The village consists of a small commercial core with surrounding residential streets; the downtown area sits immediately on the lake. There are three publicly accessible parks on the lake within the downtown area. The main commercial streets in the village are Genesee Street (U.S. Route 20), Jordan Road, and Fennell Street. Genesee and Jordan streets, the core of the Skaneateles Historic District, are noted for their mix of mid-19th and early 20th century retail buildings which today contain a mix of retailers, including restaurants, boutiques, real estate offices, and banks. Fennell Street, which has a more industrial history and was the alignment for the railroad spur that served the village until the mid-20th century, contains more of the village's car-oriented retail stores, including a supermarket, pharmacies, and post office.
Village attractions include boat excursions, inns, restaurants and a spa, as well as boutique shopping and art galleries. The summer Skaneateles Festival of music is a seasonal event, as is the annual Skaneateles Antique and Classic Boat Show and the Dickens Christmas in Skaneateles with actors in period costume performing on the streets.
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