Utica is a New York city located in an area known as Mohawk Valley. Central New York is slower paced then surrounding areas. Utica has beautiful parks and recreational areas, and many sporting events take place here. The Erie Canal and the Mohawk River run through the north part of city, adding to Utica's nature quotient.
Annual events in Utica utilize its abundant parks. Visitors and locals can participate in America's Greatest Heart Run and Walk, Boilermaker Road Race, or Falling Leaves Road Race. Many distance runners have come from Utica, and there is even a museum, National Distance Running Hall of Fame, dedicated to these athletes.
First settled by Europeans in 1773, Utica was previously home to Iroquois Indians. Today, Utica is a diverse city with many different ethnic and cultural communities. Due to this cultural integration, many interesting foods and drinks can be found in Utica. One such specialty is the Tomato Pie, thick triangular shaped bread covered with tomato sauce and served cold. Russian and Polish immigrants brought over Pierogis, pasta sandwiches with various fillings.
One dish is so popular that the city has an annual festival named specifically for it. RiggieFest is held each April with local restaurants serving up chicken riggies to benefit the local YMCA. Few people outside of Utica have ever heard of riggies, and it is a must-try for tourists.
Most restaurants can be found in Utica's west side brewery district. This area is home to the Matt Brewing Company and the Saranac Brewery. Utica Thursday Night is a local party holding events in the taverns and eateries located in this area. Utica Monday Nite is another event to attend while in the city. This free event runs all summer long and is created to promote regional arts throughout the district. Events are free, and visitors can view local art and humanities projects in downtown parks. Oneida Square is known as the arts district of Utica. It is the location of the historic Stanley Theater, recently expanded.
After experiencing economic decline in the 1980s and 1990s, Downtown and Oneida Square have been revitalized. Cultural events and jobs were created in an attempt to stimulate economic growth in Utica. These restorations have been successful, and Utica is once again vibrant. This development earned Utica the nickname "Renaissance City." Current projects for the city include making Utica more environmentally-friendly.
Written by Lyndsey Morgan