Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do with Kids in Syracuse, NY

  • Published 2022/11/21

While it may not be as big or bustling as New York City, upstate Syracuse, New York, has plenty to offer families looking for a fun and relaxing getaway.

The area experiences all four seasons, so there is always something to do no matter when you visit.

Many people think Syracuse only offers summertime fun at Green Lakes State Park, but that’s far from the truth.

In fact, this thriving city in New York State has something for everyone—especially the kids!

Syracuse is filled with kid-friendly attractions that will make your vacation one to remember.

From exploring the great outdoors to learning about history, there’s no shortage of things to do in the city.

Here are some of the best things to do with kids in Syracuse, New York:

Explore Downtown Syracuse at Clinton Square

Buildings at Clinton Square

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Clinton Square is located in the heart of downtown Syracuse and is one of the most popular spots to start your Syracuse vacation.

The square is adjacent to various attractions, including the Onondaga County Courthouse, the Syracuse Landmark Theatre, and Armory Square.

Clinton Square is also a great place to explore with your kids.

There are plenty of restaurants and shops to check out, and the square is always lively and vibrant, with people coming and going.

The most notable attraction at Clinton Square is the ice rink, which opens at the beginning of the skating season, usually during the last week of November, and runs until mid-March.

The grounds of Clinton Square

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If you visit Syracuse during that period, your kids can have a blast ice skating at the rink; just make sure to dress them properly so they stay warm!

Also, the rink is available as long as the weather permits.

Clinton Square should be your starting point for exploring Syracuse with your kids.

From there, you can easily walk to other attractions in the area.

Signage of Clinton Square

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Get Up Close and Personal with Different Wildlife at Rosamond Gifford Zoo

Exterior of Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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Rosamond Gifford Zoo is a great place to take your kids if you want to get up close and personal with different types of wildlife.

At 43 acres, this zoo at Conservation Pl is nothing short of massive.

Rosamond Gifford Zoo is home to various animals, including elephants, red pandas, meerkats, penguins, and more.

Your kids will love seeing these animals in person, and the zoo also offers several educational programs that will teach them more about the animals.

Flamingos at Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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Some notable kid’s programs at the zoo include Kids Night Out, where kids will party like animals—they’ll enjoy pizza during the party and even get the chance to come close to some animals.

Rosamond Gifford Zoo is one of the top attractions in Syracuse for families with kids—it’s affordable, fun, and educational, making it the perfect place for the whole family.

A bear at Rosamond Gifford Zoo

Mahmoud Suhail /

Visit Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science & Technology

Entrance to the Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science & Technology

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Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science & Technology is a museum on South Franklin Street that promotes science and technology’s wonders.

Located in the Armory Square neighborhood, the museum has a variety of exhibits that are sure to delight kids and adults alike.

The museum features 35,000 square feet of permanent and rotating exhibits, a Science shop, and several spaces for hosting programs and events throughout the year.

The main attraction at the Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science & Technology is the National Grid ExploraDome, which is a portable planetarium that offers screenings of various astronomy shows.

Exterior of the Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science & Technology

Marketingdirector, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The museum offers educational programs for school groups and the public.

These programs include lectures, workshops, and even summer camps for kids.

If your child is always curious about the world around them, taking them on a trip to the Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science & Technology is a great way to spark their curiosity and teach them about the world in a fun and interactive way.

The museum has something for everyone, and its staff is always willing to help visitors learn more about Science and technology.

Witness a Spectacular Performance at Syracuse Stage

Syracuse Stage is one of the most renowned and respected performing arts theaters in the state of New York.

This theater at East Genesee Street is home to various productions, from Broadway plays to concerts.

Syracuse Stage has several educational programs to help kids learn about theater and the arts, including summer camps, classes, and workshops.

In addition, Syracuse Stage offers a wide variety of performances that are perfect for kids.

These performances include plays based on popular children’s books, concerts, and other events designed to entertain and engage kids.

Travel Back in Time at Landmark Theatre

Grand interior of Landmark Theatre

Eddie891, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Landmark Theatre at South Salina Street is one of Syracuse’s most iconic and historical landmarks.

The theater was originally built in 1926 and renovated in 2011.

