how to have an unforgettable weekend in saratoga springs
There is nothing like Saratoga Springs in the summer; the old fashioned charm of the town, flower’s blooming throughout the streets, and of course the hustle & bustle of the famous Saratoga Track. I was born and raised in Saratoga and left for the bright lights of New York never to look back, thinking I would have no interest in the town I had spent 18 years in. Boy was I wrong! Saratoga has grown into a stunning area, filled with fun at every corner.
As parents do, I was requested to come up for a visit. I hadn’t explored the town in almost 10 years, so I went online and checked out ExploreSaratoga.com and DiscoverSaratoga.org to find out what the best places to check out were in the limited time I had. This led me down a rabbit hole of fabulous craft cocktail lounges, fine dining, incredible shopping, polo matches, and much more.
It was a beautiful summer night, the perfect opportunity to check out the new craft cocktail bar, Hamlet & Ghost. Nestled on the corner of Caroline Street, the notorious nightlife scene of Saratoga, the bar has a speakeasy feel. My guest and I stepped inside and were greeted by Brendan, the co-owner of the bar, who recommended a couple cocktails for us. As a cocktail expert, we welcomed his suggestions and ordered the Gin Gin Fizz, Matcha Do About Nothing, and Candied Bacon Skewers (who could say “no” to bacon?!). The cocktails were refreshing, high-quality, and enjoyable. To read more about our experience check out our full article here.
After our incredible craft cocktails and appetizers, we headed home for the night. However, if you’re interested in keeping the night going, I recommend checking out the nightlife on Caroline Street. The street buzzes with electricity after 10pm, filled with bar hoppers and live music. The best part is if you’re from New York City, you’re going to LOVE the prices here. The average cocktail is around $7 (and no, that’s not a “happy hour” deal).
For Saturday brunch, check out Hattie’s, famous for their fried chicken. They’re chicken is so good that they even beat Bobby Flay in a throw-down challenge. To add to that, they also offer a Bloody Mary bar allowing guests to customize their Bloodies with everything from bacon to chicken wings to cucumber and more. It was heaven!
Since we were headed to the racetrack, I wanted to make sure I was dressed in proper Saratoga attire. I headed to Saratoga Sundress to grab a classy yet fabulous dress to wear to the races. There are ton’s of fun shops in Saratoga so make sure you check them out, however, I love Saratoga Sundress because they have a wonderful variety of brightly colored dresses perfect for any occasion. Plus their prices are reasonable with the average dress costing around $78. I picked up two pieces, a beautiful white Marilyn Monroe styled dress and a fun flower patterned jumper. I also stumbled upon a cute clutch that matched both, so of course I had to pick that up as well! Dressed in proper Saratoga attire, I headed to the races ready to test my luck on the horses and taste wine at Saratoga Uncorked, a wine tasting event.
It feels as if you are stepping back in time when you get to the track. It is over 150 years old and has a classy historic vibe to it. As you walk through the crowds of women and men dressed to the nines, you’ll hear live bands playing jazz or couples swing dancing and Jockey’s passing by, ready to jump on beautiful thoroughbred horses in the Paddock (the saddling area). It is mesmerizing!
We headed to Saratoga Uncorked, a wine event located in a lovely private space alongside the Paddock. Uncorked featured various wines that were paired to each race. It was a fun way to incorporate wine tasting into the exciting atmosphere of the racetrack. They also had a wide selection of hors d’oeuvres available, perfect for any palate. This event was part of a multi-day celebration of fine wine, gourmet cuisine, wellness, entertainment and served as a kick off to the racing season and an opportunity for travelers and locals alike to experience the best that Spa City has to offer. The event featured hundreds of artisans, including renowned chefs, sommeliers, vintners, brewers, distillers and local producers. We grabbed a couple of dessert items with fresh fruit, a glass of bubbly and slid into a paddock side table to watch the horses get saddled before each race. It was the perfect way to enjoy the racetrack on a sunny Saturday afternoon.
If you missed the wine event, don’t worry; there are tons of fun things to do at the track every weekend. I recommend getting clubhouse access ($8 ticket), grabbing a seat in the grandstands and enjoying a few cocktails while overlooking the track. It will be an energy filled afternoon watching the crowds cheer on their favorite horses!
After we had our fill of delicious wine from Saratoga Uncorked, we stopped by the The Horseshoe Inn Bar & Grill for live music before dinner. This tented bar is walking distance from the track and gets packed with racetrack fan's after the last race every evening. If you love live music, it's definitely worth checking out.
After enjoying the live music, we headed to Salt & Char for dinner, the new steakhouse overlooking the gorgeous streets of Saratoga. In addition to having some of the most flavorful food I’ve had in the area, the great aspect of this spot is that they are dedicated to supporting local farmers that follow organic and sustainable farming practices. This means that everything you eat has fresh, local ingredients. Salt & Char is expensive, however, the quality is absolutely worth the price. It is a great way to top off a day Saratoga. To read more about Salt & Char check out our full article here.
After a day of indulging in wine and cocktails at the racetrack, I needed to detox and invigorate my skin. I headed to Complexions Spa for Beauty & Wellness, located in downtown Saratoga, for a Mineral Balneotherapy Bath and a Nourishing & Re-balancing Facial. Saratoga is known for its spas, there are tons and I love that, however, Complexions offer’s an experience that tops all others. Their staff are experts in their field and focus on customizing the experience to your needs. In addition, they are the first spa in the United States to be Gold LEED certified, meaning they are “green”. Complexions Spa is powered by wind and water sources in the Adirondacks and the facility is made of recyclable, renewable and sustainable materials. You can feel good about getting a spa treatment here knowing you’re reducing your environmental footprint on the local town. To read more about my spa experience check out the full article here.
To top off the weekend in Saratoga, we headed to a Polo match on Sunday evening. I hopped into my jumper from Saratoga Sundress, and we drove through the winding country roads of Saratoga, eventually arriving at the vast polo fields. Polo is like stepping into a Ralph Lauren magazine in that there are beautifully dressed people surrounding you with bright colored dresses, hats, and sports jackets. I loved every minute of it. We grabbed a table on the hillside, ordered a cheese platter and wine and enjoyed the game. To read more about polo check out our full article here.
It was the perfect way to end a weekend in Saratoga Springs. If you want to visit the area during track season (which I recommend), keep in mind the races run through Labor Day weekend. You don’t want to miss this one-of-a-kind experience!
If you're headed to Saratoga Springs, be sure to check out ExploreSaratoga.com and DiscoverSaratoga.org. They have tons of great suggestions on restaurants, things to do, and places to visit while you're in town! Both are a wonderful resource for travelers and locals alike.
If you have any questions on my trip, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I love to help out my fellow explorers!