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Cornell University commands the Ithaca skyline and drives (Credit: Handout)

Cornell University commands the Ithaca skyline and drives the city's vibrant arts, culture and dining scene. (undated)

Visiting Ithaca

Ithaca, home to Cornell University and Ithaca College, repeatedly turns up on Best U.S. College Town lists, often in the top spot -- and for good reason.

With beautiful gorges, state parks, a Collegetown neighborhood bustling with nightlife, and The Commons, a four-block pedestrian shopping area with outdoor live music, restaurants and quirky boutiques, Ithaca is a great stop for nature lovers, hikers, campers and foodies -- as well as co-eds.

A lone visitor at Taughannock Falls State Park,
(Credit: Newsday)

A lone visitor at Taughannock Falls State Park, about 10 miles north of Ithaca, NY. (May 2007)

Cornell University commands the Ithaca skyline and drives
(Credit: Handout)

Cornell University commands the Ithaca skyline and drives the city's vibrant arts, culture and dining scene. (undated)

An undated aerial view of Cornell University in
(Credit: University Photo)

An undated aerial view of Cornell University in Ithaca and its perch on Lake Cayuga.

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Visitors to Cornell University's ornithology lab can use
(Credit: AP (2006))

Visitors to Cornell University's ornithology lab can use powerful spotting scopes to observe the activity of Canada geese and mallard ducks in a pond adjacent to the visitor center. The research facility is located in Ithaca, in the Finger Lakes region of west-central New York.

The Chanticleer, a rooster-themed bar and landmark of
(Credit: John Damiano)

The Chanticleer, a rooster-themed bar and landmark of sorts in downtown Ithaca. (Aug. 2, 2013)

Signage greets visitor to the Ithaca Commons, a
(Credit: John Damiano)

Signage greets visitor to the Ithaca Commons, a four-block pedestrian mall in downtown Ithaca rife with restaurants, shops and occasional outdoor live music performances. (Aug. 2, 2013)

Individual art panels camouflage construction along The Commons,
(Credit: John Damiano)

Individual art panels camouflage construction along The Commons, a four-block pedestrian mall in downtown Ithaca. (Aug. 2, 2013)

One of many individual art panels camouflaging construction
(Credit: John Damiano)

One of many individual art panels camouflaging construction at The Commons, a four-block pedestrian mall in downtown Ithaca. (Aug. 2, 2013)

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Shops along the Ithaca Commons skyline. (Aug. 2,
(Credit: John Damiano)

Shops along the Ithaca Commons skyline. (Aug. 2, 2013)

A salsa band plays outside the historic State
(Credit: John Damiano)

A salsa band plays outside the historic State Theater as passersby stop to listen, dance and purchase beer. (Aug. 2, 2013)

Students walk along the promenade with McGraw Tower
(Credit: University Photo (undated))

Students walk along the promenade with McGraw Tower in the background on the campus of Cornell University in Ithaca.

Risley Hall, a dormitory housing complex on the
(Credit: John Damiano)

Risley Hall, a dormitory housing complex on the sprawling Cornell University campus in Ithaca, is home to arts students during the academic year. (Aug. 2, 2013)

One of many winding, hilly roads through the
(Credit: John Damiano)

One of many winding, hilly roads through the Cornell University campus in Ithaca. (Aug. 2, 2013)

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The Bioswale Garden greets visitors to Cornell Plantations
(Credit: John Damiano)

The Bioswale Garden greets visitors to Cornell Plantations as they approach the Nevin Welcome Center. The Bioswale, designed to clean and slow the flow of storm water runoff from the parking lot, comprises strong-rooted hardy native plants such as switch grass (Panicum virgatum), sneezeweed (Helenium), Joe Pye weed (Eupatorium), American hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana) and winterberry (Ilex verticillata). (Aug. 2, 2013)

A framed vista is created by tree branches
(Credit: John Damiano)

A framed vista is created by tree branches outside a garden area at Cornell Plantations in Ithaca. (Aug. 2, 2013)

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