15 Best Things to Do in Syracuse, NY

15 Best Things to Do in Syracuse, NY

Jaw-dropping art scenes, vibrant colors, glacial lakes, picturesque scenes- everything beautiful makes up Syracuse. But, the Erie Canal is the one that brings most of the tourists to this part of New York State. The place is associated with the Finger Lakes Region that makes it even more popular. Syracuse presents you to a world of nature, tradition, history, and even shopping and dining. Let us have a look at the top 15 things to do in Syracuse.

Check out Erie Canal Museum

Erie Canal Museum
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You must have heard of the most significant landmark of Syracuse- the Erie Canal. If you have not, we will give you a small introduction- Erie Canal is a mighty canal of great historic significance. Running from Albany straight to Buffalo, this almighty canal was made by man back in 1825.

It took eight years to build this massive canal which ran straight for 363 miles. The main objective of this canal was the carrying of goods from the Atlantic Ocean. The many stories and tales of this historic canal are told in the museum entirely dedicated to it. Wat to know something more interesting? The canal once went through the streets of downtown Syracuse. Now, the museum is built upon this particular street!

The museum has one of the most interesting exhibits displaying everything related to the Erie Canal.

Walk around Downtown Syracuse

Downtown Syracuse
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Syracuse is an extremely well-maintained city. And, the downtown part is just an ardent example of that. The authorities have done their jobs quite well, and you will say this for yourself once you walk around downtown Syracuse for an hour.
The main motive was to maintain the city and restore its heritage. It is safe to say that they were quite successful in their efforts as the part still looks just right out of a picture book! The buildings smell of the rich heritage that once reigned over Syracuse. Also, if you are looking for some good places to eat or drink- Downtown Syracuse is the best place to do that.

There was once a time when the main Erie Canal paved its path right through this part of the town, but those days are long gone, and you will find some of the remnants in Canal Street. If you want to know more about what happened, do check out the previously mentioned Erie Canal Museum.

Visit the Zoo

Elephants at Syracuse Zoo
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Want to spend a nice Sunday morning along with your family? The Syracuse Zoo is a perfect excuse to spend some quality time and also see some intriguing animals at the same time.

The Syracuse Zoo which goes by the name of Rosamond Gifford Zoo is an amazing space of 43 acres and has an awe-striking exhibit. There are a lot of attractions that you can check out in this zoo. Also, it is divided into different regions for different animals. Some are even outdoors. But, the indoors is decorated with glass panels through which you can look at the animals.

This zoo even keeps penguins and you can see them jumping and walking around. You will see tigers and elephants roaming around as it also serves as a breeding space for those.

Check out the Museum of Science and Technology

Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science and Technology
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Are you interested in space, technology, and paleontology? The Museum of Science and Technology has all of these for you with a lot more!

Located in the prime location of downtown, MOST or Museum of Science and Technology, Syracuse has one of the most exclusive exhibits that you can ever get your hands on. Now, you might be wondering that this is for kids, but we assure you that most of the visitors here are curious adults who fall in love with the museum and don’t want to leave for hours.

Apart from having a science playground along with a discovery of the earth cave, this museum possesses something very intriguing, It has got a toothpick sculpture. But, it is not any normal toothpick craft- this one holds not one but two Guinness World Records. It is the tallest as well as the largest toothpick buildings in the world!

Check out the art at Everson Museum

Enough entertainment for our science lovers, now we shall head over to the art department. Here for our art folks, we have something a bit too appealing to the eyes. The Everton Museum of Syracuse is known to turn the heads of anyone!
The walls of the museum are decorated with one of the most impressive collections in the world. Also, you must note that all of the artworks represent American artists. It amazingly hosts American culture and art.

There are almost 11,000 frames in the permanent collection of the museum. Apart from this, the museum often holds exhibitions of temporary collections, and these change seasonally.

Shop at Destiny USA

 Destiny USA Shopping complex
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Enough with our museum sightseeing, it is time for some shopping and unwinding! Now, we shall head over to shopper’s paradise- Destiny USA. Now, you might ask us what is so special about a mall? They are practically everywhere you go! But, hear us out. This also happens to be in the top 5 malls in America? Interested now? Let’s have a look!

Some serious shopping can be done here with the mall decorated with all sorts of brands and boutiques. It also has a food court with all sorts of pricey restaurants and even fast-food chains. Apart from having a movie complex, it also has an entertainment zone where you can play go-cart too!

Learn the history of salt at the Salt Museum

Salt Museum
Smerdis, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Ever wondered how salt came into being? Or where was it even found? Whoever thought that you need something like salt? Wonder no more for here in Syracuse you can learn all about it if you are serious about those sorts of things.

The Salt Museum tells you in detail about all that you need to know. It was first in 1654 that salt like substances was reported in Syracuse. The people from Jesuit missionaries came to search more, and soon it was turned into one of the regions that produced salt. You might have heard that Syracuse is called Salt City too. You can find out about all the reasons in this particular museum.

