Top 5 Things to Do in Lake Placid, NY

Lake Placid, nestled in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains, is a picturesque small town that offers visitors a wide range of activities and experiences. Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventure or a relaxing getaway, this charming village has something for everyone.

View of Mirror Lake with fall foliage.

Here are the top five things to do in Lake Placid, NY.

Check out the Olympic Venues

Lake Placid was the site of the 1980 Winter Olympic Games and there are several cool spots you can visit to learn about the town’s Olympic history.

The Olympic Center is a must-see for any visitor to Lake Placid. Home of the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” hockey game, the complex includes an Olympic Museum, the Herb Brooks Arena, and the outdoor speed skating oval.

At the Lake Placid Olympic Ski Jump Complex, you can ride the Skyride, an eight-passenger gondola, up to the base of the ski jumping towers. From there, take the glass elevator to the sky deck of the 128 meter ski jump. At the top, you’ll find incredible 360-degree panoramic views of Lake Placid. It’s also pretty crazy checking out the ski jump from the top!

View from the top of the ski jump.

If you’re feeling brave, try the ziplines located next to the ski jump, emulating the rush of ski jumping at speeds up to 30 miles per hour.

The Olympic Sites Passport gets you access to several activities at the Lake Placid Olympic sites for a bundled price of $40 (kids six and under are free). You’ll be able to visit the Olympic Ski Jump Complex, the Olympic Center and Museum, and the gondola ride to the top of Little Whiteface Mountain. If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, the passport also provides discounts on special experiences like the bobsled, skeleton, and biathlon.

Visit Whiteface Mountain

Beautiful Whiteface Mountain is a four-season destination where you can ski, hike, bike, gondola, or drive to the summit for stunning views of the Adirondack region.

View of lake and mountains from Whiteface Mountain summit.

There’s always something fun happening at Whiteface. Activities such as mountain biking, horseback riding, air bag jumping, and several festivals are happening spring through fall. And when the snow falls, they offer skiing, tubing, skating, bobsled and luge rides, zamboni rides, and more.

Hike at High Falls Gorge

High Falls Gorge is another place to enjoy Lake Placid. Explore the Gorge’s four beautiful waterfalls and quiet forest trails. A half-mile round-trip hike provides waterfall views and a glass-floor walkway suspends you over the rushing waters of the Ausable River. The one-mile, wooded nature trail is simply stunning in the fall and exhilarating in snowshoes!

Waterfall at High Falls Gorge.

After your outdoor adventure, enjoy lunch at the unexpectedly cozy River View Cafe. Tucked in the back of the visitors center/gift shop, this little cafe offers excellent soups, sandwiches, baked goods, coffees, and a beer and wine bar to help you refuel after your hike. There’s an outdoor picnic area during the warmer months, but we loved relaxing by the fireplace in their rustic, authentic, Adirondack décor.

Enjoy Mirror Lake

The downtown area of Lake Placid is flanked by Mirror Lake (Lake Placid is actually north of the town). The lake is a popular spot for swimming, boating, and picnicking. You can even ice skate in the winter.

Motor boats are not allowed on the lake, making it peaceful and perfect for kayaking, canoeing or pedal-boats. 

If you’re not interested in water sports, there is a beautiful 2.7-mile path that surrounds the lake. Walk or bike and take in the serenity of the lake and the surrounding forests. You’ll have the chance to to get to know the town better, too.

Explore Downtown Lake Placid

There are plenty of shops and eateries to enjoy, all while strolling along the lakefront. After a day of adventure, you might want to try a blissful foot soak and massage at Adirondack Foot Sanctuary.

The Lake Placid Christmas Company is a beautiful store to browse through any time of year. You’ll find tons of ornaments, gifts and decor. Adirondack Decorative Arts and Crafts is another store I recommend. It’s mainly a furniture showroom, but you will be amazed at the gorgeous carved wooden furnishings, rustic gifts, and home decor accessories they offer.

When you’re ready to eat, I recommend Smoke Signals BBQ and Dancing Bears Restaurant.

The perfectly-smoked brisket at Smoke Signals was amazing, as were the pulled pork tacos. You can choose from pulled pork, chicken or brisket for your tacos and mix-n-match is allowed!


Dancing Bears is located at High Peaks Resort and offers classic American pub fare in a warm, cozy atmosphere. We enjoyed a hearty breakfast before our day of sightseeing and then went back the next day for dinner.

Where to Stay in Lake Placid

High Peaks Resort offers three options for accommodations on Mirror Lake, all within walking distance to shopping, dining, and Olympic attractions. The Resort has indoor and outdoor pools, a fitness center, and an on-site spa.

Aerial view of pool and lake.

The recently renovated Lake House features modern, rustic rooms with beautiful views of Mirror Lake. Read about my family’s stay at the Lake House – we loved the cozy Great Room!

The Waterfront Collection makes a perfect summer choice – you can walk out of your room and right into the lake. Kayaks, paddleboats and other equipment are right there for your pleasure. Enjoy your morning coffee, or evening wine, on your lakefront patio.

Lawn chairs and dock at lakeside.

The Adirondack Inspired Rooms have more of a “hotel” feel than the Lake House or Waterfront. The rooms are luxurious, bright, and have the same tranquil view.

From the Olympic Center to the quaint downtown to the stunning Adirondack Mountains, Lake Placid is a destination that should not be missed.

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