This is Ithaca’s hidden treasure. You can’t get here by bus, so it’s perfect for when your parents are here! Famous for their craft beers, Ithaca Beer Co. has 15+ beers on tap. Underage? Have no fear! Ithaca Beer Co. has non-alcoholic Ginger Beer and Root Beer! Check out their “fry flight” featuring taproom ketchup, chipotle aioli, and garlic herb aioli dipping sauces! Plus, their flatbreads are to die for, and their sandwiches never disappoint.
A Mediterranean-style restaurant, Sahara’s chill aesthetic and authentic food make it a must during parents weekend. A personal favorite of mine is the falafel salad, but also check out the combination plate featuring grilled skewers, kafta, shish tawook, and shish kabob.
The Farmers Market is the place to go to show your parents just how “Ithaca” you are. You can buy fresh, local produce AND get an amazing meal. Your options range from pad thai to a Greek gyro. The Farmers Market is sure to please even the pickiest of eaters! While you’re strolling around the market, you’ll also find several vendors selling handmade jewelry, cutesy crafts, knitted scarves, and more.
Collegetown Bagels has three locations in Ithaca; one close to the Commons on Aurora Street, one up in Collegetown by Cornell, and one in the East Hill Plaza. This means that you can get your CTB fix on Friday, Saturday, AND Sunday without repeating the same location! They have 11+ breakfast sandwiches. Feeling adventurous? Try the Nova Lox and cream cheese bagel topped with capers, onions, and tomatoes.
Viva is a beloved California-style taqueria where you can get healthy and delicious Mexican food for a very decent price. They have great salads, but let’s be real; we all know you will be craving one of their super stuffed burritos the minute you walk in. Viva also offers plenty of vegan options that are sure to satisfy.
Featuring southwestern-inspired cuisine, Agava is a restaurant that has a wood-fired oven, plenty of seasonal foods, and farm-to-table ingredients. Their flatbreads are epic and their black bean burger will satisfy even the unyielding of carnivores. But if you go, you absolutely have to get the guac.
Because where else can you get a burger between two grilled cheese sandwiches?! The Ale House offers over 20 craft beer options from all over the country. Be sure to try the Buffalo chicken spring rolls paired with sun-dried tomato bleu cheese. The NYS Orchard Burger is a great choice to impress your family with, seeing as it’s made with New York State sharp cheddar, and caramelized local apples.
Dolce Delight is one of the best places you can go in Ithaca to satisfy your sweet tooth. While pies are their specialties, they also make a variety of mouthwatering pastries and homemade creations—AND they serve breakfast and lunch! Start off with the Dolce Special: egg, cheddar, ham, and hot pepper jelly all atop a chipotle biscuit, and finish it off with one of their authentic cannolis.
This place is literally known to serve “The Ice Cream of the Finger Lakes.” How can you NOT stop by with your fam?! They make all their ice cream in small batches with local, high quality ingredients, and milk right from good old Upstate New York Farms. Try the “Gimme Mocha Fudge” ice cream made with Gimme espresso (another Ithaca favorite) in chocolate ice cream. BTW, did know they also serve lunch on weekdays and breakfast on weekends? Am I in Heaven?
A new addition to the Ithaca Commons, 15 Below is a Thai-inspired ice cream shop that provides dessert and a show. You can pick your flavor and toppings and literally watch the ice cream be made and rolled right in front of you. Try it out for a unique ice cream experience you can’t find in many other places.