Lake Placid is located in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains. It is year-round destination filled with so many fun things to do. I love the vibes of this little mountain town.
We first visited Lake Placid in 2020 and have been back several times since. To me, Lake Placid feels a little magical.
The views from in town are gorgeous, even if you don’t plan on going on a hike. The 1980 Winter Olympics were held in Lake Placid and there are many remaining facilities that are used and toured. No matter what your interest, Lake Placid has something for everyone.
Where is Lake Placid?
Lake Placid is located in the Adirondack Mountains in New York USA. The Adirondack Mountains are in the northern-most part of New York. The best way to get to Lake Placid is by car. Although you may be able to access Lake Placid by other means of transportation, a car is needed to get around and truly see all the area has to offer.
NYC to Lake Placid, New York: 5 hours, 290 miles
Boston, MA to Lake Placid, New York: 5 hours, 300 miles
Montreal, Canada to Lake Placid, New York: 2 hours, 100 miles
Why visit Lake Placid?
We love visiting Lake Placid. There are so many fun things to do here. The town itself is super cute and close to so many beautiful places. Lake Placid makes a great central hub for all of your Adirondack Mountain adventures. There are plenty of restaurants, cute shops, and lodging options. It is family friendly and has fun activities no matter your activity level.
We love spending the morning hiking a new trail close to Lake Placid and spending the afternoon shopping and relaxing along the lake in the town of Lake Placid.
Where to Stay
There are plenty of places to stay in and around Lake Placid. Deciding where to stay really depends on your budget and what you’re wanting from the trip. If you want to stay close to the main strip, but don’t want to spend a crazy amount, I recommend The Pines Inn. We stayed here on our first trip to Lake Placid and had a wonderful time. The owner is very kind and hospitable, making sure we had the best stay possible. It is close enough to the Main Street that you can leave your car parked at the hotel and walk to Main Street with all of the shops and restaurants.
If you have a larger budget or are interested in more luxurious stays, Crowne Plaza Lake Placid, Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort, and The Haus in Lake Placid are all solid picks that are located along the Main Street and are highly rated. These hotels all are in the prime spot to enjoy Main Street and all it has to offer.
If you’re interested in unique, different, or cozy stays, AirBnb is also a great option for the Lake Placid area. AirBnb has many options ranging from cute cabins to large mansions.
Where to Eat
Little Thai Kitchen
Little Thai Kitchen has amazing Thai food. So surprised to find such good Thai food in a small town.
The pizza here is delicious. There is also a great view of Mirror Lake from the restaurant.
Some other restaurants that we have not tried (but hope to in the future!) and are highly rated: Black Bear Restaurant, Smoke Signals, Luna Restaurant
Where to Grab a Snack
Emma’s Lake Placid Creamery
Emma’s Creamery is a Lake Placid classic. Everything we have tried from here is so good. My favorite thing that we have tried here is the waffle ice cream sandwich. They have maple soft serve ice cream that they are well known for. That also have many other delicious ice creams and treats.
The Coffee Bar
The Coffee Bar is my favorite place to grab breakfast in the Lake Placid. Here you will find many different types of coffee and breakfast sandwiches. However, the very best part of The Coffee Bar is the view from their private balcony seating area. There is a wooden countertop on the balcony with 4 seats that look out over the reflective Mirror Lake with pine trees reflecting off the water and the mountains surrounding the lake.
Adirondack Chocolates is a cute chocolate shop with some of the best chocolates in the area. They have many different options of chocolates and truffles. We love picking up some new truffles or chocolate covered orange peels after a long hike.
Places to Go and Things to See
Lake Placid Olympic Sites
The Lake Placid Olympic Sites that you can visit include the Olympic Center, the Olympic Jumping Complex, Mt. Van Hoevenburg, and Whiteface Mountain. Team USA events are still held at some of these facilities. In 2021, some of the Team USA Olympic Trials will be held at Lake Placid.
The Olympic Center is located near Main Street and is home to the ice rinks used in the 1932 and 1980 Olympic Games. Visitors can actually ice skate on the same rinks that Olympic athletes dominated!
The Olympic Jumping Complex can be seen towering towards the sky while driving into Lake Placid coming from the east. Here you can see the ski jumps that competitors use both in the past and even today for the Team USA trials. Recently a gondola ride opened that takes visitors to the top of the ski jump ramp.
At Mt. Van Hoevenburg, you can find the location of the bobsled runs for the Olympics as well as countless miles of cross-country skiing trails. The longest mountain coaster in North America is located at Mt. Van Hoevenburg also.
In the winter, Whiteface Mountain is a huge ski destination. Skiing information can be found on the Whiteface Mountain website. In the summer, you can drive to the top of Whiteface Mountain. You must pay to go to the top, but the views are gorgeous. The most recent ticket prices can be found on the Whiteface Highway website.
Mirror Lake is the lake that Main Street of Lake Placid borders. You can see the lake from many of the restaurants and shops in Lake Placid. The lake doesn’t allow motor boats, so the water is very calm and reflective, like a mirror. In the summer, you can kayak and canoe on the lake. One well-known company for rentals is Mirror Lake Boat Rental. In the winter, you can ice skate on Mirror Lake. On one end of the lake is a toboggan chute that you can ride down letting you glide across the lake as far as you can go. No matter the season, Mirror Lake is worth seeing.
Walk the Main Street
Main Steet of Lake Placid is where the majority of the restaurants and shops are located. There are so many cute shops to visit, no matter who you’re shopping for. There are several cool outdoor gear shops on the strip including Eastern Mountain Sports and Lake Placid Ski and Board. The Bookstore Plus is a really cute local bookstore that has a great curated collection of books and gifts. Bear Essentials is another cute store worth visiting. There are many more shops that you can see as you walk up the Main Street.
Go on a hike!
There are so many amazing hikes for those of all abilities in the Adirondack Mountains. There are hundreds of hikes within a 30 minute drive of Lake Placid. See below for the best hikes to do near Lake Placid.
Where to Hike
There are so many amazing places to hike near Lake Placid. The Adirondack Mountains are full of some of the most beautiful trails on the east coast. To find trails to hike, AllTrails can be a great resource. AllTrails helps you search for trails and gives you information about each trail. I really like using AllTrails because it gives you all the information, but also lets you see pictures of the trail. You can save trails that you like, download maps to be used offline (with the Pro version), and track your location while hiking.
I have guides on several hikes near Lake Placid, but here are some of my favorite hikes close (within 30 minutes) to Lake Placid.
This short hike is located in the High Peaks Wilderness and has great views of the High Peaks. It is a 1.8 mile trail that starts right from the High Peaks Parking lot. You will be rewarded with amazing views with this short, steep trail.
Algonquin Peak is one of the first peaks we summitted in the Adirondacks (and the hike that made us a little obsessed with summitting peaks lol). The hike to the top of Algonquin Peak is around 10 miles and is in the High Peaks Wilderness. It has an amazing 360 degree view at the top. The trail is mostly rock, so be sure to have microspikes if hiking in the fall or spring.
Jay Mountain Wilderness
Jay Mountain Wilderness completely blew us away. Jay Mountain is one of the lesser visited areas of the Adirondack Mountains, but it definitely ranks up there as one of the prettiest. Something great about this hike that is different than many other Adirondack hikes is that there are views throughout much of the trail since the trail follows a ridge for much of the way. The Jay Mountain Trail is around 6.9 miles.
For more information on Jay Mountain Wilderness, check out my blog post all about Jay Mountain.
Mount Marcy is one of our favorite hikes in New York State. It has absolutely gorgeous views and is the tallest point in New York State. There are several ways to hike to the top of Mount Marcy, but the most common trail is around 15 miles roundtrip.
If you’re interested in more about Mount Marcy, check out my blog post about our ascent of Mount Marcy!
I hope this Lake Placid guide helps you plan a great trip to the Adirondacks! Let me know in the comments below any thoughts or questions you may have!
Thanks for reading!