Tompkins County showcases retail and culinary treats that are the envy of more cosmopolitan areas.
Ithaca’s Businesses are characteristic of those located in many small American university towns: used bookstores, art house cinema, craft stores, vintage clothing shops and of course, eclectic restaurants. The Commons, located in downtown Ithaca, serves as the city’s centerpiece. One of the few outdoor pedestrian malls left in America, The Commons features locally owned one-of-a-kind specialty shops and is Ithaca’s alternative to ‘cookie-cutter’ malls. Offering everything from local handcrafts to Scandinavian furniture, evening wear to camping gear, and educational toys to vintage guitars, no two stores are alike.
A block away is an historic building known as the Dewitt Mall. Once a public high school, the building was saved from demolition and now features distinctive shops, restaurants, and both commercial and residential space on its upper floors.
Up the hill from the Commons, and located next to the Cornell’s campus is Collegetown, which also features a number of restaurants, shops and bars, and a wide variety of apartments. Local and National retailers; as well as eateries can be found clustered in and around the Shops at Ithaca Mall in Lansing and along the Route 13 corridor on the city’s west end.
Deciding where to dine in Ithaca is no easy task. There are sophisticated cafés and quaint taverns with continental specialties. American, Chinese, European, Lebanese, Indian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Greek, Mexican, and Thai are but a small sampling of culinary delights that await your taste buds. Ithaca’s most famous eating establishment, the collective Moosewood Restaurant, was the wellspring for a number of popular vegetarian cookbooks; Bon Appétit magazine ranked it among the thirteen most influential restaurants of the twentieth century.