20 Things To Do In Cooperstown

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The small village of Cooperstown in upstate New York is fairly to baseball fans as it is not only the home of the official Baseball Hall of Fame but also the recognised birthplace of “America’s Favourite Pastime”. Cooperstown was placed on the map well before Abner Doubleday supposedly started playing the world’s first game of baseball in 1839, with acclaimed American author James Fenimore Cooper and his family arriving in town as early as the 1790s.

Today, most of the things to do in Cooperstown are dominated by baseball, from the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum to the Cooperstown Bat Company, however, there’s much more to the village than just baseball, with attractions such as Otsego Lake, Hyde Hall and the Fenimore Art Museum to fill your time. 

Cooperstown, New York

20 Things To Do In Cooperstown

1- Tour The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

things to do in cooperstown baseball
Visiting the Baseball Hall of Fame is one of the top things to do in Cooperstown. The front ball was signed by Dominic Di Maggio, a Boston Red Sox pitcher from 1940 to 1953.

With a large collection of baseball memorabilia, as well as the sport’s official hall of fame, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is undoubtedly Cooperstown’s most popular attraction.

The museum/hall of fame was opened in 1936 by Stephen Carlton Clark, inducting baseball greats Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson and Christy Mathewson into the hall of fame during its inaugural class of 1936.

Established in Cooperstown under the claim that baseball was invented in Cooperstown by Abner Doubleday, the museum truly is a must-visit attraction in the Empire State baseball historians and sports fans in general.

National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is at 25 Main St, Cooperstown, NY 13326.

2- Visit The Fenimore Art Museum

The House Of Fenimore Cooper, Cooperstown
Visiting Fenimore Mansion is one of the interesting things to do in Cooperstown.

Perched along the shores of Otsego Lake is the Fenimore Art Museum, a state-of-the-art visual and performing arts institution that was founded back in 1899.

Originally opened as the New York State Historical Association, the museum has occupied the Fenimore Mansion, a lavish Neo-Georgian-style estate which once belonged to Edward Severin Clark, since its relocation there in 1939.

Following subsequent expansions and a 1990s name change, the Fenimore Art Museum now has several impressively stocked galleries filled with various pieces of Native American, fine and folk art for visitors to tour, as well as an amphitheatre which hosts year-round productions.

The Fenimore Art Museum is at 5798 NY-80, Cooperstown, NY 13326.

3- Spend An Afternoon Exploring Glimmerglass State Park

about 8 miles (13 km) outside Cooperstown proper, New York’s Glimmerglass State Park is an expansive 593-acre (240 ha) recreational space where visitors can partake in a variety of popular outdoor activities.

The park gets its name from adjacent Otsego Lake, which American author James Fenimore Cooper referred to as his “Glimmerglass” lake in the celebrated writer’s famed “Leatherstocking Tales” novel series.

Boasting amenities such as a lakefront beach, camping sites, picnic areas, nature trails, fishing spots, playgrounds, pavilions, concession stands and wintertime cross-country skiing and ice skating opportunities, the state park makes a strong case for being the region’s premier outdoor attraction.

Glimmerglass State Park is at 1527 Co Rd 31, Cooperstown, NY 13326.

4- See The Opulent Otesaga Resort Hotel

Few landmarks in Cooperstown are as storied and grandiose as the Otesaga Resort Hotel, an ornate Federal and Neo-Georgian style building which serves as the centrepiece attraction of the Cooperstown Historic District.

The 135-room Percy Griffin-designed hotel dates back to the early 20th century and was completed in 1909 by brothers Edward Severin Clark and Stephen Carlton Clark.

Complete with two on-site restaurants, an 18-hole golf course and 700 feet (213 m) of Otsego Lake shoreline, the hotel is also notorious for its paranormal sightings and was even featured in a 2010 episode of the TV series “Ghost Hunters”.

The Otesaga Resort Hotel is at 60 Lake St, Cooperstown, NY 13326.

5- Learn More About 1800s New York State At The Farmers’ Museum

cooperstown farmers market
Visiting the Farmers Museum is one of the interesting things to do in Cooperstown.

Touted as a living museum depicting rural lifestyles in New York State during the 1840s, the Farmers’ Museum is the oldest museums of its kind in the United States.

Established in 1944 with a collection of about 4,000 different display objects and farming equipment, the museum has grown into a world-class Empire State cultural landmark with well over 23,000 unique items and artefacts under its curatorship today.

Over 24 buildings and structures make up the Farmers’ Museum, making it a rare destination to see live re-enactments of everyday 19th-century acts such as weaving, printing, cloth-making and blacksmithing.

The Farmers’ Museum is at 5775 NY-80, Cooperstown, NY 13326.

6- Perfect Your Swing At The Leatherstocking Golf Course

Golf Ball On A Tee At Golf Course
Playing golf is one of the popular things to do in Cooperstown, NY.

The Leatherstocking Golf Course is an 18-hole, par-72 golf course situated on the grounds of the Otesaga Resort Hotel that’s renowned for its stunning Otsego Lake views, sloping hills and water hazards.

