Utica is the heart of the Mohawk Valley and the seat of Oneida County in Central New York State. Utica offers the charm of small-city living balanced with the cultural and ethnic diversity of an international urban center. At the foot of the Adirondack Mountains, Utica is a truly scenic city that offers the pleasures of both a rural and urban setting.
Utica is a city of approximately 60,000 residents in Oneida County, NY, along the Mohawk River and the Erie Canal. It is the seat of government for Oneida County and its largest city. Like many Central New York place names, the name "Utica" is classical: it was first the name of an ancient Phoenician settlement in North Africa, near Carthage.
Settlement in Utica dates to the colonial area, as depicted in the novel and movie Drums Along the Mohawk. Utica became an urban industrial center during the industrial revolution, particularly in textile production. Frank Winfield Woolworth launched a "five-cent store" in Utica in 1878 which soon closed; the next year Woolworth's "five and dime" in Lancaster (Pennsylvania) proved successful. Like most American industrial cities, Utica has suffered from population loss and urban decay since the 1970s. However, the popular conception that has made Utica the butt of jokes in TV shows like The Office and The Simpsons is an exaggeration. Contemporary Utica, in addition to its historical points of interest, is a multi-cultural city with a restaurant selection and local arts scene that are robust for a city of its size.
The small regional airport in Utica is no longer in operation; the Oneida County airport moved from Oriskany and is now in nearby Rome, with a 10,000-foot runway (at the former Griffiss Air Force Base). Despite its size and name, Griffiss International Airport (RME IATA) serves primarily general aviation.
Amtrak has multiple daily departures from New York City via its Empire Service. There are two overnight services as well, the Lake Shore Limited between Chicago and New York City/Boston and the Maple Leaf between Toronto and New York City, via Niagara Falls. Utica's 1 Union Station, part of the Boehlert Transportation Center, is a grand historic station built in Italianate style between 1912 and 1914. The station is at 321 Main St.
Utica is easily accessed from the New York State Thruway, Interstate 90, which passes through the city.
Not far from the Thruway exit is a Tesla Supercharger station for electric vehicles, with eight stations.
- Adirondack Trailways, 321 Main St (Boehlert Transportation Center), ☏ . Intercity bus service, arrives at Utica's rail station.
- Coach USA (Short Line Bus), ☏ , toll-free: . Daily intrastate scheduled service from New York City.
- 1 CENTRO (Central New York Regional Transportation Authority), 185 Leland Ave, ☏ . Regional bus service based in Syracuse with services to Utica and to the Rome Amtrak station.
- [dead link] Ace Taxi Service, 502 Eagle St, ☏ .
- Ameritaxi, 601 Court St, ☏ .
- 1 Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute Museum of Art, 310 Genesee St, ☏ . Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su 1-5PM. The museum has 20 galleries featuring permanent and temporary exhibitions for a total of more than 25,000 American and European 18th-, 19th, and 20th-century paintings and 19th-century decorative arts. Musical concerts are held commonly, with the "Concerts in the Court" series, the yearly Arts Festival, and the Chamber Music Society of Utica.
- 2 Children's Museum of History, Natural History, Science & Technology, 106 Memorial Parkway, ☏ . A hands-on learning center with emphasis on local history, environmental science, the arts, and space science. Closed while new building is being built: reopening is planned in the spring of 2022.
- 3 Oneida County Historical Society, 1608 Genesee St, ☏ . Tu-F 10AM-4:30PM, Sa 11AM-3PM.. Founded in 1876, the Society has a museum, historical/genealogical library, and book/gift shop. $5.00 entry for the library.
- 4 National Distance Running Hall of Fame, 805 Court St, ☏ .
- 5 Sculpture Space, 12 Gates Street, ☏ , [email protected]. Sculpture Space is an artist-in-residency program dedicated exclusively to professional sculptors. Founded in 1975 in the former Utica Steam Engine and Boiler Works building, the organization selects 20 artists each year for two-month, funded residencies which have helped to advance the careers of more than 400 national and international artists.
- 6 Players of Utica Theater, 1108 State Street, ☏ . M-F 10AM-4PM, in addition to showtimes. Players of Utica, founded in 1913, is the oldest community theater group in New York State.
- 7 Stanley Theater, 261 Genesee St, ☏ . Opened September 10, 1928 and has been the premier showplace for Central New York ever since. Housed in a "Mexican baroque" building (with Moorish and art deco influences), the theater is home to the Broadway Theatre League, the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute Great Artists Series, the Utica Symphony Orchestra, and the Mohawk Valley Ballet.
