You’re heading up to Lake Placid for lacrosse! You lucky person, you! Whether it’s to watch, play, referee, or you’re some other facet of the Lake Placid family. We’re so excited for you to be heading up to one of the most beautiful and iconic locations in American sport history. Guess what? We’re there too! Come say hey to Team LaxAllStars this weekend, you can even run with us if you’re up to it.
One of the real draws to Lake Placid, as well as all of Summit Lacrosse Venture’s signature events, is that you’re going for the lacrosse, but host location also serves as a great atmosphere for a memorable family vacation!
I’ve had the good fortune of heading up to Lake Placid for the Placid Classic Summit for almost a decade. When my family and friends aren’t at the fields, we’ve discovered a number of local gems that have become yearly staples in our trips. When I say that we discovered these gems, I mean of course that someone has shown us the ropes and made suggestions for us. That’s what the Placid family really is all about; welcoming in others and helping them to have that same amazing experience!
However personable and available I try to make myself, unfortunately I’ve found it impossible to meet and converse with EVERY person at any one tournament. On the off chance we don’t get to meet, and if you’re looking for some ideas to fill your itinerary with the family, I’ve compiled a short list of ten things I love to do in Lake Placid in my down time.
This one’s up first because this one is mandatory. It isn’t just the delicious fall-off-the-bone barbecue, it’s the whole Adirondack atmosphere that makes you feel right at home. Rows of old painted picnic tables sit below string lights for a dim dining experience. Live music is almost always on the stage just a few yards away.
Photo: Tail O’ the Pup BBQ
Kids can run around in the wooded area surrounding the restaurant, I suppose. Let’s say that nobody’s running too far or too fast after filling their bellies with an awesome meal. This Lake Placid staple is just a little ways out of town, but is totally worth the twenty minute drive!
Lake Placid is steeped in Olympic history. You can’t honestly hold your breath going through town without seeing remnants or homages to the two separate games that have been held in Lake Placid.
The Olympic Center is a marvelous 3-rink facility complete with a museum in-house that will tell you all about it’s storied past. Most notably, the Herb Brooks Arena is the same sheet of ice that played host to the United States’ 1980 hockey gold. You know, like that crazy event dubbed the famous ‘Miracle on Ice’ that was later turned into the movie “Miracle”?
Yeah, that Miracle on Ice!
Spend an hour or two walking around inside, as there’s probably some sort of hockey going on. Make sure you get your picture taken out front with the year-round snowbank as a background!
Contrary to popular belief, the lake in the middle of the town of Lake Placid is actually Mirror Lake. Mirror Lake always has people out for a relaxing kayak, or swimming in preparation for any number of the many triathlons held in town (most notably the Ironman!). Be sure to take an afternoon to really appreciate this beautiful lake.
Whether you just want to sit on the public beach, rent a kayak/paddleboard (or bring your own), or you just want to go for a beautiful relaxing walk around the perimeter, definitely take some time out to appreciate this beautiful scenery!
You’re going to have a big list of things you want to see and do. Your day is probably going to be quite busy! I would heavily recommend grabbing a big, beautiful meal at the end of the day. Reward your legs for hanging in there all day. Of course, you don’t want to eat super heavy all the time. At the same time, if you’re looking for quick meals, you don’t want to sacrifice quality just because you want to eat and go.
I’m a big slice guy, and Main Street Pizza and Pasta is the best in Placid. They have the right price, you can sit down and get your head together for a minute, or you can be right out the door and eat on the way if you’ve got places to be!
Main Street Pizza is a little off of the main drag, ironically, and can be found right down the hill and across the street from the Olympic Center. If I’m up in Lake Placid for a week, I’m going to Main Street Pizza five times, minimum.
“The Flume” is a hidden little gem that I’ve only been to a few times, and is a great Placid bucket list visit. In the shadow of Whiteface Mountain, there’s a little pull off on the side of the road that will lead to a five-minute casual walk through the woods.
You’ll come to a point where the river has carved out a beautiful scene of waterfalls, cliffs, and rushing water. You can have a swim in the brisk (understatement) Adirondack water to cool off in the summer heat. There are several platform cliffs and swings that you can utilize in your efforts to get into the water.
Please note, this area isn’t regulated, monitored, or sanctioned and should be respected as such. I don’t condone or recommend jumping off a cliff or swinging on a rope into a raging river. I do think you should definitely check out this beautiful scene!
I’m a terrible golfer. I just don’t get it. That said, I love to get out and go golfing and Lake Placid is home to a terrific number of beautiful courses. If you start in town and drive outward, I don’t believe there is any way out that doesn’t pass by a golf course.
If you do find the time to get out, be sure to call ahead for a tee-time. Golf is one of the main attractions in Lake Placid and you don’t want to bring the clubs up for nothing!
This one’s pretty simple. While the actual street dubbed “Main Street” goes on for quite a ways, I’d recommend focusing on the main drag first and foremost. There are dozens of little shops, restaurants, specialty outdoor retailers, outlets, and a couple antique shops dotted along each side of the street.
I don’t have any particular favorites on Main Street. From one year to the next, I always end up attracted to the new shops or the ones I haven’t seen in a couple years. Virtually all the shops have the iconic Lake Placid sweatshirts and t-shirts with the ski jumps or the Olympic logos printed on them. How else do you prove you were in Lake Placid if you don’t buy a t-shirt!?
Wise Guys is my favorite dimly lit establishment in town, and that’s for a number of reasons. While it is definitely one of the busiest bars in town, food comes pretty quickly. The atmosphere is a super friendly and warm place to let your hair down and just relax after a long day of lacrosse, hiking, and checking out beautiful Lake Placid.
The restaurant is family friendly, and there are always kids playing pool or throwing darts around. As the night winds on, the average age rises and it becomes an establishment that is 21+ to enter. You’ll always run into some lacrosse buddies that you haven’t seen in a while. Plus there’s assorted lacrosse memorabilia all over the walls.
The Placid Classic is the biggest annual event in Lake Placid every year. This bar loves its lacrosse players and families. It’s definitely the place to get dinner and a good local brew if you are so inclined.
This one I might call ahead for. Being the summer, there obviously won’t be AS MUCH going on, but the Olympic bobsled/luge teams never stop training. In addition to watching the pros practicing, YOU can have a bobsled experience!
The park opened up June 22nd of this year, and will be open until September of this year. They walk/talk you through the whole experience and properly “train” you for your shot at making the team. Then it’s time to walk the walk!
You’ll be led by a professional driver and a brakeman (equally important guys, if you ask me), and each experience comes with a commemorative pin and photography options are available.
Feel the rhythm, people!
Lake Placid is known for these towering structures. Built for the 1980 games as well, these two jumps really do define just how crazy our species really is. Take a trip up the elevator if you dare to see just how crazy high these jumps really are.
Nearly every picture you’ve ever seen from Lake Placid Lacrosse tournaments has these two mammoth jumps in the background. Be sure to include them in the backdrop of all your team photos and your family pictures. That way, you too can be part of the Placid family!
I’ll be the first to admit that in any one given year I’ve never been able to do half of these great things. However, the beauty of this tournament is that it is going to be there waiting for me the next year. And the year following.
It’s okay to put a pin in some activities until next year. Who knows, maybe you’ll find your own hidden gems you can share with me!