Designed and built by Devereux Emmet in 1909, the golf course has been described as one of the finest courses on the East Coast and boasts a series of challenging holes and supreme natural beauty to entertain golfers of all skill levels.

The Leatherstocking Golf Course is at 60 Lake St, Cooperstown, NY 13326.

7- Explore The Majestic Hyde Hall

Perched along Otsego Lake’s northwest shore is Hyde Hall, a massive Palladian, Federal and neo-Classical style manor that was once upon a time the largest private residence in the entire United States.

This iconic New York estate was built for former Colonial governor of New York George Clarke by architect Philip Hooker between 1817 and 1834, evoking images of English country manors while exuding style and opulence throughout.

Now a museum, the estate can be found inside Glimmerglass State Park and has been awarded with an addition to the National Register of Historic Places and is also a recognised National Historic Landmark.

Hyde Hall 267 Glimmerglass State Park, Cooperstown, NY 13326.

8- Shop For Farm-Fresh Produce At Cooperstown Farmers’ Market

Fresh Vegetables At A Farmers Market Indoors
Wandering around the farmer’s market is one of the thigns to do in Cooperstown, NY this weekend.

The Cooperstown Farmers’ Market has been a local retail staple since its first edition back in 1991, attracting dozens of farmers and vendors from within a 50-mile (80 km) radius of downtown Cooperstown.

Organised every Saturday morning in the heart of downtown Cooperstown, the market attracts all sorts of local artisans, bakers and entertainers, selling everything from paintings and handmade jewellery to jams, pastries and cheeses.

The market also takes place on Tuesday afternoons from July through September, making this colourful and lively community gathering Cooperstown’s top things to do.

The Cooperstown Farmers’ Market is at 101 Main Street, Cooperstown, NY 13326.

9- Stop By Council Rock Park

Situated at the mouth of Otsego Lake and the Susquehanna River, Council Park is an appealing outdoor recreational space near downtown Cooperstown where visitors can sneak a peek of the village’s famous “Council Rock”.

Council Rock served as a Native American gathering spot before the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War and is an immensely important historical landmark in the Otsego Lake region.

The park was established in 1957 when a parcel of land near the rock was donated to the city, blossoming into what is today a scenic public park where visitors can enjoy activities such as picnicking, watching fireworks displays or regattas, or attending outdoor festivals.

Council Rock Park is at 11 River St, Cooperstown, NY 13326.

10- Tour The Cooperstown Bat Company

Recognised as the third-oldest fully operational baseball bat manufacturer in the United States, the Cooperstown Bat Company has been producing pro wooden baseball bats for MLB and minor league players since 1981.

The company uses yellow birch, ash and maple wood sourced from within 350 miles (563 km) of downtown Cooperstown along a stretch of upstate New York known as “Route 20 Maple”, an area renowned for producing great quality hardwood baseball bats.

Doing everything from novelty bats to custom engravings, the Cooperstown Bat Company is just a short walk from the Baseball Hall of Fame and a fascinating place to visit if you’re a baseball fan.

The Cooperstown Bat Company is at 118 Main St, Cooperstown, NY 13326.

11- Catch A Game At Doubleday Field

Named in honour of Abner Doubleday, Doubleday Field is perhaps the most storied baseball arena of all, believed to be the place where a young Doubleday and a group of local school kids played the first game of baseball in 1839.

within a former cow pasture, the venue has played host to baseball games since 1920 and was the official venue of the annual Hall of Fame Game from 1940 until 2007.

Featuring an eye-catching red brick façade, the arena is situated right next door to the Baseball Hall of Fame and is a popular attraction in upstate New York due to its history and unique atmosphere.

Doubleday Field is at 1 Doubleday Ct, Cooperstown, NY 13326.

12- Plan An Afternoon Visit To The Heroes of Baseball Wax Museum

One of Cooperstown’s most unique attractions is the Heroes of Baseball Wax Museum, a one-of-a-kind museum and wax house focusing on some of baseball’s most famous characters and some of the sports’ biggest bloopers.

The museum is situated in downtown Cooperstown and is recognised as being the only wax museum in the world solely dedicated to the sport of baseball.

the museum’s collection of exhibits are wax models of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, a VR batting cage and the popular “Baseball Bloopers Theater”, which allows fans to relive some of baseball’s most humorous fails.

The Heroes of Baseball Wax Museum is at 99 Main St, Cooperstown, NY 13326.

13- Swing By The Glimmerglass Festival

First held back in 1975, the Glimmerglass Festival is an annual celebration of opera, hosted every summer at the Alice Busch Opera Theater along the shores of Otsego Lake.

The festival is the brainchild of Peter Macris and was known as the “Glimmerglass Opera” from its first rendition until 2011, occupying its current 914-seat theatre home since its opening in 1987.

Rivalled only by the Baseball Hall of Fame as Cooperstown’s most-visited attraction, the festival hosts large-scale opera productions as well as newer and lesser-known performances, making it the region’s premier performing arts venue.

The Glimmerglass Festival is at 7300 NY-80, Cooperstown, NY 13326.

