The Saratoga Performing Arts Center, or SPAC, is in a class by itself. From June to September, this is the place to be in Saratoga Springs (after you've already been to the Race Course, of course) to see the amazing roster of high-culture talent that takes up summer residence, including the New York City Ballet and the Philadelphia Orchestra. SPAC is also the host of the Saratoga Chamber Music Festival, Freihofer's Jazz Festival in late June (which has been hosting top-flight jazz talent for over 30 years), the Lake George Opera, and the 3-day Saratoga Wine & Food Festival. Set within the Saratoga Spa State Park grounds, perfect for walks and picnics, the center has a sheltered amphitheater and an intimate Spa Little Theatre. The box office opens May 11, but preseason discounts are available (up to 50% off ticket prices). The "tickets" section of SPAC's website offers a number of other discount ticket options. Call tel. 518/584-9330 or check the website, www.spac.org, for schedules and tickets.
Lake George Opera at Saratoga is celebrating a decade of performances, including "The Barber of Seville" and "La Bohème" in the Spa Little Theatre in the Saratoga Performing Arts Complex, 480 Broadway, Ste. 336. For current schedule information, visit their website at www.lakegeorgeopera.org or call tel. 518/587-3330 for tickets.
Caffè Lena, 47 Phila St. (tel. 518/583-0022; www.caffelena.org), is a small and legendary upstairs folk-music coffeehouse that's a little tattered but still reeks of all the folkies that have played here since 1960. There's mostly live acoustic music (and some blues, jazz, and poetry) Thursday to Sunday nights, and some relatively big names, like Tish Hinojosa, still drop by. Reservations are recommended; covers are generally $10 to $15. 9 Maple Avenue, named for its address (tel. 518/583-CLUB; www.9mapleavenue.com), is a cool little jazz bar with live music on Friday and Saturday nights, as well as a huge selection of single-malt scotches, a martini menu, and great cocktails. Tin 'n' Lint, 2 Caroline St. (tel. 518/587-5897), is a pub that's been around since the 1930s and remains popular with Skidmore students; it's where Don McLean, a former waiter, wrote the '70s pop anthem "American Pie" on a cocktail napkin. Luna Lounge, 17 Maple Ave. (tel. 518/583-6955), is a flashy late-night lounge and dance club with an industrial look of brushed-steel and copper walls, owned by the proprietor of the more sedate Chianti Il Ristorante. It's open 10pm to 4am on Friday and Saturday nights. The Wine Bar, 417 Broadway (tel. 518/584-8777), has a cigar lounge, an upstairs bar, loads of wine by the glass, and live piano music on weekends. The local movie theater, Saratoga Film Forum, 320 Broadway (tel. 518/584-FILM), shows first-run films. For a romantic end to the evening (or a nice afternoon activity), Saratoga Horse & Carriage Company (tel. 800/320-6211 or 518/584-8820; www.saratogahorseandcarriage.com) provides horse-drawn carriage rides through Saratoga Springs. For contracted private rides, they'll pick you up at your hotel or inn in Saratoga.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.