Visiting Syracuse, in upstate New York


The Syracuse New York area is well known for spectacular fall foliage. But the city is lovely and has plenty of things to do at any time of the year!

We had the pleasure of visiting Syracuse twice in the past couple of years, once in early, frigid spring, with a bit of snow here and there, and once in late, hot summer.

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Syracuse Scenery

Coming from a land of primarily evergreen trees, we relished the scenery with so many deciduous trees, even when the branches were bare. We drove all around Lake Onondaga, venturing outward into countryside along tree-lined streets, and through farming areas, and lovely villages with brick buildings and shops. A great resource of things to do, including fall foliage details, is the ILoveNY website. From its Seasons page, click on Winter, Spring & Summer, or Fall for activities and scenery by season.


Syracuse road near Lake Onondaga in spring time.


Syracuse Architecture

And, coming from a land where there are not many structures over 100 years old, we gawked at the historic architecture. See the website Syracuse Then and Now for details about buildings. This Wikipedia page of National Register of Historic Places Listings in Syracuse, NY is nicely organized, with photos of buildings

Syracuse Niagara Mohawk building

Syracuse Niagara Mohawk building

Syracuse Clinton Square, summer

Syracuse Clinton Square, summer

The Syracuse University campus has a nice strolling atmosphere with trees and walkways and expanses of lawn, and benches, like a park. One can admire the various buildings, some made of stone over 200 years ago, some modern and built in the last decade. Here’s a link to SU’s list of the buildings by year. Click on a name to see a photo and read about its history.

Syracuse University campus, early spring

Syracuse University campus, early spring


Syracuse History

Go see the Erie Canal Museum
Admission: $5 suggested donation
Located in the only remaining weighlock building in America. We spent a bit over an hour here, reading about the history of the Erie Canal, and how Syracuse played such an important part of commerce and development of the area. We enjoyed seeing how a weighlock and the canal boats work, and the displays describing famous people and inventions to come from Syracuse.


Syracuse Online References for Things to Do

Here is a link to TripAdvisor’s reviewers’ Top Things to do in Syracuse.

Scroll through Visit Syracuse Facebook page, for posts and photos on local scenes, eateries, activities, and weather.

See the Visit Syracuse website, which is part of the ILoveNy website umbrella. It has an easy to navigate menu across the top with categories of Stay, Dine, See, Meet, Go, and Play.

The ILoveNY website also has a search feature. Use the drop-down menu boxes to select what you’re interested in by category, amenity, or enter a keyword. Then press ‘search’ on the right. Click on a location or company to see a map, address, phone number and direct website link.

40 Things You’ll Appreciate while Visiting or Living in Syracuse is an article from a blog written by a marketing and communications professional, who writes for a variety of entities, and uses this blog to chronicle life in central New York. This article has an entertaining introduction, then lists 40 things that include specific moments in time, plus places to enjoy, and really paints a lovely picture of Syracuse. Some items may inspire one to see experiences beyond the usual tourist items, such as sitting on a particular bench with a lovely water view.

The Syracuse Guru website includes reviews of restaurants, and other venues. Some review sections, such as hotels, are still under development, though hotels are described in the ‘Guides’ pages. It also has a blog format for current events and activities around town, and guides of compiled items by topic such as holiday or weekend, and a Syracuse Guru Facebook page.


Two of Our Favorite Restaurants in Syracuse

Erawan Thai – The link is to the Yelp review page. The restaurant does have a website, but it is not very informative, and doesn’t give a clear picture. For a photo of the front of the building, see this Google maps page. This modest restaurant has many tables in one room, in a cinder-block building. The food is tasty and inexpensive. We ate here on each of our two visits. It’s a favorite. And a favorite of others’ apparently, as the tables were full at each of our visits. Free parking at the back of the building.


Pastabilities – We also ate here on each of our two visits. It is set in a brick building, and has multiple rooms, some booths, some chairs and tables, and an outdoor patio area nestled between buildings. It is very popular and guests often must wait for a table. The prices are reasonable, and meals come with bread and the restaurant’s famous tomato-oil dipping sauce that has just a bit of zip. We bought some to go.


Two Family of 5 Hotels in Syracuse

*Note – these hotels’ online reservation systems won’t allow entry of 2 adults and 3 kids. To reserve a room for 5, book a room for 4 with two double/queen beds. Then either enter the info for your 3rd child and bed needs (crib or extra bed, cot) in the comment box, or even better, phone the hotel front desk directly and reserve the extra bedding for your 3rd child.
Hampton Inn North Airport Area This Hampton Inn is called Airport North, but really is toward Liverpool, 3 miles north of SU and 3 miles south of the airport. It is older, with less modern décor than the other Hampton Inn location, but it is still well maintained, with a very friendly staff. There are no sidewalks, but one could walk over lawns to reach nearby Tim Horton’s or Denny’s, or other smaller eateries. A car would be best.

Compare Deals and Reviews for Hampton Inn and Suites North Airport at TripAdvisor. (Affiliate link – at no extra cost to you, using TripAdvisor through the link may result in a small commission to Sleeps5.)
Hampton Inn and Suites on Erie Blvd A very nice, newer hotel with very friendly staff and spacious breakfast area. It was quiet and comfy. One could walk via sidewalk next door to Chuck E Cheese or Red Lobster, but the area is not walking-friendly and a car is necessary to get to other restaurants or attractions. The hotel is set back from the road, with a long driveway to the building. See a map so you can spot it.

Compare Deals and Reviews for Hampton Inn and Suites on Erie Blvd, at TripAdvisor. (Affiliate link – at no extra cost to you, using TripAdvisor through the link may result in a small commission to Sleeps5.)
-Sandy Nielsen


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