14- Enjoy Year-Round Outdoor Activities Along Otsego Lake

things to do cooperstown otsego lake
Cruising around Otsego Lake is one of the things to do in Cooperstown.

Nestled along the foothills of the Catskill Mountains, Otsego Lake is the region’s most popular outdoor attraction, providing outdoor enthusiasts access to some of upstate New York’s best fishing, boating, kayaking and swimming opportunities.

The lake spans roughly 8 miles (13 km) in length, boasts a surface area of over 4,000 acres (1,619 ha) and is just to the north of Cooperstown village.

Serving as the backdrop for the Glimmerglass Festival, Council Rock Park, the Otesaga Resort Hotel and several other Cooperstown attractions, the lake is  a fantastic spot to just kick back and relax.

The Smithy Gallery, or Smithy Gallery & Clay Studio as it’s officially titled, is a non-profit arts institution and art gallery that’s recognised as one of the region’s most important cultural attractions.

Housed inside the oldest building in Cooperstown, built back in 1786 by village founder Judge William Cooper, the gallery boasts an impressive sculpture garden as well as a large collection of paintings, pottery pieces and photographs.

The gallery regularly hosts concerts and art classes, allowing art lovers to interact with the visual and performing arts in a fun and interesting manner that’s hard to come by elsewhere in the region.

The Smithy Gallery is at 55 Pioneer St, Cooperstown, NY 13326.

16- Go Beer Tasting At Brewery Ommegang

A Glass Of Beer On The Table At The Restaurant
Checking out a brewery is one of the fun things to do in Cooperstown, New York.

Established back in 1997 to bring the art of Belgian beer brewing to upstate New York, Brewery Ommegang boasts a large variety of locally and internationally distributed craft brews, many of which have won prestigious awards.

The brewery produces eight different ales year-round, as well as a collection of speciality and seasonal brews where the brewery gets to experiment with new flavours and combinations.

Situated on a peaceful 136-acre (55 ha) farmstead, the brewery is open for tastings and tours, and has an on-site restaurant where patrons get to pair Brewery Ommegang’s in-house beers with flavourful Belgian-inspired meals.

Brewery Ommegang is at 656 Co Hwy 33, Cooperstown, NY 13326.

17- Stroll Along Main Street

sidewalk bench decorated for the fall
Wandering around on foot is one of the best things to do in Cooperstown NY to get your bearings.

Main Street is the proverbial beating heart of Cooperstown, home to the village’s top shops, restaurants and entertainment options, as well as attractions such as the Baseball Hall of Fame, Doubleday Field and the Cooperstown Bat Company.

The Cooperstown thoroughfare has a plethora of baseball-themed venues, however, it’s Main Street’s historic architecture, art galleries and cosy cafes that make it a fantastic place to visit in Cooperstown that’s ideally explored on foot one sunny afternoon.

18- Stop By The Inn at Cooperstown

Opened back in 1874, the Inn at Cooperstown is a charming and quaint boutique hotel that’s both a great accommodation option and an eye-catching Cooperstown landmark, being one of the most photographed sites in the village.

The Inn at Cooperstown boasts a distinct Victorian-style design and is a focal point of the Cooperstown Historic District while also being within a short walking distance from attractions such as the Baseball Hall of Fame, Doubleday Field and the Otesaga Resort Hotel.

The Inn at Cooperstown is at 16 Chestnut St, Cooperstown, NY 13326.

19- Catch A Glimpse Of The James Fenimore Cooper Statue

Situated just a few steps from the Baseball Hall of Fame in a small public park known as the “Cooper Grounds” is a larger-than-life bronze statue of legendary 19th-century American author James Fenimore Cooper.

Cooper and his family arrived in modern-day Cooperstown back in the 1790s, however, it wasn’t until 1940, about 150 years later, that the statue depicting Cooper was propped up.

Created by sculptor Victor Salvatore, the statue depicts Cooper hunched over and wrapped up in a coat as if to guard the author from the harsh New York winters and is a popular free-to-visit spot in Cooperstown for snapping pictures.

The James Fenimore Cooper Statue is at 48 Fair St, Cooperstown, NY 13326.

20- Visit Three Mile Point

Sometimes referred to as “Wild Rose Point”, Cooperstown’s Three Mile Point is a scenic cape jutting out into Otsego Lake that’s renowned for its popular year-round outdoor activities.

The point is situated roughly 3 miles (5 km) north of the village centre and boasts summertime amenities such as a pavilion and changing rooms, making it the perfect spot outside Cooperstown for an afternoon picnic or swimming in the lake.

When winter comes rolling through upstate New York, the point turns into a popular destination for ice fishing along Otsego Lake, making it a fun place to explore no matter the time of year.

Three Mile Point is at 6266 NY-80, Cooperstown, NY 13326.

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Mark Westwood is a Seattle-based writer who writes for various online blogs and travel websites. In 2017, he went on a 12-month road trip across the USA visiting many iconic landmarks and small towns along the way. Having explored over 20 countries, his favourite places to date are along the west coast of the USA but he is happiest anywhere where there are mountains and ocean.