Located in the heart of New York State, Salt City offers families, young adults, and retirees a place to settle down without breaking the bank. Check out these 12 pros and cons of living in Syracuse, NY!

Pros of Living in Syracuse

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There are a lot of great reasons to move to Syracuse—including a hot job market, tons of local festivals, delicious cuisine, and more!

Pro: Affordable Living in New York State

Syracuse is a cost-effective alternative to New York City and many other places in the state. The cost of living in Syracuse is 97.4% less expensive than the Big Apple and 28.1% lower than the state average. If you’re looking to buy a home in Syracuse, you can find budget-friendly housing that’s about 173% less expensive than in NYC, with a median home price of $162,700. Plus, if you want to rent in Syracuse, average rental rates are below the national average and nearly $2,000 below the NYC average.

Pro: Hot Job Market

Not only is the Syracuse unemployment rate at a record low, but it’s also lower than the national rate at just 4.1%. The job market is hot and growing fast, making the city a perfect place for young professionals looking for employment. Syracuse’s major industries include healthcare and education, with Upstate University Hospital, Syracuse University, and St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center being some of the largest employers in the area. Other major employers that make Syracuse a vibrant hub for professional career advancement include Lockheed Martin, National Grid, Spectrum, and Raymour & Flanigan.

Pro: Top Syracuse Colleges

You can get a quality education in Syracuse! Learn from industry leaders and choose from over 250 undergraduate programs when you join the Orange at Syracuse University, a top-tier R1 research university. Get involved with developing technology to help the Earth while you study Forest Ecosystem Science, Environmental Resources Engineering, Biotechnology, and more at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Study Medical Biotechnology, Microbiology, Neuroscience, or Respiratory Therapy at SUNY Upstate Medical University, “the only academic medical center in Central New York.” Check out programs like Legal Studies, Software Applications & Systems Development, or Anthropology, and consider joining one of the Division I intercollegiate teams at Le Moyne College. Enroll in classes covering everything from anatomy and physiology to psychology and ethics at St. Joseph’s College of Nursing, where 90% of students in each cohort secure a nursing position within a year of graduating. Or register for career programs like Creative Writing, Engineering Science, Automotive Technology, Health Studies, and more at Onondaga Community College.

Pro: Salt City Outdoor Activities

If you’re looking for some outdoor fun, you’ll find what you’re looking for at Syracuse parks and lakes! Play a couple rounds of pickleball, take a dip in the outdoor swimming pool, or hit the green for a game of golf at Burnet Park, located in historic Tipperary Hill. Go for a nice walk along the Monday Mile Trail, play tennis with friends, or enjoy the specialty gardens like the Rain Garden and Rose Garden at Thornden Park. Bring the kids to enjoy the slides, push each other on the swings, or make their way through the climbing bars at Schiller Park. Go horseback riding, hunting, mountain biking, or walking along the trails at Highland Forest, about 30 minutes from Syracuse. Take your furry friend to the dog park, choose one of four trails to explore, or try out your skills in the skatepark at nearby Onondaga Lake Park, “The Central Park of Central New York.” Or drive 15 minutes to experience Green Lakes State Park by fishing, hiking, swimming, and even renting boats to take out on the water.

Pro: Syracuse Museums & Attractions

Residents of all ages will find plenty to see and do in Salt City! For a family-friendly activity in Syracuse, visit alpacas in the Domestic Animal Barn, watch elephants roaming in the Helga Beck Asian Elephant Preserve, or head to the aquarium to see the only giant Pacific octopus in Upstate New York at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo. Explore exhibits like the Gem & Mineral Gallery, Dino Zone, and Earth Science Discovery Cave at the Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science & Technology, or go to the National Grid Exploradome to watch scientific films. Make your way through permanent collections featuring modern and contemporary American art at the Everson Museum of Art. Don’t miss performances of Inherit The Wind, Godspell, Misery, and other seasonal shows at the Redhouse. Buy season tickets to attend a wide range of shows, like Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in Concert, Pretty Woman: The Musical, Golden Girls – The Laughs Continue, and more at the Landmark Theatre. Learn about the history of the Erie Canal and its impact on Syracuse, Central New York, and the world at large through permanent and changing showcases at the Erie Canal Museum. Or explore dozens of stores, choose from a variety of delicious restaurants, and even try go-kart racing at Destiny USA, one of the largest shopping malls in the United States.

Pro: Attend Syracuse Festivals

There are a variety of festivals in Syracuse, offering fun for every interest! Get up close with woolly mammoths and dinosaurs at the Dinosaur Expedition, watch an exciting performance by clowns and acrobats at Circus Hollywood, or explore all types of international cuisine at The Eatery while you attend the New York State Fair. Enjoy the local talent showcase, live entertainment, and food from vendors such as Bold Coast Lobster Co., Big Mama’s Cheesecake, Habibi’s Halal Gyro, and more at Taste of Syracuse. Watch traditional dance performances, listen to music, and get your fill of delicious Polish cuisine at the Syracuse Polish Festival. Head into Downtown Syracuse for the annual Syracuse Jazz Festival, the largest free jazz festival in the Northeast! View various kinds of films, documentaries, art, fashion, and media at the Syracuse Film Festival. And show up as your authentic self at the CNY Pride Festival & Parade, where you can cheer on the LGBTQ+ community, visit food trucks, and watch a drag show!

Pro: Tasty Syracuse Restaurants

If you’re looking for great food in Syracuse, you don’t have to look far! Kick off your day with a Crab Cake Benny, Western Egg Sandwich, or a Baja Veggie Omelete at Stella’s Diner. Chow down on Barb-B-Que Pork Ribs, USDA Prime Brisket Plate, or Pulled Pork Sandwiches at the original Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, some of the best barbecue in Syracuse. Try the Bacon Brie & Basil, Jive Turkey, or Falafel Waffle at Funk ‘n Waffles. Looking for great Italian food in Syracuse? Order Burrata Gnocchi, Sunday Sauce Lasagna, or Hot Tom Alfredo at Pastabilities. Start with Steaky Bacon or House Spring Rolls before ordering Bangkok Beef, Sweet Tamarind, Green Curry, and more at Lemon Grass. Or pick from Wild West Mac N Cheese, Pierogi Grilled Cheese, Sweet Sassy Molassy, and more at Strong Hearts, a popular vegan restaurant in Syracuse.

Pro: Syracuse Nightlife

There are countless ways for you to enjoy the nightlife in Syracuse! Sip on a Paloma Repo, The [New] York Margarita, or a classic Old Fashioned in the bar and lounge at The York. Play pool, get out on the dance floor, or enjoy a cool drink at Trexx, an LGBTQ+ nightclub. Order cocktails like the Gimlet, Negroni, or Espresso Martini to go with small bites at Gilded Club. Watch your favorite team, play video games, or fill up on bar food at Clinton Street Pub in historic Armory Square. Listen to live music and choose from a variety of spirits including tequila, gin, scotch, whiskey, and more from over 2000 available bottles at Al’s Wine & Whiskey. Enter the cellar at Oh My Darling, where you can enjoy unique cocktails, live music, Monday Cabaret Night, and more at The Fitz, a hidden speakeasy. Or find rotating craft beers to pair with the Original Blarney Burger, Carolina Pulled Pork, Blonde Reuben, and other pub fare at The Blarney Stone.

Cons of Living in Syracuse

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Before you decide to move to Syracuse, there are additional factors that you should take into consideration.

Con: Snowy Winter Weather

Syracuse, New York is known for being the snowiest city in the U.S. with an average of 114 inches a year—so it’s important to be cautious and follow the proper precautions during snowy weather. With that being said, there are plenty of fun things to do in Syracuse in winter! Bundle up before hitting the ice at Clinton Square Ice Rink, open from the last week of November through March 1. Attend the kickoff party, go on the culinary cruise, enter the cornhole tournament, or watch the fireworks show in the Inner Harbor during the annual Syracuse Winterfest. You’ll also be able to enjoy the weather in Syracuse throughout the rest of the year, with pleasantly warm summers and a comfortable climate in the fall.

Con: Syracuse Crime

As in many cities, crime can be a concern for residents of Syracuse. That said, keep in mind that Syracuse is 8% safer than other cities in New York and 7% safer than other U.S. cities. Additionally, Syracuse has programs and organizations that work diligently to keep residents safe. SNUG, a program based on the Chicago Cure Violence model, helps to reduce gun violence through outreach among Syracuse youth. The Mary Nelson Youth Center is committed to supporting youth by offering tutoring, employment opportunities, young adult mentoring programs, a food pantry, and more. Plus, locals come together to help keep everyone safe with the Neighborhood Watch Groups of Syracuse, a nonprofit organization that has existed since the 1980s and works to reduce crime in Syracuse communities.

Con: Low-Ranking Public School District

When it comes to public schools in New York State, the Syracuse City School District doesn’t rank particularly well. The New York State Education Department found that the district had some of the lowest proficiency levels in English language arts and math, earning them 644th out of 661 districts. That said, families can still find top-performing schools within the district so their children can get a robust education. For instance, you’ll find highly-ranked schools for children of all ages like The Syracuse Latin School, Clary Middle School, Corcoran High School, and more. There are also some highly-rated private schools in Syracuse like Manlius Pebble Hill School, Christian Brothers Academy, and Bishop Ludden Junior-Senior High School to consider.

Con: Limited Public Transportation

Though there is public transportation in Syracuse, it is limited. That being said, the minimal traffic in Syracuse makes it easy for drivers to get around with little trouble. If you don’t own a vehicle or just prefer public transportation, you can try an electric bike or scooter through the local micromobility program provided by VEO, or catch the Centro bus at designated stops. If you want to travel outside of Syracuse, the William F. Walsh Regional Transportation Center is serviced by Amtrak, Greyhound, and Trailways. And if you need to catch a flight, you can take off from the Syracuse Hancock International Airport.


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This post was originally published on 06/30/2021 and last revised on 02/14/2024 with updated information.


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