Best Attractions in Cooperstown NY 2024 1
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Best Attractions in Cooperstown NY 2024

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Greetings, Internet Stranger! I’m Stella Jane, author of the famous travel memoir Get Lost, and welcome to the best attractions in Cooperstown NY. Cooperstown is a charming small town with several excellent museums, but if you’re spending a day in Cooperstown, you’re likely a fan of America’s national pastime: baseball! After all, Cooperstown is home to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Well, you’re in luck because I’m a huge baseball fan, and I loved my day in Cooperstown, celebrating the World Series victory of my favorite team. However, I’ll also show you some of the other best attractions in Cooperstown NY. Let’s head out right away!

best things to do in cooperstown ny

Best attractions in Cooperstown NY

Morning: Baseball Hall of Fame

Here it is! The reason you came to find all the best attractions in Cooperstown NY. The shrine to Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron and all the other baseball greats. That’s right, I’m talking about the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum!

I suggest coming here as early in the day as you can, and staying until you are so hungry that you absolutely have to go out and grab some grub. Your admission is good all day, but if you’re anything like me, you’ll want to head out and explore some other parts of Cooperstown before the day is over.

So with the logistics out of the way, let me introduce you to…

Approximately Top 5: Baseball Hall of Fame

best things to do in cooperstown ny
1) See the Hall of Fame

So, the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum has two separate parts. It will come as no surprise to learn that one part is the Hall of Fame, and the other part is the museum. However, both are included with the price of admission.

There’s lots more to see in the museum, but the Hall of Fame has free guided docent tours, and I suggest taking one because you’ll learn a lot more on the tour than you would on your own. Plus, you’ll get to see some cool objects. We got to touch bats that had been used by Aaron Judge and Mike Trout, for example.

Sadly, touching Aaron Judge’s bat will not give you the ability to hit 62 home runs. Our guide gave us so many interesting facts that I couldn’t share them all here, but I’m going to tell you one of my favorite stories.

Every baseball player who is inducted in the Hall of Fame is portrayed with the cap of the team he is most associated with. Some players, who were equally associated with two teams, go in with a blank cap.

However, the Hall used to let the players choose which team would be on their cap, until one player agreed to accept money from one team to choose their logo in the Hall. Now the players don’t get to pick.

best things to do in cooperstown ny
2) Hank Aaron and the Babe

There are only two players who get their own sections dedicated to them in the Baseball Hall of Fame Museum: Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth. However, I’m an Atlanta Braves fan, and Hank Aaron was the all-time greatest Atlanta Brave, so I’m going to focus on his section.

It’s appropriate that Ruth and Aaron are honored in the museum together because Babe Ruth was the all-time home run champion until Hank Aaron beat his record. In his entire legendary career, Babe Ruth hit 714 home runs and Hank Aaron beat his record by hitting his 715th home run.

Hank Aaron faced a lot of racism from people angry at him that he was beating a white man’s record. People sent him death threats, but he never gave up. However, the museum also featured a note from a young man who was so inspired by Hank Aaron that he named his son after him. And the Hank Aaron Foundation continues to inspire and help young people to this day.

best things to do in cooperstown ny
3) World Series Champion Display

OK, I mentioned that the Atlanta Braves are my favorite baseball team, so naturally I went to Cooperstown after they won the World Series. Now the Texas Rangers are the current champion, for the very first time in their history. But I’m not an Rangers fan, so I don’t have to talk about that too much.

Even if you’re not a Braves fan, I think it will be helpful to you to learn about what sorts of things you can expect to see in the World Series display. Some of them would be in the display of any World Series champion, like an object from the World Series MVP.

In the Braves case, that was a helmet worn by MVP Jorge Soler, who hit three go-ahead, game-winning home runs against the Astros, including the World Series winning moonshot that actually left the Astros stadium. (I saw it live on TV; it was awesome.)

best things to do in cooperstown ny

It was cool getting to watch the moonshot again in Cooperstown, though I’m mad their closed captioning misspelled Soler’s last name.

