What to do
Bike. Hike. Sightsee. Climb rocks. Climb the High Peaks. Go below to a spelunker's paradise. Shop. Eat. See a show. Be a hippie for a day. Tour. Ski or snowboard. Not only is there lots to do a short walk from campus, but Union students also find a wide range of attractions within easy reach, from boating on the Mohawk to people-watching at a French café in Montreal.
A quick walk from campus
The city of Schenectady offers a variety of places to eat and stay and things to do. Just minutes from campus, the newly renovated downtown is home to a host of restaurants and businesses.
Stop by the Schenectady Greenmarket to purchase fresh produce and crafts from local food growers, bakers, cheese makers, chefs and artisans. Enjoy this vibrant homegrown event, which also features local musicians and other performers. It's held every Sunday (10 a.m.-2 p.m.) inside Proctors theater in winter and outside City Hall in good weather.
Running perpendicular to State is Jay Street, a cobblestone pedestrian way that's perfect for an afternoon of shopping. It's lined with small boutiques and shops, including the Open Door, an independent book store and gift gallery.
The Stockade District, located off Erie Blvd., is New York's oldest historic district and home to the Van Dyck Restaurant & Lounge.
20-40 minutes from campus
Albany: The capital of New York State offers opportunities for internships and research; music and entertainment at the Palace and in Washington Park; biking along the Hudson River; theater at the spectacular "Egg" and colorful Lark Street, with its ethnic restaurants, funky galleries, clubs, pubs and eclectic boutiques.
Troy: Troy is home to many artists, college students, restaurants, one of the best farmers' markets in Upstate New York and the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, an acoustical gem often compared to Carnegie Hall.
Plotter Kill Preserve: Enjoy spectacular waterfalls, deep gorges, great hiking
The Mohawk River: Boat, bike or walk along historic river paths and trails.
Saratoga Springs: Experience top restaurants, theater, beautiful parks, cross-country skiing, world-class golf, the country's largest winter dance festival, the Saratoga Automobile Museum (co-founded by a Union alumnus) and more in this charming small city. The city is also a filmmaker's favorite: "Sea Biscuit," "Horse Whisperer," "Billy Bathgate" and "Ghost Story" were filmed here.
Thacher Park: You'll find fossil-bearing cliff faces, dramatic waterfalls, panoramic views of several mountain ranges, miles of trails (including Indian Ladder) for hiking, mountain biking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling. This is the home of Gregory Cave, a limestone cavern popular with spelunkers.
About an hour away
Woodstock: This town is ageless, a favorite among musicians, artists, foodies, nature lovers and counterculturalists everywhere. Spend a day, or stay longer and enjoy the surrounding Catskills, home to the "Gunks" (Shawangunk Mountains), a rock-climber's paradise.
Leatherstocking Region: James Fenimore Cooper (expelled Yalie and famous novelist, “The Last of the Mohicans”) slept and wrote here. See Babe Rut’s bowling ball and Curt Schilling’s bloody sock at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in the village Cooper’s dad founded, Cooperstown, or visit nearby Howe Caverns.
Within two hours' drive
The Adirondacks: Hiking is truly a peak experience here, with 46 High Peaks, from Mt. Marcy to Couchsachraga.
The Berkshires: Beautiful, accessible, home of the Clark Art Institute, a gem.
The slopes: Hands (feet?) down, some of the East’s best skiing, with Whiteface Mountain in Wilmington, N.Y., site of the 1980 Olympics, and Killington, Stratton and Mount Snow in Vermont.
Three hours or more
New York City: The Big Apple, need we say more?
Boston: More colleges (and friends to visit) between here and there than you can name.
Montreal: The most European city you’ll find this side of the Atlantic. Mmmm, can you taste those croissants? Mais oui!