15 Best Places and Things To Do in Syracuse, New York

Syracuse, New York, known as “The Salt City,” is a vibrant and historic destination with a rich culture and a variety of attractions. From exploring fascinating museums to enjoying the beauty of the outdoors, Syracuse offers something for everyone. Here are some of the best places to visit and things to do in Syracuse.

1. Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosamond_Gifford_Zoo

The Rosamond Gifford Zoo is home to a diverse range of animals from around the world. With exhibits like the Asian Elephant Preserve, African Savannah, and Humboldt penguin exhibit, visitors can get up close to various species and learn about conservation efforts.

2. Erie Canal Museum


Image Source: https://eriecanalmuseum.org/

Located in the only remaining Weighlock Building in America, this museum celebrates the history of the Erie Canal. Visitors can explore exhibits, artifacts, and interactive displays to learn about the canal’s impact on Syracuse and the region.

3. Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science and Technology

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Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milton_J._Rubenstein_Museum_of_Science_and_Technology

The MOST is a hands-on science and technology museum that appeals to visitors of all ages. It features interactive exhibits, a domed IMAX theater, a planetarium, and engaging displays that cover a range of scientific topics.

4. Onondaga Historical Association

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Delve deeper into the history of Syracuse and Onondaga County at the Onondaga Historical Association. The museum showcases exhibits highlighting the region’s Native American heritage, industrial development, and local contributions to various fields.

5. Webster Pond

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The pond itself is the highlight of the park, surrounded by lush greenery and tall trees. The calm waters reflect the natural surroundings, creating a serene and idyllic atmosphere. It’s an ideal place to unwind, take a leisurely stroll, or simply sit on a bench and enjoy the beauty of nature. Webster Pond Park features well-maintained walking trails that wind through the park’s scenic landscape. These paths provide an opportunity to explore the area and enjoy a peaceful walk amidst nature. The trails are relatively easy, making them accessible for all ages and fitness levels.

6. E.M. Mills Rose Garden

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Escape the bustling city and relax in the tranquil surroundings of Thornden Park. This expansive green space features walking trails, a beautiful rose garden, a small amphitheater, and a picturesque lake. It’s an ideal spot for picnics, leisurely walks, or simply enjoying nature.

7. Everson Museum of Art

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Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Everson_Museum_of_Art

Art enthusiasts will appreciate the Everson Museum, which houses an impressive collection of American art. The museum showcases works from different eras and mediums, including paintings, sculptures, ceramics, and more.

8. Jerry Rescue Monument


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The monument marks an event known as the “Jerry Rescue,” which took place on October 1, 1851. A man named William “Jerry” Henry, who had escaped slavery in the South and settled in Syracuse, was apprehended by federal marshals under the Fugitive Slave Act. The incident sparked a powerful response from the local community, as a crowd of around 2,500 abolitionists gathered and successfully rescued Jerry from the authorities.

9. Franciscan Church of the Assumption

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The Franciscan Church of the Assumption, also known as the Assumption Church, is a historic and architecturally significant religious landmark in Syracuse, New York. It holds great importance in the community as a place of worship and a symbol of faith. The church showcases stunning Gothic Revival architecture, characterized by its pointed arches, ornate decorations, and intricate details. Designed by renowned architect Archimedes Russell, the church’s exterior features intricate stone carvings and a soaring steeple that adds to its grandeur. The interior is equally impressive, with high vaulted ceilings, beautiful stained glass windows, and ornate altars.

10. Onondaga Creekwalk


Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Onondaga_Creekwalk

The Creekwalk spans approximately 2.6 miles, providing a well-maintained and accessible trail for recreational activities. The pathway is primarily paved, making it suitable for walkers, runners, and cyclists of all ages and abilities. It winds along the banks of Onondaga Creek, offering beautiful views of the water, nearby parks, and the cityscape. As you traverse the Creekwalk, you’ll be immersed in a blend of urban and natural landscapes. The trail showcases the beauty of Onondaga Creek, with sections passing through wooded areas, meadows, and wetlands. Along the way, you’ll encounter native plants, trees, and wildlife, creating a serene and peaceful environment within the city.

11. Little Ray’s Nature Center


Image Source: https://littlerays.org/syracuse

The center features a diverse collection of live animals, including reptiles, amphibians, mammals, and birds. Visitors have the chance to see and learn about species such as snakes, turtles, lizards, tarantulas, scorpions, hedgehogs, parrots, and many more. The exhibits provide an up-close encounter with these creatures, allowing for a deeper understanding and appreciation of their natural habitats.

12. Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception

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Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cathedral_of_the_Immaculate_Conception_(Syracuse,_New_York)

The construction of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception began in 1874 and was completed in 1892. The church has since undergone renovations and restorations to preserve its historical and architectural integrity. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, highlighting its significance as a cultural and historical landmark in the city. As the cathedral of the Diocese of Syracuse, the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception holds immense religious significance. It serves as the spiritual center of the Catholic community in the region, hosting major liturgical events, including ordinations, weddings, and other significant religious ceremonies.

13. St. Sophia’s Greek Orthodox Church


Image Source: https://www.stsophias.org/

The church showcases Byzantine-style architecture, drawing inspiration from the rich heritage of Greek Orthodox ecclesiastical design. The exterior features characteristic domes, intricate mosaics, and ornate detailing, while the interior is adorned with beautiful iconography, vibrant frescoes, and a majestic iconostasis. The architectural elements combine to create a visually stunning and spiritually uplifting space.

14. Park Central Presbyterian Church


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Park Central Presbyterian Church is committed to social justice and advocates for positive change in the community and beyond. The church engages in various social justice initiatives, including addressing poverty, racial justice, and environmental stewardship. Through partnerships with community organizations and active involvement in advocacy, the church strives to create a more just and equitable society.

15. Green Lakes State Park


Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Lakes_State_Park

Just a short drive from Syracuse, Green Lakes State Park offers a scenic retreat with two glacial lakes surrounded by lush forests. Visitors can swim, hike, bike, or simply relax by the water. The park also features an 18-hole golf course and picnic areas.

Whether you’re interested in history, arts and culture, outdoor adventures, or shopping and dining, Syracuse, New York, provides a memorable experience for all visitors.