Enjoy fun-filled days of outdoor activities, shopping and cultural pursuits in the geographic heart of New York State. Syracuse has old roots as the primary supplier of salt for the United States. The modern presence of Syracuse University and numerous attractions give it a youthful vigor.
Kick-start your visit with outdoor activities at local parks. Spend half a day or more at Onondaga Lake Park. Walk along 7 miles (11 kilometers) of shoreline, rent a boat, visit the butterfly garden and play ball games on the sports fields. While you’re there, investigate the Salt Museum on the lake’s eastern shore to learn about the industry that built Syracuse.
Delve into the past at the Erie Canal Museum to learn about New York canals’ important role in American history. See how the 363-mile (584-kilometer) Erie route was built by hand.
Fill your shopping bags at Destiny USA, a massive six-story mall with more than 250 outlets. It also has attractions such as a mirror maze and the Canyon Climb Adventure, a suspended indoor climbing course.
Buy tickets in advance for an NCAA Division I college sports event inside the Syracuse University Carrier Dome. Join the college crowd to celebrate afterward at the Armory Square neighborhood.
Treat children to a visit to the Rosamond Gifford Zoo at Burnet Park; it houses more than 700 animals, including elephants, tigers, bears and wolves. If you’re in the city in August go to the Great New York State Fair, with 12 days of rides, exhibits and entertainment. Check the fairgrounds website to see what events are happening at other times of the year.
Syracuse is 160 miles (257 kilometers) from Niagara Falls and 246 miles (396 kilometers) from New York City, with bus service from both locations. It has its own airport. Lake Ontario and the waterfalls, parks, hiking trails and ski slopes of the Finger Lakes region are about an hour away, offering swimming, skiing, hiking, fishing and autumn leaf-peeping.