Best Things to Do in Corning New York

Corning, New York is a great place to visit and today we are sharing our best things to do in Corning New York with kids for a family weekend getaway from Rochester, NY.  

There are more things to do in Corning New York than you may notice on first glance. This small town in the southern Finger Lakes region is a great spot to enjoy a small city getaway.

This little village in the Finger Lakes region has enough for families to enjoy a day trip from Rochester or a weekend getaway. It is not too far from the east coast either if you are looking to have a longer stay in upstate New York.

Best Things to Do in Corning New York

  • Visit the Corning Museum of Glass
  • Rockwell Museum of Western Art
  • Explore the Gaffer District

Want more details on visiting Corning? Read on for fun things to do in Corning, NY.

new york state attractions corning museum of glass

Where is Corning, New York

Corning, New York is located under a 2 hour drive south of Rochester, NY. It is a great place for a day trip from Rochester and offers enough options for a quick weekend getaway for your family.

It is a little over 4 hours from New York City.

Where to Stay in Corning, New York

We stayed at the Staybridge Suites in Corning and it was a perfect place for our family of five. It is near the Chemung River and within walking distance to the Gaffer District and the Corning Museum of Glass.

The lobby was beautifully decorated with glass pieces inspired by the museum of glass.

lobby decor at staybridge suites corning ny.

The first things my kids noticed was the shelf of DVDs to borrow for our room. They were so excited about this!! Check in was super easy and the staff was really friendly. They had lots of snacks/drinks for purchase and had laundry on-site.

We stayed in the two bedroom suite and the room was huge. It had 2 bathrooms, a living room with a kitchen, and two bedrooms.  

It was a lot of space for my family of five and it was nice to spread out and rest after our morning at Corning Museum of Glass.

room at staybridge suites corning where to stay with kids.

In the morning we visited the pool.  My kids will swim in any temperature but for me it is a little bit of a challenge!! I am happy to say this pool is “Mom Approved”!

It was warm and I had a great time swimming with the kids. This was the first time we made a little pool time in the morning and I am so happy we did.  My kids love to swim and it was a great way to start our day.

Weekend Getaway Corning NY

When making reservations at a hotel that include a breakfast, it is never really clear what you are getting until you arrive.  Staybridge Suites breakfast was fantastic.  

They had something for everyone. My daughter loved the make your own waffle station and my husband enjoyed the hot breakfast of sausage and scrambled eggs.  My sons enjoyed the cold cereal selection and the muffins.  Overall it was a perfect breakfast for my family.

breakfast at staybridge suites corning.

Top Things to Do in Corning New York

Corning Museum of Glass

The Corning Museum of Glass is one of the best places to visit in Corning. Featuring live glass demo shows and create your own glass classes. As well as learn more about the history of glass and participate in a glass art scavenger hunt this is a must visit.

They also have an excellent on-site cafeteria. Check out our full review: Corning Museum of Glass with Kids | Glass Museum New York

Rockwell Museum of Western Art

The Rockwell Museum is an art museum that highlights the American experience through American artists. Bob and Hertha Rockwell gifted many of the art featured in the museum.

At the museum, located in Corning’s Old City Hall, there is an interactive children’s area as well as an art scavenger hunt that helps engage the kids during your visit. If you are visiting the Rockwell Museum and Corning Museum of Glass be sure to bundle your admission tickets.

Corning’s Gaffer District

Corning’s Gaffer District is the main street of the village. There are shops and restaurants to enjoy. A few can’t miss places in downtown Corning are Dippity Do Dahs Ice Cream, Main Street Coffee, Main Street Brewing Co, as well as antique shops and candy shops.

National Soaring Museum

The National Soaring Museum is located in Elmira New York. This is about a 20 minute drive. Here you can see the evolution of flight and learn more about gliders.

If interested you can book a glider ride from Harris Hill.

Spencer Crest Nature Center

If you are looking to get outdoors check out Spencer Crest Nature Center. Here you will find 7 miles of trails and 2 ponds to explore.

