Lake Placid is a gorgeous and historic place for a winter escape. If you’re lucky enough to live close to the lake, take advantage of the rich history, outdoor attractions and stunning lakeside views during the winter season.
The town of Lake Placid hosted the Winter Olympics of 1980, after its first time hosting the games in 1932. It still hosts Olympic trials on site, including two events for the US Ski Team this winter of 2021-2022. You can visit the Olympic Center and museum for a taste of this history.
There are countless things to do in Lake Placid, from outdoor sports and dog sledding to shopping, eating and visiting historical sites. Winter is the best time of year to see Lake Placid because the village comes to life (and in holiday lights!).
The mountains, snow and stunning light shows speak for themselves, but if I haven’t already convinced you, here are 10 things to do at the lake this winter.
(And you’ll want to see where you can get THESE donuts… oh, MY!)
1. Go Ice Skating
Skating is free and fun for everyone on Mirror Lake, which directly borders the downtown area of Lake Placid.
Mirror Lake is just south of the body of water, Lake Placid. It is lined with shops, cafes, restaurants and is directly across from the Olympic Center. Mirror Lake is smaller than Lake Placid and is easily accessible for skaters. Ice fishing, however, is not permitted on Mirror Lake (Schroon Lake isn’t too far of a drive:))
Check out how to access Mirror Lake on the Lake Placid website.
2. Zoom Down a Toboggan Chute
Now this is a bucket list item.
The Lake Placid Toboggan Chute has been around since 1960. The chute leads down to Mirror Lake where you can be sent over 1,000 feet across the cleared off, frozen lake. The toboggan can hold 2-4 people, so you don’t have to face the chutes alone.
It is a weather permitting activity though, so make sure they’re open for the season and operating before adding this to your itinerary. Find more info is on their website here.
3. Shop Local Along Main Street
The village is lined with shops featuring locally made art, antiques, clothing and winter gear. The Alpine Shopping Mall has some small shops with unique items and gifts (oh, and did I mention BURRITOS at Wyatt’s). Other shops are sprinkled down Main Street along Mirror Lake.
I stopped in Beef Jerky Experience and grabbed a gift for my dad (who knew they had Bloody Mary flavored jerky??). I got myself an embroidered crew neck sweatshirt from Imagination Station (and “aww’d” at all the cute baby toys and stuffed animals). I even found some locally-made soaps at Adirondack Decorative Arts & Crafts.
The Lake Placid website lists some more of the shops you can check out in town, highlighting the local businesses and artisans from the Adirondack region!
4. Visit the Olympic Center
You can get a tour of where the Olympics took place about 40 years ago! The Olympic Center is right on Main Street in the center of the village. They also have public skating in the old 1932 ice rink.
Take a look at the skating schedule and find more information about the center here.
5. Explore the History of the Olympic Museum
The museum is located right in the Olympic Center. There are artifacts from the first and second Olympic Games held in Lake Placid on display for free!
Find charming black-and-white photos of the 1932 Olympics on the website as well, then come in to the second floor of the Olympic Center to view the exhibits open to the public.
6. Did Someone Say Brunch?
Hungry yet? I’ve had some DELICIOUS sandwiches right in the downtown village here in Lake Placid. Here are two places you NEED to check out while you’re here.
I’ve been here a handful of times, and it never disappoints. Choose from about 10 different breads, with 46 signature combinations (or make your own!). On my recent trip, I got #4: The Skylight, which had roasted turkey, brie cheese and honey mustard on their garlic rosemary roll. It was the best combination of sweet and savory.
Besides their 46 lunch sandwiches, they also have breakfast sandwiches, crepes, smoothies and warm beverages.
the breakfast club, etc.
Okay, I haven’t actually been to this place. Yet. But just LOOK at their menu. From morning until early afternoon, they serve delicious breakfast plates such as egg Benedicts, stuffed French toast and even smoothie bowls. They also have some lunch choices such as sandwiches and burgers if you’re not in the brunch mood.
