Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Syracuse, NY

Welcome to Syracuse, New York! Located in the heart of Central New York, Syracuse offers a wide range of attractions and activities for visitors of all ages. Whether you’re interested in history, culture, outdoor adventures, or delicious cuisine, Syracuse has something to offer everyone.

History buffs will not want to miss a visit to the Erie Canal Museum. Located in the only remaining weighlock building in America, this museum tells the story of the Erie Canal and its impact on the growth of Syracuse and the surrounding region. Make sure to take a guided tour and learn about the construction of the canal and the people who worked on it.

If you’re looking for outdoor activities, head to Onondaga Lake Park. This beautiful park offers a range of recreational opportunities, including walking and biking trails, picnic areas, and even a skate park. You can also rent a paddleboard, kayak, or canoe and explore the lake’s calm waters.

No visit to Syracuse would be complete without sampling some of the local cuisine. Be sure to try the famous “salt potatoes,” a regional delicacy made with small, boiled potatoes and lots of salt. For dessert, stop by one of the many ice cream stands that dot the city and indulge in a cone of creamy, homemade ice cream.

These are just a few of the top-rated attractions and things to do in Syracuse, NY. Whether you’re here for a weekend getaway or a longer stay, you’re sure to find something to suit your interests. So pack your bags and come experience all that Syracuse has to offer!

Discover the Best Attractions in Syracuse, NY

Syracuse, New York, offers a wide range of top-rated attractions that cater to all interests. Whether you’re a history buff, outdoor enthusiast, or art lover, Syracuse has something for everyone. Here are some of the best attractions that you shouldn’t miss when visiting this vibrant city.

1. Destiny USA: This mega shopping and entertainment complex is a must-visit attraction in Syracuse. With over 250 stores, numerous restaurants, and various entertainment options including a carousel, indoor go-kart track, and recreational activities like rock climbing, Destiny USA ensures a fun-filled day for the entire family.

2. Erie Canal Museum: Step back in time at the Erie Canal Museum and learn about the crucial role that the canal played in shaping the city’s history. Explore the exhibits that showcase the life of canal workers and the importance of this innovative waterway during the 19th century.

3. Everson Museum of Art: Art enthusiasts will appreciate a visit to the Everson Museum of Art, which houses an impressive collection of American art. From contemporary pieces to local artwork, the museum offers an enriching experience for all visitors.

4. Onondaga Lake Park: Perfect for outdoor enthusiasts, Onondaga Lake Park offers a variety of recreational activities. Take a leisurely stroll along the scenic waterfront trail, enjoy a picnic in one of the many designated areas, or go biking, skating, or fishing. The park also hosts events and festivals throughout the year.

5. Salt Museum: Learn about the fascinating history of the salt industry in Syracuse at the Salt Museum. Housed in a historic building, the museum features exhibits that showcase the impact of the salt trade on the city’s growth and prosperity.

6. Carrier Dome: Sports fans shouldn’t miss the opportunity to catch a game or event at the Carrier Dome. As the largest domed stadium on a college campus, it hosts a variety of sporting events, including basketball, football, and lacrosse.

7. Clinton Square: Visit Clinton Square, the heart of downtown Syracuse. This historic square is surrounded by significant buildings and landmarks, including the Soldiers and Sailors Monument. During the summer, enjoy concerts and festivals that take place in the square.

These are just a few of the many incredible attractions that await you in Syracuse, NY. Whether you’re interested in history, art, outdoor activities, or simply enjoying the vibrant atmosphere of the city, Syracuse has something for everyone.

Explore the Rich History of Syracuse

Syracuse, NY is a city with a rich and fascinating history. From its humble beginnings as a small village in the early 19th century to its thriving presence as a center for industry, education, and culture, Syracuse has a story to tell.

One of the most significant historical sites in Syracuse is the Erie Canal Museum. This museum offers visitors a chance to step back in time and learn about the important role that the Erie Canal played in the growth and development of Syracuse and the surrounding region. The museum features exhibits that showcase the construction of the canal, the lives of the people who worked on it, and the impact it had on the local economy.

Another historical attraction in Syracuse is the Onondaga Historical Association. This organization is dedicated to preserving and sharing the history of Syracuse and Onondaga County. Visitors can explore the association’s vast collection of artifacts, photographs, and documents that chronicle the region’s past. The Onondaga Historical Association also offers educational programs and events for visitors of all ages.

For those interested in African American history, the Dunbar Association in Syracuse is a must-visit. Founded in 1918, the Dunbar Association was one of the first African American social and community organizations in the country. The association’s headquarters, the Dunbar Center, serves as a hub for cultural, educational, and social activities within the African American community. Visitors can learn about the organization’s important role in the civil rights movement and the ongoing work it does to promote equality and social justice.

Syracuse is also home to several historic neighborhoods, such as the Armory Square district. This area was once home to a bustling armory and has since been revitalized into a vibrant neighborhood with trendy shops, restaurants, and art galleries. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll through the streets of Armory Square and admire the beautiful architecture and unique character of the area.

Whether you’re a history buff or simply interested in learning more about the past, Syracuse offers a wealth of opportunities to explore its rich history. From museums and historical associations to historic neighborhoods, there’s something for everyone to discover and appreciate in this fascinating city.

Visit the Iconic Syracuse University

If you’re visiting Syracuse, New York, a trip to the iconic Syracuse University should be at the top of your list. This prestigious institution is known for its top-notch academics, beautiful campus, and rich history.

Founded in 1870, Syracuse University is a private research university with a diverse student population and a wide range of academic programs. It is home to the renowned Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, and the School of Information Studies.

The campus of Syracuse University is a must-see for its stunning architecture and picturesque surroundings. The university’s main building, the Hall of Languages, is a beautiful example of Romanesque Revival architecture and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Other notable buildings on campus include the Crouse College, which houses the Setnor School of Music, and the Ernie Davis Hall, named after the university’s first African American football superstar.

While exploring the campus, be sure to visit the SU Quad, a popular gathering spot for students, and the Carrier Dome, an iconic sports arena that hosts Syracuse University’s basketball and football games. You might also want to check out the Syracuse University Art Galleries, which display a wide range of contemporary and historical art.

In addition to its academic and cultural offerings, Syracuse University also has a thriving sports scene. The university has a strong basketball program, with the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team being a regular contender in the NCAA tournament. Attending a Syracuse University basketball game at the Carrier Dome is a truly memorable experience.

Whether you’re a prospective student, a sports fan, or just someone who appreciates beautiful architecture and rich history, a visit to Syracuse University is a must when in the area. Don’t miss the chance to explore this iconic institution and all that it has to offer.

Immerse Yourself in Art and Culture

Syracuse offers a vibrant art and culture scene that is sure to captivate visitors of all interests. Whether you’re a fan of visual arts, theater, music, or literature, this city has something for you. Here are some top attractions and activities to immerse yourself in art and culture in Syracuse:

Everson Museum of Art:

The Everson Museum of Art showcases a diverse collection of contemporary and modern art. Explore its extensive galleries and exhibitions, which feature works by renowned artists and up-and-coming talents. Don’t miss the iconic “Art Deco” building designed by renowned architect I.M. Pei.

Syracuse Stage:

Syracuse Stage is a professional theater company that presents a wide range of productions, from classic plays to contemporary dramas and musicals. Enjoy performances by acclaimed actors and immerse yourself in the world of theater.

Syracuse Symphony Orchestra:

Experience the beauty of classical music at a performance by the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra. From symphonies to chamber concerts, their talented musicians will transport you with their exquisite performances.

The Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science & Technology:

This interactive museum combines science, technology, and art to create a unique experience for visitors of all ages. Explore its hands-on exhibits, planetarium shows, and art installations that showcase the fascinating intersection of art and science.

The Central New York Playhouse:

The Central New York Playhouse is a community theater that offers a diverse range of performances, including plays, musicals, and improv shows. Support local talent and enjoy an evening of entertainment.

The Onondaga Historical Association:

Learn about Syracuse’s rich history and culture at the Onondaga Historical Association. Explore its exhibits, which cover topics such as Native American history, the Erie Canal, and the city’s industrial past.

With its thriving art galleries, theaters, museums, and historical sites, Syracuse is a haven for art and culture enthusiasts. Immerse yourself in the vibrant creative scene of this city and discover the richness of its artistic heritage.

