Monday, November 28, 2022

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Things To Do In Syracuse Ny With Kids

The Gem Diner Syracuse

Syracuse, New York: USA small city family getaway

We had lunch at The Gem Diner on the second day of the trip. There were a mix of positives and negatives here. Now, I don’t like to write negative things about the places that we go. J and I worked in the restaurant industry at various levels for a combined 27 years so we try to be understanding of many things when we dine out, because we know what goes on behind the scenes. At the same time, it’s really important to me to always be honest and transparent with you guys. So bear with me here and keep an open mind.

Our lunch at The Gem Diner was right after our visit to the zoo. As I mentioned above, this day was unseasonably hot, with temperatures over 90 degrees and muggy. J and I seriously love diners and after being outside all morning, we were all excited to sit down in a cool restaurant and eat. Although the central air at this diner seemed to be on, it was almost as though it was just barely on and it was pretty hot in the entire place.

The diner is definitely your classic fifties diner, with all the decor and finishes that you’d expect for this style, which is a lot of fun. It also had a few different spaces for seating, each one with interesting art on the walls.

Now I’m not sure if our server went on break, but after she took our orders we really didn’t see much of her. she stopped by once, a a while after we had gotten out entrees and asked how everything was. But in general we didn’t see much of her and also didn’t really see her at the tables around us either.

Central New York Regional Farmers Market

The Central New York Regional Farmers Market hosts hundreds of vendors selling local produce, fresh baked goods, flowers, honey, handmade soaps, arts and crafts, and more. Come just to indulge in the hundreds of samples of everything from donuts, to mustard, to summers best peaches. On Sundays theres more of a flea market vibe, so be sure to plan your trip accordingly.

Check Out Niagara Mohawk Building

The Niagara Mohawk Building is one of the best remaining examples of Art Deco architecture in New York, and arguably in America. And you can find it just along Erie Boulevard in Syracuse. Designed by architects Melvin L. King and Bley & Lyman, it was once the headquarters of the nations largest utility company in 1932. Nowadays, its part of the National Grid Company. This historic landmark sees plenty of visitors, especially during major festival events in the city when it is illuminated in various colors. Even without going inside, passing by this building to study the blend of different materials and various designs thrown together should be one of the things to do in Syracuse, NY you shouldnt miss.

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Best Hotel In Syracuse Quality Inn & Suites Downtown

This Syracuse hotel offers loads of great perks and is great value for money. Its conveniently located close to many Syracuse attractions as well as restaurants and bars.

Guests will enjoy free breakfast, free coffee, and free parking. Each room is spacious and includes a flat-screen TV, refrigerator, microwave, and safes.

Fun For The Family: Indoor Places To Take The Kids In Upstate Ny

5 Fun Things to do in Syracuse New York

Gallery: The National Museum of Play at The Strong in Rochester, N.Y.

Trampoline parks. Water slides. Aquariums. Ropes climbing courses and go-kart racing.

There are plenty of opportunities for indoor fun for the whole family when cabin fever sets in this winter, or any time of the year.

Here are some of the top Upstate New York destinations for indoor family fun:

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See The Animals At The Rosamond Gifford Zoo

Set in lovely Burnet Park, the Rosamond Gifford Zoo is a 43-acre facility with both indoor and outdoor exhibits. The indoor exhibits make the zoo a good option even on cold or rainy days, with plenty to see from behind a glass wall. Indoor exhibits are to your left as you enter the main lobby and include monkeys, meerkats, and lions, as well as special attractions the zoo may be featuring.

Outside, a trail loops past outdoor enclosures. If you take the left loop past the Primate Park, you’ll soon come to penguins swimming and splashing in their large pools complete with below-water windows.

Other highlights along the trail are wolves, buffalo, camels, mountain goats, tigers , elephants, bears, and giant Steller’s Sea Eagles, in addition to many other interesting animals along the way.

This zoo is a breeding facility for tigers and elephants, and you can see elephants either in indoor or outdoor space. Also popular is the petting zoo featuring domesticated animals like goats and sheep.

Address: One Conservation Places, Syracuse, New York

Explore A Museum Dedicated Solely To American Art


The Everson Museum of Art was the first museum to dedicate itself entirely to American art and artists.

Housed in the museum youll find a permanent collection with over 11,000 unique works of art, including sculptures, paintings, ceramics, graphics, and photographs. It also hosts rotating seasonal and temporary exhibitions. Here youll find works of art from artists around the world.

The museum is open from Wednesday Sunday. Every Wednesday there is a policy of pay-as-you-wish admission. On the third Thursday of every month, admission is free from 5:00 pm 8:00 pm.

