Whether local or visiting Central, New York for the holidays, you won't want to miss out on any of our favorite holiday activities this season! From beautiful holiday lighting displays to top local shopping spots, you'll have the most wonderful time of the year when you visit Syracuse, NY.

Festive Light Displays

Add a little sparkle to your life this December. Drive down a two- mile stretch of Onondaga Lake Park to view Lights on the Lake, a top holiday attraction for locals and visitors alike. The light show runs through the entire holiday season and features several themed and animated displays. If you’re looking for a walking option, head to Downtown Syracuse and check out the festive lights throughout the city streets. The holiday Christmas Tree and Menorah reflect bright off the ice rink in Clinton Square, the Downtown Star offers a “selfie spot” in Hanover Square where local businesses proudly show off their holiday spirit with their Winter Wonderland displays. Make sure to stop by the Visit Syracuse office front to see our theme this year. Bonus: Instead of a festive light display, check out an indoor festive snow display at Destiny USA. The Center Atrium experiences the magic of winter indoors with an enchanting snowfall at 5pm every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday until Christmas Eve.


Pick the Perfect Tree

This holiday season a pine scented candle is just not going to cut it. If that's the case for you and your family, plan a trip to one of the many farms in the Central New York area to pick out or cut down the perfect Christmas tree for this season. Kids will love choosing their special tree and helping cut it down. Check out area farms such as Springside Farm and the Syracuse Christmas Tree Farm to create your favorite tradition. Looking to save some time and arm strength? Pick up a pre-cut tree at Rockinghorse Farm, Chuck Hafners or Marble Farms. Here you can find places to cut down your own tree this season.


Get your Gifting On

Shop local this year for one-of-a-kind gifts from across the region of Central New York. Check out J Michael Shoes located on the Hill near the Syracuse University campus. Here you’ll find top brands and high end clothing for both men and women. Head west to explore the "Syracuse Local" section at Witty Wicks or spend some time downtown and explore the shelves of Mixed Methods in the city. There are plenty more Syracuse shops, boutiques, and gift stores that will offer that perfect gift for this holiday season.


For a traditional shopping experience head to Destiny USA, the region’s largest retail shopping and entertainment center. Spend the day shopping your favorite major retail brands then kick back with a drink and bite to eat at one of their many restaurant options. 


A Dickens Christmas

Named as one of Travel Channels 10 Best Small Towns to Visit This Christmas, Skaneateles, offers several holiday gift shops, retail clothing, baked goods and more all set amongst the backdrop of a Dickens Christmas. Dickens characters can be found walking around the area every weekend as well as performing throughout the streets, with special events occurring on certain days and weekends.