Updated: May 21, 2015
Lake Placid Vacation GuideMost of us remember Lake Placid as home of the Winter Olympics in 1980. But Lake Placid has been a popular vacation destination in both summer and winter for decades. Set in the scenic Adirondack Mountains, the town of Lake Placid actually sits along Mirror Lake, not Lake Placid (you can check out our interactive Lake Placid map below). The city itself is only 1800 feet in elevation, while nearby Whiteface Mountain doesn't even reach the 5000 foot mark. But this far north, they get more than their fairshare of cold winter weather, even without the extreme altitudes. You can boat on the lakes (no motor boats) during the warm summer months, ski and ice skate in the winter, enjoy fall colors in Autumn - it's a great place to get away from it all. Below we will take a look at where to stay, where to eat, and what to do on your next visit to Lake Placid -- be sure to start with our Lake Placid area map below to get an idea where things are - (you can drag around the map, zoom in and out, or click the VIEW LARGER MAP at the bottom to open it in a new window and see all the locations listed).
Lake Placid Sight Seeing - Things to do in Lake PlacidHere is a view of Lake Placid village from across Mirror Lake. Hopefully you'll be staying in and exploring the village, but with so much history of the Olympics here, you just have to visit some of the Olympic venues while in town. One fascinating spot to visit is the Olympic Ski Jumping Complex, just 2 miles south of Lake Placid on Hwy 73 (Sentinel Rd). This is where the giant 90M and 120M towers were built for ski jumping. You can ride a chairlift to the base and then an elevator to the top of the 120M tower for an aerial view of the surroundings, and a glimpse of what it feels like to stand on the steep jump ramp as you prepare to soar 300-400 feet through the air. It costs $7 per person for access to the complex, and $3 more ($10) if you want to ride the chairlift and elevator to the top of the tower. You can see jumpers practicing here pretty much year round. We were recently there in early October and were amazed to see skiers coming down these hills (both the jumps and the landing areas are wet down with water). There are also smaller hills where skiers do acrobatic flips and twists and land in water pools -- check the schedule (see below) to see what's going on when you are in town. If you are visiting in the Fall or Winter, don't miss out on the chance of a lifetime to ride in a bobsled, accompanied by a professional driver and brakeman of course. The cost is $75 per person and covers 1/2 mile of the course. It runs Oct. 20 thru Nov. 22nd (2008), Wednesday thru Sunday. This is held about 10 miles south of Lake Placid at the Mt. Van Hoevenberg Sports Complex. Right in downtown is the Olympic Center, home of the famous ice hockey victory for the USA in 1980. You can walk across that famous rink where the Americans beat the Russians, or watch hockey teams practice. The Olympic Museum here costs $5 per adult, but you can enter the building and walk around for free, so feel free to explore a little on your own. There is public ice skating here available throughout the year -- check the schedule listed below to see what is available for that week. You can see a weekly schedule of events and activities happening at the Jumping Complex, Olympic Center, Olympic Sports Complex (OSC), etc.
In town, you can follow the walking path the goes all the way around Mirror Lake, 2.7 miles. It's a beautiful walk any time of the year, rewarding you with great views of the village reflected in the lake when you get around to the east side. And no visit to Lake Placid is complete without enjoying a casual stroll along Main St., whether window shopping or snacking is your thing -- you'll find plenty of unique country shops and dining spots to keep you occupied for a few hours. In the winter, check out the Toboggan Chute at the southern edge of Mirror Lake, where you can ride a sled down the chute and onto the ice of the frozen lake. In winter you'll probably also want to go skiing. Whiteface Mountain (Whiteface.com) is just minutes away from the village - lift tickets cost $67 for adults, $56 for teens (13-19), $40 for juniors (7-12) - kids 6 and under are free. You can call their snow phone for conditions at 877-SKI-FACE. They usually open around the end of November depending on conditions, and lifts open at 8:30 in the morning. The Whiteface Mountain trailmap in PDF format is available here. In summer months, take a drive to the top of Whiteface Mountain on the 8 mile Veterans Memorial Highway - cost is $9 plus $5 for each additional passenger. The views from the top are memorable -- you can look out all over Lake Placid and the surrounding mountains. It's a little expensive, but worth it for the panoramic photo ops. It the weather is nice, take the elevator to the summit (26 floors up) and then walk down the semi-rugged path to the Castle and parking lot area. The road is normally open from late May to Columbus Day in October. The photo to the right is a view from the top of Whiteface Mountain.