However, some objects will be unique to each team, like the string of pearls that Braves outfielder Joc Pederson insisted on wearing during the World Series run. You’ll also get to see one of every World Series ring in history, which is pretty cool.

best things to do in cooperstown ny
4) Statistics Galore

Obviously the Baseball Hall of Fame Museum is full of statistics, records, the most, the best, etc. Perhaps the most impressive record of all belongs to Don Larsen of the New York Yankees. He’s still the only pitcher to ever pitch a perfect game in the World Series.

That means no batter reaches base even once, which makes it much harder than a no-hitter. And a pitcher needs help from his defense as well because no one can reach base on a throwing error. So kudos to Don Larsen for getting featured in the Hall of Fame this way. He absolutely deserves it.

My other favorite statistic is the player who played the most games in one season: Maury Wills of the LA Dodgers. He played all 162 regular season games and then played all three games in a best of three tiebreaker with the San Francisco Giants. A most impressive and odd record indeed! I think no one will ever beat it.

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5) Doubleday Cafe

Abner Doubleday is a name you will hear a lot in Cooperstown, which is pretty impressive, considering that his entire life is a lie. I mean, Abner Doubleday was a real person and a real general in the Union army during the Civil War, so congratulations to him.

However, after his death, a crazy rumor started that he invented the game of baseball in Cooperstown, which is absolutely false. People just wanted to be able to credit someone with inventing the game, and a war hero is as good a person as any. Plus, if it weren’t for this crazy-make-em-up, we wouldn’t have the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, so I guess it all worked out well.

Anyway, that’s why I suggest getting lunch at the Doubleday Cafe. It’s got a good backstory with the whole Doubleday name and their turkey avocado BLT with house made pasta salad is rich and delicious. (It’s also very filling; the friendly waitress said that she was impressed that I could finish it.

If you’re into local beers, they have the Cooperstown Brewery Slugger Ale on tap. Yup, everything in Cooperstown has to have a baseball theme.

best things to do in cooperstown ny
24 Hour Treasure

After lunch, stop by Doubleday Field and check out the spot where baseball was supposedly (but definitely not) invented. It’s only open on special occasions, but it’s still charming to see such an old-fashioned ballpark, and it’s only a quick walk away from the Doubleday Cafe.

best things to do in cooperstown ny

Best attractions in Cooperstown NY

Afternoon: Fenimore Art Museum

So, since Cooperstown is so associated with baseball, it’s easy to forget that it’s named Cooperstown after the family of famous 19th century writer James Fenimore Cooper. (He wrote Last of the Mohicans, which is a very sexy movie starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Madeleine Stowe.)

So it makes sense that the art museum in town is called the Fenimore Art Museum, and it’s an excellent collection of (mostly) American art. After a morning of sports on our day of the best attractions in Cooperstown NY, let’s get cultured with some folk art, Venetian glass, and so much more.

I mean, we won’t see anything as beautiful as Jorge Soler’s moonshot, but it will be close. And I promise to teach you

Three Fun Facts: Fenimore Art Museum

best things to do in cooperstown ny
1) What is Folk Art?

The Fenimore Art Museum has a great collection of folk art, which just means art by artists who haven’t been formally trained. One of the most notable pieces is The Peaceable Kingdom by Edward Hicks, a Quaker minister and artist. Quakers are pacifists, and you can see the values of peace and harmony in all of Hicks’s paintings.

I don’t know if it’s admirable or not that Quaker ministers aren’t allowed to get paid and so Hicks had to earn a living with his paintings. What do Quaker ministers who can’t paint do?

best things to do in cooperstown ny

And don’t miss this painting by Grandma Moses, arguably the most famous folk artist in American history. She didn’t start painting until she was elderly, which just shows that it’s never too late to pursue your passions, unless your passions are Olympic figure skating or being a baby.

This painting called Sugaring Off, and apparently maple syrup collecting was one of Grandma Moses’s favorite things to paint. I think “sugaring off” sounds like a euphemism for something awful, but I haven’t decided what yet.

best things to do in cooperstown ny
2) Special Exhibits

For a small-ish museum, the Fenimore Art Museum seemed to have access to a large number of special exhibitions. The big exhibition was about the influence of the city of Venice on American artists. I was enchanted by this piece I Saw Othello’s Visage in His Mind, by Fred Wilson.

