Activities For Young People in Oneida, NY

Oneida, New York, is a lovely little community in the center of Madison County. Victorian homes grace the streets while downtown is a bustling small-town city with shops, restaurants and artisan boutiques. Named for the Iroquois tribe that settled the area, Oneida is brimming with pre-colonial and early American history, and New York schoolchildren know well the importance of Oneida’s Native American heritage and historical legacy that formed our nation. Besides shops and historical sites, teens can enjoy family-friendly eateries and year-round sports activities.


If teens love early American history, Oneida is definitely the place to visit. The Oneida Indian Nation maintains the Shako:wi Cultural Center, a museum and learning center that showcases the Oneida Indian culture and their participation as the only Iroquois tribe to support the Americans during the Revolutionary War. The Oneida Community Mansion House in the nearby Kenwood suburb of the city is a fascinating museum of the 19th century utopian religious commune. Oneida is home to the Madison County Historical Society, a mid-19th century historic home filled with artifacts from a typical pre-Civil War, middle-class family. Teens who appreciate quirky history can visit the smallest church in the world at Cross Island Chapel or view the Skenandoah Boulder along Route 5 south of town.

Sports and Outdoor Activities

Oneida is nestled in the lake lowlands of Central New York State, near the shores of its namesake lake and between the Adirondack Mountains to the north and the Catskills to the south. Fishing is a popular sport among young people, particularly the walleye and bass charters on Oneida Lake in the spring and summer and ice fishing during the colder season. The Oneida Community Golf Club offers special junior rates for young golf fans. The Ridges of Madison County showcase the 10 most scenic bicycle, horseback riding and hiking trails in the area. Trails open for teenaged snowmobile fans in the winter. For the spectator, teens can enjoy the many local sports events at the high school such as basketball and volleyball games.

Performing Arts

The Kallet Civic Center, located on Main Street, is neo-Art Deco theatre center that hosts community events throughout the year. Teens may enjoy the craft shows, dances, concerts and other performing arts events held there.The Oneida High School routinely hosts concerts and shows in the school’s auditorium where many local teens participate in the events.

Eateries and Hang-Outs

At regular intervals throughout the year, the Oneida Recreation Center hosts special “Teen Center” evenings for youth in 6th through 12th grades. Teens can relax, play games and enjoy young company several times a week as well as attend craft shows, sports games and Boy and Girl Scouts meetings. Downtown Oneida is also home to several small pizza shops and budget eateries where teens can munch on snacks and enjoy arcade games.

For a small city, Oneida, New York, is packed with things to do year round! Check out more things to do in Madison County, and take a look at our travel archives for places we have visited.

About the Author

I've been traveling throughout New York State since I got the travel bug after touring the Herkimer Home on a school field trip as a youngster. We've been blogging about our travels since 2006 and have visited over half of New York's 62 counties so far.

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