Ithaca’s East Hill and South Hill and What Lies Between

Ithaca Commons in downtown Ithaca. Almost half of the population in Ithaca are college students.

Last weekend I graduated from Ithaca College. My parents came to spend the weekend, and we actually ended up making our way over to the other side of the hill and spending some time on Cornell’s campus. There’s a beautiful trail along Cascadilla Gorge that starts in downtown and winds its way up to Collegetown. After reaching the top of the trail, we ended up at Collegetown Bagels, and then walked on to Cornell’s campus and caught the Cornell Chimes concert that happens at the Cornell Clock Tower. Whereas Ithaca College students claim Ithaca Commons as their downtown, Cornell has Collegetown.

I would say the main distinction between these two parts of town lies in the populations that spend time there, and the restaurants, bars, stores, and activities that are available. From my perspective, most of the people hanging around Collegetown are students (hence the name, I guess). There are lots of bars and restaurants, and with the Cornell campus right beside it, this opens up a host of other activities.

I love going to Johnson Museum, and I’m especially excited for the weekly summer concerts that happen on the Cornell Arts Quad. “The Commons” (colloquial for IC students) caters to students, for sure, but from my perspective it’s a little more engaged with the Ithaca community. While there are plenty of restaurants and bars, there are also a variety of retail stores and parks, and events such as Applefest and Ithaca Festival take place there. Ithaca Festival is this weekend!

It’s great to be able to experience both East Hill and South Hill, because both areas of town have a lot to offer, depending on what you’re looking for.


kathleen malnatiBy Kathleen Malnati