Tucked away in western New York, Auburn lies on the northern side of Owasco Lake, south of Lake Ontario. The surrounding area boasts rolling farmland and lush growth, offering a peaceful ambiance and breathtaking sights. At the end of the day, you can look forward to relaxing at your cozy Auburn vacation rental. Despite the quaint size of the city, there are plenty of popular attractions and points of interest to enjoy. Here are some of the top things to do in and around Auburn.

1. Explore Seward House

Seward House was the historic home of William Henry Seward who served as a New York Governor, U.S. Senator, and Secretary of State. Built in 1816, it’s a prime example of the architecture of the time, although additions were built on over the next 60 years. The house, now a museum, is furnished with the family’s belongings from the personal library of Seward’s granddaughter to ancient Asian artifacts. You can walk back in time during your visit and get a look at New England history.

2. See the Harriet Tubman Home

The Harriet Tubman Home is one of the biggest attractions in the area and an important reminder of American history with a story that’s entwined with William Henry Seward. Seward, an abolitionist, sold the property to Harriet Tubman, the famous slave turned Underground Railroad operator. She donated the house to the AME Zion Church in her waning years as a home for the elderly. The tour guides take you through the home and tell you all about Harriet Tubman. Don’t forget to stop at the visitor center for extra information about her.

3. Visit the Cayuga Museum

Explore Cayuga Museum, one the Willard-Case Mansion, a conglomeration of both local history and art. Not only is the inside a testament to the 1800s, but it boasts many exhibits such as military weapons and uniforms, 19th-century art, and the medicine of 200 years ago. You can also view letters, diaries, and scrapbooks of Auburn history.

4. Browse the Artwork of Schweinfurth

While you’re appreciating art, go the Schweinfurth Art Center which has traveling exhibits that range from geologic-inspired artwork to the work of Karen Frutiger. You can even stretch your art muscles by taking a class in painting, ceramics, or drawing. There are classes for any age from elementary-aged kids to the elderly.

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5. Tour the Local Architecture

There’s a lot of historical architecture in Auburn to view from the Tubman and Seward houses to the Old Post Office, the latter of which is Romanesque in style. Take a walking tour of all these historical buildings which guide you through architectural styles of Europe in the 10th century to the glory of 17th century Italy. The Willard Memorial Chapel is not only an example of 19th-century architecture, but it also has the added distinction of being outfitted by Louis C. Tiffany and Tiffany Glass. For more modern architecture, stop at the Auburn Schine Theater that’s all about the art deco of the 1930s.

6. See the Birthplace of Talking Movies

The Case Research Lab is a museum that started out in 1916 as Theodore Willard Case’s scientific research lab. He eventually invented the AEO light bulb that was instrumental in the development of sound in film. Fox Film and Case joined forces to create Movietone, talking movies. You can see the place that was the genesis for modern blockbusters. It looks as it did 100 years ago with exhibits that focus on the specific work that went on there.

7. Go to a Live Performance

Spend a night relaxing at Auburn Public Theater where you can take in a live performance. While movies are certainly available for watching, you can take in a theater performance, listen to live music, enjoy a comedy act, or listen to a lecture. The Merry-Go-Round Playhouse also offers live performances.

8. Visit the Lake

With Owasco Lake on Auburn’s southern side, it makes sense to spend plenty of time swimming, paddling, and boating in the cool waters. At Owasco Paddles you can rent all sorts of equipment from kayaks and canoes to paddle boards and paddleboats. Plus, dogs are allowed on boats, so bring your family pet on vacation.

9. Go Fishing

Spend a relaxing afternoon fishing using one of the many fishing charter services available. The Upstate Guide offers fishing on all the Finger Links as well as some more adventurous ice fishing and waterfowling. Other services include Captain Ron’s charters, Predator Charters, and Whiskey Runner Charters.

10. Visit Wine Country

The climate of the Finger Lakes lends itself perfectly to vineyards, meaning that this area is New York wine country. Take a tour of the local CJS Vineyards Aurelius Winery, a family owned and ran establishment. It specializes in Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc. Izzo’s White Barn Winery, Apple Station Winery, and White Birch Vineyard are well within a short drive of your Auburn vacation rental.

11. Do Some Golfing

After visiting CJS, swing by the nearby Cranebrook Golf Club for a game, or head over to Meadowbrook featuring a nine-hole golf course. If you have children, play a different game of golf at Fairmount Glen Miniature Golf, an 18-hole adventure for the entire family that includes water and rock features.

12. Go Antiquing

Auburn has a ton of tiny shops and boutiques where you can find unique souvenirs from your vacation. For instance, Beautiful Things is a charming antique store placed in a renovated barn. Pick up a piece of history for your home. Winton Antiques is another ma and pa shop where you can find unusual items.

13. Explore a Farm

If you have kids or just want a unique travel experience, stop at one of the many farms. Tuckerman Farms is a working fruit farm where you can pick your own fruit or buy freshly made jam and baked goods. Strawberry Fields has fresh, pick-your-own strawberries, free product tastings, and a cute gift shop.

14. Have Fun at Playland Amusements

Playland Amusements is a carnival-style park where kids can have fun on the carousel and other rides, enjoy a bounce house, and slip down the super slide. Along with dozens of rides, there are other things to do such as play carnival games and win a prize and munch on delectable funnel cakes.

15. Eat!

Don’t leave without dining on some pancakes from New Hope Mills Factory. Not only can you enjoy an authentic farm breakfast, but you can take home pancake and bread mixes that the mill produces. The Auburn Diner is ultra relaxed while offering favorite American food such as hamburgers and fries.

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