Spend a day at Skaneateles

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Now, let us spend one day out of Syracuse. Wait, Skaneateles is not that far away. It is just a drive away from Syracuse that takes 30-40 minutes to go.
Well. you might be wondering why you need to go out of Syracuse now?- The answer is simple- alluring scenic beauty. While Syracuse is historically rich, Skaneateles bears all the natural beauty you can ever hope to find.

Please note: This is the area of rich people. Every rich person has a mansion here at Skaneateles! The countryside is peaceful with some gorgeous views of the waterfront. The town is quaint and you will find yourself walking along the small cute streets. Warning- Do click a picture if you find a movie-star coming out of their mansion!

Appreciate the beauty of Green Lakes State Park

Green Lakes State Park
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Done with Skaneateles? Let us head over to Green Lakes State Park. It is another short trip which you can avail of by car from Syracuse. The Green Lakes State Park is one of the hidden gems filled with gorgeousness.

Interested in glacial lakes? Here there are two of them! Many people miss out on this spot. Green Lake and Round Lake are two of the beautiful glacial lakes you can find here. They are surrounded by some rolling hills which make the place all the more alluring to the eyes. Certain hiking trails go through these hills as well as surrounding forests.

Look around Clinton Square

Clinton Square
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Let us come back to appreciate the beauty of Syracuse a bit! Getting back to the prime downtown area, you might notice a huge public park. That is one of the most iconic spots of the city known as Clinton Square.

During summers, the park is decorated throughout with different fountains, but it is the most fun during winters! In the winters, snow covers the ground and turns into ice. And, then the park is turned into a skating rink!

Did you know the Erie Canal passed across this park back in 1925? For this reason, the park is historically significant too. When you look around the park, you will be greeted by some very old buildings. Some of them are even from the 1800s. Do walk around and take a look at them. If you are curious enough, you will understand that none of these are ordinary buildings. They all have some sort of history linked with them.

Spend an afternoon at Onondaga Lake Park

Onondaga Lake Park
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To spend a day in water and greenery, you don’t need to go out of Syracuse! Onondaga Lake Park is within the city limits. The park stretches around the limits of Onondaga Lake and has an area of almost 7.5 acres. There are a lot of things you can do here apart from just sitting and enjoying the panoramic views. There are hiking, trekking as well as biking options here at Onondaga Lake.

You will find yourself in front of the four trails. The choice is completely yours on which one to take for all four are equally gorgeous. Also, you can go mountain biking. If you want some lake-related activities you can even opt for boating or fishing. Fishes like catfish, pike, and even bass are said to be found here in Onondaga Lake.

Go cycling around Skytop Quarry

Are you interested in rocks or different rock formations? Skytop quarry might be the ideal place for you. While most people opt for cycling here, you can just go and take a look at the different rocks found here.

What once was used as a rock quarry, now lies empty and serves as a tourist attraction spot. It is now an abandoned place and might not suit the taste of many as there is huge metal trash like cars dumped here. But, explorers seem to love this one. Also, this place attracts paranormal investigators along with photographers. There are a lot of trails to go to the bottom but it is not as easy as it sounds!

Go wine-tasting at Lakeland Winery

We have had enough of sight-seeing. You probably want to sit down now and have a bite to eat- or more likely a good glass of wine to sip on. So, we are taking you to the best top thing to do in Syracuse!

The visitors of Lakeland Winery get to go on a wine tasting tour here. Also, do you want to try out your hand at making some wine? You can easily do that here. Apart from tasting a lot of wines on this tour, you can probably sit down to enjoy one of their special locals that have been made at this winery only!

Check out the fruits of Tree of 40 Fruits

Tree of 40 Fruits
Lange.lea, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Now, we are taking you to see something a little out of the book. Most people find this shocking and amazing at the same time. We will wait for your reaction!
For this unusual sight, you have to Syracuse University campus. Yes, you might as well have guessed it by now, but let us clarify one more time- this attraction happens to be a tree. But, wait before you scroll down- this is not any mere tree.
It is gifted with 40 different fruits. How is that even possible? Well, science does wonders as always.

You can find plums, almonds, peaches, and even cherries in the same tree. Sam Van Aken was behind this wonderful creation who grafted buds of various species into one plant and planted it here!

Eat the best BBQ in Syracuse

What is a vacation without some good food? Tired of all the sightseeing? Let us settle down for the best BBQ in town! Everyone in NY knows about Dinosaur Bar-B-Que and it is true that they have the best ones in all of Syracuse. The ambiance is nice with live music going on. It was a biker cafe but now families can be seen dining in this place. The menu has some home-made options that are delicious.

This brings us to the end of your beautiful trip. Syracuse deserves your attention for more reasons other than the Finger Lakes and the Erie Canal. Do visit this slice of heaven and enjoy your stay here.