If you are visiting Syracuse, New York, but don’t have a lot of money, you’ll find more than enough to keep you busy without paying a cent.
Erie Canal Park
Located in the town of Camillus, just minutes from Syracuse, the Erie Canal Park offers several miles of walking trails located alongside the re-hydrated bed of the old Erie Canal. The park also features the Sims Museum, which formerly served as a store for boats navigating the canal and provided all the necessities including groceries, hardware, feed, and other supplies. The park is open year round, while the museum hours vary seasonally (open May through October.)
Erie Canal Museum
Located in downtown Syracuse, the Erie Canal Museum has a number of exhibits showcasing the history of the Erie Canal and its impact on the local community. Exhibits include: the Frank B. Thomson Line Boat (a full-size replica of a boat used on the Canal,) the Weighmaster’s Office (restored in 1985,) a reproduction of a mid-1800s tavern, and a recreation of a 19th Century Theater Stage. Admission is free, and it is open Monday through Saturday, from 10 A.M.-5 P.M. and on Sunday from 10 A.M.-3 P.M.
Located on the shores of Lake Onondaga, just outside of Syracuse, Onondaga Park features a number of free activities for the entire family. The park is home to several walking trails, including East Shore Recreation Trail, Shoreline Walking Trail, and Lakeland Trail. The park also offers a number of other activities, including archery, boating, and much more, though these do cost some money. The park is open from April-October: 6 A.M. and from November-March: 6 A.M.-sunset. Although admission is free, there is a $1 suggested donation.
Highland Forest Park
Located just a few miles outside of Syracuse, Highland Forest Park not only features trails (some of which run from Pennsylvania to the Catskills in New York,) and mountain biking, but is also home to the Pioneer Museum, which displays history from the 1700s onward though artifacts and photographs. The hours vary by season. Although there is no charge, there is a $2 suggested donation.
Pratt’s Falls Park
Located in Manlius, a mere 15-minute drive from Syracuse, Pratt’s Falls Park offers a number of trails leading to a 137 foot waterfall. Although mountain biking is not permitted, Pratt’s Falls is a very popular spot for walking, picnicking, and archery. Pratt’s Falls is also famous for its orienteering events, in which participants navigate a marked course using only a map and a compass. Hours vary seasonally. Although there is no admission, there is a $1 suggested donation.
Whether you like history or the outdoors, Syracuse has something to offer you that won’t break the bank.