Whenever you go somewhere new, and people ask you where you’re from, odds are if you say, New York, everyone assumes you mean New York City. There are so many wonderful parts of New York State that aren’t the five boroughs such as Upstate New York. Living in Upstate New York is wonderful for many reasons. You get to experience all of the seasons and their beauty, you are a train ride away from Boston and New York City, and you get to live near the infamous Adirondacks. There are so many things to see and do when you live in the Capital Region of New York. If you are from Saratoga Springs, NY, especially, you know there are some tell-tale signs you grew up in this historically beautiful and ever-evolving town.
1. You’ve Been to The Saratoga Racetrack
Most people know and recognize Saratoga Springs because of its famous horse racing course. It opened in 1863 and is the fourth oldest racetrack in the United States. Located on Union Avenue in Saratoga, the racetrack attracts thousands of people for 6 weeks in the summer. Our town is buzzing during track season and has been a great center of tourism and exposure for Saratoga. If you are a local, the racetrack is either a place you frequent or avoid.
2. You’ve Attended Multiple Concerts in One Summer at SPAC
Within our little city is the Saratoga Spa State Park. It is a 2,379-acre state park located only a few miles from Downtown Saratoga Springs. The park is home to Saratoga’s famous mineral springs, a golf course, and the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, or SPAC. SPAC is an outdoor amphitheater nestled into the park’s grounds. SPAC is home to all the big-name concerts that come to Saratoga each summer. You can see artists such as The Dave Matthews Band, Kendrick Lamar, Chicago, etc. You can attend the Ballet, Jazz Fest, or events such as The Saratoga Wine and Food Festival. Getting to the park is easy because it is located on the edge of the city; you can drive, walk, or ride your bike there. There are multiple parking lots and sidewalks leading into the park creating ease for patrons attending shows and events. Part of the experience of attending a show at SPAC is walking through the Avenue of Pines, taking in the beauty of the park, as you make your way to the entrance of the venue. Everyone who has lived in Saratoga Springs can say they have attended a concert at the beautiful outdoor amphitheater that is the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.
3. You’ve Spent a Night on Caroline Street
For those of us above 21 years old, we have spent many nights drinking and listening to music on Caroline Street, located off of Broadway in Saratoga Springs’ downtown. Caroline Street is home to about 15 bars and counting just on its main drag. There are also bars located on the side streets adjacent to Caroline Street. This party street offers up big-time nightlife for this small town. With a myriad of bars to choose from, it is hard to stay in one spot all night; especially since the bars don’t close down until 4 am. Make sure to keep a buddy nearby, especially during track season, as Caroline Street turns into one of the biggest party scenes in the area.
4. You’ve Eaten a Doughboy
Conveniently nestled in between a few drinking establishments on Caroline Street, there is a small walk up eatery called Esperanto’s. They serve lunch, dinner, and late night eats that are packed with flavors inspired from around the world. You can get chicken curry, burritos, pizza, and more at Esperanto’s. But what truly makes Esperanto’s the place to snack at is the Doughboy, or more recently renamed, the Oboy. The Doughboy/Oboy is a famous grab and go food that about everyone and their grandmother in Upstate New York has eaten many times (usually during your late-night drinking spree on Caroline Street). The Doughboy/Oboy is a pizza dough pocket that has been browned to perfection filled with chicken, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, Colby cheese, and a mix of spices. It is the perfect fill up on your way home from drinking all night or a quick bite for your stroll downtown on a Saturday afternoon. They are all made by hand and one of the best foods you can eat that isn’t pizza.
5. Fall is Your Favorite Holiday
If you ask any woman in her teens to adulthood, she will say without a doubt that her favorite season is Fall. Especially for those of us living in Saratoga Springs, Fall is the best time of year in this area. The relief from the summer heat and the diminishing of the Racetrack crowds is a tell-tale sign that Fall is near. The locals start to get the city back to themselves and the perfect crisp weather is in the air. Even though the crowds have left, that does not mean Saratoga sleeps. There are many wonderful activities to attend in Saratoga during the Autumn months. You can witness the leaves changing into their beautiful bright yellows, oranges, and reds around town or you can take a drive up the Northway to the Adirondacks for an even better view of the foliage. Apple and pumpkin picking, beer and cider festivals, farmer’s markets, and Halloween and Thanksgiving events are just a few of the fun and exciting things to do here in our town. Saratoga Springs has continued to thrive throughout the years and any time you come to visit, you really can’t be bored. Most people will tell you to come to Saratoga Springs when it is bustling in the Summer during track season, but any real local will tell you, the beauty is truly held in the Fall.