Top 30 Things To Do In Syracuse, New York

things to do in syracuse new york

Syracuse, New York, is a vibrant college city in the Finger Lakes region of central New York. With green surroundings, diverse shopping and eating, as well as historical and architectural attractions, this mid-sized city is full of fun for all ages. Whether you love visiting museums, enjoy hiking, want to do some retail therapy, or are interested in quirky historical sights, Syracuse has something for you. Easy to get around, full of friendly locals, and the opportunity to discover in every season, Syracuse is a true family gem. Read below to explore the different things to do in Syracuse, New York, and begin planning your adventure today.

1. Get curious at The Museum of Intrigue

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Calling all explorers! ‍Our special hours are extended to tonight. That’s right, we are open until 9pm tonight! Don’t forget to pre book to ensure your ideal play experience!

Posted by Museum of Intrigue on Sunday, March 28, 2021

The Museum of Intrigue is a walk on the wild side. An interactive adventure, guests choose their story (stories vary in length from 20, 40, and 60 minutes), and then navigate their way through the museum, exploring artifacts, riddles, and characters. Truly, you must experience it to fully understand and delight in the mysteries that The Museum of Intrigue holds. Indiana Jones meets Choose Your Own Adventure series in this quirky and fun immersive experience.

The Museum of Intrigue

Address: 306 Hiawatha Blvd W m302, Syracuse, NY 13290

Website: The Museum of Intrigue

Opening hours: Mon - Thurs: 1pm - 9pm; Fri: 1pm - 10pm; Sat: 11am - 10pm; Sun: 11am - 6pm

Price: 15 - 29 USD

2. Drink local at Empire Brewing Co.

Editor’s note: establishment is permanently closed

Empire Brewing Co. is a wonderful place to sit, relax, and enjoy a cold one. Founded twenty years ago, Empire is an award-winning craft beer establishment, aimed at having fun. Utilizing hops and ingredients from Central New York farmers, sustainability is at the core of Empire Brewing’s mission. Enjoy classic Empire beers such as Skinny Atlas Light, Slo Mo’ IPA, and Wild Aphro. The playful names are indicative of the spirit of this New York icon.

Empire Brewing Co.

Address: 120 Walton St, Syracuse, NY 13202

Website: Empire Brewing Co.

Opening hours: Mon - Wed: 11:30am - 9pm; Thurs: 11:30am - 10pm; Fri - Sat: 11:30am - 11pm; Sun: 10am - 9pm

3. Head to nature at Onondaga Lake Park

Onondaga Lake Park is a great find for all those in the family. With 7.5 miles (12 km) of green space running alongside Onondaga Lake, it’s a wonderful natural resource ready for a run, picnic, or time at the playground. From bocce to archery, dog parks to kayak rentals, Onondaga Lake Park has it all. The Salt Museum is housed within the park, as well as a visitors’ center and The Skä•noñh Center, which tells the story of Native people in New York. With so much to do, easily spend a half day or full day at Lake Onondaga.

Onondaga Lake Park

Address: 106 Lake Dr, Liverpool, NY 13088, USA

Website: Onondaga Lake Park

Opening hours: 6am - sunset (daily)

4. Check out exotic wildlife at Rosamond Gifford Zoo

Rosamond Gifford Zoo
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Gizzakk used under CC BY 2.5

The Rosamond Gifford Zoo is home to more than 700 animals, including some 275 species. Open year-round, the zoo is a great choice for animal lovers of all shapes and sizes. Highlights include the Diversity of Birds Aviary with a free-flight aviary, Penguin Coast, and the Asian Elephant Preserve. The Domestic Animal Barn is a fun spot for young children, who can pet animals such as donkeys, goats, and a Highland calf. This affordable learning opportunity should not be missed.

Rosamond Gifford Zoo

Address: One Conservation Place, Syracuse, NY 13204

Website: Rosamond Gifford Zoo

Opening hours: 10am - 4:30 pm (daily)

Price: 5 USD (youth), 9 USD (adults), 5 USD (seniors)

5. Eat fresh at Central New York Regional Market

Foodies unite at the Central New York Regional Market! This beautiful fresh food market is the regional farmers’ market for the rich and diverse growing area of Central New York. In its 80th year of existence, this fresh market aims to provide healthy food to the community while supporting local farmers. Find succulent strawberries, locally-grown greens, and a number of baked goods, dips, cheeses, and handmade goods. The market is open year round.

