Watertown’s illustrious past is evidenced by the many stately mansions and dignified buildings of the historic downtown district. You can learn more about Watertown’s unique history by touring the extensive collections of the Jefferson County Historical Society Museum which is housed in a 19th-century mansion.

If you’re in town during the summer months, head over to Jefferson County’s Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds to watch the oldest semi-pro football team in the nation, Watertown Red & Black. If you visit in the spring, summer or fall, arrange for a white-water rafting adventure on the Black River which includes 14 sets of challenging rapids rated Class III and IV.

friends whitewater rafting

A great family attraction to visit while in Watertown is the New York State Living Museum at Thompson. The 355-acre Thompson Park designed by the Olmstead brothers also features paved walkways, play areas, sports facilities, picnic areas and a great panoramic view of the surrounding area. Watertown is also a bargain hunter’s delight with shopping centers, historic downtown shops, and Salmon Run Mall and Towne Centre Plaza located just outside the city on the way toward Lake Ontario.

The Tug Hill Plateau, just south of Watertown, is known for its abundant snow and great trail systems. Limitless possibilities for summer hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding make this a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts.

New York State Zoo at Thompson Park

Explore New York’s “wild side” at the only zoo dedicated to the state’s wild animals and habitat. Birds of Prey, Black Bears, Cougars and Wolves are among the wild animals you’ll see. A wonderful Butterfly House and Propagation Station delight visitors of all ages.

Public Square

Downtown Watertown’s historic public square has a mix of locally owned and operated retail stores, specialty shops, art studios and local eateries.