Saratoga Springs with Kids: 24 Things To Do on a Family Weekend Getaway

Spend a day at the races at one of the country’s most historic and popular sports venues, the Saratoga Race Course. Photo courtesy of NYRA
Spend a day at the races at one of the country’s most historic and popular sports venues, the Saratoga Race Course. Photo courtesy of NYRA
6/15/23 - By Ally Noel

Once upon a time, Saratoga Springs, New York, was a magnet for famous—and infamous—New Yorkers, from the Vanderbilts, Whitneys, and Rockefellers to the bootleggers and gamblers who took up residence during prohibition. Thankfully, Saratoga's offerings are now more family-friendly than booze and bookies.

A 3-hour drive from Midtown Manhattan pays off with a visit to the historic racetrack, hiking and fishing, or even a quiet stroll down Saratoga Spring's quaint Main Street. Rainy day activities can be found at the Saratoga Children's Museum or the local library, which offers a great children's room. Here are a few of our favorite things to do in Saratoga Springs, New York, with kids. Find more local towns to explore in our Guide to Family-Friendly Day Trips and Weekend Getaways.


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Best Things To Do in Saratoga Springs, NY

1. Saratoga National Historic Park – Stillwater

Outdoorsy families love hiking along the trails at this Revolutionary War battlefield, where the embankments were designed by Polish General Thaddeus Kosciuszko, who is memorialized on bridges along the BQE and Interstate 87. The wildflower-dotted trails here are short enough for even young kids to hike—or be carried. Artifacts from the Battle of Saratoga are on display in the visitor center, where kids can dress up in reproduction period uniforms. Ask a park ranger to direct you to the monument to Benedict Arnold. Arnold, best known as a turncoat, is said to have fought valiantly for the Colonies here.

2. Congress Park – Saratoga Springs

No trip to Saratoga Springs is complete without a walk through Congress Park, right off Broadway, where small children love to take a turn on the carousel. At $1 per person, each kid can take several turns without great expense. The seasonal carousel typically opens for weekends in early May and then expands to daily hours in mid-to-late July.

3. Saratoga Race Course – Saratoga Springs

The racing season runs from mid-July through Labor Day weekend annually. Admission is cheap—$7-10 for adults and children 3-12 years old get in free—and families can easily spend an entire day at the track. Begin with the strawberries and cream during Breakfast at Saratoga, where kids can watch the horses warm up and friendly jockeys trot by and wave hello. If you think your kids will get antsy in the stands (it may also be hard for them to see there), picnic by the paddocks—another great way to see the horses close up on their way to and from the track. The race track also has a playground for small children by the main gate.

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Things to do in Saratoga Springs with Kids: Saratoga Candy Co.
Grab a handful of candy at the old-school Saratoga Candy Co.

4. Downtown Saratoga Springs – Saratoga Springs

This quaint Victorian town was once home to Vassar College and is a great spot to visit for a stroll along Broadway andsit to Congress Park. On Broadway, find a collection of shops with enough appeal for parents and kids. While mom and dad might enjoy window shopping at any of the street's jewelry shops, boutiques, and art galleries, kids love a turn in toy shop G. Willikers, Northshire Bookstore, or the Saratoga Candy Co.

5. Saratoga Springs Public Library – Saratoga Springs

The children's room at this local library has a fantastic selection and a nice playroom for toddlers. It's a perfect destination when you're looking for quiet play and some low-key fun.

6. Saratoga Automobile Museum – Saratoga Springs

Car-crazy kids enjoy visiting the antique automobiles on display here, including rotating exhibits like the current one highlighting the cars of James Bond.

RELATED: 100 Things To Do in New York State with Kids

Things to do in Saratoga Spring, NY, with kids: Ausable Chasm
The Ausable Chasm is a must-see natural wonder that's an easy day trip during your Saratoga Springs getaway.

7. Ausable Chasm – Ausable Chasm

Ausable Chasm prides itself on being the Grand Canyon of the Adirondacks. With walking and hiking trails for any age, this geological formation has been wowing visitors for decades and is well worth the 2-hour drive from Saratoga. There are lots of ways to tour the Chasm from floats down the river to cable bridges, and cargo nets.

8. The Children's Museum at Saratoga – Saratoga Springs

Perfect for a rainy day visit, or just a couple of hours out of the summer sun, this museum offers a variety of exhibits for elementary-aged kids, including a fire engine, bank, grocery store, school room, and more.

RELATED: 9 Favorite Upstate New York Getaways for Families

Things to do in Saratoga Springs with Kids: Into the Woods Goat Farm
Take a wild walk with the goats at Into the Woods Goat Farm. Photo courtesy of the farm

9. Into the Woods Goat Farm – Middle Grove

Into the Woods Goat Farm offers a variety of goat experiences all year long. From snowshoe goat hikes in the winter to wild walks in the spring, summer, and fall, and plenty of goat yoga classes, this is a one-of-a-kind experience your family will never forget!

