Visiting Cornell University: My Top 4 Things To Do

This past weekend, I visited Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. I had a wonderful time exploring the beautiful campus and learning more about their architecture program.
Here are a few tips for your own tour:

1. Visit the Johnson Museum of Art

The museum has a patio, a light-up roof, and a viewing tower.

Whether you're more of an art-observer or an architecture-oogler...

Architectural detail of a two story floor-to-ceiling window.

you'll love the view from the top! (And did I mention it's free?)

Beautiful panoramic views of campus, Ithaca, and the lake.

2. Explore Ithaca!

Ithaca is a rural town in the finger lakes region of New York. Cornell University is located on a hill to the northeast of town. Campus itself is divided into central campus (where all of the academic buildings are), north campus (north of the river, where freshman housing is), and west campus (down the hill on the western edge of campus, where upperclassmen housing is).
Below are two of my favorite "downtown" type places in Ithaca.

Collegetown is directly south of campus and has many great places to eat. I'd totally recommend Collegetown Bagels. Their chocolate chai blew my mind!


The Commons, under construction during my visit, has many more great places to eat. My favorite restaurant there was Waffle Frolic. Yes, just as the name implies, it is indeed an entire restaurant dedicated to the most delicious and inventive waffles ever.

Ithaca Commons

3. See Some Natural Beauty

To work off all the extra bagel and waffle-related calories you'll be consuming while in Ithaca, take a walk to some waterfalls. If a "walk" in the cold New York weather sounds daunting, don't worry. Triphammer falls can be seen from your car as well as from a footbridge literally on top of it. To get the true Cascadilla experience requires climbing stairs down into the gorge, but it's SO worth it!
There are so many beautiful waterfalls in Ithaca, but these two are right on campus (see map above).

The top part of Triphammer Falls.

Cascadilla Falls

Cascadilla Falls

4. Get in the Classroom

Last but not least, it is important to really investigate what it means to be a student at this university. For me, that meant attending an AAP (College of Architecture, Art, and Planning) Information Session and visiting studio. The information session gave me an opportunity to ask architecture-specific questions to an admissions person and get to know the requirements and expectations of studying architecture at Cornell. Visiting studio was one of the highlights of my visit at Cornell because, as an architecture student, I will be spending the majority of my time in studio. First of all, I loved how Milstein Hall being one giant room encourages so much collaboration and community between architecture students. Second, I got to sit in on a critique and really see how intellectually Cornell approaches design.

If walls could dream... they'd dream about art, food, and waterfalls.