or marketing, there’s a group just waiting to welcome you. This year alone produced a handful of new clubs. It’s that easy!

7. Catch a movie.
The Ithaca College Student Activity Board screens Hollywood blockbusters on campus nearly every weekend…for free! For a more indie-scene, check out Cinemapolis, Ithaca’s own non-profit independent movie theater.

8. Be one with nature.
Our grounds are the perfect place to sit, talk, and, in the winter, make a snowman. IC owns over 560 acres of natural lands with more than five miles of maintained trails, including a self-guided nature trail complete with numbered, informational posts that explain the life surrounding you. The South Hill Recreation Way is located just off campus and provides an additional 3.3 miles of trail to explore. And you won't want to miss Ithaca's breathtaking waterfalls and gorges. You’ll just have to see what they’re like for yourself once you get here!

9. Take a trip to the Farmers Market.
The Farmers Market has been providing the Ithaca community with fresh, organic, and delicious food since 1973. They’re open every weekend during the growing season five times a week at three different locations, and they even have a winter market during the off-season. There’s simply no excuse to miss it.

10. Lend a hand.
Ithaca College is all about community and there are plenty of opportunities to volunteer. A popular program is the Service Saturdays program. One Saturday a month, IC students volunteer at local places, such as Cayuga Nature Center or Beachtree Care Center. Or, make sure to register for Alternative Spring Break and spend the week volunteering down South or in a big city; it’s your choice!

Now the only question is, what will you do first?