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Things To Do With Kids In Syracuse Ny

  • TripBuzz found 41 things to do with kids in or near Syracuse, New York, including 25 fun activities for kids in nearby cities within 25 miles like Auburn, Skaneateles, East Liverpool and Cicero.
  • From Rosamond Gifford Zoo to Fairmount Glen Miniature Golf, the Syracuse area offers 38 different types of family activities, including: Theaters, Zoos, Amusement Parks and Bowling.
  • As New York’s fifth most populated city, over 147,000 residents reside in the city of Syracuse. As Central New York’s educational hub, it is home to the State University of New York Upstate Medical University and Syracuse University. Locals, students and tourists enjoy the areas diverse and artistic districts, with the most popular events and attractions being the concert music halls and the annual Great New York State Fair.

Drink Craft Beer At Now & Later

What makes Syracuse and Central New York Great?

If you and your partner are beer lovers, you both are in luck! Syracuse has a plethora of breweries, including the Now & Later Brewing Company. Located at Tipperary Hill, this brewing company offers a variety of craft beers. On top of its selection of great beer and delicious food, youll also get an excellent bar experience. The interior exudes a unique rustic and calm vibe that will help you unwind after an exciting day of adventure. The bar also hosts live musical performances from local artists. If you are visiting during the warmer weather, the outside seating is the perfect spot. It provides an inviting atmosphere that makes hanging out with the locals amongst the fun things to do in Syracuse, NY.

Bonus: The Upside-Down Traffic Light

Just a few blocks down from Now & Later, you can find Syracuse citys famous upside-down traffic light. A rather quirky tourist spot, the history of this particular traffic signal goes back to the 1920s. When it was first installed in 1925, the Irish portion of the city saw it as a preference for the British. So they kept breaking the red light. With the repeated vandalism, there eventually came a decision to reverse the positions of the traffic signal, which was unfortunately overruled. As such, the residents just continued to break the red bulb again and again. Nowadays, the same traffic light still stands, with the green above red.

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Visit The Erie Canal Museum

One of Syracuse’s free attractions, this fascinating museum traces the development and operation of the 363-mile canal running from Buffalo to Albany. Dating from 1825, the canal was one of the first mega projects in the United States, costing over seven million dollars, roughly 115 million in today’s dollars.

Engaging exhibits show how the canal was built over an eight-year time span, and historical photos show Syracuse with canals, where today you will find paved streets. One of the most interesting aspects of the museum is the perfectly preserved 1850 weighlock building, complete with a replica canal boat that you can tour.

Part of the museum building is built over remnants of the original canal. In another section is memorabilia and other original items dating back to the construction of the canal. The museum also has exhibits on the general history of Syracuse, and an interesting exhibit on the musician Elizabeth Cotton, known for American folk songs like Freight Train.

Address: 318 Erie Boulevard East, Syracuse, New York

Learn The Ropes At Wonderworks At Destiny Usa

Just a short drive from Stellas, youll find yourself at Destiny USA mall. If youre looking for fun things to do in Syracuse with your kids, why not enter the world of WonderWorks. Home to over a hundred interactive science exhibits, this indoor amusement park is the perfect way to spend time with your family. It offers all sorts of fun and exciting activities, such as playing laser tag and experiencing zero-gravity.

One of the major highlights of WonderWorks is its ropes course. The Canyon Climb ropes course is the tallest in the country, reaching 70 feet. It offers three challenging levels of ropes with over 80 obstacles. From swinging steps to a tremor bridge, this ropes course will surely test your strength. If your child isnt ready yet to face the 70-foot challenge, there is a ropes course for kids available. The Sky Tykes feature ten child-friendly obstacles that will have them climbing, jumping, and exploring in order to conquer.

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Take A Boat Tour At Skaneateles Lake

Just a short 30-minute distance from downtown Syracuse, youll find Skaneateles Lake. As one of the most beautiful and cleanest bodies of water in the U.S, you and your partner will certainly enjoy the scenic view. And what better way to do so than partaking in one of the boat tours by Mid-Lakes Navigation? The company has been offering sightseeing tours on Skaneateles Lake and the Erie Canal since 1969. It offers several packages that suit any budget, but its one-hour sightseeing cruise seems to be the most popular.

Discover The Salty Side Of Syracuse

The Top Things to do in Syracuse NY Your Family Will Love


If youre looking for unique museums in Syracuse NY, the Salt Museum will make for quite an interesting experience. During most of the 19th century, Syracuse supplied the majority of the salt used in the entire United States. Syracuse even has the nickname of the Salt City.

This small museum is filled with exhibits and artifacts from the salt industry. There are also museum guides dressed in period clothing. Learn about the citys tie to salt, and the history and impact this had on the region.

The museum is located in Liverpool, New York, five miles from downtown Syracuse.

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Picnic At The Pratts Falls Park

Theres no shortage of the best waterfalls in the US and you can visit one of them on your next trip to Syracuse. Located in Pratts Falls Park, just a short drive from Downtown Syracuse, youll find this stunning waterfall thats surrounded by a scenic trail perfect for couples who love hiking.

