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Explore Syracuse To Make It Feel Like Home

Syracuse has everything you need to build the college life you want to lead. The city is popular with ESF students due to its diverse places and abundance of activities.


There are several city and county parks and other natural areas close to campus to enjoy. Historic Oakwood Cemetery is nestled on the south side of campus right behind Centennial Hall. It’s a popular spot for bird watching, yoga, and hiking.

A short walk from campus is Thornden Park, with its Instagram-worthy rose garden. Arches of roses in bloom and brick walkways provide a great spot to decompress after a day of classes. In the summer, walk through the garden, then enjoy a dip in the park’s outdoor swimming pool. In the winter, students take advantage of the park’s hills for sledding. Also nearby is Drumlins Country Club, where students can snowshoe and cross-country ski on marked trails at no charge during the winter, and golf free of charge in the spring.

A quick drive from The Hill is Green Lakes State Park, with its aquamarine-colored water. The park’s glacial lakes were formed at the end of the last ice age – about 15,000 years ago – and are exceptionally deep. The park offers a variety of outdoor activities from camping to disc golf to biking and hiking.

ESF’s Bob Marshall Club often organizes trips to Adirondack Park, the largest park in the country. The mountainous park is brimming with adventure and offers the perfect escape from the demands of classes.


If you’re looking for a pick-me-up, Syracuse has dozens of cozy local coffee shops. Recess Coffee and Peaks Coffee Company are both within walking distance of campus. If you’re looking for the purr-fect cup of coffee, check out Luna Cat Café. Along with great food, coffee, and tea, there are furry friends to keep you company.

Boba Tea, Food, and Entertainment

If coffee isn’t your thing, grab some boba tea at Cake Bar. You’ll feel like you are Alice in Wonderland with its flowery décor and playful atmosphere. You can also stroll down to Marshall Street and visit Hi Tea.

If you need a nosh to go with your beverage, Marshall Street has something for everyone.  You’ll find Indian, Mexican, and Asian food, plus freshly baked Insomnia Cookies, all on the same street!

For healthy and delicious vegan sandwiches, walk to Strong Hearts. Hop in a car and drive to PMA Foods for a plethora of yummy vegan options, and then catch a concert at Funk ‘n Waffles or see a play at the iconic Landmark Theatre.

Downtown Syracuse

Downtown, you’ll discover museums unique to Syracuse. Stop by the Erie Canal Museum and learn how the city grew with the help of canals and how the past imprints itself on the city today. For a broader historical experience, the Onondaga Historical Association showcases the county’s roots. If you haven’t gotten enough science in the classroom, pop into the Museum of Science and Technology (MOST). Alternatively, the Everson Museum of Art offers a visually stimulating experience in its many galleries.

You’re sure to find many awesome places in Syracuse that resonate with you or cultivate a new interest or hobby.

By Landon Debes, writing intern in ESF’s Office of Communications and Marketing.