Enjoy the Outdoors in Syracuse

Syracuse, NY is a city that offers a variety of outdoor activities for visitors to enjoy. Whether you’re looking to explore nature, relax in a park, or participate in recreational sports, Syracuse has something to offer everyone.

One popular outdoor destination in Syracuse is Onondaga Lake Park. This waterfront park features miles of trails for hiking, biking, and jogging, as well as picnic areas and playgrounds. Visitors can also rent kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards to explore the lake and enjoy a day on the water.

If you’re a nature lover, be sure to visit the Green Lakes State Park. This park is known for its two glacial lakes, which have a unique emerald green color. Visitors can swim, fish, or paddle in the lakes, or hike along the park’s many trails. The park also offers camping facilities for those looking to spend the night surrounded by nature.

Another great outdoor activity in Syracuse is visiting the Rosamond Gifford Zoo. This zoo is home to a variety of animals from around the world, including lions, elephants, and penguins. The zoo also features a wildlife trail and a sea lion show, providing visitors with an educational and entertaining experience.

For those looking for a more active outdoor experience, Syracuse has several golf courses to choose from. The Bellevue Country Club and the Onondaga Golf and Country Club are both highly rated and offer beautiful courses for golf enthusiasts. Additionally, Syracuse has many parks with soccer fields, baseball diamonds, and basketball courts for those interested in team sports.

No matter what your outdoor interests are, Syracuse has plenty of options to keep you entertained. From exploring parks and nature reserves to engaging in recreational activities, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in the great outdoors of Syracuse.

Experience the Vibrant Food Scene

Syracuse, NY is known for its vibrant and diverse food scene. From traditional Italian and Mediterranean cuisine to farm-to-table eateries and trendy cafes, there is something to satisfy every palate.

One of the must-visit spots in Syracuse is the historic Little Italy neighborhood. Here, you’ll find a plethora of family-owned Italian restaurants serving up authentic dishes like homemade pasta, wood-fired pizza, and hearty meatballs. Venture into Columbus Circle and explore the Italian market, where you can sample imported cheeses, olives, and cured meats.

If you’re a fan of exotic flavors, head to Armory Square, a trendy neighborhood with a wide range of international restaurants. Enjoy spicy Thai curry, flavorful Indian dishes, or sushi rolls made with the freshest seafood. Don’t forget to visit the local breweries and rooftop bars for a taste of the city’s craft beer scene.

For those seeking healthier options, Syracuse’s farm-to-table restaurants are a must-try. These establishments source their ingredients locally, ensuring the freshest and highest quality dishes. Indulge in a colorful salad made with seasonal vegetables, or try a grass-fed steak paired with roasted root vegetables.

No visit to Syracuse would be complete without trying the city’s famous salt potatoes. These bite-sized potatoes are boiled in heavily-salted water, resulting in a creamy and flavorful side dish. Look for them on the menu at local diners and taverns.

End your culinary adventure with a visit to a local bakery for some sweet treats. Sample freshly baked bread, decadent pastries, or the city’s renowned half-moon cookies.

Whether you’re a foodie or just looking to try something new, the vibrant food scene in Syracuse is sure to delight your taste buds and leave you craving for more.

Shop at Unique Boutiques and Markets

One of the highlights of visiting Syracuse, NY is the opportunity to explore the city’s unique boutiques and markets. Whether you’re looking for one-of-a-kind souvenirs, handmade crafts, or local products, you’ll find a variety of options to choose from. Here are some of the top places to shop in Syracuse:

Armory Square: Located in downtown Syracuse, Armory Square is a vibrant neighborhood known for its eclectic shops and boutiques. Here, you’ll find everything from clothing and accessories to home decor and artwork. Take a leisurely stroll through the streets and explore the charming shops that line the area.

Clayton Food Tours: If you’re a food enthusiast, don’t miss the opportunity to take a food tour in Syracuse. Clayton Food Tours offers unique experiences where you can sample delicious local food while learning about the city’s history. Along the way, you’ll also have the chance to stop by different markets and boutiques to pick up some culinary treats.

