City Orientation Walk, Syracuse (Self Guided)

Syracuse, NY is home to a number of historic and cultural attractions. Among them the most notable are the Erie Canal Museum, housed in the last remaining 1850 Weighlock Building in America, the Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science & Technology, and the opulent 1920s Landmark Theatre hosting Broadway hits and concerts. To see these and other distinguished sights of Syracuse, follow this orientation walk and have a great time!
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City Orientation Walk Map

Guide Name: City Orientation Walk
Guide Location: USA » Syracuse (See other walking tours in Syracuse)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 16
Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.8 km
Author: AlexanderA
1
Syracuse City Hall

1) Syracuse City Hall (must see)

Syracuse City Hall has an unusual design for a civic building. It was designed in the Romanesque Revival style by architect Charles E. Colton and was built between 1889 and 1893 using Onondaga limestone. The building has a 165-foot-high bell tower. There was some controversy regarding the bell, as the mayor wanted to use the bell from the original city hall that was demolished in order to make room for the new building. The architect opposed this idea, and the mayor decided to fire him. The mayor won out and the bell from the original city hall was in use until 1939, when it was removed, melted, and used to help the war efforts during World War II. In 1977 City Hall was renovated. A decade later, an electronic carillon was installed in the tower along with a decorative, brass-plated, aluminum bell.
2
Erie Canal Museum

2) Erie Canal Museum (must see)

The building that today houses the Erie Canal Museum was used by the New York State Department of Public Works until 1954. In 1956 the building was to be given to the New York State Department of Education, but the governor vetoed this proposal, believing that the building might stand in the way of a future highway interchange. After intense lobbying from the Junior League of Syracuse, the building was given to local authorities under the condition that it house a “public canal museum”. This is how in 1962 the Erie Canal Museum came into existence and the last remaining Weighlock Building in America was preserved. The museum is visited every year by thousands of people from all around the world. The museum is open Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. It is closed on official holidays.
3
Clinton Square

3) Clinton Square

Clinton Square is the historic center of downtown Syracuse, New York and was named in honor of 19th century politician, DeWitt Clinton who served two terms as Governor of New York State. During his tenure, Clinton was instrumental in the construction of the Erie Canal which ran through the center of the square. Here is Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument,which was donated by Charles M. Warner.
Sight description based on wikipedia
4
Armory Square

4) Armory Square

Armory Square is a small neighborhood on the west side of Downtown Syracuse, New York. It began life as a busy commercial and industrial area just to the west of the central city.
Today, Armory Square is the home of some of Syracuse's better restaurants, at least two coffeehouses, a radio station company, dozens of small shops selling everything from band instruments to used records to women's clothing, several bars and nightclubs, Urban Outfitters, Armory Massage Therapy, a newly restored upscale hotel, and two tattoo parlors. A number of professional firms are also located in Armory Square, including Eric Mower and Associates, O'Brien & Gere, and the Sugarman Law Firm. The area is popular with students from Syracuse University and Le Moyne College.
Its borders are generally considered to be the circular road around the armory (Jefferson Street) to the south, Onondaga Creek to the west, Washington Street to the north, and Clinton Street to the east.
Armory Square is also home to the Shot Clock Monument.
A paved multi-use trail, the Onondaga Creekwalk, connects the neighborhood with Onondaga Lake.
Sight description based on wikipedia
5
The Red House

5) The Red House

The Red House is a cultural center that was established in 2001. The building purchased for the center needed major renovation, so in 2002 a campaign was launched to gather the resources for this project. In July 2004 the center opened to the public. The Red House hosts theatrical performances, film screenings, concerts, art exhibitions, and other events. To date, the Red House has hosted more than 500 cultural events.
6
Museum of Science and Technology

6) Museum of Science and Technology (must see)

The Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science and Technology (often referred to as the MOST) includes multiple exhibits and a domed IMAX movie theatre. It is located in a historic building, the former Syracuse Armory.

The original museum, then known as the Discovery Center, opened its doors on November 15, 1981 in a storefront at 321 South Clinton Street in downtown Syracuse. This first hands-on, participatory science museum in Upstate New York hosted over 42,000 in its first year and consistently had the highest visitor density ratio in the nation.