- 8 Utica Memorial Auditorium, 400 Oriskany Street West, ☏ . One of the first arenas built without central pillars, thus allowing an unobstructed view from all seats, the Aud is host to concerts and sports events, including a minor league hockey team.
- 9 Utica Zoo, 99 Steele Hill Rd, ☏ .
- Utica Marsh Wildlife Management Area, ☏ . Utica Marsh is a wetland area shared by Utica and neighboring Marcy, between the Mohawk River and the New York State Barge Canal. The 213 acres are home to a tremendous variety of plants and animals, especially birds. Facilities include observation towers and platforms (at least one handicapped-accessible), walking and bike trails, a pavilion, water control dikes, a small-boat launch site for the Mohawk River, and a boat ramp for the Barge Canal.
- Boilermaker 15K Road Race. Second Sunday in July. Established in 1976 with just over 800 runners and a budget of $750, the Boilermaker is the largest 15-km run in the nation with more than 10,000 runners. Participants include Olympians and world record holders.
- 1 Adirondack Scenic Railroad, 321 Main St. (Union Station), toll-free: .
The Utica area is home to several colleges and universities, which host events regularly.
- Utica College, 1600 Burrstone Road. Spun-off from Syracuse University in 1946, Utica College (UC) offers bachelor's degrees from Syracuse, as well as master's degrees in its own name, for a wide variety of academic programs within the fields of health sciences, social sciences, liberal arts, and business studies (to name a few). It prides itself on a low faculty-to-student ratio and the individual attention possible in a small-college setting.
- Mohawk Valley Community College, 1101 Sherman Drive. MVCC is the oldest community college in New York State, dating from 1946.
- Pratt at Munson Williams Proctor Arts Institute, 310 Genesee Street. In addition to its Fine and Performing Arts programs (see Museums, above), Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute is also home to a well-regarded School of Art.
- State University of New York (SUNY) Polytechnic Institute (in Marcy, just north of Utica). Established in 1966, SUNY Poly offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering, cybersecurity, computer science, and engineering technologies. It also offers professional degrees, such as business, communication, and nursing, as well as selected majors in the arts and sciences. SUNY Poly has a large park-like campus just north of Utica.
- Off-Center Records, 116 Bleecker St, ☏ . Probably the last remaining independent music store between Syracuse and Albany. Off-Center carries recordings in CD, vinyl, and tape formats, turntables, band swag, musicians' gear, and anything else the owner can cram into the store.
- Oneida County Public Market, 321 Main St (Union Station), [email protected]. Sa 9AM to 2PM. Weekly farmer's market
- The Indie Garage Sale, [email protected]. Fair of handmade crafts from independent local makers. On the "hipster" rather than "grandma" end of the craft fair spectrum. See web site for location.
- 1 Sangertown Square, 8555 Seneca Turnpike, New Hartford. Medium-size shopping mall
Utica has a long history of welcoming immigrants, from Italians and Poles who came early in the twentieth century to work in the mills, to the present-day influx of immigrants from places as far-flung as Bosnia and Burma. The variety in restaurants is just one of the marks these diverse cultures have left.
Oneida County is one of the few counties in the United States where Italian is the most common single ancestry, so Utica does not lack for Italian restaurants. Italian food in Utica is generally of the southern Italian and Sicilian, cucina povera variety, reflecting the backgrounds of the immigrants who introduced it. The icons of Utican Italian food are greens (escarole sautéed with prosciutto and hot peppers) and chicken riggies (chicken and rigatoni in a spicy sauce).
- Delmonico's Italian Steakhouse, 151 N Genesee St, ☏ .
- Ventura's Restaurant, 787 Lansing St.
- O'scugnizzo's Pizzeria, 614 Bleecker St, ☏ .
- Florentine Pastry Shop, 667 Bleecker St, ☏ .
- 1 Georgio's, 62 Genesee St, New Hartford, ☏ , fax: . Tu-Sa 11AM-9PM. Italian cuisine; their greens (sauteed escarole with prosciutto and peppers) are popular.
- Tiny's Grill, 1014 State St, ☏ .
- Chesterfield Restaurant, 1713 Bleecker Street, ☏ .
Mediterranean and Middle Eastern
- Symeon's Greek Restaurant, 4941 Commercial Dr, Yorkville, ☏ . Entrees about $10.
- Karam's Middle East Bakery, 137 Campbell Ave, Yorkville, ☏ . Tu-F 9AM - 5PM, Sa 9AM - 3PM. Very low prices: e.g., a falafel sandwich is $5.
- Zeina's Café, 607 Varick Street, ☏ . Lebanese café.
- 2 The Grapevine, 120 Genesee St, New Hartford (In the New Hartford Shopping Center), ☏ . M-Tu 10AM-4PM, W-Sa 10AM-9PM. Lebanese cuisine.
- The Lotus Garden, 1011 King St, ☏ . Thai, Cambodian, Vietnamese dishes. Family-owned. Good atmosphere. $10 per plate.
- Pho Mekong House of Noodles, 601 John St, ☏ . Cambodian and Vietnamese dishes. Building is a hole-in-the-wall but food is inexpensive and delicious. $7 per plate.
- Taj Mahal Indian Restaurant, 60 Genesee St, New Hartford, ☏ . Halal meat served. $10-$15 per plate.
- Sunny Restaurant Asian Cuisine, 530 Albany Street, ☏ . Chinese and Pan-Asian cuisine.
- 3 The Tailor and the Cook, 94 Genesee St, ☏ . A very pleasant mix of locally sourced ingredients with a downstate-style artisan dining experience. Entrees about $25.
- 4 Cafe Domenico, 2011 Genesee St, ☏ . Excellent for a cup of coffee and a pastry. Not to be confused with Delmonico's.
- 5 Utica Coffee Roasting Company, 92 Genesee St, ☏ . The premier coffee roasters in the area also run a small cafe where their beans can be sampled.
- 6 Willows of Utica, 900 Culver Avenue, ☏ . New America cuisine. About $20 an entree.
- Motus, 234 Genesee St, ☏ . New American gastropub.
Varick St bars
- F. X. Matt Brewery, 830 Varick St, ☏ , toll-free: . Brewer of Saranac and Utica Club. Anchor of the Varick St. Bar area. Hosts Saranac Thursday music series during the summer.
- 1 Varick Bar & Grill, 616 Varick St, ☏ .
- 2 Sickenberger Lane, 624 Varick St (not actually on Sickenberger Ln).
- 3 Nail Creek Pub and Brewery, 720 Varick St, ☏ . Imported beers, authentic & traditional pub food
- 4 O'Donnell's Pub & Grill, 715 Varick St, ☏ .
- 5 The Celtic Harp, 805 Varick St, ☏ . Sports bar with pub food
Genesee St bars
- 6 The Auburn, 14 Auburn Ave, ☏ .
- 7 Griffin's Pub, 226 Genesee St, ☏ .
- 8 The Green Onion Pub, 2018 Genesee St (next to the Uptown Theater), ☏ .
- 9 Gerber's 1933 Tavern, 16 Liberty Street, ☏ . A restored speakeasy with a goal of recreating the 1930s speakeasy atmosphere.
- 1 Hotel Utica, 102 Lafayette St, ☏ , toll-free: , fax: . Fourteen-story, Renaissance Revival-style hotel established March 11, 1912 and restored in 2001, 250 rooms, restaurant and lounge open M-Sa after 5PM.
- 2 Hampton Inn, 172-180 N Genessee St, ☏ , fax: . Close to the Thruway exit, so it is convenient for people traveling by private car.
- 3 Holiday Inn Express & Suites Utica, 23 Wells Ave, ☏ , toll-free: .
- 4 Radisson Utica Centre, 200 Genesee Street, ☏ . In the center of downtown.
- 5 Ramada New Hartford, 141 New Hartford St, New Hartford NY, ☏ .
Rome is Utica's twin city, home to Fort Stanwix of Revolutionary War fame. Also to the west are the Vernon Downs racetrack, Sylvan Beach on Oneida Lake, and the Turning Stone casino, situated on the Oneida native reservation. Little Falls to the east holds historical points of interest as well. The Adirondacks are accessible to the north-east, via a picturesque drive through Amish country. Syracuse is about 55 miles to the west, Albany about 95 miles to the east.
|Routes through Utica|
|Buffalo ← Rome ←||W E||→ Schenectady → Albany (Rensselaer)|
|Buffalo (Depew) ← Syracuse ←||W E||→ Schenectady → Albany (Rensselaer)|
|Buffalo ← Syracuse ←||W E||→ Herkimer → Albany|
|Buffalo ← Syracuse ←||W E||→ Herkimer → Albany|
|Rochester ← Rome ←||W E||→ Herkimer → Waterford|