Because of hard economic times, taking a vacation can seem impossible. Or, if you do take a vacation, everything costs so much money. So, what are you to do? Whether you are staying in the Utica area or planning on taking a trip to Utica, here are a few things you can do in the city that won't cost you anything (except maybe a tank of gas).

7. Visit Landmarks

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Take a stroll through history at the many landmarks in Utica. Whether it's walking through Bagg's Square or taking a peak inside the beautiful lobby of the Hotel Utica, there are many places you can see for free. For a list of landmarks, click here.

6. Barge Canal/Utica Marina

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Check out the historic waterway by walking or biking along the trail that follows the canal. If you do plan a trip here, according to, "The only place to access Utica is by stopping at the Utica Historical Marina, also the site of restaurant Aqua Vino (formerly Kitty's on the Canal)." For more on the canal, visit the official New York State site.

5. Union Station

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Take a look inside beautiful Union Station. The architecture is amazing. And if you like trains, there's an enclosed bridge overlooking the tracks. It's fun to watch the trains go by from above.

4. The Utica Public Library

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If you like looking at architecture, the Utica Public Library needs to be on your list of places to visit. Even if you don't borrow a book, it's a great place to visit.

3. The Utica Marsh

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If you like to be outdoors, here's a unique destination. Take a walk along the trails of the Utica Marsh. Check out all the wildlife--it's a great place to get some nice pictures. According to the City of Utica Engineering Office, the only legal and safe way to enter the marsh is a marked entrance next to the New York State DOT garage on Harbor Lock Road (it's where the Utica Marina is located). The office also said the trails for the Utica Marsh are accessible only during warm-weather months (trails are not cleared of snow in the winter). Click here and here for more information.

2. Proctor Park

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Whether you are looking for a place to picnic or throw the baseball around, Proctor Park offers a huge area to have fun. For more information, click here.

1. Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute

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A true gem in the City of Utica is Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute. The museum has three floors of amazing art. There are works by Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, Thomas Cole, Georgia O'Keeffe and many, many more. This is definitely my favorite place to go in Utica. Oh, and admission is free. For more information, click here.

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