This tiny historic town was once the sight of the winter Olympics back in 1980 and 1932. The village still holds its character while transitioning to a more modern look as of recently, to prep for the World University Games in 2023. When visiting Lake Placid, put your adventure pants on because the Adirondacks offers it all! Whether you visit in the winter or summer, this place is jam packed with outdoor activities and one-of-a-kind experiences.
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This is probably the reason most people visit LP in the wintertime. Whiteface is one of the "High Peaks" mountains, coming in at 4,865 ft in elevation. When at the summit, you get a 360 degree view, and can see Canada and Vermont. Additionally, you get to witness the beauty of Lake Placid itself from above! The skiing is pretty good for the East Coast, although be aware, it's nickname is Iceface. This mountain has a lot to offer so make sure you explore each section. The summit, lookout mountain, kids campus, and the slides, are all unique areas of this ever-expanding mountain. Sitting so high in the sky, Whiteface offers a load of great viewpoints, but in my opinion, the best view is at the top of the gondola. Walk straight across to the wooden patio once you get off and witness the beauty! You can also visit the summit in the without having to ski down, you can simply ride the Cloudsplitter Gondola up and back down for $25.
Whiteface also hosts a load of events throughout the winter season. Check the website to stay updated! https://whiteface.com
Olympic Ski Jumping Complex
Holy heights. Lake Placid offers the unique experience of being able to visit the top of Olympic sized Ski Jumps. For $20, you ride up the gondola to the base of the jumps. From here, feel free to explore the grounds a bit, and when you’re ready, ride the elevator up to the top of the K-120 meter jump. If you’re lucky, you may even get to see some athletes training, and soaring over the length of a football field through the air. On special weekends, the jumps will hold a competition to see who can go the farthest, trained athletes only of course. They set out the fire pits, sell hot chocolate, and the town gathers here to support the local jumpers. This is a great event to get to know the heart of town.
This is one of my favorite things to do in Lake Placid. If you love speed, this is for you. You get to ride in an actual bobsled, with two professional athletes in front and back of you, and race down an Olympic course!! Now, tickets have gone up in price so this is on the steeper side, but it is also something SO unique to Lake Placid. If you do it once, you’ll remember it for the rest of your life. You can buy tickets for the Bobsled Experience here, at $250 for 2 people.
Ice skating in Lake Placid is special because you have the opportunity to skate outside, on the Olympic Speed Skating Oval itself. It is located right in front of the high school, at the beginning of Main Street. For $15 and a $10 rental fee, it is worth the price and the sore feet. For the parents who want to opt out of ice skating, you can hangout by the fire place, sipping some hot chocolate while the rink caters to the kids.
If Mirror Lake is frozen over, you can also skate on the lake! The town takes a Zamboni and clears a path. If you aren’t the most advanced ice skater, careful with this one. The natural ice is rough and it can make for a not so fun time if you keep ending up on your butt.
As mentioned earlier, Lake Placid was once the sight for the winter Olympics. The town took one of the old ski jumps, chopped of the end of it, and placed it right on the edge of Mirror Lake. For a mental picture, think of a giant slide leading out onto the frozen water. Once the lake freezes over and is thick enough, the toboggan chute opens for $15 a ticket, $10 for students (cash only). It is recommended to wear snow pants.
One special weekend in the winter, the town hosts a Toboggan Chute competition! You can rent a toboggan, or bring your own (tip: the locals will wax there’s to make it go farther). This competition happens at night, pick-up trucks are driven out onto the ice and use their headlights to light up the farthest distance gone. And if it needed to get any better than that, the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place trophies are made out of beer cans. Yup, you heard that right.
Snow shoeing/ Cross country skiing
There are plenty of stores you can rent snow shoes or cross country skis from for a day spent peacefully exploring the quiet trails all around Lake Placid. Most popular places to rent from are: Cunninghams, Lake Placid Ski & Board, and Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS). Most popular places to explore are the gold courses, high peaks, or anywhere on this website: https://www.lakeplacid.com/do/outdoors/winterspring/x-countrytelemark.
Sled Dog Ride
Mirror Lake is the host for many winter activities, one of the toddler friendly actives is dog sled rides. Go to https://www.lakeplacid.com/do/activities/dog-sled-rides to choose your tour and schedule your ride. If the ice is not thick enough, the vendors set up at the Horse Show Grounds, if they are on the lake, you can rest assured it is safe.
Hockey & “Miracle on Ice”
Hockey brings in a ton of tourism to the town. There is a hockey tournament going on almost every weekend at the Olympic Village. If you are at the arena, make your way over to the Herb Brooks Arena, otherwise known as the “Miracle on Ice” rink. It is almost as if you can still feel the energy from that game; the camaraderie, the passion, and the pride those athletes had to represent the USA.
If you happen to visit on the exact weekend this is happening, do not miss out. That same Olympic oval that you can ice skate on, also serves as the location for the Winter Fest sports competition. The town builds a quarter pipe in the middle of the oval, and the best athletes in town gather. Using a snowmobile and a tow rope (LP is home to a creative bunch), these athletes with hold onto the rope and pick up speed from the snowmobile pulling them towards the pipe. At just the right moment, they let go and fly up the quarter pipe, whip out their best trick, and get a score. This town is talented, alive, and a blast, you do not want to miss this event. Check here for event dates: https://www.lakeplacid.com/events?page=4&a=09/02/2021&c=most
These are less common here in Lake Placid compared to other winter towns, but they are still offered for tours. You can visit https://www.adirondacksnowmobiles.com to set up a snowmobile tour for $160 for 2 people.
The Olympic Museum
This museum is currently free (August 2021), while renovations are being made. This is a great stop in history for your summer or winter visit.
SUP/ Kayak on Mirror Lake
There are many shops to rent a SUP (Stand-up Paddleboard) or kayak from, to go explore Mirror Lake from a different view. During holiday weekends, be aware these reservations do sell out, so prepare in advance if this is something you want to experience.
Feel free to explore the whole lake. There are no motor boats allowed on this lake, so you are safe wherever you decide to explore.
Rent a Boat on Lake Placid
The lake of Lake Placid, is located across Mirror Lake Dr. on the opposite side of Mirror Lake. There is a boat house you can rent boats, kayaks, or paddle boards from to take out on the lake. Here, you get a beautiful view of the backside of whiteface, as well as much more space to explore than Mirror Lake.
Hike the trails
There are endless hiking trails throughout the High Peaks that range from easy to difficult. Some of the best are listed here : https://www.alltrails.com/us/new-york/lake-placid
Bike up Whiteface
My brother is an Ironman, and this is part of this ‘easy’ training days. Let me tell you, as your average fitness joe- you will want an electric bike to help get you up to the top. You can rent an electric bike from High Peaks Cyclery, and drive it over to the back of Whiteface Mountain. There is a single road that leads up the mountain, this is what you will bike up. Park your car before the gate, there is nowhere to park once you pass this gate. With the electric bike, it took me about a half hour to make it to the top. I went at sunset and WOW it was beautiful and worth the work! Once you get to the top, go under the arch, from here you will walk the rest of the way. As if you didn’t just work your legs enough, here come the stairs. But don’t give up! Keep hiking up to the top, it is breath taking. Spend as much time up here connecting with nature as you need. Once you start heading down, your time here will soon be over. For the half hour it takes to bike up, it takes about 5 minutes to go down. If you feel the brakes on your bike getting hot, take a rest and let them cool off, you will need them.
Olympic Ski Jumping Complex
Also available in the summer time is taking a trip up to the top of the Olympic Ski Jumps. This is the same experience as in the winter, except no one will be jumping (training). You might also be able to experience aerials training during the summer and flipping into the pool! See next.
Freestyle Aerial Training
This tiny town has so much to offer in once-in-a-lifetime experiences, here comes another. Even though Freestyle Aerial is a winter sport, these athletes train year-round. How do you train a snow sport in the summer time you ask? Well, for this particular one, they fly down the jump, take off and flip, and land in a pool! That’s right, a pool. While you may get lucky and see some athletes training throughout the summer, there are also competitions that occur! To find out when they are, visit https://lakeplacidolympicsites.com/lesson/freestyle-aerial-training/
Lake Placid Ironman
Clearly, Lake Placid is an extreme sport town with multiple Olympic athletes calling this place home. It is only natural for the town to host the marathon of all marathons, the Ironman. An Ironman consists of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and a 26.2 mile run. This distance itself is crazy enough, add on the elevation changes of Lake Placid and you have the holy grail of races. My brother, Marc Eves, competed back in 2015, and was top 3, qualifying him to go to Hawaii for the finals. These athletes are no joke.
Dinner with a view
There are many great food options to pick from, something to narrow down your search should be view. Some restaurants on Main Street, have seating on patios in the back of the restaurant, facing Mirror Lake. Most of them have big glass doors that open up in the summertime, and make for an unforgettable evening. Some of the restaurants with this option are Smoke Signals, Lake Placid Pub and Brewery, and Black Bear restaurant.
Beach & Dog Beach
Lake Placid does offer a small beach on Mirror Lake. Right next to the Toboggan chute, you will find a small beach with a swimming area and swim platforms. To the right of the beach, there is an area to bring your dogs to the beach! It is small, but the water is clean and a tired dog, is a happy dog.
From the dog beach, you will find swimmers heading into the lake for a workout. There are red bouyies that follow an underwater line straight across the lake. If you have goggles, give this swim a try! No need to worry about boats, motors are not allowed on Mirror Lake. It is a challenging swim, but you can turn around whenever you need to.
In-house smoked meat, an upscale cabin feel, and a patio overlooking Mirror Lake, there’s no wonder you need a reservation to get dinner here! Book 48 hours in advanced, online, otherwise, you’ll have to stick out a 2+ hour wait. The food is that good. I used to work here where I lived in LP for a winter, and the owners Jason and Layla, are the sweetest people with a passion for BBQ! Smoke Signals also hosts concerts upstairs that tend to sell out. Keep an eye on their event schedule and you could catch dinner and a show.
LP Pub and Brewery
The perfect spot to dry off after an afternoon swimming and playing on Mirror Lake! Lake Placid Pub and Brewery created its own special brew, “Ubu”, a dark ale named after a chocolate lab who used to run around the town of LP!
Big Mountain Deli & Creperie
46 signature sandwiches to match the 46 high peaks, and every one of them is delightful! Big Mountain Deli is my brothers favorite shop in LP. I normally go with the #5 on pesto bread, but really you can’t go wrong. Best to order online here since the shop itself is small.
Olympic Ski Jumping Complex
SUP on Mirror Lake
Bike or ski Whiteface
Ice Skating on the Olympic Oval