Last updated: 09:00 PM ET, Thu March 26 2015

Touring the Madness: Syracuse, New York

Features & Advice | Tom Bastek | March 26, 2015

Touring the Madness: Syracuse, New York

Photos are courtesy of their respective establishments.

Erie Canal Museum

The Erie Canal Museum is what you would think it is: A museum about the Erie Canal. But they are also dedicated to preserving the last remaining weighlock Building in the U.S. A weighlock building is a building that would bring in a barge, drain the water, weigh the barge, and bring the water back in and get the ship on its way. The museum has canal memorabilia, offers models and a full history of the canal, and is attached to the Syracuse Heritage Area Visitor Center.

Rosamond Gifford Zoo

Opened in 1914, the zoo has more than 700 animals over 43 acres. They are staunch proponents of animal welfare and green building and as recently as 2013 have started a storm water wetland which captures almost 2 million gallons of water annually and greatly reduces the zoo's need for potable water. The zoo also has a conservation education center, banquet/meeting space, Jungle Cafe and gift shop. Adult admission is $8 and they are open 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 362 days a year.

Destiny USA

Shopping, dining, entertainment, and outlets are all in one place right on the shore of Onondaga Lake at Destiny USA. If you have been to Syracuse before, you may have known this place as Carousel Center until 2012. There are theaters, bowling, go karts, Dave and Busters, Margaritaville, and many more activities that will keep the family occupied while you go and shop in one of over 200 different stores. If it is cold outside this weekend, here is your escape.


If you are a sandwich person, this should be your next stop. They change their menu by adding one sandwich to it every day and have brought the flavors from all over the country home to Syracuse. So far they have borrowed from New York City, Chicago, New Orleans, Texas, Boston, and California. Everything they use to make up their menu incorporates fresh ingredients and the selections of the season and most of them have a clever name to go with them. Here is an example: The CAT Burr-Glar: Southern-fried catfish fillets in a whole wheat tortilla with yellow rice, black beans, onion, cilantro, green chilies, roasted red peppers & a Sriracha lime mayo. YUM!

Empire Brewing Company

Opened in 1994 on the cusp of the craft brewing movement, Empire Brewing Company has been bringing beer and benefits to the Syracuse area ever since. They utilize only fresh locally sourced products from over sixty Central New York farmers and since 2007 have changed their business model to be as sustainable as possible. They are getting ready to open up a full separate brewery and farm in nearby Cazenovia which will provide a larger brewing system as well as a farm to provide, “hops, lavender, vegetables, herbs, and fruits for use in the brewing process and to support the food production needed at both facilities.” 

Stop by their brewpub for a pint and a bite and try out their Creole meatball po boy with local pork & Kobe beef meatballs stewed in Creole sauce & topped with four Italian cheeses.

So if you have managed to make your way to western New York, there is no better place to be than Syracuse.  It is going to be a little chilly up there still, but there are plenty of indoor things to do.


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