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Syracuse: Sightseeing and Shopping in Central New York
Nestled in the heart of New York State, Syracuse serves up historic landmarks, top-quality shopping opportunities, exciting sporting events and one of the state’s most prestigious universities. Add to all this picturesque parks, a glorious lakefront and some great eateries and you find yourself in a city that knows how to keep you busy.
Exploring Syracuse and its Landmarks
The city of Syracuse, NY welcomes thousands of business travellers and leisure tourists each week. Many head for downtown, where an extensive selection of hotels, restaurants, shops, and bars can be found. Downtown is also home to the Oncenter, a multipurpose conference and event centre that hosts everything from exhibitions and conventions to theatre productions and ice hockey games. Popular attractions in Syracuse include: Landmark Theatre, a movie palace-style theatre that has been in existence since 1928; Burnett Park, home to America’s first public golf course; and Rosamund Gifford Zoo, which features a herd of Asian elephants amongst its 700 animals. Perhaps the most unique landmark in all of Syracuse though has to be the upside-down traffic light on Tipperary Hill. That’s right: upside-down. The green light is at the top and the red light at the bottom. According to legend, Irish settlers took exception to the “English red” light being included above the “Irish green”. After repeated bouts of vandalism, the decision was made to flip the light and so it remains.
Culture vultures, art lovers and history buffs are sure to have a field day in Syracuse. The city is home to an array of museums and galleries, offering everything from local history to world-class works of art. The Erie Canal Museum is one of the more interesting institutions you’re likely to come across in the city. Detailing the history of the Erie Canal, which was constructed to connect New York and the Hudson River to the Great Lakes, there’re plenty of interesting exhibits and insightful information on show. The building itself is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, having opened as a weigh lock in the 1850s.The International Puppet and Mask Museum, located at the Open Hand Theatre, is another intriguing and unusual prospect. The museum features changing displays relating to masks and puppets from across the globe. You can also catch some marionette-style performances here too. Sculptures, paintings and ceramics are on show at the Everson Museum of Art, which features works by the likes of Jackson Pollock and Eastman Johnson. In addition to the 11,000 works of art displayed on a permanent basis, touring exhibits and special displays are also hosted.
Shopping in Syracuse
Syracuse has earned a reputation for being the crown jewel of shopping in Central New York. It’s not surprising then that visitors to the city often block out some time to splash the cash. In terms of downtown Syracuse, Armory Square has emerged as one of the top spots for shopping. Formerly a warehouse district, the area offers a mixture of funky independent sellers and shiny chain stores. With plenty of places to stop off for food and drink, this is a spot worth leaving your hotel for. The top shopping attraction in the city though is Destiny USA (formerly the Carousel Center). Casually located on the banks of Lake Onondaga, this behemoth of commerce is actually the largest shopping centre in the entire state. Amidst the hundreds of shops and stores you’ll find restaurants and coffee shops, while there’s also a movie theatre, mirror maze, go-karts, and a selection of other entertainment options.
Sports and Recreation in the City
Sports fans heading to the city will find plenty to keep them occupied. In addition to the sports hosted at the university, the city is also home to the Syracuse Crunch, an ice hockey team playing in the AHL, and the Syracuse Silver Knights, an indoor soccer team. Both play their games at War Memorial Arena in the Oncenter. During the summer months, you can catch a baseball game at NBT Bank Stadium, home to the Syracuse Chiefs. The Triple-A team is an affiliate of Major League Baseball’s Washington Nationals, so you could see the next big star prepping for the big leagues. Fans of the sweet science may wish to venture out of Syracuse to nearby Canastota, NY, home of the International Boxing Hall of Fame. The 50-mile round-trip might not seem like a worthy venture for most, but those that know their Sugar Ray Robinsons from their Sugar Ray Leonards are sure to enjoy their excursion. Tourists who prefer to partake rather than spectate can explore Syracuse’s miles and miles of walking and biking trails, many set against picturesque settings. You may even find a pick-up basketball or softball game in some of the parks too, so keeping fit in this corner of New York needn’t be a chore.
One of the most common destinations for visitors to the city is Syracuse University, which dates back to 1870. With around 15,000 students enrolled, the University is a popular destination for guest lecturers, researchers, prospective students, and the families of enrolled students. A number of hotels can be found on or near the university campus. Many visitors to University Hill stop by the enormous and somewhat strange-looking Carrier Dome, an indoor stadium that hosts both football and basketball. In particular, the school’s basketball programme is well-respected and well-supported.