10. Saratoga Strike Zone – Saratoga Springs

The Saratoga Strike Zone is a one-stop shop for family fun. Bowling, bumper cars, and a ball pit await with all the makings of a fun night out on the town.

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Things to do in Saratoga Springs with Kids: Brown's Beach in Saratoga Springs.
Spend a summer day at the public Brown's Beach in Saratoga Springs. Photo courtesy of Saratoga Springs

11. Saratoga Lake – Saratoga Springs

You can’t take a trip to the Adirondacks without enjoying some time by a lake. Saratoga Lake has two lakefront areas open to the public. Waterfront Park is FREE and provides visitors access to a kayak launch as well as a swimming beach. Brown’s Beach charges guests for day use and is open for swimming, paddleboarding, kayaking, and canoeing.

12. Saratoga Performing Arts Center – Saratoga Springs

SPAC is seta  among 2,400-acre park preserve surrounded by hiking trails, geysers, and natural mineral springs. In season, the arts center hosts a variety of live performances ranging from the New York City Ballet to Kidz Bop.

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Things to do in Saratoga Springs with Kids: Saratoga Spa State Park
Take a guided tour of Saratoga Spa State Park.

13. Saratoga Spa State Park – Saratoga Springs

There’s a ton going on in this park—miles of trails, swimming pools, ice skating, bike trails, and more. Perhaps most famously, the spa is home to 12 natural mineral springs. Ranger-guided tours take you around the park. Grab a tasting cup, and sample what these waters have to offer.

14. Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College – Saratoga Springs

In addition to its rotating exhibitions in its galleries, the Tang also hosts a series of Family Saturdays with FREE family-friendly programming, plus concerts on the lawn and gallery tours.

15. National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame – Saratoga Springs

If your family wants to find out what it takes to become a champion on the racetrack, this is the spot! Make sure to check out its HorsePlay! Gallery, which houses interactive exhibits geared toward kids.

RELATED: 5 Metro-North Day Trips for Families in Westchester and Beyond

Things to do in Saratoga Springs with Kids: Darling Doughnuts
Make sure to stop by Darling Doughnuts for handcrafted sweets in inventive flavors that change frequently!

Where to Eat in Saratoga Springs, NY, with Kids

16. Darling Doughnuts – Saratoga Springs

What’s a vacation without a little sweet treat? Darling Doughnuts menu is filled with inventive flavors like everything bagel and pizza—but, it changes weekly, so make sure to check out its Instagram and Facebook pages to get the scoop.

17. Druthers Brewing Company – Saratoga Springs

At least one member of my family claimed Druthers had the “best mac and cheese in the world!” With a menu filled with classic pub food from burgers to loaded mac and cheese, you can’t go wrong.

18. Mrs. London’s Bakery – Saratoga Springs

Delicious pastries and treats make any trip to Mrs. London’s a sweet outing. The cafe offers a full menu of soups, sandwiches, salads, and quiche, too.

19. Saratoga Gelato – Saratoga Springs

Saratoga Gelato handcrafts its gourmet Italian ice cream. With 24 flavors made daily in-store, it's hard to pick a favorite.

20. Taquero – Saratoga Spring

Tacos and donuts?!?! Yup! Dreams do come true! Taquero serves rice bowls, tacos, salads, and doughnuts, seven days a week.

21. Uncommon Grounds Tea and Coffee – Saratoga Springs

This casual neighborhood cafe has been serving the best NYC-style bagels since 1992. Uncommon Grounds menu also includes salads, smoothies, and coffee.

22. Wasabi – Saratoga Springs

Wasabi offers the area's only all-you-can-eat sushi. Its menu features a wide variety of Japanese dishes, including appetizers, yakitori, stir-fried noodles, fried rice, a la carte sushi and sashimi, classic sushi rolls, and more than 25 specialty rolls.

23. Hattie’s – Saratoga Springs

Located in downtown Saratoga Springs, Hattie’s has served Southern-style cuisine for close to 80 years. You cannot come to town without tasting Hattie’s award-winning fried chicken! The dish was even featured on Bobby Flay’s Food Network show “Throwdown”

RELATED: Adirondack Mountains with Kids: 40 Things To Do

Things to do in Saratoga Springs with Kids: Bluebird Spa City Motor Lodge
Bluebird Spa City Motor Lodge offers newly remodeled rooms and modern amenities in a historic inn. 

Hotels in Saratoga Springs, New York

24. Bluebird Spa City Motor Lodge – Saratoga Springs

Bluebird Spa City Motor Lodge is located in the heart of downtown Saratoga Springs and is walkable to many of the area’s attractions, restaurants, and shopping. Bluebird Spa City Motor Lodge is a 42-room boutique hotel with several different room configurations to fit your family’s needs. The sunny interior atrium is the perfect place to gather with family and friends. Guests are also welcome to grab a cup of coffee from the tap, use the complimentary bikes, or enjoy the outdoor rooftop seating area.

Originally published in 2010. Unless noted, photos by the author

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