A Weekend in Historic Downtown Medina
Ready for a vacation that gets you away from it all? Need to unplug from the craziness of the world? Return to the simplicity of country living with a weekend in historic downtown Medina in Orleans County!
Charming and historic, the village of Medina, complete with a marina on the historic Erie Canal, has long been the cultural center of Orleans County. We invite you to enjoy the walkable Main Streets, small town hospitality, and country-fresh air! Browse our unique shops, enjoy farm to table cuisine, and spend some time recharging your batteries.
Getting away from it all means a quiet and comfortable place to lay your head. With exceptional levels of customer service and a price range for all budgets, we invite you to spend a night or the weekend at one of our fine boutique hotels and hostels.
An unexpected find in the historic downtown of Medina, Bunkhaus is a European-style hostel just two blocks from the Erie Canal. They offer a welcome retreat for cyclists and budget-minded travelers with private rooms for rest and common living areas for meeting fellow adventurers. Run by the Hart House Hotel, the reduced price tag doesn’t mean sacrificing exceptional customer service!
Experience history reborn at Bent’s Opera House! Located just steps away from the Erie Canal in Medina’s historic downtown, Bent’s Opera House is a piece of local history that has been revived and restored for modern pleasure and convenience.
Built in 1865, Bent’s is one of the oldest surviving opera houses in the country. Renovations started in early 2018 to bring this historic gem back to life and convert it into a boutique hotel, farm to table restaurant and event center. Today, walking into Bent’s is stepping back in time to the height of Medina’s cultural center, when guests like P.T. Barnum, Frederick Douglass, and William Randolph Hearst stopped by.
Stay in one of their 10 unique rooms, each inspired by and tastefully decorated in unique color schemes. From Green with Envy and Purple Hazel to Very Well Red, each room is a stunning example of different design periods and inspirations.
Located across the street from Bent’s Opera House is the Hart House Hotel, a historic inn turned chic modern boutique hotel. The Hart House has been welcoming travelers to Upstate New York since 1876, but spent several decades in the 1900s as a working clothing factory. A 10-year restoration process began in 2005 to bring the hotel back to its former glory, where it now shares space with the Shirt Factory Café and 810 Meadworks.
The historical elements have been meticulously restored while accommodating for luxurious modern amenities. Stay just steps away from the Erie Canal in one of their 7 rooms, each artfully decorated to blend the antique details with modern comforts.
Finding places to dine with delicious new dishes is one of the delights of traveling! Sit down, tuck in, and enjoy at some of our favorite local restaurants.
The onsite restaurant at Bent’s Opera House is Harvest, an inspired farm-to-table eatery where all of the ingredients are fresh and locally sourced. Serving up gourmet-inspired cuisine, the menu was created by head chef Lionel Heydel and changes daily based on shipments from local farmers. Prior to running Harvest, Chef Heydel taught at Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School for 10 years. Harvest was created on the principle that dining out is personal and should restore and fulfill you, so each experience is unique and memorable. You won’t want to miss a dinner here!
Opened in 2006 by a Medina-local turned chef, Zambistro offers a fine dining experience with a menu of refined American cuisine. Chef and Owner Michael Zambito uses bold flavors and locally-grown ingredients, so the menus change with the season. Zambistro’s offer a large selection of gluten free, vegan, and vegetarian dishes, as well as a kid’s menu, making this restaurant a crowd-pleaser! New for the 2021 season, guests can enjoy a rooftop bar and table service overlooking the Erie Canal and Medina’s Historic Main Street.
Locally owned and operated for 3 generations, Rudy’s Soda Bar and Café has been welcoming guests for a delicious meal since 1988. With hearty portions and local favorites, everyone has a good time at Rudy’s. Chow down on an order of pizza logs, try the WNY staple Beef on Weck, or go all in on a chicken fried steak. You won’t leave hungry!
You won’t find better authentic Mexican food in Upstate New York than Mariachi D’Oro! Open in 2011, this family-run restaurant shares the traditions and delicious dishes of Mexico with all who eat here. Based on recipes that have passed through the family for generations, you can try authentic Oaxacan food in a traditional atmosphere. Indulge in a skillet of cazuelon dip, try something new with the pollo fundido, or go for the most traditional dish on the menu with mole negro. You can’t go wrong with any order!
Whether you like to break a sweat, challenge yourself, or learn something new, you’ll find an abundance of activities to keep you as busy as you want to be!
