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Essentials in Ithaca

Groceries and Shopping

When choosing an apartment, be sure to take note of the locations of various grocery stores, pharmacies, and shops, particularly if you are not planning on bringing a car. Many grocery stores (Wegmans, GreenStar Co-op, TOPS, Aldi) and big box stores (Walmart, Lowes, Kohl’s) are located along Route 13/Meadow Street. Additionally, another major commercial area is located in Lansing, consisting of the Ithaca Mall and TOPS, among other stores. Both of these commercial hubs are accessible via the bus. There are two small locations of GreenStar Co-op (one at Buffalo and Cayuga Streets downtown and one on College Ave in Collegetown) that are easily accessible by walking.


School and playground facilities are a major concern of postdocs with families. Ithaca has many parks and playgrounds and many excellent schools. See the Students with Families website for resources.


Ithaca has many parks and recreation trails. Additionally, Ithaca is in close proximity to several New York State Parks, including Buttermilk Falls State Park, Robert H. Treman State Park, Allan H. Treman State Park, and Taughannock Falls State Park.


Tompkins County Public Library is part of the Public Finger Lakes Library System. In addition to books available for check out, the library offers the OverDrive app that allows for digital downloads of audio books or ePub books for tablets.


Most banks in Ithaca are regional rather than national banks. Some choices are:


  • Electric and Gas: New York State Electric and Gas Corporation (NYSEG)
  • Internet: Spectrum
  • Garbage: In Ithaca, garbage is paid for using garbage tags that are put on trash cans on trash day ($3.75 for a large trash can up to 35lb). Garbage tags can be purchased at various stores around Ithaca and at the Cornell Store on campus.
  • Recycling: Recycling is free curbside. Note that New York charges deposits on aluminum cans. Cans can be returned at a variety of places to refund the can deposit.


Music/Theater Venues

  • State Theater – Historic theater downtown that hosts music, dancing, and other traveling acts
  • Deep Dive – Venue that hosts live music, performances, and other activities
  • Casita Del Polaris – Small venue that hosts music, dancing, and other activities
  • Dan Smalls Presents – Not a place, but a promoter who brings in a lot of shows around town. Sign up for their mailing list.
  • Hangar Theatre – Professional regional theater that hosts plays and musicals
  • Kitchen Theatre Company – Professional theater company that hosts plays and musicals

Eating on Campus

Cornell has a number of options for meals, snacks, and coffee around campus. All faculty and staff are able to use MealChoice to get 10 percent discounts on food purchased from Cornell Dining from all-you-can-eat dining rooms, cafes, food courts, and coffee houses. Additionally, lunch at any all-you-can-eat dining rooms is only $7.50. Load money onto your ID card and see more details of the program on the MealChoice webpage.

Eating in Ithaca

Below are a few of our favorite Ithaca restaurants.

Snacks and Breakfast:







Things to Do in Ithaca

The Visit Ithaca tourism page lists activities and events happening year-round. Several event calendars list events happening around town, including the calendar, the Ithaca Journal events listing, and Cornell University events calendar.

Some of our Favorites: