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Day-Tripping: Top Must Sees and Dos in Syracuse

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Things to Do in Syracuse

Syracuse’s Best Attractions

Summertime in Syracuse may be coming to an end, but that doesn’t mean the fun has to stop. Known for its beautiful fall foliage and rough winters (which create striking images as well) Syracuse always shines bright with activities and attractions. Here are my favorite things to do in Syracuse as we move through the seasons.

1. Visit the New York State Fair

Great New York State FairOne of the largest fairs in the United States runs from August 25 through September 5, right here at the Syracuse Fair Grounds–the Great New York State Fair. Whether it’s watching the horse show, attending a concert at the grand stand, or winning a teddy bear for your sweetheart, it’s guaranteed there will be something for everyone. For only $10 a ticket you can see what this year’s butter sculpture is, get a fresh glass of chocolate milk at the Rainbow Milk Bar, take a ride on the Top Spin, walk through the Native American village and enjoy any of the other activities and attractions the Fair has to offer. Children 12 and under are always admitted for free, and special days allow seniors (Monday August 29) and students 16 and under (Friday, September 2) to be admitted for free. For a full list of events, visit

2. Shop at the C.N.Y Regional Market

The Regional Market (2100 Park Street, Syracuse) is a great place to get fresh produce and go treasure hunting. Year round, from 7am to 2pm, you can find a farmers market on Saturdays and a flea market on Sundays. Vendors fill the markets with specialty foods, fresh produce, home made trinkets and collectables, as well as other miscellaneous items. If you’re looking for a cheap way to have fun and help out the local market, this is the place to do it.

3. Go Apple Picking

Beak and Skiff Apple Farm Whether you go for the pony ride, the apple fritters, or just to enjoy some time beneath the trees, going apple picking at Beak and Skiff Apple Farm helps you get the most out of fall in Central New York. Celebrating its 100th anniversary, Beak and Skiff offered Pick-Your-Own apples in 1975. Their dairy barn was converted to a Country Store in 1976, which offers hard ciders, apple wines and a variety of other goodies. Visit to see what else awaits you.

4. Grab Dinner at Dinosaur BBQ

Nationally acclaimed as some of the best BBQ food in the country, Dinosaur BBQ is a must if you’re visiting Syracuse for the first time. The restaurant started in 1983 as a mobile concession that visited motorcycle shows, fairs and festivals throughout the Northeast, and then called Syracuse its home about ten years later. Although the eatery left life on the open road, the owners made sure to keep the atmosphere full of the biker spirit. The bartenders, waiters and waitresses are some of the most genuine people in the business and the calendar full of live music really pulls the Dino experience together. The menu includes things such as pulled pork sandwiches, savory racks of ribs, mashed potatoes with gravy, and a macaroni and cheese that will put your mother’s recipe to shame.

5. Attend the Westcott Cultural Fair

Westcott Street and its surrounding area is known to Syracuse residents as ‘Westcott Nation.’ This area of Syracuse, which is included in the University District, is known for its diverse community and eclectic cluster of restaurants, shops and businesses. The fair, which takes place this year on Sunday, September 18 from 12pm to 6:30pm, is celebrating its twentieth year of the tradition. Some of the booths that will line the street this year are for organizations such as Say Yes to Education, Peace Action of C.N.Y., Syracuse Cultural Workers, and the Zen Center of Syracuse.

6. Attend a Local Sporting Event

Syracuse Orange FansSyracuse is a city full of sports teams, and sports fans. Whether you like Baseball, Basketball, or Hockey, there are always great games to attend. On September 4 and 5, the Syracuse Skychiefs minor league baseball team will be having their last two home games of the season, which will include a fireworks show. The Syracuse Crunch hockey team will start their season with a home opener game on October 15th, and then the legendary Syracuse University basketball team will start their season on November 1st with an exhibition game against California State, Los Angeles.

7. Go Ice-Skating in Clinton Square

Ice skating in Clinton Square is the ultimate way to see the Syracuse winter in a positive light. Bundling up with friends and family, cracking smiles at one another as you trip, slip and glide your way around the rink, and enjoying the view of the city lights at night are just a few reasons that this activity is a must do.

Elise Miklich is a Contributor to The Free George.

The Free George is the online magazine and visitors’ guide of Upstate NY, covering things from Albany to Lake Placid, including Saratoga, the Lake George region and the Adirondacks. Check out our City Blogs section for our extended coverage areas as well.

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