Spend an afternoon on the water with free kayak and hydrobike rentals! Sponsored in partnership with the Orleans YMCA and NY Canals, these free excursions take you on a guided journey through the Erie Canal where you can explore the only active aqueduct on the canal or get up close to Medina Falls. This unique experience will leave you with a new appreciation for the history and splendor of the canal that changed the country. Rentals are available select days in the summer and reservations are required.
Once you’re in the enigma, can you find your way out? Into the Enigma is a live action escape room that immerses you and your friends in real-world problem solving with puzzles, riddles and games to help you escape. Can you put the clues together, crack the code and track down an illegal speakeasy? Perfect for ages 8 and older!
The Medina Railroad Museum is the largest railroad and toy train museum in the state, but you don’t have to love trains to have a good time here! Housed in a freight depot built in 1905, the Museum boasts the largest collection of train artifacts and memorabilia known to exist under one roof. An immense diorama will pique everyone’s interest and antique fans will love the collection of 20th century firefighting gear and military artifacts, including a Civil War cannon ball!
Welcome to the only ax-throwing range in Orleans County! 810 Axes is located at the Beegarten behind 810 Meadworks. Grab a drink at the meadery and head back to the range, where you and your friends can test your strength and aim the old-fashioned way- with an ax throwing contest! Once you’re done, head back inside for a cheese plate or chocolate pairing.
Sandstone is the backbone and pride of Medina, and the Medina Sandstone Society commemorates and highlights this “cornerstone” material. Formed 400 million years ago and unearthed in the 1820s, Medina sandstone can be found in buildings throughout the village, as well as around the world. The Society highlights and celebrates Medina’s industrial past while embracing preservation of the historic sandstone buildings throughout the region. Stop by the Sandstone Hall of Fame at City Hall to take a step back into Medina’s rich history and see the buildings still standing today.
Medina is home to a variety of what we like to call ABC shops. Here you’ll find artisan and antique shops, boutiques, and creative culinary stores. Browse confectionary, handmade gifts, vintage and upcycled furniture, and so much more. You never know what treasures you’ll uncover! Here is just a sampling!
The sweetest shop in downtown Medina! Della’s Chocolates is a locally owned and operated confectionery crafting the most delicious truffles, candies, chocolate patties and specialty sweets since 2011. Della’s only uses the best ingredients and serves the freshest chocolates, so you’re guaranteed to find something you love. Della’s has also been recognized for their outstanding support of employment for people with disabilities.
The best place in town to grab a classic cup of tea! The English Rose Tea Shoppe stocks a wide variety of loose-leaf teas, bagged teas, and artfully made tea pots. Browse their selection, grab a mug to sip on, and enjoy the small-town vibes. If you like tea, you won’t want to miss this!
ellen j goods is a shop in downtown Medina that invites you to enjoy repurposed and restyled furniture. Here you’ll find a carefully curated selection of vintage wares for cottage, retro, industrial and French country decor styles. From furniture and accessories to charming vignettes and inspired arrangements. Want to learn a new skill? Stay for a DIY workshop.
The Downtown Browseries include 2 unique co-ops in downtown Medina and Albion where visitors can enjoy browsing goods, clothing, antiques, and collectables from over 60 vendors, Shop their unmatched selection of unique gifts including antiques, candles, collectables, bird houses, handmade goods, steampunk décor, vintage furnishing, alpaca apparel, toys, books, and so much more!
The Author’s Note Bookstore is the premier independent bookstore in Medina owned and operated by an accomplished writer. Browse their selection of lovingly curated books, stationary, artwork, and gifts. Shop instore or online, and support a small bookstore!
Believe it or Not!
Make sure you include two unique attractions to your visit that are listed in Ripley's Believe it Or Not! On the east side of Medina is the "Church in the middle of the street" located at 200 East Center Street and the aptly named Church Street. St. John's Episcopal Church was erected literally in the middle of Church Street in 1832 of Medina Sandstone.
A few miles east on Culvert Rd and the Erie Canal is the Canal Culvert - the only tunnel allowing motorists to drive under the Erie Canal. This unique feat of engineering was built to avoid a very expensive and time-consuming construction of a bridge and approach roads on both sides of the canal that would have been needed to carry traffic over the waterway. Make sure you honk while you drive through the tunnel!
Believe it or not!