Central New York Regional Market

Address: 2100 Park St, Syracuse, NY 13208

Website: Central Regional New York Market

Opening hours: Sat - Sun: 7am - 2pm; Thurs: 7am - 2pm (closed Mon - Wed & Fri)

6. Get educated at the Erie Canal Museum

The Erie Canal Museum will give you a new appreciation of the science and history of canal building. Housed in the same building where canal cargo was once weighed, the museum oozes history of the region. Plan to spend about two hours exploring the extensive exhibits which include a children’s area, a permanent exhibit on the building of the canals, artwork, and an outdoor garden. Leave here an area history buff with a deeper understanding of how the canals shaped the area.

The Erie Canal Museum

Address: 318 Erie Blvd E, Syracuse, NY 13202

Website: The Erie Canal Museum

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 10am - 5pm; Sun: 10am - 3pm

Price: 5 USD suggested donation

7. Explore the Museum of Science & Technology

Keep the learning rolling and head over to the Museum of Science & Technology! With exhibits that span from Flight & Space to an Earth Science Discovery Cave, this is a true playground for all. An IMAX and planetarium add to the excitement, as well as monthly events such as planetarium shows. Special programs, such as Sensory Friendly Time for those with sensory processing challenges, make the Museum of Science & Technology approachable.

Museum of Science and Technology

Address: 500 S Franklin St, Syracuse, NY 13202

Website: Museum of Science &Technology

Opening hours: Wed - Sun: 10am - 5pm (closed on Mon & Tues)

Price: 15 USD (kids), 17 USD (adults)

8. Find gems at City Market Syracuse

City Market Syracuse is the place to be for treasure seekers. This antique, handmade flea market showcases local artisans. From utilitarian ceramics to hand-sewn shirts, City Market highlights the talent of the area. The market runs from May to October every second Sunday of the month, so timing is key. Whether you’re looking for a rare LP or want to take home some Syracuse art, this is the place to be.

City Market Syracuse

Address: 484 S Salina St, Syracuse, NY 13202

Website: City Market Syracuse

Opening hours: 10am - 4pm, second Sunday of each month from May - October

9. Go wine tasting at Lakeland Winery

The Finger Lakes region is known for their wine production, and Syracuse’s very own Lakeland Winery should not be missed. A great way to spend an afternoon, enjoy wine tasting at this local winery. Tastings are by appointment and can be booked online at their website. You can also book a winemaking party to learn the ins and outs of Wine 101. Wines include unique varieties such as peach raspberry sangria, Moscato, and Black Cherry Pinot Noir.

Lakeland Winery

Address: 877 State Fair Blvd, Syracuse, NY 13209

Website: Lakeland Winery

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 4pm - 7:30pm; Sat: 12pm - 7pm; Sun: 12pm - 4pm

Price: 10 USD

10. Sing the blues at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Nothing says America like some good ol’ fashioned blues. Enjoy blues and barbecue at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, with music every day of the week. For the price of dinner, bask in the sultry tunes of local blues artists. The menu includes an all-star line up such as a spicy shrimp boil, fried green tomatoes, catfish strips, and Dino poutine. Delicious and soulful, you’ll love Dinosaur Bar-B-Que.

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que

Address: 246 W Willow St, Syracuse, NY 13202

Website: Dinosaur Bar-B-Que

Opening hours: Fri - Sat: 11am - 1am; Sun: 11am - 10pm; Mon - Thurs: 11am - 11pm

11. Marvel at the Salt Museum

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Maybe you’ve never thought much about that key ingredient in your cooking; salt. However, at the Syracuse Salt Museum, you certainly will. Deep dive into the region’s history of salt production in the 19th century. Though the museum is small, it is also free and a part of the Onondaga Lake Park. So, stop in for a while (weekends only!), and become a true salt history buff.

