As a newcomer in Binghamton, I was lucky to get the WNBF crash course on living in Binghamton. And lucky that the WNBF community was there to let me know whenever I mispronounced something. So with the return of Binghamton University students, it seems like a good time to share my beginner's guide to living in Binghamton.

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Yes, Spiedies are that good

I had never had a spiedie before I arrived in Binghamton. I hadn't even heard of one even though my younger brother spent four years at Binghamton University. So on my first day when everyone was saying "Oh my god you have to try a spiedie immediately," I was pretty skeptical. I mean my last apartment was in Harlem I couldn't imagine the food scene in Binghamton would impress me that much.

Binghamton Famous Spiedies
James Kelly/WNBF
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I was absolutely wrong. Spiedies are incredible. I now understand why Spiediefest exists. If you're trying to find good food in Binghamton, start with a spiedie place.

Drive carefully in parking lots

Another thing I wasn't expecting in Binghamton was the parking lot scene. I assumed everyone would be driving slowly like they had no place to be. I was completely wrong. Parking lots in Binghamton might as well be stunt driver tryouts. If it's you're first trip to the store in Binghamton, make sure you keep your head on a swivel because there's no such thing as "lanes" here. There is only "space where my car can physically drive through extremely quickly."

Take the trip to go hiking in Ithaca

Ok I'll admit, this one isn't exactly Binghamton-central. But I've only been here for three months and growing up in a beach town didn't give me a distinct love of hiking. But I figured "Well since there's no ocean here I might as well give hiking a try" and it was 100% worth it. The Ithaca hiking trails are only an hour away, absolutely beautiful and the waterfall is a great place to sit and cool down for a minute if you're like me and your cardio endurance isn't what it used to be. There are plenty of hiking trails closer in Broome County, and I'm looking forward to trying them all before the snow descends upon the city again.

The carousels are a big deal

I've spent the vast majority of my life having no particular opinion about carousels or even thinking about them more than once a year. That's not an option in Binghamton. The carousels are an integral part of the history of Binghamton. So integral, in fact, that the Binghamton Rumble Ponies are actually named after the carousels. And the Carousel at Ross Park Zoo, the fifth oldest zoo in the country, has been there for well over 100 years. Carousels on their own aren't objectively interesting but Binghamton being the carousel capital of the world is definitely something that makes visiting the carousels worth it.

Binghamton University is in Vestal, not Binghamton

This is a mistake I am guilty of making from when I first arrived in Binghamton. It is really important, especially for new college students, that you know that despite its name, Binghamton University is actually located in Vestal, not the City of Binghamton. As an out-of-towner I just assumed that the university was actually in Binghamton and didn't particularly care if it was located just outside the city itself but the Binghamton lifers definitely care that you know the campus is in Vestal. This is fair warning for anyone else new to the Binghamton area so that nobody gets mad at you like they got mad at me.

There are a lot of other great things about Binghamton that even I have yet to discover. So if you have any more suggestions, especially winter suggestions because I'm a cold weather person through and through, please share them with me so I can share them with everybody else who makes their way to this great area.

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