For a city of its size, Syracuse punches well above its weight. Its rejuvenated downtown has a surprising assortment of museums, theaters and performance halls, plus loads of restaurants and university-fueled nightlife. The surrounding countryside is an even bigger draw: nearby lakes, mountains and forests attract outdoor lovers all year round.
The small but well-curated Erie Canal Museum provides a fascinating glimpse of one of the great engineering achievements of the 19th century. Delve into American lore at the Everson Museum, housed in a building designed by I.M. Pei. Leave plenty of time to explore the boutiques, cafes, restaurants and brewpubs of trendy Armory Square. On warm days, this is the place for al fresco drinking or dining. When the sun sets, enjoy a Guinness at the historic Irish pubs of Tipperary Hill.
Just north of downtown, Onondaga Lake Park is a scenic spot for a stroll, jog or bike ride. Further afield, the Adirondack Mountains, the Finger Lakes and Highland Forest all offer four-season adventures.