The Salt Museum

Address: 106 Lake Dr, Liverpool, NY 13088

Website: The Salt Museum

Opening hours: Sat - Sun: 12pm - 5pm (closed Mon - Fri)

Price: free

12. Get cultured at the Everson Museum of Art

Everson Museum of Art
Source: Photo by Flickr user Daniel Lobo used under CC0

The Everson Museum of Art is an excellent choice for a rainy afternoon, or anytime at all for art lovers. It has an extensive American art collection ranging from paintings, sculptures, graphics, and one of the largest international ceramic collections in the nation. With permanent and rotating exhibits, there is always something new to view at the Everson. Additionally, enriching events such as Lunch and Learn, gallery walks, and Artsweek (July 25-27) are all additional reasons to check out the Everson.

Everson Museum of Art

Address: 401 Harrison St, Syracuse, NY 13202

Website: Everson Museum of Art

Opening hours: Sat: 10am - 5pm; Sun: 12pm - 5pm; Wed: 12pm - 5pm; Thurs: 12pm - 8pm; Fri: 12pm - 5pm (closed Mon - Tues)

Price: 8 USD, adults

13. Break a sweat at Clark Reservation State Park

Limestone cliff
Source: Photo by user Christine Warner used under CC BY 2.0

Clark Reservation State Park offers the opportunity to delve into nature. With a beautiful glacially formed lake, extensive trails, a seasonal nature center, and the opportunity to fish, this is a true outdoor paradise. Climb high above the lake with the cliff trail that leads hikers some 175 feet (53 m) above the water. With interesting geological history, Clark Reservation State Park is a must for outdoor enthusiasts visiting Syracuse.

Clark Reservation State Park

Address: 6105 E Seneca Turnpike, Jamesville, NY 13078

Website: Clark Reservation State Park

Opening hours: 7am - sunset (daily)

Price: 5 USD per vehicle

14. Appreciate artisan furniture at Stickley Museum

If you can appreciate sincere craftsmanship, then a visit to the Stickley Museum is in line. Dedicated to Gustav Stickley, who designed wooden furniture inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement, there is so much to learn about the furniture of the early 1900s. Set in the original factory of Stickley, the museum highlights the eight decades of craftsmanship. Even the Dalai Lama needed a Stickley chair; which is now proudly displayed at the museum.

Stickley Museum

Address: 300 Orchard St, Fayetteville, NY 13066

Website: Stickley Museum

Opening hours: Tues: 9am - 5pm; Sat: 10am - 5pm (open 10am - 2pm on Saturdays in the months of July and August)

Price: free

15. Indulge at Freedom of Espresso

It’s important to know your local java hook-up when on the road, as well as where you can find reliable wireless internet. Freedom of Espresso has a great name, excellent coffee, and WiFi to boot. You will love the relaxing ambiance of Freedom of Espresso with high-class beans, and small bites to nosh. Set in a former cutlery warehouse, it’s a historic and beautiful spot to set up camp for a few hours.

Freedom of Espresso

Address: 115 Solar St, Ste 101 Syracuse, NY 13204

Website: Freedom of Espresso

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 6am - 7pm; Sat: 7am - 7pm; Sun: 8am - 6pm

16. Bask in the light of Niagara Mohawk Building

Otherworldly, the Niagara Mohawk Building, done in an Art Deco style, was once home to the Niagara Hudson Electric Company. Designed to be a “cathedral of light” the 1932 building radiates this aspiration. Reigned over by the “Spirit of Energy” a metal figure whose outstretched arms simultaneously beckon and seemingly protect, it is a true wonder to behold. Though an operating building owned by the National Grid Company, it is also a historic landmark which sees many visitors.

Niagara Mohawk Building

Address: Erie Blvd W, Syracuse, NY 13204

17. Learn local history at Onondaga Historical Association

The Onondaga Historical Association provides a wonderful learning opportunity to become familiar with regional history. Their mission is collecting, preserving, storing, and exhibiting a variety of artifacts from Onondaga’s past. Though the physical museum is housed at Montgomery Street, additional exhibits are located throughout Syracuse, and they include topics such as Syracuse and the Underground Railroad, a history of Jewish contributions to Syracuse, and the history of beer brewing in Syracuse. There’s something for every interest at the Onondaga Historical Association.

