This guide was originally written and published in 2020 and has been updated. Some dishes and products may have changed since.
In Lake Placid where the slogan is “invent your own perfect day,” it’s easy to do so at any time of the year. With all of the Olympic sites to see and truly unique activities at various times of the year, this destination in the Adirondack Mountains is definitely worth the drive. Scream lines from Cool Runnings while bobsledding down the Olympic track, take a gondola ride to observe what the professional skiers see before going down the ski jumps, and so much more. If you’re looking for the most adventurous way to spend time in the Adirondacks, Lake Placid is the place to do it!
On the way there, We’d highly recommend stopping at Cedar Run Bakery and Market just about 30 minutes outside of Lake Placid. They have a variety of treats to stock up on like snacks, cheese, cheese toppers, olives, crackers, pickled veggies, candies, and more, so you can make a nice cheese plate at night in your hotel room. Did we mention that they have a wine store next-door where you can grab some of your favorite wine like a nice bubbly or dry red to bring with you? Because they do and you need to check this place out!
2384 Saranac Ave, Lake Placid, NY 12946 / (518) 523-4411 / Website
To kick off the trip to lake Placid, we checked into the High Peaks Resort. To be honest, they won us over the second they handed us a glass of champagne at check-in, something special they do for each guest making you feel like you are on vacation immediately. The room was cozy and comfortable with a king sized bed and a beautiful view of Mirror Lake.
As far as other amenities go, after a day out in the cold, or even during the summer months, there’s nothing quite like going back to the rain spout shower. Spend some time decompressing after a day outdoors under the hot water.
Located at the High Peaks Resort / (518) 523-3619 / Website
One of the best things about exploring a new area is indulging in the best local restaurants. High Peak happens to have one of them right inside their resort.
The Dancing Bear Lounge has a fantastic dinner menu with a variety of options. The Bavarian pretzel bread consists of soft, doughy pretzel sticks served with a coarse, tangy house stout mustard and a sweet creamy, whipped cinnamon butter. For our meal, we split the lobster roll with plump pieces of crisp, cold Maine lobster, crunchy green onion, celery, old Bay aioli, and sunflower sprouts with steak frites which is a New York strip served with salt and vinegar fries and braised greens. For dessert, we indulged in the Mug O’ Brownie which is a fudgey brownie coated in chocolate sauce with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream on top. For cocktails, we tried the Purple Pisco: Pisco, house-made Chicha Morada, winter spices, and sour. The meal was excellent!
31 Parkside Drive, Lake Placid, NY 12946 / (518) 523-9516 / Website
The structure has been operating since the 1960s and actually replaced a converted 30 foot ski jump. The shoots are covered in ice to make sure that you go whipping down the chute and you can sometimes travel over 1000 feet. You have to walk the sled up yourself, so it’s a bit of a work out at first, but worth it to experience the fun ride down. For thill seekers, this is such an adrenaline rush!
Inside the giant hotel, the Dancing Bear Lounge also offers a quick breakfast before heading out to explore the area. They offer your basic options like two eggs any style with either sausage or bacon, home fries, and toast. They also offer some more elaborate options like the garden benedict with a toasted english muffin, poached eggs, avocado, sliced plump tomato, and a creamy hollandaise sauce with a side of home fries. We ended up splitting that along with the Barkeater which included a salty, flavorful corned beef hash with two buttermilk pancakes, two eggs, sausage or bacon, and your choice of toast which you can slather with all the different jams and marmalade they put on the table for you to try. That with a steaming cup of coffee or a spicy bloody Mary is the perfect start to our day of further exploring the region.
Dog Sled Ride
On the ice across from the High Peaks Resort
When Mirror Lake freezes over, visitors can experience dogsledding over the thick ice. If you walk outside of High Peaks Resort where the restaurant is, right before you walk down the stairs to get a view of the lake you’ll see them ready to roll on the dog sled down by the frozen lake. After getting to know the dogs, climb onto the sled and enjoy the ride!
87 Bobsled Run Rd, Lake Placid, NY 12946 / (518) 523-4436
While visiting Lake Placid it would be silly not to take advantage of one of only two bobsled rides like this in the entire United States and only four in North America. At the Mount VanHoevenberg Sports Complex you’ll have the opportunity to experience this incredible activity for yourself. After stepping inside the store, signing your waiver, and grabbing your tickets, you’ll head up the stairs where you’ll enter a room with tables, TVs, and sensors that let you know when it’s your turn.
