Ten most welcoming towns in upstate New York

It is impossible to not think of New York City when thinking of New York State. Upstate New York has some of the most charming and welcoming towns in the entire nation. A far cry from the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple, the people you will find Upstate are best known for their warmness and hospitality to visitors, something that their urbanite cousins certainly don’t have a reputation for.

If you ever get the chance to travel through Upstate New York make sure you do. There are dozens of hidden gems just waiting to be found.

Just across the border from Canada lies the small riverside village of Alexandria Bay. The town itself has a classic New England vibe to it. Rows of old brick colonial-style homes and shops make up most of its buildings. The official population of Alexandria Bay is only in the hundreds but what they lack in number they make up for in hospitality.

Alexandria Bay has long been a go-to destination for other members of the Upstate area. It is high time you saw for yourself what all the fuss is about.



Southeast of Rochester lies the sleepy town of Canandaigua. Getting its name from the local Native American word meaning “chosen spot” this picturesque village has served Americans far and wide as a perfect getaway from the fast-paced life of the city.

Nestled right along Lake Canandaigua, boating and other water activities are popular amongst the locals. For those wanting to explore the lake, there is no shortage of kayak and canoe rentals at reasonable prices that will allow you to get a close-up look at the stunning scenery on a budget.



Located in Western New York, just south of Buffalo the village of Ellicottville thrives as one of the go-to ski resorts in the state. No matter if you are visiting to ski or snowboard or just to take in the breathtaking views Ellicottville’s quaint charm is hard to grow tired of.

If you want to come and see what the day-to-day life is like in Ellicottville then make sure to come in the warmer months.



Lewiston lies just north of the world-famous Niagara Falls along the Canada-United States border. This unassuming border town was in fact where the first battle of the War of 1812 took place after the United States attempted to invade British North America. Lewiston was also the final stop along the Underground Railroad that led runaway American slaves into Canada.



Straddling the north side of Saratoga Lake is the aptly named town of Saratoga Springs. This idyllic town is surrounded by the beautiful Adirondack Mountains that dominate the local landscape. Visiting here, especially during the fall will give you one of the best experiences Upstate New York has to offer.



Well before the legendary music festival of the same name ever took place in Bethel, New York, the town of Woodstock had always been a sanctuary for musicians and artists to hone and practice their skills.

Today, the town still embraces its reputation and could accurately be called a hub of hipster culture in the area. You will meet plenty of interesting yet kind people here who are more than happy to help out visitors trying to get around town.



Cold Springs is a great destination if you enjoy the great outdoors. Footpaths and bike trails are wide throughout the rolling hills that surround the town on all sides. Kayak and bike rentals are easy to find as well if you are lacking any equipment of your own.



Lake Placid can be found in Northern New York just a short trip south from the Canadian border. During the Christmas season, the entire town comes to life and is reborn into a stunning winter wonderland. Hot chocolate, candy canes, and all the other bells and whistles of a great Christmas festival are here for all to enjoy.



Only a short distance from New York City, the small village of Sleepy Hollow has been forever immortalized in the famous tale written by Washington Irving in 1820 titled “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.”

Today the town has enthusiastically embraced its macabre reputation as a place in touch with the supernatural. The most memorable character from Irving’s tale, the headless horseman remains the unofficial mascot of the town.

(Text Courtesy: World Atlas)

Images courtesy of (Expedia), (Forbes), (Ellicottville), (JillBJarvis), (Opera Saratoga), (Times Union), (IEscape Brooklyn), (Travel+Leisure) and (Empty Nest Explorer)

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