It's an extra special year starting this week in Saratoga, as the Belmont Stakes will run on Saturday due to construction at its regular New York City area home. Belmont will run in Saratoga again next year, as well. The Travers Stakes will run as it has every year since 1864 in August.

So what is there to do in Saratoga this weekend, especially when there's rather wet and in climate weather in the forecast? There's actually plenty to do, even when the weather isn't picture perfect.

Saratoga Race Course Opening Weekend
Getty Images

First, the weekend isn't expected to be a total wash out - so there should be plenty of time to do some outdoors things in Saratoga.

There are plenty of unique and interesting shops in downtown Saratoga for excellent shopping opportunities. According to Discover Saratoga, "Indulge in retail therapy at the unique boutiques and shops in downtown Saratoga Springs. Discover local treasures and artisan crafts at the Saratoga Marketplace, where every purchase feels personal. From fashion boutiques like Lifestyles of Saratoga to specialty stores like the Mind Body Spirit Shoppe, exploring local businesses is a great way to embrace the Saratoga vibe!"

Al Bello, Getty Images
Al Bello, Getty Images

When you're not placing bets at the track, take in a museum. "Immerse yourself in the rich history and heritage of Saratoga’s museums. The Saratoga Springs History Museum brings the past alive, while the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame illustrates the prestigious history of thoroughbred racing. Don’t miss the Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College, offering modern and contemporary art programming year-round. There's even a Children's Museum in town."

Dining out in Saratoga is amazing. There are all types of cuisines, price ranges, wineries, breweries, and distilleries in the region. The entertainment this weekend will be completely ramped up for the crowds, and reservations are recommended for some of the more popular restaurants.

You can also taste Saratoga's version of the Belmont Jewel this weekend. "Discover Saratoga organized the Belmont Jewel Contest throughout May to find the best Belmont Jewel's in the County! Participating restaurants put a creative spin on The Belmont Jewel while competing for Best Belmont Jewel, Most Creative, and Most Recommendable. Contest winners included: Forno Bistro, Harvey's Restaurant & Bar, and Hattie's Restaurant. Check out other participants on our Belmont Jewel Contest page."

The Olde Bryan Inn is a favorite restaurant in Saratoga. "Serving a variety of salads, sandwiches, choice center-cut sirloin, fresh Atlantic seafood, pasta and homemade desserts. Located just off I-87 at Exit 15 on Route 50 in one of Saratoga Springs most historic buildings. Expanded service includes outdoor patio dining (weather permitting), lunch, dinner and "take-out" availability. We are open Tuesday thru Sunday from 12 (Noon) to 8:30 pm."

FILE: California Chrome Cleared To Wear Nasal Strip In Belmont Stakes
California Chrome during the 139th running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 17, 2014 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Matthew Stockman, Getty Images Sport)

While this weekend's weather might not cooperate, there are Tiki Boat Tours, Boat Cruises, Dinner Cruises, swimming and fishing. Just a ways to the north, The Great Escape is in Queensbury, and just to the north, sail the Minne Ha-Ha around the lake and see the amazing lake-side estates owned by some of the most famous people in the world. There are also plenty of big-time miniature golf courses nearby.

If you're looking for help with a picnic this weekend instead of eating inside, the festival is offering picnic bundles, so you can enjoy all the racing fun, without breaking the bank. There are three picnic offerings available at Saratoga as part of the Belmont festival. Get details here.

Hotels are close to maxed out and you can surely expect high rates for this weekend, but it's worth it as Belmont History takes over the quaint streets of Saratoga.

The 2024 Summer Concerts Series at Saratoga Performing Arts Center

Here is the full list of concerts scheduled for the Broadview Stage at Saratoga Performing Arts Center for 2024. Dates, tickets information and everything else you need as a guide to SPAC in 2024.

Gallery Credit: Karolyi

Downtown Saratoga Party Bar For Sale

Gaffney's is one of Saratoga's legendary restaurants and bars in downtown. It is a hotspot in the summer months for visitors and locals. The building offers over 15,554 sqft of space over 4 stories & 10 rental apartments. Gaffney's also has an outside patio and porch. It is listed for $4.6 million.

Gallery Credit: Keller Williams Real Estate-Loopnet listing

SOLD! Fully Restored Victorian in Posh Saratoga Neighborhood Once Summer Home to Whitney Family

This fully restored Queen Anne Victorian home was once the summer home to the Whitney family and once owned by the co-founder of the NY Mets. There have been extensive renovations done to this home while keeping the historic charm. There is a stunning gourmet kitchen with top-end Thermador appliances, 2 dishwashers, a custom range hood, 2 beverage drawers, & a walk-in pantry-perfect for entertaining! The four-season room overlooks the in-ground pool and beautiful hot tub. Check out the master bedroom with a gas fireplace, enormous walk-in closet, and luxury bath. On the third floor, there are five rooms and a playroom. The basement has room for a wine cellar and recreation room. The home is situated in a posh section of Saratoga Springs near the Saratoga Race Course. It's been sold for $2.6 million on March 1st, 2024.

Gallery Credit: Global MLS 2022

13 Celebs You Might Spot Anytime in Saratoga In The Summer

Gallery Credit: Brian Cody TSM Albany

Stay In Historic Moon's Lake House On Saratoga Lake-Home of The Potato Chip

Check out historic Moon’s Lake House, where the potato chip was invented! This renovated 4-bedroom, 2-bathroom vacation home offers stunning views of Saratoga Lake and 500 feet of private shoreline. Enjoy a marble-columned bar area, a new kitchen, hardwood floors, and a cozy master suite with a fireplace. With a tennis court, kayaks, and plenty of outdoor activities on the 9-acre property, there's something for everyone to enjoy at this VRBO.

Gallery Credit: VRBO Property manager: Mary or Craig Skevington