Finger Lake Wine Country

We do not drink wine but I couldn’t exclude the amazing wineries that are in the Finger Lakes. Most are family friendly. If you are looking to include a visit learn more here.

Special Events in Corning

Corning has special events throughout the year. A few highlights are the GlassFest which is a four day festival throughout the Gaffer District. There are live music events during the summer and a Christmas/Holiday Event. Check out event schedule here.

Day Trips from Corning

Corning is a great location for day trips. Some of our favorite places to visit are Watkins Glen, Ithaca, and Rochester.

Our Weekend in Corning, New York with Kids

When we visited Corning we stayed for the weekend. Below I am sharing our weekend getaway to Corning to help you plan your visit.

Day 1: Corning Museum of Glass and the Gaffer District

We planned an overnight in Corning and wanted to maximize our time checking out the best things to do. I wanted to balance exploring with relaxing time at the hotel.

We started our visit at the Corning Museum of Glass. After making the short drive from Rochester, we went directly to the glass museum.

You may not think of visiting a glass museum with kids but we were pleasantly surprised. This was our first visit to the museum of glass and we found it to be very kid friendly.

The museum offers hands-on glass activities, an art gallery style exhibit, and a glass blowing show that can’t be missed! Check out our full review: Corning Museum of Glass: A Unique Family Friendly Experience.

corning ny things to do CMOG.

After the museum we checked in to the hotel and relaxed.  Honestly I didn’t think the kids were going to want to leave they were so comfortable.

Make sure you plan time to enjoy the hotel or resort you are staying at when traveling with kids. The change of scenery can be a fun experience for them.

After our afternoon break we bundled up to visit the village of Corning Gaffer District to explore the shops and have dinner.

The annual holiday event Sparkle was going on in the downtown Gaffer District.  This part of town is lined with pretty shops and restaurants.  I loved walking along the streets and looking at the window displays.

We took the shuttle from the Corning welcome center to the Gaffer District.  The shuttle was located at the welcome center across the street from the hotel.

We explored the shops and had a great dinner at Slammin’ Jammin’ BBQ. There are many restaurants to choose from in Corning. Check out this list here.

At the end of the night we walked back to the hotel. The shuttle stopped at 6:00pm so it was our only option.

Keep this in mind when planning your visit. The walk was about a mile over the bridge and passed the museum. We didn’t have a stroller but younger kids may need one.

There were fireworks in the evening for the festival but we ended up buying a snack for home and cuddling up at the hotel.  

The weather was really cold and the kids wanted to just hang out. Sometimes on vacation you have to change your plans. We had a really great time in the hotel room spending time together.

Day 2: Pool Time and the Rockwell Museum

We had a slow morning with breakfast at the hotel and pool time. Then we checked out and headed over to the Rockwell Museum.

This was a last minute decision based on a recommendation from the hotel staff.  She recommended we go over to see the Rockwell Museum for its gingerbread display. I am so happy we did.  It was really fun.

The Rockwell Museum shares a collection of Native American art and other exhibits that celebrate the history of America. They also had a lot of hands-on activities for kids.

The museum has a kids corner and a scavenger hunt. The scavenger hunt allows kids to find specific pieces of art through the museum.

They also had a scavenger hunt for the gingerbread houses. I was really impressed with how the Rockwell was kid friendly.  

rockwell museum corning activity for kids.

The scavenger hunt was pieces of art work that you had to discover throughout the museum. I was not sure what to expect and if this would be entertaining for the kids but they really liked it.

I loved seeing the old maps of the United States.  It was a really cool way to spend our morning before heading back home.

When I think of family getaways I always think big cities, but there was a perfect amount of things to do in Corning for families.

There are so many fun things to do in Corning New York it is definitely worth planning a visit. It was a perfect family getaway.

I appreciated having a family adventure closer to home. There was less planning and more time to enjoy each other.  We hope to visit and enjoy Corning again very soon!

Read Next: 12 Best Things to Do in New York State with Kids

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