Nestled in the foothills of the scenic Adirondack Mountains, historic Saratoga Springs is one of the crown jewels of the American Northeast. The city’s early fame arose from its numerous natural springs, each one producing its own distinctive healthful waters. Founding father Gideon Putnam himself built two renowned hotels to accommodate visitors seeking their legendary benefits and healing powers. One of his properties, the Grand Union, was the largest hotel in the world in its time.
Saratoga Race Course quickly became one of the premiere sporting and vacation destinations in the nation, and that’s never been more true than today. The early meets were only four days long, but they now run over six weeks, from late July until Labor Day. The finest horses, jockeys, trainers and owners in the world congregate for some of the most exciting and entertaining sports action in America. And while the track may be the oldest continuously operating venue of its kind in the country, each summer feels like new.
The Saratoga Raceway and Casino, a standard bred harness track and casino open year-round, is just a stone’s throw from the thoroughbred course. The Raceway features over 175 racing days a year from March through mid-December, plus daily off-track simulcast wagering on horse racing action across the country. The Casino boasts three restaurants ranging from convenient casual buffet to stellar fine dining, over 1,700 slots and exciting new video gaming tables, and the popular Vapor Night Club.
Downtown Saratoga Springs is also flourishing. The city proudly claims one of the highest concentrations of bars, clubs and restaurants in all of New York state, featuring the astounding range of cuisines and experiences one would expect to find only in our biggest metropolitan areas. The throbbing Saratoga nightlife isn’t the whole story, though. The downtown shopping district, centered on beautiful Broadway, has been named one of America’s greatest Main Streets by Travel and Leisure magazine. And a burst of development, focused on creating an ultramodern walkable urban core, has led to the current availability of some of the finest, most contemporary, yet most welcoming properties in upstate New York.
The beauty and charm of Saratoga Springs isn’t limited to downtown, though. The Gideon Putnam Resort and Spa, located in Saratoga Spa State Park and named in honor of the town’s founding pioneer, is widely noted for its outstanding service and top-of-the-line amenities, including the famous Roosevelt Baths. Adjacent to the Gideon Putnam is one of the best and most affordable 18-hole golf courses in an area studded with them, as well as an outstanding nine-hole executive course suitable for a quick getaway.
Yet the best feature of the park may be the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC). The summer home of the Philadelphia Orchestra, SPAC also hosts ballet, Opera Saratoga, numerous special events in the Little Theater and on the facility’s grounds, and over 20 pop and rock concerts per year, including some of the biggest acts in music today. SPAC also hosts an annual weekend jazz festival featuring the best classic and contemporary jazz performers on three stages, and the venue is a favorite destination for all-day touring festivals in a variety of genres.
Highly regarded Skidmore College, a four-year liberal arts school, adds immeasurably to the city’s cultural life with the Arthur Zankel Music Center and Tang Teaching Museum. The annual influx of students brings an unmistakable youth and vibrancy to Saratoga’s thriving downtown scene. And for a respite from all the action, the famed gardens of Yaddo offer a stunning opportunity for a quiet, romantic walk.
Business is booming, too. Saratoga is home to QuadGraphics, the offset printers responsible for Time magazine, Sports Illustrated, People magazine and others. Stewart’s Shops, a regional ice cream and convenience store chain with over 300 locations, is also based in town. And just south of Saratoga, in the neighboring town of Malta, GlobalFoundries -- the world’s second largest computer chip maker -- has built a massive plant in the Luther Forest Technology Campus. The proximity of Saratoga Springs to one of the cornerstones of the Capital District’s Tech Valley initiative has been a boon to residents and businesses alike.
Saratoga Springs has been widely acclaimed as the home of health, history and horses, and for good reason. The famous natural springs and spas have been contributing to our well-being literally for centuries. The city is surrounded by sites simply breathing history. And the extraordinary thoroughbred track is one of the premier sports venues in the United States. Add in all the other attributes of both the immediate area and the region as a whole and it’s clear Saratoga Springs richly deserves its rapidly-growing reputation as one of the finest small cities in America.