Wilson is a Black American artist who wants to flip any negative connotations of the color black on their head and make beautiful pieces of black art, like this elaborate mirror made from Murano glass. Can you really see anyone’s face in someone’s mind? That would be a really useful skill if you could learn how to do it.

best things to do in cooperstown ny

If you want something a little more conventional, try Drying the Nets by Walter Launt Palmer, which is a lovely painting of Venetian boats sailing along Venetian waters. I like this painting because it’s pretty. I can’t always be full of deep thoughts.

best things to do in cooperstown ny
3) Native American Art

The Fenimore Art Museum also has a great collection of Native American art. One of my favorite pieces was this mask made by an Alaskan shaman named Ikmrailnguq back in 1900. It is a Sandhill Crane Spirit dance mask, and you can see that the mask is a crane, with the shaman’s face on it.

The mask actually had a female mate but they were separated and are almost never exhibited together. I really feel like someone needs to rectify this situation.

best things to do in cooperstown ny

This horse mask was made about the same time as the Crane Dance mask, but this mask is probably from the Nez Perce tribe. The docents think that the symbols on the mask indicate that it was connected with the Thunderbird, who was a patron of war and would have protected the horse and its rider while the mask was being worn.

Horses were extremely important to the Nez Perce, both because of their utility and as a status symbol. I got to say, if I owned a horse with this mask, I’d consider that a better status symbol than owning a Ferrari.

best things to do in cooperstown ny

Best attractions in Cooperstown NY

Evening: Dinner at Toscana

So Italian food might not be the first thing you think of when you think of the best attractions in Cooperstown NY. However, the restaurant Toscana is right near the Tunnicliff Inn and the Baseball Hall of Fame, and their food is delicious and satisfying. Start your meal off right with a creamy burrata and tomato salad.

best things to do in cooperstown ny

Then continue with this massive chicken scarpariello. Even though I have lived in New York City my entire life, and I’ve eaten tons of Italian food, I had never heard of this dish before. I wish I had heard of it a long time ago because who doesn’t love chicken and Italian sausage in a sweet and sour vinegar-wine sauce.

I mean vinegar and wine make sense together, don’t they? And adding some pasta as a side to the dish never upset anyone. Please don’t worry if you can’t finish because I absolutely could not. Fortunately they were nice enough to let me take it in a doggie bag.

best things to do in cooperstown ny

And I’m glad that I did because I was able to save room for this light, yet decadent pistachio cake. You know it’s good because there’s no fake bright green color. The perfect end to a perfect day of the best attractions in Cooperstown NY!

best attractions in Cooperstown NY

Best attractions in Cooperstown NY

Where to Stay?

Cooperstown is a small, Norman Rockwell-esque kind of town, and everything is within walking distance from everything. So you’re going to want a hotel that’s near the main attractions, like the Baseball Hall of Fame and all the nearby restaurants.

That’s why I recommend staying at the Tunnicliff Inn. The rooms are large and comfortable, the price is reasonable, and the location is perfect. If you’re in Cooperstown for the weekend, like I was, you couldn’t do better.

If you want a great deal on this hotel, click here.

And if you’d rather explore great deals on other hotels in Cooperstown, click here. This search engine will help you find the perfect place to stay during your day of the best attractions in Cooperstown NY. With plenty of options to choose from, I’m sure you’ll find something for your schedule and budget.

That’s the best attractions in Cooperstown NY

What do you think are the best attractions in Cooperstown NY Are you ready to start booking your hotel in Cooperstown? Any questions about anything else in this post? Email me at stellajane@aroundtheworldin24hours.com and let me know.

Note: If you want to know how I put my travel itineraries together, just click here. Keep in mind that while each article is about how to spend 24 hours in a place, that doesn’t mean you should ONLY spend a day finding the best attractions in Cooperstown NY.

We’ve also got the best things to do in Hyde Park NY! Add on a day of the best Tarrytown NY things to do. You can also try the best things to do in Beacon NY. Check out the best things to do in the New York Renaissance Faire. Enjoy the best things to do in Cold Spring New York. Get to know the best things to do in Ossining NY. Find the best things to do near the Garrison New York train station.

Best Attractions in Cooperstown NY 2024 2

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