New York Routes 5 and 20

Routes 5 and 20 Road Trip

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.

My Perfect 3-day
Routes 5 and 20 Road Trip

This is an itinerary for a 3-day trip I would actually take myself. While I don’t typically feature overnight adventures on Day Trips Around Rochester, there are times I like to consider the options! Each day, however, can be done as separate day trips.

From Rochester, you could jump on the thruway to get out to Auburn quicker, but I love 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.

Day One
Routes 5 and 20 Road Trip

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

Friday in Auburn

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.

Lunch at Hunter’s Dinerant

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

Dinner at Kosta’s Bar & Grill

Enjoy a sunset stroll at Emerson Park on Otisco Lake. Catch a show at Merry-Go-Round Playhouse or Public Theater.

Options for lodging: Inn at the Finger Lakes or drive to Seneca Falls and stay at Van Cleef Homestead. Or, spend 2 nights camping at Cayuga Lake State Park.

Day Two
Routes 5 and 20 Road Trip

Routes 5 and 20 - Seneca Falls
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
Routes 5 and 20 - Trinity Church Seneca Falls
Trinity Church

Saturday in Seneca Falls and Geneva

Head west on Routes 5 and 20.

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

Lunch in Seneca Falls at The Gould Hotel

Step back in history at the Women’s Rights National Historical Park. Check out the famous “It’s a Wonderful Life” bridge and museum.

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

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

Options for lodging: Ramada Plaza by Wyndham Geneva Lakefront Resort or 98 Washington

Day Three
Routes 5 and 20 Road Trip

Geneva visitor center cover
visitor center
Historic Geneva
Historic Geneva
Geneva on the Lake
Geneva on the Lake
Geneva cover
Geneva waterfront
Sonnenberg Gardens Japanese Tea House
Sonnenberg
Kayaking Canandaigua Lake
Canandaigua Lake
Roadside attractions: Canandaigua Lake Boat Houses pier 2
Canandaigua City Pier

Sunday in Geneva, Canandaigua, and Avon

Breakfast at Water Street Cafe

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

Head 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 at New York Kitchen or Rio Tomatlan.

Spend a few hours at Sonnenberg Gardens.

Complete your trip along Routes 5 and 20 in Avon at the Vintage Drive-In for dinner and a movie.

Destinations East to West:
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.

Avon

Vintage Drive-In

Avon Driving Park and 5-Arch Bridge

Erie-Attica Rail Trail crossing at the Genesee River

Dining: Avon Inn, Duffy’s Tavern, Tom Wahl’s

Lima

Dining: American Hotel

Bloomfield

Dining: Sharks Ice Cream

Canandaigua

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.

Geneva

Seneca Lake

Seneca Lake State Park

Rose Hill Mansion

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

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, Belhurst Castle, Hasley’s, Opus Espresso & Food Bar, Cosentino’s Ristorante, Ciccino’s Pizzeria & Restaurant-Geneva

Waterloo

National Memorial Day Museum

Dining: Connie’s Diner, Mac’s Drive In

Seneca Falls

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

Auburn

Owasco Lake

Willard Memorial Chapel

Auburn Doubledays MLB.

Emerson Park

Merry-go-Round Playhouse

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, Prison City Pub and Brewery, Oak & Vine at Springside Inn,

A Routes 5 and 20 Collection
Wine, Liquor & Beer

Routes 5 and 20 - Montezuma Winery
Montezuma Winery

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

Avon

Mortalis Brewing

Bloomfield

Irish Mafia Brewing

Other Half Brewing

Canandaigua

Finger Lakes Wine Center

Naked Dove Brewing

New York Kitchen

Twisted Rail Brewing (also Geneva)

Peacemaker Brewing

Bee Hive Brew Pub

Young Lion Brewing

Geneva

Belhurst Castle and Estate Winery

Lake Street Filling Station

Webe Brewing

Lake Drum Brewing

Bottomless Brewing

Ventosa Vineyards

Raymor Estate Cellars Winery

Seneca Falls

Montezuma Winery & Hidden Marsh Distillery

Cayuga

Izzo’s White Barn Winery

Auburn

CJS Vineyards & Aurelius Winery

Prison City Brewing

Next Chapter Brew Pub

Good Shepherds Brewing

Routes 5 and 20 - Seneca Lake Geneva I Love NY
Geneva Visitor Center

Visitor Guides

Ontario County

Canandaigua

Canandaigua Wine Trail

Geneva

Seneca Lake Wine Trail

Seneca Falls

Cayuga Lake Wine Trail

Auburn

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?

Share your thoughts with us in the comments. Your insight and experience is invaluable!

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