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Binghamton, New York Travel Guide

On the surface, Binghamton seems like another sleepy city. But those who look beyond the surface will find that this city’s pulse is strong. Located on the eastern edge of New York State’s Southern Tier region, the small city of Binghamton is ripe with history, art, and beauty.

Many people do not realize that Binghamton is home to the fifth oldest zoo in the United States. The Ross Park Zoo and Discovery Center features animals from near and far, and offers year-round guided tours. At the entrance of the zoo, visitors are greeted by one of the six local carousels which have earned the Binghamton area the nickname “Carousel Capital of the World.” It is also known as “The Parlor City” for the numerous mansions that lined the city’s streets during its economic peak.

Nature lovers will enjoy a stroll down the walking trail that runs alongside the Chenango River from Confluence Park, and the Cutler Botanical Garden, which operates free of charge during the summer. Stargazers should check out the largest public observatory in the Northeast, the Kopernik Space Center in nearby Vestal. Recently, Binghamton was voted the ninth-greenest city in the United States by Country Home magazine.

Summertime means festival time in Binghamton. At the Spiedie Festival and Balloon Rally, visitors celebrate a regional dish, and enjoy a hot air balloon launch and fireworks. Other festivals include July Fest, Blues on the Bridge, Live at Five concerts, and The First Friday Art Walk, which features artists and galleries throughout downtown.

Binghamton is the hometown of Johnny Hart, the author of comic strips B.C. and The Wizard of Id. Art honoring his work appears around the city. Binghamton also honors its native son Rod Serling through the establishment of The Rod Serling Museum. Other local museums include The Roberson Museum and Science Center and The Bundy Art and Victorian Museum. Standard shopping is available at the Oakdale Mall in Johnson City and on the Vestal Parkway. Downtown Binghamton boasts a free-standing Boscov’s store. Treasure hunters will enjoy working their way down Antique Row at Clinton Street.

The Binghamton Mets, a minor league baseball team, plays at the local NYSEG Stadium. The Broome County Veterans’ Memorial Arena is often host to games, concerts, and shows.

Hungry, but not in the mood for a spiedie? Nirchi’s (at various locations throughout Greater Binghamton) has this author’s pick for the area’s best pizza. At Curries of India on Court Street, customers enjoy food prepared by chefs who used to cook for representatives of the Indian government. If you’re in the mood for a chill atmosphere and delicious, fresh café food, check out Cyber Café West on Main Street, and stop by Tom’s Coffee Cards and Gifts two doors down for some designer coffee. Vegetarian-friendly restaurants, in addition to the Cyber Café, include The Lost Dog Café and Whole in the Wall. If you are in doubt, ask a local! Binghamton is covered with landmark restaurants, and most Binghamtonians will be more than happy to tell you their favorite.

No matter why you’ve come to Binghamton, you can find a reason to stay just a little bit longer, no matter what your favorite recreational activity. So have a spiedie, take a ride around one of the city’s carousels, and discover that hidden treasures this city has to offer.

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