18 Things to do in Utica, NY – You won’t want to miss!

February 1, 2021

Are you looking for things to do in Utica, NY? If so – this list will give you plenty of ideas!

If you’re looking for things to do in Utica NY – this list will give you plenty of inspiration! One of the most historic cities within the Mohawk Valley, Utica is one of upstate New York’s hidden gems.

With amazing history, enthralling museums and great wildlife, a trip to Utica NY is sure to stick with you for years to come.

However, if you’ve never visited Utica, you may be wondering where to start with your itinerary, there are so many things to do in Utica NY – you might not know where to start. If you’re not sure what activities you should partake in on your trip, then never fear, for we’ve compiled 15 of the best things to do in Utica, NY so that you don’t have to!

So, let’s dive right in and explore some of the top things to do in the small but stunning city of Utica NY!

18 things to do in Utica NY!

Things to do in Utica, NY

Bagg’s Square in Utica NY

First up on my list of things to do in Utica, NY – it’s Bagg’s Square. If you’re looking for the finest architecture in Utica, NY, then look no further than Bagg’s Square.

A neighbourhood that boomed alongside Utica’s textile industry during the 1800s, Bagg’s Square is reflective of a bygone era. With locals deeming this area “New York’s Most Historic Neighbourhood”, it’s one of the top things to do in Utica, NY for those looking for a taste of time gone by.

Whether you fancy checking out one of the many museums, or want to grab a bite to eat, you’ll find something here that piques your interest. This is definitely one of the best things to do in Utica, NY!

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Hilton Hotel Utica NY

Next up on my list of things to do in Utica, NY, it’s the Hilton Hotel Utica. If you’re looking for more architectural goodness, then be sure to check out the Hotel Utica. Dating back to 1912, it’s a prime example of the area’s amazing architecture.

With a stunning lobby and impressive service, it’s a must-visit for those looking to experience the lushest side of Utica NY. Having been visited by Judy Garland and President Roosevelt back in the day, you’ll certainly be in good company.

things to do in utica new york

Visit one of Utica’s churches

You may already be sick of our tendency to harp on about architecture, but another must-do thing in Utica, NY is a visit to St. Joseph and St Patrick Church.

Both offering regular masses within stunning buildings, these churches are absolutely worth the slightly detour out of town. The churches in Utica are really unique, so had to make my list of things to do in Utica, NY.

things to do in utica new york

Oneida County Public Market

If your idea of fun is grabbing some fresh, local produce, then you’re in luck. The Oneida County Public Market runs every Saturday from 9am to 1pm and is in the REA Wing of Union Station. This had to make my list of things to do in Utica, NY!

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Offering crafts and produce from local farmers, it’s a great place to grab a mix of souvenirs and good food. One of the best things to do in Utica, NY if you want to feel like a local, it’s well worth giving this place a whirl. 

top things to do in utica new york

Bike along Barge Canal

Next on my list of things to do in Utica NY… it’s cycling along the Barge Canal. If you’re into your biking, and you love an active afternoon on 2 wheels… then this is the activity in Utica NY for you! You’ll enjoy some gorgeous views along the way too!


Union Station

Speaking of Union Station, you’d be foolish to miss the station itself on your visit to the Public Market. It’s next on my list of things to do in Utica, NY! Not only is this a great example of period architecture, but Union Station is on the National Register of Railroad Landmarks.

With its stunning columns and high vaulted ceilings, you’ll almost feel whisked away to another world as you take in the sheer scale of the place. As this station is still a functional railway station, you may even pass through it as a traveller. So, be sure to set aside a few minutes on your way into Utica to snap some great photos.

union station top things to do in utica new york

Head to the local library in Utica NY

Though it may come as a surprise, one of the best things to do in Utica, NY is to pay a visit to the public library. Located on Genesee Street, this library was built way back in 1904 and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Featuring an extensive catalogue and appealing children’s reading room, Utica’s public library is the perfect place to wile away a lazy afternoon. This is a great activity in Utica NY.


Grab a slice of pizza

If you’re a pizza fan, then be sure to head down to O’scugnizzo on your visit to Utica. As the oldest pizza place in Upstate New York, these guys certainly know their way around some dough. Pizza is always a win – so it had to make my list of things to do in Utica, NY.

With traditional toppings and a generous serving of mozzarella with every slice, you’ll find yourself slathering over these gorgeous pies long after you’ve finished your meal. Pizza is a must-do in Utica NY.

