Syracuse, NY is home to many distinguished colleges and universities. In May, students from Le Moyne College, SUNY Upstate Medical University, SUNY ESF, and Syracuse University will all be tossing their caps into the air and celebrating a wonderful milestone with family and friends.

As thousands of travelers from all over the world head to Syracuse for commencement celebrations, a thought that may cross their mind is, “What else can I do in Syracuse, NY?”

Well…we have the answers! Check out our tips and ideas to make the most of commencement weekend.


Explore Outside

Between sitting for long commencement speeches, followed by formal dinners and long farewell events, it’s easy to forget about being active. Take advantage of the spare time you have and get outside! With over 50 parks in Onondaga county, you can get your fill of foliage, waterfalls, and playgrounds many of which are located conveniently near hotels you’ve booked, and the college you’re visiting.

Onondaga parkway is an excellent place for running, walking, or biking. The 7.5 mile linear pathway has multiple entry points which gives active users ample space to go the distance.

Just 20 minutes outside of the city, you and your graduation party can check out Chittenango falls, Syracuse’s tallest waterfall. The falls can be viewed from multiple levels and only requires a short walk, accommodating people of all ages to enjoy.

Take some downtime and visit Burnet Park in the Tipperary Hill neighborhood. If you’re coming into town with youngsters, the Burnet Park playground is a great place to have them run around and have some fun. The Rosamond Gifford Zoo is conveniently located next to the park and houses over 600 diverse habitats—an activity the whole group can enjoy. If you’re without the kids, maybe a round of golf is more your speed. Burnet Park golf course is stunning and if you’re lucky you can hear elephants and other animals while playing.

Syracuse Shops

Spend some time shopping for that last salt-city souvenir before you head back home. Find something that will always remind you or your graduate of the time that was spent here. While the traditional {{insert college name here}} Dad mug keepsake always leaves a smile on your face, discover what makes Syracuse special at a couple of local shops.

Wildflowers Armory located in Downtown Syracuse offers a variety of vendors that sell artisan gifts and goodies. The perfect place to grab a last-minute gift for your grad or an opportunity to find a Syracuse themed piece of art or apparel to bring home.

The Marketplace on James is another multi-vendor storefront to check out. Ranging from antiques to hand-painted art to homemade jewelry. The marketplace offers coffee and treats so you can sip and snack while you shop for your treasured gifts. In the back of the marketplace you’ll find, Eat the Cooks Way restaurant serving up breakfast and lunch specials too!

Cheers to Four Years

Everyone knows that the proper way to celebrate any major life event is with a cheers. If dinner or a fancy meal isn’t how your grad wants to celebrate, we suggest grabbing a drink (or a few) at one of the many breweries Central New York has to offer. From Clay to Cazenovia, Syracuse is full of craft beer, ciders, hard seltzers, and local wines.

Here’s a list to get you started, however the options are almost endless!


Middle Ages Brewing – downtown Syracuse

Heritage Hill – Pompey


Critz Farms – Cazenovia

1911 Tasting Room – Lafayette


Willow Rock – Syracuse

Anything But Beer – Downtown Syracuse


Strigo Vineyards – Baldwinsville

Anyela’s Vineyards – Skaneateles

How ever you decide to spend your time, make sure your grad feels special. It is, after all, their weekend.

Congratulations to the class of 2022!