Onondaga Historical Association

Address: 321 Montgomery St, Syracuse, NY 13202

Website: Onondaga Historical Association

Opening hours: Weds - Fri: 10am - 4pm; Sat - Sun: 11am - 4pm (closed Mon - Tues)

Price: free

18. Discover Native culture at Skanonh Great Law of Peace Center

The Skanonh Great Law of Peace Center is a Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Heritage Center, devoted to sharing the history of local native people. Told from the Native American perspective, the museum highlights topics such as creation, European contact, and The Great Law of Peace; the Haudenosaunee’s oral constitution. A living museum, the Great Law of Peace Center holds community events such as book groups and topic discussions. This museum is a true gem in sharing the history of New York from the rare non-European perspective.

Skanonh Great Law of Peace Center

Address: 6680 Onondaga Lake Pkwy, Liverpool, NY 13088

Website: Skanonh Great Law of Peace Center

Opening hours: Weds - Fri: 10am - 4pm; Sat - Sun: 11am - 4pm (closed Mon - Tues)

Price: 5 USD, adults

19. Catch a concert at The Carrier Dome

The Carrier Dome is a Syracuse University staple, with basketball games, graduation ceremonies, and concerts alike. Able to seat almost 50,000 people, you can really pack the house in this venue. Past concert lineups have included: Paul McCartney, Prince, Elton John, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, and Taylor Swift. Check out the upcoming listings at Carrier Dome’s website on the events page, listed below.

The Carrier Dome

Address: 900 Irving Ave, Syracuse, NY 13244

Website: The Carrier Dome

20. Munch on artisanal donuts at Glazed & Confused

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

The donut craze has been taken to a whole new level at quirky and creative Glazed & Confused. Delicious, unusual flavors of artisanal donuts is an indulgent and fun way to start the day or stop mid-afternoon for a sweet treat. Sample donuts such as Up All Night, espresso-flavored, or The Dizzy Pig, which combines locally cured bacon with a maple bourbon glaze. Yum!

Glazed & Confused

Address: 211 N Clinton St, Syracuse, NY 13204

Website: Glazed & Confused

Opening hours: Tues - Fri: 7am - 2pm; Sat - Sun: 8am - 2pm (closed on Monday)

21. Watch a lively show at Landmark Theatre

For music lovers, Landmark Theatre is a must. A stunning and historical site, revel in the architectural design while taking in the live culture. From the era of silent movies to now, enjoy upcoming shows such as John Prine, Weird “Al” Yankovic, the musical Jesus Christ Superstar, and Steely Dan. Elegant in reds and gold, this historic venue will make you feel like royalty.

Landmark Theatre

Address: 362 S Salina St, Syracuse, NY 13202

Website: Landmark Theatre

22. Watch a 4-D movie at WonderWorks Destiny

WonderWorks Destiny is home to 100+ science exhibits, a laser tag area as well as a ropes course, and 6D motion ride. With so much fun for everyone, it’s easy to spend half a day or a whole day exploring. 4-D movies for view currently include Canyon Coaster, Jurassic Adventure, and The Great Wall of China. Base price for entry is 16.99 USD, with additional ticketing for the laser tag, movie, and ropes course.

WonderWorks Destiny

Address: Destiny, 9090, Syracuse, NY 13204

Website: WonderWorks Destiny

Opening hours: Mon - Thurs: 11am - 8pm; Fri - Sat: 10am - 10pm; Sun: 11am - 6pm

Price: 16.99 USD

23. Drink an innovative cocktail at The Stoop Kitchen

The Stoop Kitchen is a comprehensive kitchen with a bakery cafe, kitchen, and bar. Known for delicious, seasonal cocktails, The Stoop Bar delights and surprises. Enjoy agave flights, a finely curated wine list, and of course, a unique cocktail. With a community mission in mind, The Stoop Kitchen touts a rent-free community space. Truly a neighborhood hangout, stop and sit for a while at The Stoop.

The Stoop Kitchen

Address: 311 W Fayette St, Syracuse, NY 13202

Website: The Stoop Kitchen

Opening hours: Weds - Thurs: 11am - 11pm; Fri - Sat: 11am - 1am; Sun: 10am - 2pm

24. Try ice skating at Clinton Square

Clinton Square opens up an outdoor rink in the winter time, perfect for ice skating or trying one’s hand at ice hockey. A beautiful way to make wintry memories around Christmas, a skate at the Clinton Square Ice Rink will make you near local. Weather permitting, the rink generally opens in late November, running until the second week of March.

