New York Routes 5 and 20

3-Day Getaway Along Routes 5 and 20

Routes 5 and 20 is a beautiful 67-mile stretch of highway where NY-5 and US-20 converge. The path it takes is a foot trail of New York’s first people from the Hudson River to Lake Erie, between the Adirondacks and the Catskills, and over a rolling drumlin field.

Connecting the Town of Avon in the west and the City of Auburn in the east, Routes 5 and 20 pass together through the cities of Canandaigua and Geneva, and the historic hamlet of Seneca Falls.

It’s the perfect northern gateway to the Finger Lakes region, skimming the tops of Canandaigua, Seneca, Cayuga, and Owasco Lakes. In fact, Routes 5 and 20 connect nine of the eleven Finger Lakes, leaving Skaneateles and Otisco Lakes just beyond the eastern junction.

A Suggested Itinerary for Your Routes 5 & 20 Getaway

From Rochester, you could jump on the thruway to get out to Auburn quicker—and that’s totally acceptable.

But I recommend driving Routes 5 and 20 from Avon. It’s a sneak-peek of your 3-day trip in reverse. Take note of places you’d like to visit on the way back through or make a spontaneous stop on your way out to Auburn.

You may find a great place to watch the sun rise if you hit the road early.

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Day One

Head east on Routes 5 and 20 to spend the afternoon and a night in Auburn.

Owasco Lake Emerson Park
Owasco Lake
Willard Memorial
Willard Memorial
Routes 5 and 20 - City of Auburn
Downtown Auburn
Historic Post Office
Historic Post Office
Classic Dining Car Diners: Hunter's Dinerant
Hunter’s Dinerant

Lunch

Kosta’s Bar & Grill

Afternoon

Tour the beautiful Willard Memorial Chapel—an extremely rare example of the work of Louis C. Tiffany and Tiffany Glass and Decoration Co. It is the only complete and unaltered Tiffany chapel known to exist.

Tour the historic William Henry Seward House Museum. Harriet Tubman Home, or wander around downtown Auburn.

Dinner

Oak & Vine at Springside Inn

Evening

Enjoy a sunset stroll at Emerson Park on Otisco Lake.

Catch a show at The Rev Theatre Co. or Public Theater.

Lodging

Spend the night in Auburn at the Inn at the Finger Lakes.

Or, head to the Van Cleef Homestead or camp at Cayuga Lake State Park in Seneca Falls.

Day Two

Spend the day exploring Seneca Falls and Geneva. If you stayed overnight in Auburn, head west on Routes 5 and 20 toward Seneca Falls.

Seneca Falls visitor center cover
Seneca Falls
Greater Rochester Region - Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge observation
Montezuma
Best New York Attractions - Womens Rights National Historic Park
Women’s Rights
Routes 5 and 20 - Gould Hotel
Gould Hotel
Seneca Falls Anthony Stanton Bloomer
Anthony, Bloomer, Stanton Statue
Seneca Falls sign
Seneca Falls

Breakfast

Hunter’s Dinerant in Auburn or Cafe 19 in Seneca Falls

Morning

Take a slow drive through Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge and look for migratory waterfowl and nesting eagles.

Lunch

The Gould Hotel in Seneca Falls

Afternoon

Step back in history at the Women’s Rights National Historical Park.

Check out the famous “It’s a Wonderful Life” bridge and museum.

Dinner

Mac’s Drive In in Waterloo or FLX Table in Geneva.

Evening

Take a sunset stroll along the Seneca Lake shoreline. Grab an ice cream on Long Pier.

Lodging

Ramada Plaza by Wyndham Geneva Lakefront Resort

98 Washington

Day Three

Spend the day in Geneva, Canandaigua, and Avon as you head toward home.

Geneva Seneca Lake boardwalk
Seneca Lake, Geneva
Historic Geneva
Historic Geneva
Geneva on the Lake
Geneva on the Lake
Geneva I Love NY Seneca Lake cover
Finger Lakes Welcome Center in Geneva
Sonnenberg Gardens Japanese Tea House
Sonnenberg
Kayaking Canandaigua Lake
Canandaigua Lake
Roadside attractions: Canandaigua Lake Boat Houses pier 2
Canandaigua City Pier

Breakfast

Water Street Cafe in Geneva

Morning

Take a self-guided walking tour along historic South Main St.

Start driving west on Routes 5 and 20.

In Canandaigua, walk down Canandaigua City Pier and check out the boat houses or rent a kayak. Interesting fact, homeowners are prohibited from actually living in these boathouses—they are for daytime use only.

Lunch

New York Kitchen or Rio Tomatlan.

Afternoon

Spend a few hours at Sonnenberg Gardens.

Dinner

Complete your trip along Routes 5 and 20 in Avon at the Vintage Drive-In with dinner and a double feature.

Destinations West to East:
Cities, Towns, Villages

There is so much to see and experience along historic Routes 5 and 20. These are a few highlights between Avon & Auburn.

Stop for tastings at the region’s wineries, distilleries, and breweries along the drive to create your own souvenir collection!

