by Andrea Doyle | June 02, 2016
It's easy to be overlooked when the greatest city in the world is within your borders, but the rest of New York State offers plenty of top-notch options for visiting groups. One thing the wider state has on New York City: nature. Rolling hills of yellow wildflowers, pristine lakes, and mountains in the distance is the scenery that awaits. Groups can parasail above scenic Lake George, ride horseback along a Long Island shoreline, or whitewater raft in the Adirondacks. Wine and craft beverage trails abound as New York produces some of the best wines, beer, spirits, and cider in the U.S.

One-of-a-kind experiences are to be had at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum in Jamestown, and the Corning Museum of Glass where Thomas Edison had his first handblown lightbulbs.

Saratoga Springs
Saratoga Springs is a sophisticated destination that wows visitors with its embrace of the past, present, and future. Those with an interest in history are delighted to learn that Saratoga Springs is a key site of the American Revolution. Its springs -- some freshwater, other carbonated -- have been attracting tourists for more than a century who believe the waters possess healing powers. Saratoga looks toward the futre as well, as this city is the heart of New York State's Tech Valley and home to GLOBALFOUNDRIES, a semiconductor manufacturer that recently opened a $4.6 billion, two-million-square-foot campus.

Saratoga Casino and Raceway has changed its name to Saratoga Casino Hotel and will be opening its $40 million, 117-room hotel in July, just steps away from the casino floor and harness track.

Amenities include Morton's The Steakhouse and the lobby bar, Perks Café, an indoor pool, outdoor terrace, fitness center, and a sub-dividable 3,000-square-foot ballroom for private events. One unusual feature is that guests will be able to watch and wager on live harness racing from every room in the hotel.

"The addition of the hotel and its amenities, including Morton's The Steakhouse, creates an entertainment experience unmatched in the region," says Rita Cox, senior vice president of marketing at Saratoga Casino Hotel. "Our new brand is a product of this transformation, highlighting that we are a complete entertainment destination within Saratoga Springs. First-time and repeat guests alike will find new reasons to visit -- and to keep coming back for all that we have to offer."

The 6,500-square-foot Morton's will seat 160 guests, and offers a private dining space for parties of up to 32. The lobby bar will seat an additional 60 guests.

This year, Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) celebrates its 50-year anniversary. SPAC hosts the New York City Ballet and The Philadelphia Orchestra in an acoustically enhanced amphitheater in the heart of Spa State Park. It presents chamber music, jazz, rock, and pop concerts, as well as opera,   the Saratoga Wine & Food Festival, and oversees the National Museum of Dance.