Are you planning a visit to this beautiful city? Well, whether the plan is for a day trip or a two weeks’ vacation, there’s plenty of things to do in Amsterdam, NY. Here’s a complete list of incredible options you should consider.
12 Things to Do in Amsterdam, NY [Ranked]
For a city that began as a center for carpet manufacturing in the twentieth century, Amsterdam, NY has really come a long way. After a lengthy period of dormancy, the city has grown to be a reputable travel destination, thanks to a series of programs put into place with an aim for arterial roadway construction and urban renewal.
Named after the Netherlands capital, Amsterdam is nestled within the original town of Caughnawaga, now Montgomery County in New York. The city has dozens of sites to visit, and numerous fun things to do for tourists.
But to narrow down your search we’ve compiled a list of 12 best things to do in Amsterdam, NY, for your next trip.
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Best Things to Do in and Around Amsterdam, NY
Right from beautiful museums, numerous parks, restaurants, and hiking activities, there is so much fun waiting for you in Amsterdam, NY. Here are just but a few of them.
Mountain Ridge Adventure
If you are looking for adventure, one of the most exciting things to do in Amsterdam, NY, is zip lining at Mountain Ridge Adventure. Also known as aerial runways in the UK or the flying foxes in Australia and New Zealand, zip-lining involves riding down a load-bearing cable linked at two points between different heights.
At Mountain Ridge Adventure, you can experience the full thrill at the Zombie Zip Line Terror. The line starts at Weatherwax Road all the way from Johnson Road – 1/3 mile of uphills and steep turns, winding up at Schenectady.
This tour is not for the fainthearted, though. From the corpse-riddled path through a forest haunted by a serial killer to the hundreds of feet of screaming steel cable along the magnificent Zip Line Park, Mountain Ridge Adventure is an experience to remember.
The event is held every Friday and Saturday night in October from 7-10 pm. There are food/concessions and free parking.
Adirondack Animal Land Tour
For those who are looking for fun children’s things to do in Amsterdam, NY area, Adirondack Animal Land is the place to be. Adirondack Animal Land is a wildlife park that is family-owned and operated. It provides a natural home to more than 500 animals on an 80-acre piece of land located at the Adirondack Mountains.
The park is a great destination for families as it offers an incredible opportunity for everyone to connect with animals. The parking lot can be distinguished by a vintage sign and gigantic paddocks traditionally designed for horses. The zoo includes a safari tour and a walking tour in the base ticket, but the safari tour is the highlight of the adventure.
The tour takes you through multiple intermingled paddocks where you get to see several different animal species. These include zebras, camels, elands, pot-bellied pigs, rheas, and ostriches.
The Wildlife and Sports Museum
Located at the foothills of the spectacular Adirondack Mountains, the Wildlife and Sports Museum is a museum without an equal. If you are wondering what to do in Amsterdam New York on weekends, you should definitely check out this museum.
Kids of all ages will be awed by the full-size mounts of mountain lions, buffalo, wolves, bears, birds, and fish.
If you are a hunter, you will love the wall of more than 160 whitetail deer mounts, including some of the most famous bucks in the world.
Walter Elwood Museum
Still can’t figure out what to see in Amsterdam, New York? The Walter Elwood Museum is a great place to start. The museum has been moved to different locations over time and is now located in the building that previously housed the Noteworthy Complex.
Founded in 1939 by a local history teacher named Walter Elwood, the museum started as a collection of local artifacts. Today, it features interactive displays of local history, including:
- Natural history
- The Victorian era
- Textile mills and area industry
Collections include shells and fossils, political buttons, glass teaching slides, handmade doll clothes, objects created by the Mohawk, and buttons.
Museum of Innovation and Science
The Museum of Innovation and Science is based in Schenectady, New York. It is both a museum and a planetarium designed to appreciate science and technology. So, if you have time to visit sites near Amsterdam, NY, this should be on your list.
The museum boasts an educational focus on Art, Mathematics, Engineering, Science, and Technology. Inside the museum is the spectacular Suits-Bueche Planetarium, which contains one of the only sixteen “GOTO Chronos Star Machines” in the US.
The machine can display a staggering 24 constellation outlines and 8,500 stars.
Plotter Kill Preserve
The Plotter Kill Preserve is a forest packed with a combination of conifers and hardwood, but its main attraction is probably the Plotter Kill gorge. The gorge, which was formed at the end of the ice ages about 10,000 years ago, is a favorite among the top things to do in Amsterdam, NY.
It is a tributary of the 3.5 miles long Mohawk River, which stretches from the Rynex Corner.
The preserve contains three waterfalls: the Rynex Creek Falls, the Lower Falls, and the Upper Falls. It is ideal for families looking to study nature, as it features several species of trees such as oak, pine, maple, and birch. It also contains 600+ species of plants including clubmosses, ferns, lilies, violets, and trilliums.
Children will also enjoy the abundance of bird and animal life, such as chipmunks, garter snakes, and various amphibians.
Imperial Lanes Bowling Center
The Imperial Lanes offers open bowling every day of the week, except for the winter sports season. This time, they are used by the in-house bowling teams.
With 80 bowling lanes and 40 for accommodating bumper bowlers, this place is indeed one of the best Amsterdam New York attractions for family and friends. The center offers leagues for people of different ages every week. For instance, there is a league for the men, women, youth, and seniors, as well as mixed leagues.
The Howe Caverns
This cave, located in Howe, Schoharie County, is named after its discoverer – Lester Howe. It is a popular destination for families looking for interesting things to do in Amsterdam, NY. It is actually the second most popular natural attraction in the city after the Niagara Falls.
The cave provides a sense of spelunking without the need for advanced training and equipment associated with these types of adventures. Geologists believe that the cave, which is 156 feet below the ground, was formed millions of years ago. It is made up of two types of limestone – Manlius and Coeymans – that were apparently deposited during the plate tectonics movement.
The tour through the cave is about 80 minutes long, from the elevators at the entrance to the end of Lake Venus. The extended tour includes:
- A display of the remains of Lester Howe’s original boat
- A spectacular music hall
- Signatures inscribed by early cavern adventures.
Weddings are held deep inside the cave, over a calcite formation that has the shape of a heart.
High Rollers Family Fun Center
Have a blast with your family at the High Rollers family fun center, with regular skate rental for at least $20 a person. If you’re looking to make new and exciting memories while on your tour to Amsterdam, NY, this is the ideal place for that.
They offer roller-skating throughout the year, whether summer or winter. And, whether you are a novice or a professional skater, the center has something for you.
See Related: Where to Stay Outside New York City
Hidden in a picturesque setting in Amsterdam, New York, Shuttleworth Park was originally launched on Memorial Day in 1914. Back then it was referred to as Crescent Park, but it was later renamed as Jolly Land and then Mohawk Mills Park in the late 30s after the Mohawk Carpet Mills acquired it. It was subsequently donated to the city in 1964 and has since been known as Herbert L. Shuttleworth II Park.
The park is a great spot for families searching for interesting things to do in Amsterdam, NY, for various reasons. First, it is home to numerous local small league softball teams and provides a lively outdoor playground area for the whole family. You can also enjoy ice skating during winter, and there’re tables along the Chuctununda Creek for a lovely family or group picnic.
What’s more, you will have the opportunity to connect with the Amsterdam Mohawks – as Shuttleworth is the home of the Perfect Collegiate Baseball League Champions.
Our Lady of Martyrs Shrine
This is a famous shrine nestled in Auriesville, Fultonville, NY. Originally known as the “Mohawk Village of Ossernenon,” the site is now the shrine of the Roman Catholic. It is dedicated to three missionaries who died as martyrs here.
Also, it serves as a tribute to a Mohawk woman known as St. Kateri Tekakwitha, who was born in the shrine. It was owned and directed by the Jesuits (Society of Jesus) for more than 130 years, but it is now under the leadership of the “Friends of Our Lady of Martyrs.” And, every part of the shrine seems to tell some story about the martyrs.
There are bright red crosses over several trees representing the crosses that would have been carved into the trees by St. Isaac, along with the word “Jesus”. The word is still inscribed in a few of the crosses, but most are missing some words. A visit to Amsterdam, NY, would be incomplete without this tour.
Kirk Douglas Falls
Amsterdam, New York, is home to numerous beautiful waterfalls, but only one is named after an actor – the Kirk Douglas Falls. These Falls are located inside the Kirk Douglas Park. And, this urban park features two dazzling waterfalls, several picnic tables, and some playground equipment.
Amsterdam is home to the decorated actor, who was born at Issur Danielovitch in 1916. He grew up around Main Street along Eagle Street with his four sisters and immigrant parents. The home is a private residence, but it is still one of the best Amsterdam New York attractions.
Before his demise, Douglas had starred in several films, including “Lust for Life,” “Champion,” and “Spartacus.” He is regarded as one of the biggest Hollywood stars of the Golden Age.
At the entrance of Kirk Douglas Park is a small plaque that resembles the iconic actor. The highlight of the park is without a doubt the Kirk Douglas waterfalls, which empty into the Mohawk River.
And, although you cannot see the two waterfalls in one view, they are located closely together. Lower Falls, which lies further downstream, consists of a series of slides that are about 15 to 20 feet in height. You can get a great view of this waterfall from the bridge at Guy Park Avenue at the southern end.
Conclusion on the Best Things to Do in Amsterdam, NY
Whether it’s for vacation, one day trip, or relocation, there numerous fun things to do in Amsterdam, NY. All you need is to know which activities or sites outshine the others.
This list offers some of the most amazing sites and activities, and we hope you can find one or two that fits your preference.
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