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Utica Zoo

Utica Zoo is next on my list of things to do in Utica, NY – and has been open for over 100 years, and in that time, they’ve truly perfected the zoo-going experience. Here you can meet red pandas, check out a wolf show and catch some hyenas, lions, and zebras. For animal lovers, this is a perfect choice of things to do in Utica NY.

Though we can’t list them all (there are over 100 species!), there are so many creatures on show here, and kids will just love the interactivity that the zoo offers. Deemed one of the best things to do in Utica, NY for families, you’re bound to have a good time here!


Munson-Williams-Procter Arts Institute 

If you’re a fan of art, then be sure to visit Utica’s Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute. One of the finest art museums around, it houses a collection of over 15,000 pieces. Featuring the works of Dali, Picasso and more, it’s the perfect place to get inspired. Of course it made my list of things to do in Utica, NY!

If you have a soft spot for Thomas Cole’s work, be sure to visit his set of four paintings titled “The Voyage of Life”. As insightful and meaningful as it sounds, it’s a must-visit exhibition for locals and tourists. You’ll love this art-hub in Utica NY.


Grab a pastry or three

Next on my list of things to do in Utica, NY – it’s more food! If you love good grub, then be sure to check out this famous pastry shop on Bleecker Street. Having been run by the same family for half a century, the Florentine Pastry Shop is famous for their pasticiottis.

Essentially mini-pies that come in more than a dozen flavours, they are a must-try item for any visitor to Utica NY that wishes to give their taste buds some joy. 

florentine pastry in utica

Stanley Theatre in Utica NY

Next on my list of things to do in Utica… it’s the Stanley Theatre. Designed by Charles Lamb, this famous theatre often hosts Broadway shows and other large events. Hosting some of the best things to do in Utica, NY for music and theatre lovers, it’s well worth a visit year-round for its excellent entertainment offerings.

If you do visit, be sure to look at the famous Meyda Tiffany chandelier – truly a sight to behold, you’d be silly to miss it as it certainly is one of the best things to do in Utica, NY.

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things to do in Utica - stanley theatre

Grab a cocktail and some seafood

Next on our list of things to do in Utica NY, it’s eat! If you love a good drink and some even better food, then head down to the Ocean Blue Restaurant and Oyster Bar. Claiming to go through 1500 to 2000 oysters a week (!), these guys certainly know how to prep an oyster.

With some great cocktails on offer to go with your meal, this high-end restaurant that overlooks main street is one of the best things to do in Utica for those looking to live the lush life. 

things to do in Utica

Experience fine dining at Willows of Utica

Willows of Utica is next on my list of things to do in Utica. If you’re a bit of a foodie, and you love trying new restaurants while you’re away in a new place – then checking out the local fine dining restaurant is always a great idea.

Willows of Utica serve up delicious food, and it’s a great place to enjoy a beautiful meal out with friends!

Willows of utica things to do in utica

Saranac Brewery

Next up on my list of things to do in Utica, NY – it’s the Saranac Brewery! One of the oldest breweries in Utica is Saranac Brewery. Having opened its doors in 1888, its long been a staple to those living in Upstate New York.

With lessons in beer-making and a good number of sample sips on offer, a visit to Saranac Brewery is not to be foregone for those who love a great brew. Another amazing spot to enjoy in Utica NY.


Check out the Utica Marina

The Utica Marina is essentially a historic building which sits on the Erie Canal. Though it is now used as a multi-purpose facility, it’s still a part of Utica’s development which should be on your list of things to do in Utica, NY.

You’ll even find cute cafes and restaurants to sit at, so you can people watch with a coffee in hand!

If you’ve got an evening to spare, why not visit the lower level Aqua-Vino restaurant? With patio seating and an excellent menu that screams decadence, it’s well worth booking a spot for some good eats and even greater views. 


Utica Children’s Museum

The final thing on our list of things to do in Utica, NY is the Utica Children’s Museum. With four floors of exhibits and activities, this museum is designed to support a child’s natural curiosity with hands-on tasks that will keep any child entertained.

Offering everything to critters from train sets to art studios, the Utica Children’s museum is a place that’s bound to enchant little ones. 


Sangertown Square shopping

If you fancy doing a bit of shopping while you’re in Utica, then visiting the big Sangertown Square Mall is well worth doing. Sure it’s not the most unique idea on this list of things to do in Utica… but shopping is always fun, especially on payday!

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Hopefully this list of things to do in Utica has given you loads of inspiration!

Utica is a lovely place to visit, and you’ll love working your way through this list of things to do in Utica NY!

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