The Getaway
15 Things to Do in Syracuse, NY

Syracuse, NY, nestled in the scenic heart of New York State, is a city where history and modernity blend seamlessly, offering a rich tapestry of experiences for every visitor. Known for its pivotal role in the Erie Canal's history, Syracuse has evolved into a bustling urban center, boasting an array of attractions that cater to art enthusiasts, history buffs, foodies, and outdoor adventurers alike. From the architectural marvels of its museums and the serene beauty of its state parks to the vibrant scenes of its downtown squares and the educational fun of its science centers, Syracuse promises a diverse set of experiences. Whether you're looking to immerse yourself in culture, enjoy some family fun, or explore the great outdoors, Syracuse has something special in store for you.

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01 Everson Museum of Art

The Everson Museum of Art stands as a testament to American creativity, being the first museum dedicated solely to American artists. Its collection, housed within an iconic building designed by I.M. Pei, spans various mediums, showcasing works by Jackson Pollock, Helen Frankenthaler, and many others. The museum isn't just about viewing art; it's an architectural marvel in itself, offering a space where art and design intersect in the most beautiful ways. The Everson also hosts various community events and educational programs, making art accessible to all.

02 Rosamond Gifford Zoo

At the Rosamond Gifford Zoo, families are treated to an up-close look at wildlife from around the globe. Home to over 700 animals, the zoo isn't just a place to see exotic creatures; it's a center for conservation and education, making it a must-visit for anyone who loves nature. From majestic elephants to playful penguins, the zoo offers a window into the diverse habitats of our planet. It's an ideal spot for an educational day out, offering insights into animal behavior and conservation efforts.

03 Destiny USA

Destiny USA goes beyond being a mere shopping center; it's a sprawling entertainment complex where you can shop, dine, and play all under one roof. With over 250 stores, a range of dining options, and entertainment venues like an indoor amusement park, Destiny USA isn't just about retail therapy—it's a destination in itself for fun-seekers of all ages. The complex also features a luxury cinema and a comedy club, providing entertainment options for every taste.

04 Erie Canal Museum

Interior view of Erie Canal Museum in Syracuse, NY, with Bartolottas Tavern display. The historical museum is housed in the Syracuse Weighlock Alizada Studios / Shutterstock.com

The Erie Canal Museum, located in the only remaining weighlock building in the United States, tells the fascinating story of the Erie Canal's impact on Syracuse and the nation. Through its exhibits, visitors can step back in time to understand the canal's role in shaping commerce and culture in the region. It's a historical journey that isn't just educational but truly captivating. The museum also offers guided tours, bringing the stories of the Erie Canal and its workers to life.

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05 Syracuse University's Campus

Empty Quad at Syracuse University

Exploring Syracuse University's campus reveals more than just academic excellence; it's a journey through architectural beauty and vibrant student life. The campus isn't just for students; with its art galleries, performances, and the iconic Carrier Dome, it's a cultural hub that welcomes all who are curious about the university's rich heritage and contemporary contributions. The university's public art installations and historic buildings add another layer of charm to the campus experience.

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06 Onondaga Lake Park

Viewpoint at (Upper Onondaga Park) in The City of Syracuse in Upstate New York.

Onondaga Lake Park is the perfect escape for those seeking outdoor adventure. With miles of trails, picnic areas, and water-based activities, the park isn't just a green space; it's Syracuse's premier destination for recreation and relaxation. Whether you're biking, walking, or simply enjoying the lake views, the park offers a refreshing break from urban life. It also hosts seasonal events and festivals, adding to the park's appeal as a community gathering space.

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07 The MOST (Museum of Science & Technology)

The MOST isn't your average museum; it's a playground for the mind, offering hands-on exhibits, a planetarium, and an IMAX theater. Designed to spark curiosity in visitors of all ages, the museum makes learning about science and technology an interactive and fun experience. It's a place where the wonders of the universe are at your fingertips. The museum's science demonstrations and workshops further engage visitors, making science accessible and enjoyable for everyone.