Clinton Square Ice Rink

Address: 2 S Clinton St, Syracuse, NY 13202

Website: Clinton Square Ice Rink

Opening hours: seasonally in the winter

25. Tour football sculptures at Syracuse University

Situated just outside Ensley Athletic Center, also known as Plaza 44, are three notable statues of Orange legends Jim Brown, Ernie Davis, and Floyd Little. It’s a great short detour to learn more about the history of Syracuse’s football legacy and a lovely artistic layout. A fourth statue stands near the entrance of Ensley Athletic Center, Ben Schwartzwalder, who coached all three players and led the team to a 1959 national title.

Plaza 44 Football Legends at Ensley Athletic Center

Address: 1301 E Colvin St, Syracuse, NY 13224

26. Go bird watching at Beaver Lake Nature Center

There are a number of activities to do while visiting the Beaver Lake Nature Center, however, bird watching is a wonderful way to pass the time. Check off your aviary list as you head out on the 661-acre (267 ha) wooded area that Beaver Lake is on. The nature center currently has a unique challenge to spot 100 birds. You can register for the program at the front desk, and when all 100 are checked off, receive a free t-shirt.

Beaver Lake Nature Center

Address: 8477 E Mud Lake Rd, Baldwinsville, NY 13027

Website: Beaver Lake Nature Center

Opening hours: 7:30 - sunset (daily)

Price: 5 USD per car

27. Enjoy a game of hockey at Syracuse Crunch Hockey

Crunch hockey
Source: Photo by Flickr user MattCC716 used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Syracuse has a long legacy of hockey, so heading to a game of Syracuse Crunch is a great idea. Part of the American Hockey League, Syracuse Crunch has produced a number of NFL players. The season officially runs from October to March, so currently, there are no games to see. However, come winter, it’s a wonderful time to see what this ice hockey strong arm has to compete with.

Syracuse Crunch

Address: The Oncenter War Memorial Arena, 515 Montgomery St, Syracuse, NY 13202

Website: Syracuse Crunch

Price: (starting at) 16 USD

28. Explore the nightlife at Destiny USA

Destiny USA is a six-story shopping and entertainment complex on the shores of beautiful Onondaga Lake. Shop, dine and explore the nightlife that includes a comedy club, live music, an antique carousel, and high-speed go-kart racing at this vast retail center. It’s possible to even stay on-site at The Embassy Suites by Hilton so that you are closely connected to the entertainment of Destiny USA.

Destiny USA

Address: 9090 Destiny USA Dr, Syracuse, NY 13204

Website: Destiny USA

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 10am - 9:30pm; Sun: 11am - 6pm

29. Revel in the lovely Tree of 40 Fruits

Surreal in its beauty, the Tree of 40 Fruits is seemingly like any other tree when dormant in the winter. However, in spring, the tree’s true colors show as it is actually a hybrid of 40 different varieties. This bizarre yet beautiful tree produces 40 different types of stone fruits and is the genius of artist and Syracuse University professor, Sam Van Aken.

Tree of 40 Fruits

Address: Near Syracuse University quad, between H.B. Crouse Hall and the iSchool

30. Click a pic at Skytop Quarry

A favorite destination of mountain bikers, this old and unused quarry is certainly off the beaten path. This abandoned stone quarry is a bit spooky, a bit cool, and does pose some potential hazards, so proceed with caution. It is also unclear who legally owns the area, and being aware of these risks allows one to know the territory more. However, it does make a great Instagram shot.

Skytop Quarry

Address: Jamesville, NY 13078, USA

Adventures abound in Syracuse

Niagara Mohawk Power Building (Syracuse, NY)
Source: Photo by user JasonParis used under CC BY 2.0

Certainly, most people might not think of Syracuse as their next vacation spot, but with all these diverse activities, why not? Syracuse has proven it has a range of natural, cultural, athletic, and artistic activities. Whatever season you plan on heading to Syracuse, NY, there is an adventure awaiting you. Get rolling to central New York state ASAP!

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Raised in the woods of Northern Wisconsin, adventure pulses through Samantha's veins. Among the most notable adventures have been teaching agriculture in Kenya, WOOFing in Turkey, and learning...Read more

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