The theater features a mix of classic and contemporary films and live performances ranging from Broadway plays to concerts.

It also has a lounge that offers food and drinks before the show.

Despite undergoing major renovations, the interior and exterior design of the Landmark Theatre has remained largely unchanged, with a classic and timeless feel.

It resembles the opulent, theatrical venues of the past, and its grandeur is sure to amaze your kids.

Landmark Theatre is a must-see attraction for anyone visiting Syracuse.

It’s one of the country’s most beautiful and historic theaters and a great place to see a live performance or watch a movie.

People inside Landmark Theatre

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Check Out the Erie Canal Museum

Exterior of the Erie Canal Museum

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The Erie Canal Museum is ideal for learning about Syracuse’s history and culture.

The museum is home to various exhibits that detail the history of the Erie Canal, as well as the people and culture of upstate New York.

The museum is ideal for kids interested in learning more about the history and how the Erie Canal impacted the development of Syracuse.

It offers a variety of educational programs and events that are sure to delight kids and adults alike.

Interior of the Erie Canal Museum

Alizada Studios /

In addition, the Erie Canal Museum is home to several unique artifacts, including a replica of a canal boat and a working model of the Erie Canal.

These artifacts bring the history of the Erie Canal to life.

Exhibit in the Erie Canal Museum

debra millet /

Try the Fun Attractions at the New York State Fairgrounds

Ferris wheel at New York State Fairgrounds

debra millet /

The New York State Fairgrounds, at State Fair Boulevard, is where the Great New York State Fair is held annually.

This 13-day event is one of the country’s biggest and most popular fairs, and it’s a great place to take your kids for a day of shopping and strolling.

In addition to the fair, the grounds also house several other attractions and entertainment.

These include agricultural exhibits and buildings, as well as several rides, funhouses, and concession stands.

Carnival game at New York State Fairgrounds

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Kids will have a blast at the rides and attractions.

The New York State Fairgrounds also offers various shops, restaurants, and amusement rides that will entertain everyone in the family.

Giant slide at New York State Fairgrounds

Tommy Liggett /

Solve Puzzles and Develop Teamwork at the Museum of Intrigue

The Museum of Intrigue is the place to go if you’re looking for a fun and challenging activity with your kids.

This museum on Destiny USA Drive is like a large complex that houses several varieties of escape rooms, each designed to test your problem-solving skills and teamwork abilities.

The escape rooms at the Museum of Intrigue are great for kids interested in puzzles and problem-solving.

Each room offers a unique experience and is a great way to develop teamwork skills and learn to work together as a team.

Discover Different Mediums of Art at the Everson Museum of Art

Exterior of the Everson Museum of Art

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Everson Museum of Art on Harrison Street is perfect for kids who want to learn about art and its different forms.

Located in downtown Syracuse, it is known for showcasing works of art by famous American painters, sculptors, and artists.

The museum also has a variety of temporary exhibitions for kids who want to learn about different cultures and art styles worldwide.

In addition, it also offers several educational programs, events, and workshops.

These programs will tap into your kid’s artistic side and let them express themselves through art.

The museum also offers various exhibits, which change every few months.

This ensures that you’ll always see something new and exciting when you visit the museum.

Everson Museum of Art is a must-see attraction when in Syracuse.

The museum features a variety of different pieces that showcase the creativity of local and international artists.

Explore Onondaga Lake Park

Bench overlooking the waters of Onondaga Lake Park

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Onondaga Lake Park offers various activities for kids who want to enjoy the outdoors.

Some activities available at Onondaga Lake Park include swimming, biking, fishing, and hiking.

In addition, the park also offers different playgrounds and picnic areas, which are ideal for families.

This lively park is also the venue of several different events and festivals throughout the year.

The grounds of Onondaga Lake Park

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These events include the Onondaga County Fair, a great place for kids to enjoy rides, games, and delicious fair food.

Onondaga Lake Park is a must-see attraction for anyone visiting Syracuse with kids.

The park offers various activities to entertain locals and visitors alike.