Westcott Street Cultural Fair: This annual event held in the Westcott neighborhood showcases the vibrant local arts and culture scene. The fair features a variety of vendors, including local artisans, crafters, and food vendors. Shop for handmade jewelry, pottery, clothing, and more while enjoying live music and entertainment.

Regional Farmer’s Markets: Syracuse is home to several farmer’s markets where you can find fresh, locally grown produce, artisanal goods, and other unique products. The Central New York Regional Market is one of the largest farmer’s markets in the area, offering a wide selection of fruits, vegetables, baked goods, and crafts.

Salt City Market: An exciting addition to Syracuse’s food scene, Salt City Market is a food hall featuring a variety of cuisines from local chefs and vendors. In addition to the diverse culinary offerings, you’ll also find a retail market where you can shop for local products, including specialty foods, spices, and other artisanal goods.

When visiting Syracuse, make sure to set aside some time to explore the unique boutiques and markets the city has to offer. You’ll discover hidden gems and make memories as you shop for one-of-a-kind treasures.

Attend Sporting Events in Syracuse

Syracuse, New York, is a vibrant city with a strong sports culture. If you’re a sports fan, attending a game in Syracuse is a must-do activity. The city is home to several professional and collegiate sports teams, offering a wide range of sporting events throughout the year. Whether you’re into basketball, football, soccer, or lacrosse, there’s something for everyone in Syracuse.

One of the most popular sporting events in Syracuse is attending a Syracuse University basketball game. The Syracuse Orange basketball team has a rich history and is known for its passionate fan base. The team plays its home games at the Carrier Dome, one of the largest domed stadiums in the country. Watching a game at the Carrier Dome is a unique experience that every sports fan should experience at least once.

In addition to basketball, Syracuse is also home to a professional minor league baseball team, the Syracuse Mets. The Mets play their home games at NBT Bank Stadium and provide affordable entertainment for baseball enthusiasts. Attending a Syracuse Mets game is a great way to spend a summer evening with friends or family.

If you’re a football fan, Syracuse is also home to the Syracuse University football team. The team plays its home games at the Carrier Dome, where you can witness the excitement of college football firsthand. The stadium atmosphere is electric, and the team’s enthusiastic fan base adds to the overall experience.

For soccer enthusiasts, the Syracuse Silver Knights offer thrilling indoor soccer games. The team plays at the Oncenter War Memorial Arena and provides fast-paced and action-packed matches. Attending a Silver Knights game is a great way to support the local sports scene and enjoy a unique soccer experience.

Lastly, lacrosse is a popular sport in Syracuse, and the Syracuse University lacrosse team is one of the best in the country. Attending a Syracuse lacrosse game is a chance to witness top-level collegiate lacrosse and see talented athletes in action. The lacrosse games are held at the Carrier Dome, giving fans an opportunity to experience the intense atmosphere of the stadium.

Attending sporting events in Syracuse is not only a way to enjoy your favorite sports but also an opportunity to immerse yourself in the city’s vibrant sports culture. Whether you’re cheering for the Syracuse Orange or the Syracuse Mets, you’re guaranteed to have an exciting and memorable experience.

Sport Team Home Stadium
Basketball Syracuse University Orange Carrier Dome
Mets Syracuse Mets NBT Bank Stadium
Football Syracuse University Carrier Dome
Soccer Syracuse Silver Knights Oncenter War Memorial Arena
Lacrosse Syracuse University Carrier Dome

Celebrate Festivals and Events

Syracuse is known for its vibrant festivals and events throughout the year. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, there’s always something to celebrate and experience in this lively city. Here are a few of the top festivals and events in Syracuse:

Syracuse Film Festival

Syracuse Film Festival

Movie enthusiasts won’t want to miss the Syracuse Film Festival, a showcase of local and international films. This event takes place in various venues throughout the city and features screenings, panel discussions, and special events. Whether you’re a fan of documentaries, independent films, or Hollywood blockbusters, you’re sure to find something to enjoy at this festival.

Great New York State Fair

Great New York State Fair

The Great New York State Fair is a beloved annual event that attracts visitors from all over the state. This 12-day fair features live music performances, agricultural exhibits, amusement rides, delicious food, and much more. From tasting unique fair foods to enjoying thrilling rides, the Great New York State Fair offers fun for all ages.