Avon Genesee St Shops
Genesee St, Avon

Avon

Attractions

Vintage Drive-In

Avon Driving Park and 5-Arch Bridge

Erie-Attica Rail Trail crossing at the Genesee River

Dining

Avon Village Restaurant

Fratelli’s Restaurant

Tom Wahl’s

Avon Inn

Duffy’s Tavern

Avondale Pub

🍦Sprinkles Ice Cream Parlor

Breweries & Wineries

🍺 Mortalis Brewing Company

American Hotel 5 and 20 crossroads 15A
American Hotel at the crossroads

Lima

Dining

American Hotel

Bloomfield

Dining

🍦Sharks Ice Cream

Breweries & Wineries

🍺 Irish Mafia Brewing

🍺 Other Half Brewing

Sonnenberg Gardens
Sonnenberg Gardens

Canandaigua

Attractions

Canandaigua Lake

Sonnenberg Gardens

Granger Homestead

Roseland Waterpark

City Pier

Canandaigua Lady—a 19th century steamboat replica and double-decker paddle wheeler.

Swim at Kershaw Park Beach.

Enjoy a concert at CMAC or Lincoln Hill Farms.

Ontario Pathways rail trail crossing of Routed 5 and 20 in Stanley.

Dining

New York Kitchen

Rio Tomatlan

Flavors Indian Restaurant

Eric’s Office

Rheinblick German Restaurant

The Green Front

🍦Cheshire Farms Creamery

Breweries & Wineries

🍺 Naked Dove Brewing

🍺 Twisted Rail Brewing (also Geneva)

🍺 Peacemaker Brewing

🍺 Bee Hive Brew Pub

🍺 Young Lion Brewing

🍷New York Kitchen

🍷Finger Lakes Wine Center

Geneva
Seneca Street, Geneva

Geneva

Attractions

Take a walk around Geneva’s historic South Main St. and city center: Seneca St, Main St, Linden St, Castle St.

Seneca Lake

Seneca Lake State Park

Rose Hill Mansion

Smith Opera House

Bishop Nature Preserve

Dining

Ports Cafe

Beef & Brew

Char Burrito Bar

Club 86 Bagels

Red Dove Tavern

FLX Table

Geneva on the Lake

Hasley’s

Opus Espresso & Food Bar

Cosentino’s Ristorante

Ciccino’s Pizzeria & Restaurant

🍦Long Pier

Breweries & Wineries

🍺 Lake Street Filling Station

🍺Webe Brewing

🍺 Lake Drum Brewing

🍺 Bottomless Brewing

🍷Belhurst Castle and Estate Winery

🍷Ventosa Vineyards

🍷Raymor Estate Cellars Winery

National Memorial Day Museum Waterloo NY
National Memorial Day Museum in Waterloo NY

Waterloo

Attractions

National Memorial Day Museum

Dining

Connie’s Diner

Mac’s Drive In

Routes 5 and 20 - Montezuma Winery
Montezuma Winery

Seneca Falls

Attractions

Cayuga Lake

Cayuga Lake State Park

National Women’s Hall of Fame

Women’s Rights National Historic Park including the home of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Wesleyan Chapel.

It’s a Wonderful Life Museum

Trinity Church

Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge

Dining

Gould Hotel

El Bajio Mexican Restaurant

Deerhead Lakeside Restaurant & Bar

Parker’s Grille & Tap House

Wolffy’s Grill and Marina

Penny’s Place Family Restaurant

Breweries & Wineries

🍷Montezuma Winery & Hidden Marsh Distillery

🍷Izzo’s White Barn Winery (Cayuga)

Owasco Lake Merry Go Round Playhouse
Owasco Lake, Auburn

Auburn

Attractions

Owasco Lake

Willard Memorial Chapel

Auburn Doubledays MLB.

Emerson Park

The Rev Theatre Co.

Public Theater

Harriet Tubman Home

William Henry Seward Home

Ward W. O’Hara Agricultural Museum

Finger Lakes Drive-In

Dining

Hunter’s Dinerant

Auburn Diner

Lasca’s

Ichiban Sushi & Hibachi Japanese Restaurant

Kosta’s Bar & Grill

The Sunset

Oak & Vine at Springside Inn

Breweries & Wineries

🍺 Next Chapter Brew Pub

🍺 Good Shepherds Brewing

🍺 Prison City Pub and Brewery

🍷CJS Vineyards & Aurelius Winery

Geneva visitor center cover
Finger Lakes Visitor Center in Geneva

Official Visitor Guides

Ontario County

Canandaigua

Geneva

Seneca Falls

Auburn

🍷Canandaigua Wine Trail

🍷Seneca Lake Wine Trail

🍷Cayuga Lake Wine Trail

The History of the Great Genesee Road

New York Routes 5 and 20 sign
New York Routes 5 and 20 sign

NY-5, also known as Great Genesee Road, Great Western Road, Mohawk Trail, Iroquois Trail, Great Indian Trail, and Seneca Turnpike, was built starting in 1794 by New York State to connect Fort Schuyler (Utica) on the Mohawk Trail and Mohawk River with Canawaugus (Caledonia) on the Genesee River. [source]

It takes on the name “Genesee Street” in some places, “Main Street” in others, and serves as the main street through the towns and villages it passes through.

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Where are your favorite spots along Routes 5 and 20?

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COVID-19 NOTE: Some of the information you find in our articles may currently be inaccurate due to closures and cancellations.

Please follow the most current recommendations from the CDC and New York State for spending time away from your home. The great outdoors can provide a well needed respite & escape during stressful times. Please move quickly through parking lots, trail heads, and scenic areas. If crowded, choose a different park, trail, or time to visit. Please day trip responsibly.