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Explore the History of Saratoga, New York

Saratoga is more than just racing. National landmarks, museums and other notable sites abound in this historic gem of upstate New York.

history in saratoga new york

Saratoga National Historical Park

Although thoroughbred racing in Saratoga has come to a close for the season, there is still so much to see and do in Saratoga, New York, in the fall. With a variety of dining, shopping and outdoor recreation opportunities, not to mention prime foliage views of the Adirondacks, it’s a road trip destination the whole family can enjoy. The area also happens to be a history buff’s dream, with historically significant sites, buildings and museums to explore. Here are a few you won’t want to miss.

Saratoga National Historical Park

Saratoga National Historical Park was a significant location during the American War for Independence. In 1777, American troops battled and defeated a British invasion during the Battles of Saratoga. Here you can visit the site of the first-ever British Army surrender and the turning point of the American Revolution.

Today, the park has nature trails to walk, hike and bike. Visitors can enjoy educational programs throughout the year, along with amazing natural views, gorgeous foliage and tons of wildlife to see.

While in the park, history lovers can also stop at the home of Major General Philip Schuyler. If you are a fan of the play “Hamilton” you may recognize the name from the Schuyler sisters; Hamilton married Schuyler’s daughter Elizabeth (Eliza). The house is currently closed due to ongoing restoration but can still be admired from the outside.

Grant Cottage

Located in Saratoga County, Grant Cottage is where General Ulysses S. Grant, Civil War commanding general of the U.S. Army and eighteenth President of the U.S., completed his memoirs mere days before passing away. Grant Cottage is a National Historic Landmark. Visitors can partake in guided tours of the downstairs cottage interior and explore the site grounds and visitor center exhibits.

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New York State Military Museum

The New York State Military Museum displays history dating from the Revolutionary War to the present. A substantial part of the museum’s collection contains items from the Civil War. The museum is home to a historic armory and more than 25,000 artifacts, including battlefield souvenirs, fine art, uniforms, weapons and more. There’s also the Veterans Research Center, which houses a 12,000-volume library with over 24,000 photographs, 2,500 oral histories of New York veterans and more.

history in saratoga new york

Downtown Saratoga

National Museum of Racing

The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame honors the history of thoroughbred racing in America along with the sport’s most accomplished participants. This museum is located in Saratoga Springs, which is also home to the oldest thoroughbred racetrack in America. Museum attractions include plenty of exhibits, a horse racing simulator and interactive Steeplechase Gallery.

Yaddo Gardens

These historical gardens are part of Yaddo Mansion. Dating back to 1899, the gardens were a gift from financier Spencer Trask to his wife Katrina. The couple wished for their estate to be used as a haven for artists, but that the 10-acre property stay free and open to the public. Visitors are invited to view the rock, rose and classical Italian gardens and can also enjoy docent-led or self-guided private group tours of the grounds.

The National Bottle Museum

Located less than 10 miles southwest of Saratoga Springs, the National Bottle Museum is home to a wide variety of bottles and items related to bottle-making, including bottles from around the U.S., uranium glass and a glass paperweight collection. There’s also the JRM Artists’ Space, a gallery for artists of diverse mediums to showcase their artwork.

Discover even more activities, attractions and history in Saratoga. 

® I LOVE NEW YORK is a registered trademark and service mark of the New York State Department of Economic Development, used with permission. 

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