Dont forget to bring a well-stocked picnic basket with you, too, so you can enjoy a light meal while gazing at the beauty of the nearly 140-feet waterfall. There are even picnic tables and grills available, on a first-come, first-use basis. Unleash your inner Katniss Everdeen, as you shoot targets on the archery range available for public use. Just remember to bring your own equipment and target.

Top 10 Syracuse Ny Family

Get outside of New York City, and youll find that there is a lot for families to take advantage of in Upstate New York. Look for beautiful state parks, interesting museums, and kid-friendly activities around every corner, particularly in the summer. Here are the top 10 Syracuse family-friendly things to do.

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The Fun Warehouse Laser Tag

It might be called a warehouse and look fairly nondescript from the outside but stepping inside the Fun Warehouse feels almost like youre stepping into a video game! The venue is illuminated by neon colors of glow-in-the-dark obstacles and maze-like walls. And of course, the lasers. Your family will have to work as a team in order to win, and because theres no physical combat or contact, anyone can play. Theres also an arcade where you can take a break from gameplay and focus on winning prizes.

See One Of The Wonders Of The World

Adventures in Upstate NY: Zip-line through the trees at Greek Peak

Located just 2.5 hours from Syracuse, Niagra Fall is a great place to enjoy an exciting day trip. This iconic group of three waterfalls sits between the border of Ontario, Canadia and the State of New York.

The best way to experience the falls waterfall is Youll get an up-close and personal and see the true power of nature. The Niagra Falls State Park is located on the brink of the falls and is the oldest state park in the United States. Its filled with miles of hiking trails, an observation deck, a trolley ride service, and more!

This day trip will be fun for the whole family and you can visit the falls at any time of year.

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Day : Visit A Market Museum And Monument

Youll have two great options to start off your first day in Syracuse. If youre visiting the city on Thursday, Saturday or Sunday, start your morning at The Central New York Regional Market. Grab a cup of coffee and a freshly made pastry from a local vendor and enjoy a morning stroll through this buzzing market.

If youre visiting on a day when the market is not open, start your morning in downtown Syracuse. Visit a cozy local cafe for breakfast and make sure to check out Clinton Square while youre in the area. Its about a ten-minute drive from the market to downtown Syracuse.


Spend the afternoon walking around downtown and popping into a few local stores. Make sure to stop at the Erie Canal Museum to learn the local history.

Youll also want to see the Niagara Mohawk Building while youre in the area. This iconic Art Deco building is an eight-minute walk from the Erie Canal Museum. Snap a picture of this impressive building and marvel at the unique angles, curves, colors.

For dinner, head to the famous Dinosaur Bar-B-Que restaurant and indulge in some local barbeque.

Why You Should Visit Syracuse

With so many things to do in Syracuse, NY, this underrated city actually holds tons of appeal, especially for people searching for the best cheap vacation ideas. A city with a rich history, Syracuse offers locals and tourists alike the metropolitan excitement. This is thanks to its myriad of eateries, cultural, athletic, and artistic locations. And alongside these establishments, you can take in the beauty of Mother Nature and partake in several outdoor activities in the surrounding natural landscapes.

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Surf City Family Fun Center

Nevermind that Syracuse is about 250 miles from the Ocean, the Surf City Family Fun Center has all the fun beachy vibes you need with a multitude of surf-themed activities and amusements. Between thedeep breathmini-golf, driving range, go-karts, rock wall, kiddie swings, batting cages, indoor bounce house, and arcade, this is definitely your one-stop-shop for the whole gang, no matter your speed. But wait, theres more! The Center also offers bumper boatsa splash zone with inflatable water slides. Try out the human gyroscope! Strap in and finally find the answer to the age-old question, What does it feel like to be a beach ball?

Clinton Square And The Surrounding Area

Things to do in Syracuse, NY with kids

Syracuse is a combination of beautiful, historic buildings and quirky, trendy places to eat and drink. A walk through Clinton Square and the surrounding area will get you an up close and personal look at some of the monuments that commemorate Syracuses role in the Underground Railroad. We associate Underground Railroad with Harriet Tubman because thats what we learn in school. Did you know theres fantastic history behind the Jerry Rescue? Syracuse was one of the last stops on the Underground Railroad before Canada, and the region was full of strong supporters of the abolitionist movement. The history behind the Jerry Rescue is worth checking out, even if you dont visit Syracuse .

During the winter, theres also ice skating on the one slice of the Erie Canal that hasnt been filled in. During the summer, you can visit the farmers markets. Syracuse is very open and friendly to visitors, but theres also a keenly felt sense of community. As visitors explore Clinton Square and the surrounding area, this sense of community is very evident.

If youre looking for a place to grab some good grub or great beer and wine, the streets around Clinton Square offer you a ton of choices. Whether youre a plain foods hearty kind of person or more willing to experiment with some trendy and adventurous eating, you will find something to please your palate. I promise.

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