08 Armory Square

Armory Square is the heartbeat of Syracuse's nightlife and dining scene. With its historic buildings and cobblestone streets, the square isn't just a place to eat and drink; it's a vibrant community hub where art, culture, and history come alive. From chic cafes to lively bars, Armory Square offers a taste of Syracuse's urban charm. The area also hosts outdoor markets and cultural events, making it a lively spot throughout the year.

09 Green Lakes State Park

Green Lakes State Park is a natural oasis known for its strikingly blue-green lakes and extensive trail system. The park isn't just about scenic beauty; it's a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering activities like hiking, swimming, and golfing. The unique color of the lakes, caused by their glacial origins, makes a visit to the park an unforgettable experience. Birdwatchers and nature photographers will find the park's diverse ecosystems particularly appealing.

10 Clinton Square

Downtown Syracuse New York with view of historic buildings and fountain at Clinton Square.

Clinton Square stands as a testament to Syracuse's rich history and community spirit. Once a bustling part of the Erie Canal, the square isn't just a public space; it's a venue for festivals, concerts, and seasonal events that bring the city together. Surrounded by historic buildings, it's a place where past and present meet. The square's ice rink is a popular winter attraction, offering a festive atmosphere during the holiday season.

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11 Landmark Theatre

The Landmark Theatre isn't just a venue; it's an architectural gem that hosts Broadway shows, concerts, and films. With its lavish interior and rich history, the theatre offers an immersive experience that goes beyond the performance itself. It's a cornerstone of Syracuse's cultural landscape, where the arts are celebrated in grand style. The theatre's restoration efforts have preserved its historic beauty, making it a cherished landmark in the city.

12 NBT Bank Stadium

Entrance to the NBT Bank Stadium home of the Syracuse Mets, formally the Syracuse Chiefs, Minor League Baseball team on the northside of Syracuse, New York debra millet / Shutterstock.com

For sports fans, NBT Bank Stadium is the place to be. Home to the Syracuse Mets, the stadium isn't just about baseball; it's about community and entertainment. With its family-friendly atmosphere and array of concessions, a game at NBT Bank Stadium is an American pastime that brings people together in the spirit of sport. The stadium also hosts special events and promotions, adding an extra layer of excitement to the game-day experience.

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13 Skaneateles Lake

Clouds form over Skaneateles Lake, Skaneateles, a popular vacation destination in the Finger Lakes Region of New York State, USA, before sunset on a winter day.

A day trip to Skaneateles Lake offers a retreat into nature's beauty. Known for its crystal-clear waters and charming town, the lake isn't just a destination for boating and wine tasting; it's a slice of paradise where the hustle and bustle of city life feel worlds away. The serene landscape and welcoming community make Skaneateles a must-visit. The lake's clean waters are perfect for swimming, making it a popular summer destination.

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14 Central New York Regional Market

The Central New York Regional Market is a food lover's dream. With its array of local produce, artisanal goods, and vibrant atmosphere, the market isn't just a place to shop; it's a celebration of Syracuse's agricultural bounty. Whether you're sampling fresh foods or discovering handmade crafts, the market offers a taste of the region's rich culinary heritage. The market also serves as a platform for local farmers and artisans to connect with the community.

15 Webster Pond

View of a quiet morning at Webster's Pond, a small urban wildlife santuary in the valley neighborhood of Syracuse, New York debra millet / Shutterstock.com

Webster Pond is a hidden gem for those seeking tranquility and nature. This peaceful sanctuary isn't just a place to relax; it's a community-supported conservation area where wildlife thrives. Whether you're feeding the ducks or enjoying a quiet walk, Webster Pond offers a serene escape from the urban landscape. The pond's educational programs and volunteer opportunities encourage community involvement in conservation efforts.

Syracuse, NY, is a city of contrasts, where the past and present coexist in harmony. With its diverse attractions, from museums and parks to shopping centers and historic squares, Syracuse offers a rich array of experiences for visitors. Whether you're exploring the city for the first time or rediscovering its charms, Syracuse invites you to delve into its unique blend of culture, history, and natural beauty.

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