Corning, New York’s downtown area reminds me of one of those quaint towns used as a backdrop to a Hallmark holiday movie. Known as the Gaffer District, the picturesque area is lined with small boutiques, unique restaurants and independently owned businesses along Market Street. I love the town for its charm but more importantly because it’s walkability – you can stroll up and down the streets and shop the historic district until your heart’s content. I would know – I visit Corning twice a year!
The Upstate New York town is built around a clock tower, an eye-catching stone pillar erected in 1883 by Erastus Corning. The town’s history can also be seen its turn of the century architecture and narrow alleyways. During the summer, the district is adorned by hanging flower baskets and visitors often find themselves sipping craft beer or coffee on outdoor patios. When winter arrives, Centerway Square attracts families who bring their children to visit Santa and enjoy the enormous holiday tree.
So, how could you spend your time in Corning? Whether you’ve only got an hour or an entire weekend, there is so much to explore! (Scheduled Market Street entertainment depends on the season so be sure to check with the Corning’s Gaffer District page). I know that you’re going to love your visit to one of my all-time favorite towns and what HuffingtonPost.com called “11 of America’s Best Small Towns, Perfect for a Long Weekend Trip.”
The Gaffer District has well over 50 places to shop ranging from gift shops that carry one-of-a-kind items to brand name clothing at discount stores such as Bass Factory Outlet or Van Heusen Factory Outlet. I love shopping in Corning because each store has something that appeals to me or would make the ideal gift for someone else. Whether you’re on the hunt for new clothes or colorful glass vase (Corning, New York is the home of the Corning Glass Museum), you will leave Market Street with a gem of a gift!
To view a complete list of stores, view here.
I don’t know about you, but when I go shopping I build up an appetite! Thankfully, the restaurants on Market Street are amazing! Some of my must-stop favorites include Aniello’s Pizzeria (order a New York style slice of pie or a bubbly hot sub sandwich) or Market Street Brewing for a cold craft beer and a Black and Bleu Burger. During our last trip, I went to Carey’s Brew House for a cold one and next door to Capn’ Morgan’s Sports Bar & Grill for the most delicious hot wings. When visiting Market Street, you have more options than you can imagine for dining from reservation only dinner restaurants to whimsical ice cream shops. If you have a sweet tooth, I highly recommend Dippity Do Dahs for ice cream or The Source at Factory No. 2 for locally-made, artisan chocolates and a coffee.
To view a complete list of restaurants, click here.
When in Corning, you have two options for visiting museums and I’ve experienced both so I can recommend each one: The Corning Glass Museum and The Rockwell Museum.
People travel from across the country to see live glass blowing demonstrations at The Corning Glass Museum and walk the gallery to see their exhibitions. Corning, aka “The Crystal City” is known as the premier city for glass production and glasscutting because of Steuben Glass, which became part of Corning Glass Works in 1919. Look at your glass measuring cups in your kitchen or dishware. They may be from Corning Glass Works!
The Rockwell Museum houses artwork featuring the great American West. In addition, the museum showcases a mix of contemporary Native American art with traditional bronze sculptures and landscape paintings. Traveling with your family? This is a great stop to enjoy kid-friendly spaces for learning.
Voted “America’s Best Small Towns for Christmas” by CountryLiving.com, Corning has also earned recognition from TripAdvisor.com for “2016 Certificate of Excellence” and “Top 100 Events in North America – GlassFest” by the American Bus Association.
After speaking to a Visitor’s Center employee, I learned that there are a multitude of events including wine festivals. Corning is part of the Finger Lakes region, which is home to over 100 wineries! Plan your visit. You shouldn’t leave the region without planning a wine tour.
There you have it! I hope that you found this post a helpful resource for planning your trip to Corning, New York! I continue to find new stores and restaurants to try when I return twice a year. Without a doubt, visiting this little historical town will surprise you with its shopping, dining and museum options. Don’t forget to tell me what you enjoy most about traveling to Upstate New York in the comments below!