Published on: May 16, 2023

Not a sportsperson? Not a problem in Lake Placid

Lake Placid – As the world knows, our region in Upstate New York is renowned for its lineup of recreational activities.

Thanks to two Winter Olympics and a myriad of international competitions in summer and winter, it’s very easy to get the heartrate up whether you ski, board, bike, hike, fish, golf or play tennis. But we have plenty to stimulate the mind and keep one busy with Lake Placid activities of a non-sporting nature.

Let’s take you around the Lake Placid area, and present a lineup that’s perfect for a couples vacation and close to the Mirror Lake Inn. We think you’ll agree – in no particular order, this is an impressive rundown even at a resting pulse.

Lake Placid Winter Olympic Museum: The renovated and reimagined museum opened its doors last December in a new location inside the Olympic Center on Main Street. The new museum is a treasure trove of history featuring interactive exhibits, innovative displays, and North America’s second largest Winter Olympic artifact collection. It reveals the boundless spirit of Olympians and the Olympic Games. Learn about the famous Miracle on Ice, Eric Heiden’s five Olympic speed skating gold medals, the first use of snowmaking in the Winter Olympics and the closest cross country ski race in Games history. Open seven days a week.

North Elba Historical Society: The mission of the society is to preserve and present the community’s history in ways that are educational and enriching for residents and visitors. The NEHS is located at the former train station on Station Street and includes a museum. It was created in 1948 for the purpose of documenting the history of the Village of Lake Placid and the Town of North Elba. Museum Hours are 10 am – 4 pm. Open Saturday and Sunday May 29 – June 20, and Wednesday to Sunday from June 23 – October 10.

John Brown’s Farm: The home and grave of abolitionist John Brown can be found in Lake Placid, just a five-minute drive from the Mirror Lake Inn at 115 John Brown Road. The site enables visitors to learn how Brown and his followers attacked U.S. soldiers at Harper’s Ferry in an elaborate plot to liberate Southern slaves. Brown was ultimately captured, tried and hanged in the south on Dec. 2, 1859. His body was returned to his Lake Placid home less than a week later. The site is open May thru October from 10 AM to 5PM weekdays (except Tuesdays) and weekends.

Statue of John Brown
John Brown was buried in Lake Placid at the farm that bears his name. Photo courtesy Uncovering NY

High Falls Gorge: Now 130 years old, High Falls Gorge is a 22-acre, privately owned nature park. There is safe trail access for all ages to an otherwise inaccessible area. In the shadow of Whiteface Mountain, you can take a nature walk to view the famous AuSable River. Sturdy bridges, walkways, and groomed walking trails provide safe access to breathtaking views and scenic, photographic vantage points. View four-splendid waterfalls cascading over rocks into a deep crevice carved a billion years ago. Just eight miles from the Mirror Lake Inn, High Falls Gorge is open seven days a week from 9 am to 4:30 pm.

Whiteface Mountain Veterans Memorial Highway: How about a drive to the summit of the state’s fifth highest peak? Journey past the Whiteface Mountain Ski Center to the hamlet of Wilmington and from the four-corners intersection turn left, pass the toll station and climb eight miles to some of the most brilliant views in the entire state. After parking, you can reach Whiteface Mountain’s tippy top by using the recently renovated elevator ride carved inside the mountain. The site includes a restaurant, gift shop, a castle built from native stone, and of course, views into Montreal and Vermont. Open daily May 19 – October 9.

Cloudsplitter Gondola ride: A 15-minute ride gliding through the air in the awe-inspiring natural beauty of the Adirondack Mountain range, the Cloudsplitter Gondola ride transports visitors from the base of Whiteface Mountain Ski Center to the peak of Little Whiteface. At the peak itself, look around and you’ll find yourself surrounded by Lake Placid and Lake Placid Village, Lake Champlain and some of the most massive peaks in all of New York State. Opening for the summer and fall seasons on June 30. Cloudsplitter Gondola rides can hold up to eight passengers per cabin.

Lake Placid Library: This is an easy and quick walk from the hotel down Main Street to the library. This is Lake Placid’s source for books and movies, music, art, e-books, children’s programs, and a lot more. There are great selections for people of all ages, fiction and non-fiction, and children’s picture books. Or bring your own reading material and relax as you overlook Mirror Lake. Open Monday – Friday from 9:30 am – 6:00 pm, Saturday from
10 am – 4 pm, closed Sunday.

magician performing
Children’s activities are central to the mission of the Lake Placid Public Library. Photo courtesy of the library.

Skyride Gondola at the Olympic Ski Jumping Complex: Stand alongside the ramp that ski jumpers launch themselves from prior to flying over the length of a football field. Explore the site on our 8-person Skyride, a state-of-the-art gondola, followed by a glass-enclosed elevator ending at the observation deck of the Hill Size 128-meter jump. The ADA-compliant gondola carries athletes, coaches, officials, equipment, and visitors from the Intervale (Base) Lodge to the HS 100 and HS 128-meter ski jump towers. At the top of the new glass-enclosed elevator, enjoy the panoramic vista of Adirondack High Peaks and then experience what the jumpers see as they start to accelerate towards the end of the ramp.

Lake Placid Center for the Arts: Since 1972, the center has presented arts programming of the highest caliber against the stunning backdrop of the Adirondack Mountains. The arts menu is diverse, ranging from outstanding performances in an intimate 355-seat theater, robust arts education programs, beautiful visual arts galleries, and meaningful services to individual artists and fellow arts organizations. The Mirror Lake Inn has had a special relationship with the arts center, hosting a gala fundraising event annually at the hotel for over 30 years. Money raised has benefited youth arts programs in the North Country.

Palace Theater: This Lake Placid movie theater, born in 1936 as the Adirondack Theater, is a local institution. Just a few minutes by foot from the Mirror Lake Inn, the Palace has four snug theaters featuring the latest big-screen releases. The Palace has been family-owned for generations. One media outlet called it “a real theater with vintage architecture.” The snack stand is old school along with the décor, and that just adds to the theater’s cool vibe. The Palace is centrally located amongst about 10 outstanding restaurants in Lake Placid. It’s the perfect setting for dinner and a movie. Remember the Palace for their matinees when the weather doesn’t cooperate. Log on to their Facebook page for the latest showings and schedules. And oh, by the way, the movie Lake Placid? Don’t buy it – it’s a croc!

So there you have it. When considering things to do in Lake Placid with a slower pace, please consider these activities.