I was born and raised in Syracuse. I grew up watching just as much Syracuse Basketball as I did Disney movies and Nickelodeon.
When I talk to people from outside the area I tend to hear some derivative of the following:
- “I hear the cold winters there are unbearable.”
- “Isn’t that a small city? There can’t be much going on.”
- “Oh my god, you have a Wegmans!! That place is incredible!!”
To these out-of-towners’ credit, these statements aren’t entirely false but, they are mostly fragments of half-truths.
Now, the winter thing. The winter is cold and snowy, there is no denying it. Locals like me though, and transplants to the area, wear the resilience to winter as a badge of honor. It shows off a certain grit to your personality, and highlights the adaptability of your attitude. With the right gear, the winters aren’t just bearable, they are very enjoyable—especially if you embrace the opportunities to see it at its finest:
- Snowshoeing: Central New York (CNY) is home to dozens of pristine parks perfect for snowshoeing. Nearby favorites include Highland Forest and Green Lakes.
- Skiing: Both downhill and cross-country skiing are great ways to enjoy the winter and stay active. Cross country skiing is easily accessible with some even skiing around campus. And, there are three great alpine hills 30 minutes from campus (with even more within an hour.)
- Ice Skating: There are three places to skate within the city limits. A personal favorite is the Clinton Square rink in the heart of the city. It’s open all winter-long and is decked out in holiday lights well into January.
While not as large as some major metropolises, Syracuse still offers excellent food, sports, parks, entertainment, and shopping. Two of the cooler things I more recently discovered (that might not make the TripAdvisor lists) include:
- Agriculture: With four true seasons, CNY offers some amazing locavore opportunities. Multiple public farmers’ markets make farm-fresh produce, eggs, meat, grains, and dairy easily accessible. Annual open farm days in the area also showcase the “fruit” of this area’s labor. (Fun fact, a locally-produced butter was recently featured in Bon Appetit!)
- Arts: While big acts do travel here to showcase their talents, the local art culture is also something to be celebrated. The Redhouse Arts Center puts on amazing shows (usually for $30 or less!) featuring local actors and Broadway names, then donates its revenue to better the city schools. Within 20 minutes of the University, you can also find the Manlius Art Cinema, a family-owned theater that serves up homemade cookies and award-winning independent films.
Finally, there is nothing half-true about the sentiment around Wegmans. We do have Wegmans, multiple Wegmans stores actually, and they are all amazing in their unified and individual ways. In fact, I have known people —from very civilized, not food-sparse places— to bring coolers (yes, plural) to the Wegmans near the University to “stock up” on the deliciousness that Wegmans offers. (More Wegmans reading if you are so compelled.) (Can’t help myself.)
There is nothing underrated about Wegmans. Even Jim Boeheim says so…
Still not convinced? Explore the beauty of our area when you come for a campus visit and see why people like me love to call this place home.