I also couldn’t help but notice that they have a long drink menu, and I’ve heard that their Bloody Mary’s are amazing. If that’s not your thing, it looks like they have a bunch of different flavors of spiked lattes, plus mimosas and other seasonal cocktails.
7. Settle Down for Dinner at a Cozy Restaurant
There are plenty of restaurants in town that provide a cozy atmosphere with food choices for the whole, big group. Here are a couple places I’ve enjoyed.
On their dinner menu, they have everything from warm sandwiches and burgers to elegant entrees and amazing desserts. That even includes deep-fried Oreos. Yup. You heard me.
I’d recommend their house nachos or Bavarian pretzels for an appetizer. If you like burgers, their famous Dancing Bear Burger is to die for. They also have several holiday specials during the winter season!
This cozy Italian spot has pasta dishes, seafood, steaks and Tuscan entrees and appetizers. They’re open for both lunch and dinner, with lighter fare choices during the lunch hours. If you’re craving bruschetta, Caprese salad or homemade bread, make this your next stop in Lake Placid.
Lake Placid Pub and Brewery
Their pub fare is great for families, large groups and children, with everything from soups and salads to classic pub sandwiches. Not to mention their dessert – which is made in their on-site bakery. Their “Milk and Cookies” dessert plate comes with eggnog-flavored dip and 3 kinds of cookies. Yum!
8. …Then Indulge in a Sweet Treat
Have you heard of Cocoa and Dough Co? They make all kinds of delectable donuts and hot dogs! What a combo! This new shop opened up in 2021 right on Main Street. They also have special flavors of hot chocolate like their French toast cocoa. Just LOOK at their S’mores donut. Check out their instagram @cocoaanddoughco for even more mouth-watering sights! (I think anything maple-bacon flavored is on my must-try list for next time).
Hop right next door to Emma’s Lake Placid Creamery for soft or hard ice cream, with the best milkshakes in town. Their signature soft serve flavor is a maple creme. What screams the Adirondacks like a maple flavored ice cream? Yum!
Still got a sweet tooth? I’ve heard that Adirondack Chocolates makes the best local sweets around. They only have two shops, the other one nearby in Wilmington, New York. Between truffles, fudge, chocolate bark, mint patties and hot chocolate… you won’t be able to get enough!
9. See the World War I Memorial
Outside of the beautiful Adirondack Community Church lies a war memorial. It’s located next to the lake, a perfect spot for sitting in peace and reflecting (when you’re not freezing your toes off).
The monument honors the Lake Placid residents who served and died in World War I.
The 24-foot stone cross was erected in 1929. It honors just 8 men, although it was discovered later that there was a 9th man who also served. The historian was unaware of this other man when the monument was made. Find out more about this mystery in history on Parkside Drive, just off Main Street.
10. Relax with a Local Brew or Wine
Many pubs have locally-made brews, and the in-town wineries feature local wines. Stop by Goose Watch Winery and step into their tasting room with exclusive, local blends. Their gift shop also features locally-made crafts and clothing from artisans around the region.
Try a house-made brew at Great Adirondack Brewing Company, an old fashioned steakhouse. Their beef comes from a local farm and their beer pints are made on site! There is much to choose from as you take in the snowy views of Mirror Lake.
Grab Your Hat, Fuzzy Socks and Boots… and Meet Me in Lake Placid
Lake Placid is always a fun time, whether you’re stopping through for an hour or two or if your whole family wanted to go for a road trip.
Make sure you indulge in the food. Get those donuts and hot chocolate. Sit by the lake and take in the snowy mountain views. Shop local and support the region’s artists – and enjoy your time in the beautiful Lake Placid.
I love taking photographs; learning tricks, focusing on composition and balancing warm & cool tones in a gallery.
Check out some more cool pics in my photo section to see where I’ve gone and what I’ve captured so far in life 🙂