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The Best Things to Do in Syracuse According to ESF Employees

The greater Syracuse area is alive with vibrant outdoor experiences, delicious dining, and awesome art. No one knows the area better than people who have chosen to make Central New York their permanent home. We asked faculty and staff about their favorite things to do in Syracuse. Here’s what they said.

Explore the Great Outdoors

  • Green Lakes State Park! It’s one of my favorite places to go, especially during the fall. It’s gorgeous. I like walking around the lakes and having picnics and barbecues –Ericka Redmond, Assistant Professor, Chemical Engineering
  • Our family loves to visit and take the short loop hike around the picturesque 167-foot waterfall at Chittenango Falls State Park. –Andrew Vander Yacht, Assistant Professor , Sustainable Resources Management
  • The waterfalls! From Pratts Fall to Chittenango Falls to Filmore Glen to a trip down to Ithaca for Taughannock and Buttermilk, the options are endless. My favorite though is Tinker Falls, just south of Syracuse near the Heiberg campus in Tully, N.Y. It’s a true gem. –Tom Carter, Director of International Education

Indulge in Delectable Cuisine
The food scene in the greater Syracuse area is one place where this region punches above its weight! From Afghani to African to American pub fair, the Syracuse area has something to satisfy everyone’s appetite.

  • Salt City Market is a good location to find lots of choices in one area. –Maura Stefl, Program Manager, Open Academy
  • Crazy Daisies Flowers & Garden Café. This family-run greenhouse and garden café is one of my favorite places around Syracuse because they have an excellent selection of unique plants and flowers, and their café serves some of the best pizza! In the winter, they move their café into one of the heated greenhouses and it’s so cozy! Plus they have a ton of ESF alums working there. –Divya Kirti, EOP Counselor
  • Marshall Square for its proximity to campus. You easily walk from ESF to find a variety of lunch, dinner, and coffee options! And Armory Square is the hub of downtown and comes to life at night with fantastic restaurants for dinner options. -Danielle Gerhart, Executive Director, Communications and Marketing

Something for Every Season 
Central New York is known for its beautiful deciduous trees that turn to a tapestry of orange, red and yellow in the Fall months. Coupled with a vibrant culture of fall activities, it makes the fall season one of the favorite times of year for our employees. Lovers of all seasons, do not despair! There’s something for fans of winter, spring, and summer too.

  • Nothing beats the taste of an apple straight off the branch and Syracuse is a hub for tons of great apple varieties. –Mark Teece, Associate Professor, Chemistry
  • I love going to Critz Farms! It’s a great place to visit for a relaxing afternoon with lots of fresh apples, pumpkin, maple syrup, and more. –Amelia Hoffman, Director of Student Success and Engagement
  • Snowshoeing at Highland Forest. I love how large the trees are and looking at how the type of tree change throughout the terrain of the park. –Ted Dibble, Professor, Chemistry
  • Stan's Berry Patch, home to U-pick blue berries in the summer. Huge berry bushes even with a full parking lot you are unlikely to see other pickers! –Kialey Day, Admissions Assistant

Explore Arts and Culture
Syracuse boasts minor league sports, Off-Broadway shows, and world-class art to satisfy anyone’s palette for excitement and culture.

  • Our family gets season tickets to the plays at the Landmark Theatre and we are never disappointed. Seats at the top of the balcony can even be pretty cheap making it very affordable to see some of the top musical/play hits from Hamilton to Les Mis to Wicked to Come From Away. –Tom Carter, Director of International Education
  • Wildflowers Armory is a local artisan collective. Think Etsy in-person. There are tons of unique items and vintage merch for those special events throughout the year. –Karen More, Associate Director, Communications and Marketing
  • My favorite place combines art and hiking. The Stone Quarry Art Park in Cazenovia has beautiful sculptures and nature trails. It’s a perfect place to spend an afternoon. –Jane Verostek, Associate Librarian
  • Cheering on our Mighty Oaks athletics teams and our neighbor the Syracuse Orange! - Dan Ramin, Director, ESF Athletics

To learn more about all the Syracuse region has to offer, visit: