Cornell University

Many consider Ivy League Cornell University’s campus one of the most beautiful in the country. Overlooking Cayuga Lake, in New York’s Finger Lakes region, the sprawling campus is a mix of historic buildings and contemporary architectural gems such as I.M. Pei’s Johnson Museum of Art and Milstein Hall by Rem Koolhaus. Students socialize in the area known as Collegetown, just off the main campus or in nearby downtown Ithaca.


Stay: The Statler |  Breakfast: Collegetown Bagels

Lunch: Greenstar  | Dinner:  John Thomas Steakhouse

Visitor InformationTour Cornell

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Transportation: The local airport is the Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport, located four miles from the Cornell campus. Most families use the Syracuse Hancock International Airport in Syracuse, New York, offering more airline options, approximately an hour and 15-minute drive. Amtrak train service is also an option, although the nearest station to Ithaca is in Syracuse. Are you traveling by bus? Greyhound and Coach USA (Shortline service) offer a regular schedule of trips to Ithaca from NYC.

Stay: The Statler Hotel is located right on the grounds of the University overlooking downtown Ithaca and Cayuga Lake. Run and operated by students from Cornell’s renowned School of Hotel Administration, the service is professional and enthusiastic with an excellent in-house Italian restaurant, Taverna Banfi. Another good choice in downtown Ithaca is the Hilton Garden Inn; it's clean, new and right across from The Commons, a pedestrian open-air mall with over 100 shops and restaurants. Parents have been raving about the new Marriott on the Commons, quickly becoming many families’ first choice, also located a skip away from The Commons. Families also like to book rooms at The Hampton Inn Ithaca as well. If you have time and are making a weekend out of your visit, just a few miles from Ithaca, La Tourelle is a small 54-room family owned hotel set on 70 country acres. Wandering the grounds, hiking the trails that connect to Buttermilk Falls State Park and watching the sunset in their gazebo are just a few of the things that make this such a special place.

Coffee: Join the students at Gimme Coffee located in Gates Hall right on campus. Ithaca Bakery serves 18 different roasts each with a unique flavor and blend. The bakery is the longest running family-owned bakery in Ithaca, serving the community for over 104 years. Other favorite students go to spots include Press Cafe and Ithaca Coffee in the Commons. Chatty Cathy is a new coffee shop in the heart of Collegetown already on the student rotation also serving fresh juices, and healthy morning bites such as acai and oatmeal bowls.

Breakfast: Collegetown Bagels, a hub of student life is right on the edge of campus and Collegetown. We hear the Rosemary Salt bagel has legions of fans, and there’s also good coffee. Other students prefer Dolce, “a delicious sandwich place that is closer to the Ithaca College campus, but many Cornell students go here for breakfast—the English muffins sandwiches are to die for!” One student raves about Sunset Grill in Ithaca stating “ this is where all my friends go on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for brunch. I would say this is the best diner food I have ever had!” Coal Yard Café is another student go to in a small house, just be warned there’s usually a line out the door for its excellent morning sandwiches and egg dishes. (It’s also popular at lunchtime for salads and bowls.) Everyone loves the waffles at Waffle Frolic in the Ithaca Commons. For what some say is the best brunch in Ithaca, Cornell students head to Carriage House Cafe.

Lunch: Grab sandwiches and juices at Greenstar Market, a quintessential Ithaca foodie-haven staffed by volunteers. Try the Banh Mi sandwich and the Green Giant juice. Or head to Mahogany Grill, the entire menu is from locally sourced ingredients. Vegetarians must visit Moosewood Restaurant, famous for its groundbreaking, best-selling vegetarian cookbooks and its early commitment to serving local, organic foods since 1973.



Casual: For a fun night out Ithaca Beer Company delivers, serving really good burgers, fries, pizzas, and their world-famous beers on tap. If it's nice out, sit outside and play bocce or throw a frisbee around to work up an appetite. Students flock to Agava and Bickering Sons for great guacamole and delicious Mexican fare. Students steered us towards The Heights stating it serves delicious seasonal fare. Simeon's diverse menu will appeal to everyone in your group. Tapas fans will love Just A Taste for their inventive dishes and great Sangria. Another top choice; Saigon is a delicious Vietnamese restaurant with dishes ranging from stir fry’s to pho, be sure to try the Vietnamese tea.


A Step Up: Located on Aurora street's "restaurant row,” Mercato Bar and Kitchen is a favorite in Ithaca. Mercato does not take reservations, but it’s worth the wait. Everyone loves Maxie's Supper Club, for oysters, Cajun-inspired food, a great bar, and a lively scene. Newly opened, Cafe Cent-Dix offers classic French cuisine, we hear this restaurant is a must-try! We've heard it compared to Peter Luger’s Steak House and that’s quite a compliment for John Thomas Steakhouse located in La Tourelle. 

Sweets and Snacks: Don't leave campus without a visit to The Cornell Dairy Bar - be sure to bring home some delicious pints of Cornell ice cream. In the spring and summer, Sweet Melissa’s is a seasonal ice cream shop that opens up in the commons with outdoor seating.  Louie's lunch truck, open until 4 am, is a staple for student’s late night munchies. Here’s a secret: Click on "menu" five times on the website, and the underground menu will be revealed.

Local Attractions: Right on the Cornell Campus are amazing opportunities to discover the local slogan-“Ithaca is Gorges.” Head to Triphammer Falls, a 55ft cascading waterfall or try one of the gorge or garden hikes at the Cornell Botanic Gardens. The one mile loop around Beebe Lake is a scenic, easy one. Want to cover more ground? Consider renting a Lime bike, a private dockless bikeshare. The bikes can be borrowed 24/7 by downloading the free Lime app on your smartphone (Android or iOS). On Saturdays and Sundays over 150 vendors, all from within 30 miles of Ithaca, descend on Steamboat Landing for an incredible Farmer's Market not to be missed. Smaller markets are held during the week at different locations, check online for information.

Top Ten Things to Do


— Quotes From Campus —

For me, it is the physical place. The buildings, the quad, the statues, Collegetown in all its decrepit splendor. I never tire of looping around the greater campus, on foot, on bike, on roller-blades, making sure I cross over every bridge. Oh, and swimming in the gorge. Nothing like it.
— Ryan
Take advantage of grants! Very few people search out Cornell’s endless fellowships and financial resources for research. I received almost 5k from a Cornell Institute to execute my dream project: traveling independently through Greece for 3 months conducting interviews on the economic crisis. It was by far the highlight of my academic career thus far.
— Zander
At more than 20,000 students, Cornell is a big pond: the founding principle is “I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study.” But bracketed down—through your college, your extracurriculars, your study habits, and your social life—you find your tribe.
— Andrea
Take advantage of everything! The clubs, the trips, the food, the lectures, the landscape of Ithaca, the Farmers Market...
— Harry





Big Red Bear

School Colors

Black, White & Carnelian

Acceptance Rate


Common Application


Supplement Essays


Early Action/Decision

Early Decision 1/Early Decision 2


Average - 1480


Average - 32




Big - 14,470 Undergraduates




Admissions Office

410 Thurston Ave
Ithaca, NY 14850

(p) (607) 255-5241
(f) (607) 255-0659

Sports Divisions

NCAA Division I
Ivy League

Greek Life


Noteworthy Alumni

Bill Nye
Toni Morrison

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