A gazebo at Onondaga Lake Park

Mahmoud Suhail /

Go on a Shopping Trip at Destiny USA

Exterior of Destiny USA

Mahmoud Suhail /

Sometimes, going on a shopping spree is the best way to bond with your kids, and what better place to do that than Destiny USA?

Destiny USA is the largest shopping mall in New York State on Destiny USA Drive.

The mall features a variety of different stores, restaurants, and attractions.

You can find almost any store you’re looking for at Destiny USA, and if you get hungry, there are plenty of places to grab a bite.

Interior of Destiny USA

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However, if you want your kids to have a blast, take them to WonderWorks Destiny.

This indoor amusement park inside Destiny USA is perfect for kids of all ages.

WonderWorks features over 100 hands-on science exhibits, a laser tag arena, a 6D motion ride, and several ropes courses.

It’s the ultimate place to leave your kids while you enjoy some retail therapy.

Destiny USA is the go-to shopping destination for locals and visitors in Syracuse.

The mall offers a variety of retail stores and attractions that are sure to give the entire family the best shopping experience.

A shop in Destiny USA

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Go on a Go-Kart Race with the Kids at RPM Raceway

Nothing gets the adrenaline going like go-kart racing.

If you’re looking for a place to go-kart with your kids, RPM Raceway is the place to go!

RPM Raceway on Destiny USA is the place to take the kids for a day of fun and excitement.

The raceway offers a variety of go-kart races, and it’s sure to delight everyone in the family.

In addition, RPM Raceway also offers several other activities, including an arcade and billiards.

These activities suit kids who want to have a blast while staying active.

There’s also a snack bar that offers a variety of food and drinks so you can refuel after a day of go-karting.

RPM Raceway is a must-see attraction while in Syracuse.

The raceway is fun and exciting, which will entertain everyone in the family all day long.

Watch a Mets Game at NBT Bank Stadium

Exterior of NBT Bank Stadium

debra millet /

The Syracuse Mets, a Minor League Baseball team, play their home games at NBT Bank Stadium.

It’s not MLB-level baseball, but it’s still a fun experience for the whole family.

NBT Bank Stadium on Tex Simone Drive is also great for enjoying some of your favorite ballpark foods.

You can get anything from hot dogs and hamburgers to ice cream and cotton candy.

People watching a game in NBT Bank Stadium

Adam Jones, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This 10,000-seat stadium is perfect for enjoying a summer day with your kids, so don’t miss out on catching a Syracuse Mets game when you’re in the city.

The field of NBT Bank Stadium

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Feed the Ducks at Webster Pond

Daytime view of Webster Pond

debra millet /

Webster Pond is a beautiful pond located 4.2 miles south of downtown Syracuse, perfect for spending a relaxing day with your family.

One of the fun things you can do at the park is feeding the ducks.

You can buy a bag of bread and feed the ducks for just a few cents.

This is a fun activity for kids of all ages.

In addition to feeding the ducks, you can also enjoy several other activities at Webster Pond, such as hiking and biking.

Geese at Webster Pond

Ritu Manoj Jethani /

The pond is also home to wildlife, including turtles, fish, and birds, so keep an eye out for these animals.

Webster Pond is a must-see attraction for anyone visiting Syracuse.

This small sanctuary is perfect for spending a fun day with your kids.

A trail at Webster Pond

debra millet /

Other Things To Do Nearby

Go on a Hiking trail at Butternut Creek Trail

If you’re looking for a great hiking trail near Syracuse, check out Butternut Creek Trail in Fayetteville, New York.

The trail is located just east of Syracuse and is perfect for hikers of all levels.

The Butternut Creek Trail is a 1.6-mile loop that takes hikers through various terrain.

The trail features rolling hills, dense forests, and beautiful creeks.

In addition to the amazing scenery, Butternut Creek Trail is also home to various wildlife.

Hikers can expect to see deer and wild turkeys while they’re on the trail.

The trail is perfect for hikers of all levels and offers some of the best scenery in the area.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for a quaint and charming city to visit with your kids in New York, Syracuse is the place for you.

It has all the attractions and activities to ensure a fun and memorable trip with your family.

Start planning your trip to the city today, starting with these best things to do with kids in Syracuse, New York!

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