In the meantime, you can take a look at bobsleds through the past that are on display here. When your buzzer goes off, you’ll head into a van that will drop you off at the top of the bobsled run where you’ll get fitted for a helmet. When it’s your turn, they’ll help you into the bobsled before jumping in to help steer and help break. Your job is to hold yourself up right with the ropes they give you because there aren’t any seatbelts and with you whipping around turns, flying up to the side of the track you’ll want to make sure you’re being safe. Once you’re ready, they’ll push off and you’ll experience an extremely fast, roller coaster ride type moment where you can reach speeds up to 55 mph. You’re only on the track for about a minute, and before you know it, you’re wondering what the heck just happened?!
5486 Cascade Rd, Lake Placid, NY 12946 / (518) 523-8830 / Website
At the Olympic Jumping Complex you can ride the relaxing gondola ride up the hill for about a minute or two before exiting the gondola and walking back to the tallest building. Once inside, you’ll take the elevator to the top, so you can get a great view of the mountains and see what the skiers see before they take the leap of faith and plunge off of this ski jump. People still use this jump today to practice.
2634 Main St, Lake Placid, NY 12946 / Website
Stop to check out the beautiful outdoor artificial speed skating ice rink. Another spot involved in the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics. Right across from here is Forever Wild Apothecary, an herbal cafe and marketplace. They have people there available to help you concoct the perfect tea blend. You can create them for flavor, but there’s also a lot of useful natural ingredients that can help with everyday health issues. There’s also fresh bread, delicious lavender lattes, and tons of greenery.
Main Street shops in Lake Placid
Whether you’re looking for a store that celebrates Christmas year round to get an ornament for your tree, a chocolate shop for some salted caramel treats, or looking to grab a bucket of much-needed popcorn to snack on in front of the TV while watching a good movie at night, the shops on Main Street definitely have your back. At The Adirondack Popcorn Co. you’ll find a variety of popcorn options to choose from for your snacking needs. The Lake Placid Christmas Company has holiday decor for you to save to use year after year. Pure Placid has quite a few accessories and beautifully smelling lotions, soaps, and more. Adirondack Chocolates has delicious salted caramel turtles available in milk and dark. There are so many places to explore and grab a souvenir to take home with you!
2407 Main St, Lake Placid, NY 12946 / (518) 523-3632 / Website
Top of the Park had a nice vibe. The dimly lit bar had covered outdoor seating with bonfire pits at some of the tables and cozy tables inside with games to play. They had a great local craft beer selection and amazing cocktails made with such care and detail. The Mediterranean Seafoam was delicious and full of flavor, made with winter melon bitters, Ancho Verde, gin mare, and grapefruit foam. It’s the perfect pre dinner cocktail.
2477 Main St, Lake Placid, NY 12946 / (518) 302-5180 / Website
In the evening, we walked down Main Street and approached Luna restaurant. After being seated at a cozy table by the window, we ordered some ice cold dirty martinis and waited for our appetizer of burrata bruschetta served with homemade bread and tomato salsa. We decided to split the clams in a white sauce over linguine and the veal oscar with a side of asparagus, mashed potatoes, a tender 4 oz lobster tail, and bearnaise sauce. The pork was juicy and perfectly cooked, served with creamy dipping sauce.
2475 Main St, Lake Placid, NY 12946 / (518) 523-3222 / Website
46 sandwich options
Before heading out the next morning, stop at Big Mountain Deli & Crêperie. The big slide with ham, salami, bologna, oil and vinegar, banana peppers, provolone, and garlic mayo was the absolute perfect car sandwich for the trip home. They had some unusual coffees, too, like the Fire Tower with cinnamon, cayenne, caramel, whipped cream, and some cinnamon sugar. It was sweet with a kick of spice that hit you in the back of the throat after each sip. Aggressive…. But still delicious.
If you don’t want to plan your trip to the mountains in the winter, there is plenty to do there in the warmer months! Whether you want to rock climb, go boating, fishing, or more, there’s plenty to do. There are gorgeous hiking trails like High Falls Gorge where there are various elevated pathways for you to take in views of the rivers of the Adirondacks and the Rocky Gorge. You can always take a little drive to the Wild Center and sing Nelly Furtado’s “I’m like a Bird” while actually sitting in a giant birds nest.
The gondola ride and bobsledding are both open as the weather gets warmer, allowing you to still experience it. Of course, dogsledding would not be available, but you can enjoy the stunning views near Mirror Lake by kayak or canoe! It’s completely worth the drive at any time of the year.
A big thank you to High Peaks Resort, the Dancing Bear Lounge, the Toboggan Chute, Dog Sledding, the Olympic Sports Complex Bobsled Experience, Skyride Gondola, Luna restaurants.
This post was originally published in 2020 and has been updated.