Syracuse Winterfest

Syracuse Winterfest

Embrace the winter season at the Syracuse Winterfest, a celebration of all things winter. This festival includes ice sculptures, snowshoeing, carriage rides, ice skating, and other winter activities. Whether you’re a fan of winter sports or simply enjoy the magical atmosphere of a winter wonderland, Syracuse Winterfest will not disappoint.

In addition to these major festivals, Syracuse also hosts various other events throughout the year, such as art fairs, music festivals, and cultural celebrations. Check the local event calendar to see what’s happening during your visit and make the most of your time in Syracuse!

Discover Nearby Natural Wonders

While Syracuse offers a range of urban attractions and cultural experiences, the surrounding area is also home to several natural wonders that are worth exploring. Here are some of the top natural attractions near Syracuse:

  1. Green Lakes State Park: Located just east of Syracuse, Green Lakes State Park features two glacially-formed lakes with stunning blue-green waters. Visitors can enjoy swimming, hiking, and camping in this picturesque park.
  2. Letchworth State Park: Known as the “Grand Canyon of the East,” Letchworth State Park is located a short drive from Syracuse. This expansive park offers breathtaking views of the Genesee River and its three major waterfalls. Hiking trails, picnic areas, and camping facilities are available.
  3. Tinker Falls: Tinker Falls is a 50-foot waterfall located in the Labrador Hollow Unique Area, just 30 minutes from Syracuse. This scenic spot is perfect for a short hike and offers beautiful views of the surrounding forest.
  4. Chimney Bluffs State Park: Situated on the shores of Lake Ontario, Chimney Bluffs State Park is known for its unique geological formations. The park’s towering clay bluffs offer panoramic views of the lake, and visitors can explore hiking trails that wind through the park’s diverse ecosystems.
  5. Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge: Located north of Syracuse, the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge is a haven for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts. The refuge spans over 7,000 acres and is home to a variety of waterfowl, shorebirds, and other wildlife.

By venturing beyond Syracuse, visitors can discover the natural beauty of the region and enjoy outdoor activities in these stunning natural wonders.


What are some of the top-rated attractions in Syracuse?

Some of the top-rated attractions in Syracuse include the Rosamond Gifford Zoo, the Everson Museum of Art, the Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science & Technology, and the Syracuse Stage theatre.

What can I do in Syracuse for a day?

For a day in Syracuse, you can visit the Niagara Mohawk Building, explore the Clinton Square, enjoy a walk around the Onondaga Lake Park, and visit the Armory Square for shopping and dining.

What are some family-friendly activities in Syracuse?

Syracuse offers several family-friendly activities such as visiting the Rosamond Gifford Zoo, exploring the Syracuse Museum of Science & Technology, enjoying a picnic at the Green Lakes State Park, and attending a Syracuse Chiefs baseball game.

Are there any outdoor activities in Syracuse?

Yes, there are plenty of outdoor activities in Syracuse. You can visit the Green Lakes State Park for hiking and swimming, go fishing or boating on Onondaga Lake, or explore the Thornden Park, which offers walking trails and beautiful gardens.

What are some cultural attractions in Syracuse?

Syracuse has several cultural attractions such as the Everson Museum of Art, the Landmark Theatre, the Syracuse Opera Company, and the Matilda Joslyn Gage Home.

What are the top-rated attractions in Syracuse, NY?

Some of the top-rated attractions in Syracuse, NY include the Erie Canal Museum, the Rosamond Gifford Zoo, the Everson Museum of Art, and the Destiny USA shopping mall.

What are some fun things to do in Syracuse, NY?

There are plenty of fun things to do in Syracuse, NY. You can visit the scenic Onondaga Lake Park, explore the historic Armory Square, catch a Syracuse University basketball game, or enjoy a performance at the Landmark Theatre.


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Wyatt Johnson

Wyatt Johnson, a seasoned travel writer and Miami resident, is the driving force behind captivating pieces at TravelAsker. Unveiling the gems of his vibrant city and its serene beach resorts, his articles showcase an array of family-friendly activities. Leveraging his global insights and experiences as a family man, Wyatt becomes your ideal companion, guiding you through the enchanting delights of Miami and the wonders of Florida.

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