By the late 1980s, museum officials began to consider a new location for the museum, which had become an important community asset visited by more than 800,000 people.

In 1992, New York State and the federal government accepted the Discovery Center’s proposal to open a Museum of Science & Technology in the Armory building.

Permanent exhibits include: Earth Science Discovery Cave, Life Sciences, the Lockheed Martin Flight & Space exhibit, Science Playhouse and Technotown.

It is also is home to the MOST Science Shop where toys, games, and science education products can be purchased.

Opening hours: Mon, Tue: Closed; Wed – Sun: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sight description based on wikipedia
7
Jefferson Clinton Hotel

7) Jefferson Clinton Hotel

The Jefferson Clinton Hotel was built in 1927. During the Great Depression, the hotel was taken over by the City of Syracuse and was renamed the Dome Hotel. This hotel closed in 1986 and remained vacant until 2001 when it reopened as Hawthorn Suites. The hotel has since won several awards, the most notable being 'Hotel of the Year' in 2003.
8
Landmark Theater

8) Landmark Theater (must see)

The Landmark Theatre, originally known as Loew's State Theater, is an historic theater from the era of "movie palaces". Designed by Thomas W. Lamb, it is the city's only surviving example of the opulent theatrical venues of the 1920s.

Originally named Loew's State Theatre, it opened on February 18, 1928, and offered double bills of famous vaudeville stage acts and first-run films. During the Great Depression and World War II it continued to do good business, as theater patrons escaped for a few hours into its plush grandeur. However, by the 1970s, the theater suffered from low attendance and was in disrepair. Eventually it closed, and was in danger of demolition. In 1977 a group, Syracuse Area Landmark Theatre, or SALT, was formed to preserve and renovate the venue. Still open today, the Landmark offers concerts and other performances, is available for weddings and other private parties, and continues to sponsor fundraisers to support its activities.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
9
St. Paul's Cathedral

9) St. Paul's Cathedral

St. Paul's Cathedral was built in the 1850s and was designed by architects Henry Dudley and Frank Wills in the Neo-Gothic style. The cathedral is part of the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York and is located in the heart of the city near the Onondaga Historical Museum, the Civic Center and the Roman Catholic Cathedral. In order to help the homeless and poor, the cathedral opened the Samaritan Center, which has many active programs for these at-risk members of society.
10
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception

10) Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception

The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception is the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse.

The church was initially constructed in 1874 by Lawrence J. O’Connor and named Saint Mary's Church and became the first parish in Syracuse. In 1904, Bishop Patrick Ludden selected Saint Mary's Church to become the new Cathedral. Archimedes Russell was commissioned to expand the new Cathedral designing a new sanctuary and bell tower.

The Cathedral was consecrated in 1910 and for the dedication, Pope Leo XIII gave Bishop Ludden a brick taken from the Holy Door at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

The Cathedral hosts many local musicals and concerts performed by both area schools and professional groups.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
11
Columbus Statue

11) Columbus Statue (must see)

The idea to erect a monument to Christopher Columbus in Syracuse came from a group of Italian-Americans. Initially the statue was to modeled after one of Columbus located in Florence, Italy, but this idea was later set aside. In 1928 a contest was organized to select a design for the monument. After a few years of deliberation, it was decided to build the monument at St. Mary's Circle between the courthouse and the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception. The monument was finally built in 1932.
12
Oncenter Complex

12) Oncenter Complex (must see)

The Oncenter Complex is an exhibition, convention, and entertainment facility. It consists of three venues, which collectively can host any kind of event. The venues include the Convention Center, the War Memorial Arena and the Civic Center Theater. A variety of art exhibitions, concerts, trade shows, and other events of both regional and national importance are held here throughout the year.
13
Park Central Presbyterian Church

13) Park Central Presbyterian Church

Park Central Presbyterian Church was founded in 1846. The church was built in 1872 and was designed by Archimedes Russel, a noted Syracuse architect. The church has a Henninger Memorial organ, one of the finest organs in central New York. The organ was installed in 1967. The church offers a variety of educational programs for adults, youth and children.
14
Syracuse Stage

14) Syracuse Stage (must see)

Syracuse Stage is a professional non-profit theatre company. It is the premier professional theatre in Central New York. It was founded in 1974 by Arthur Storch, who was its first artistic director. The company grew out of the Syracuse Repertory Theatre that was founded in the mid 1960's by founders Marlow Burt, Robert B. D'Angelo and Rex Henriot.

In the early 1990s, Tazewell Thompson was artistic director. Robert Moss also has been artistic director. In 2007, Timothy Bond became artistic director.

Each year, it offers several productions, including one collaboration between Syracuse Stage and the drama department of Syracuse University.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
15
Grace Episcopal Church

15) Grace Episcopal Church

Grace Episcopal Church is an historic Gothic Revival church. Grace Church was founded in 1871. The current church was constructed in 1876 and designed by Horatio Nelson White.

On March 20, 1973, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Grace Church has a long history of social activism. Grace Church is a national shrine for Saint Oakerhater - the first Native Episcopal saint. In 2004, windows were installed in his honor and in 2005, a celebration with Saint Oakerhater's decedents was held at Grace. In 1957, Grace Church joined with St. Philip's - a historically black Episcopal Church - establishing grace as one of the first fully integrated Episcopal churches in the nation.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
16
Thornden Park

16) Thornden Park

Thornden Park is a 76 acres (31 ha) is the second largest in the city after Burnet Park. It was purchased by the city in 1921 and has become a favorite wedding location in the Syracuse park system.

The park was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1994 as part of the Historic Designated Landscapes of Syracuse, New York.

One of the more popular attractions in the park is the E. M. Mills Memorial Rose Garden, dedicated in 1924 on 2 acres (8,100 m2) at the southwest entrance to the park, across Ostrom Avenue from Syracuse University. Since 1970, the Syracuse Rose Society has maintained the garden in cooperation with the City of Syracuse Department of Parks. Currently, the garden hosts 368 different varieties of roses (3850 plants in all) that surround a central gazebo.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Syracuse, New York

Create Your Own Walk in Syracuse

Create Your Own Walk in Syracuse

Creating your own self-guided walk in Syracuse is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Syracuse Cultural Tour

Syracuse Cultural Tour

Syracuse is a city with a long history and a well-established culture. In order to get acquainted with and understand a city and its residents, it is important to visit some of its cultural institutions. Syracuse has many theaters, cinemas, and art galleries for you to explore. Take this tour to discover the city's vibrant cultural scene.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 km
Syracuse Daily Life Tour

Syracuse Daily Life Tour

Daily life in a city is always very busy, and Syracuse is no exception. On this tour you will visit some of the most frequented places in Syracuse, places where people go to work, study, eat, and relax. Take this tour to visit some of the many interesting places in Syracuse, and experience life as residents of Syracuse do.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.4 km
Syracuse Landmarks Tour

Syracuse Landmarks Tour

The area where the city of Syracuse today stands was first settled by Europeans in the 17th century. Over the years, the city has grown rapidly, as it is located on the Erie Canal and at the junction of several major highways and railroad lines. The city has many well-preserved buildings that represent a variety of architectural styles. Take this tour to visit some of the most interesting...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 km
Syracuse Museums and Art Galleries Tour

Syracuse Museums and Art Galleries Tour

Syracuse has a storied history, which you can learn about by visiting the city's many museums and art galleries. Syracuse has served and continues to serve an important role in shaping the culture of central New York. Take this tour to explore the history and art of this beautiful city.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.5 km
Syracuse Nightlife Tour

Syracuse Nightlife Tour

Syracuse has an active nightlife, and there are many clubs, lounges, bars and pubs where you can go to relax, have a drink, listen to music, and dance. Take this self-guided walking tour to visit some of the best entertainment venues and hot spots in Syracuse.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.8 km
Syracuse Churches and Cathedrals Tour

Syracuse Churches and Cathedrals Tour

Syracuse is a melting pot of religious traditions and beliefs, which is reflected in the city's religious architecture. Take this tour to visit some of Syracuse's most impressive churches and cathedrals and learn more about the spiritual life of Syracuse residents.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.7 km

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Syracuse for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Syracuse has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Taking Care of Your Feet


To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Syracuse, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device


Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.