Ithaca is rich in history--local, regional, and geological! Start with breakfast at the Ithaca Bakery, with its retro neon glow dating back to the 1950s.
Your first stop is The History Center in Tompkins County to explore history through a local lens with permanent and temporary exhibitions featuring old maps, a timeline, photographs of familiar faces, an open storage of artifacts and a shop from the 1890s. Thousands of historic photographs, documents, diaries, scrapbooks, genealogies, maps, and more are available in their Research Library and historic photographs and books are for sale in their book shop. Visit the Tompkins County Public Library a few blocks walk down Green Street to browse their extensive circulating collection of items including books, paperbacks, magazines, videos, DVDs, music CDs, and recorded books. You can walk a block to The Commons, an historic place, too, with used book stores, and architecture representative of several eras and many delicious eateries for lunch, dinner or a snack.
Then visit Cornell Botanic Gardens that traces its roots to 1875, when Sage College was constructed to house women at Cornell, and an arboretum of rare specimen trees and a conservatory for teaching botany were integral parts of the early campus plan. Make your first stop the Nevin Welcome Center, the award-winning "green" building and pick-up maps for a variety of hiking and running routes around campus along with safe places to swim nearby as well as the botanical gardens and arboretum. Grounds are open from dawn to dusk, year round.
In the evening, catch a show at the historic State Theatre or enjoy an intimate theatrical experience at The Kitchen Theatre.