Travel like a local.


Bacon & Bourbon Fest, NY State Fair & World’s Smallest Ski Slope in Syracuse, New York

Best things to do in Syracuse New York Deb Pollack New York State Fair midway rides August 2019 photo courtesy of NY State Fair

Midway rides in August 2019. Photo courtesy of NY State Fair

I’m really excited to interview Deb Pollack of Adventures in Travel Hacking about Syracuse, New York. Deb’s tips for the best things to do in Syracuse are awesome because she’s lived there since 2005 and loves the small-town feel with the East Coast edge.

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Best things to do in Syracuse New York Deb Pollack Armory Square

Armory Square

Syracuse, New York

Syracuse is one of the snowiest cities in the U.S. averaging about 124 inches of snow a year. Deb says that it usually snows well into April (and sometimes May), so her favorite time of year to visit is June through October. There are tons of activities to do and many festivals to choose from. The New York State Fair happens the last two weeks of summer leading up to Labor Day weekend. Grab advance tickets for about 50% off or keep an eye out for “dollar days” to get admission for $1. One of Deb’s favorite festivals is the Bacon & Bourbon Festival that happens in early June each year. It’s central New York’s celebration of bacon, bourbon, and great music.

In addition to the NY State Fair and numerous festivals, Syracuse is a great place to venture outdoors. Plenty of hiking is nearby at wonderful parks like Fillmore Glen State Park, Robert H. Treman State Park, and Buttermilk Falls State Park. Or you can spend a day on the lake at Green Lakes State Park going swimming and kayaking. These state parks generally don’t charge admission per person, but they do charge $6 to $10 per car.

We share a lot of resources and local suggestions in today’s podcast, but you should also check out Visit Syracuse, the local convention and visitor’s bureau. They are a wealth of information and can help you plan an itinerary based on your time, budget, and interests.

If you’d like to learn how to travel for free using airline miles and hotel points, check out my free 7-day email course.

Best things to do in Syracuse New York Deb Pollack Erie Canal Trail

The Erie Canal Trail

Getting around Syracuse

The local airport is Syracuse Hancock International Airport (SYR), which is only a 15-minute drive to downtown Syracuse.

Deb says that you should rent a car when visiting Syracuse. This way you can explore all that the region has to offer. Uber and Lyft are excellent ways to get around. Deb says that parking in the city is easy and at garages and meters you can pay right from your phone. As you’re exploring the town, you can also use the Gotcha electric bike-sharing program to enjoy the fresh air, get some exercise, and easily explore the city.

If you need to rent a car, click here for the best offers from Avis, Budget, or Hertz.

If you only need a car for a couple of hours, you can rent by the hour with Zipcar. Join now to get $25 loaded into your account.

Best things to do in Syracuse New York Deb Pollack Apizza Regionale

Grab a slice of wood-fired pizza at Apizza Regionale

Places we talked about on the podcast

Here is a map of all of the places we talked about on the podcast episode with Deb Pollack about Syracuse, New York. You can zoom into the map and click on each dot to explore the city.

  • Red dots = best places to eat in Syracuse, New York
  • Green dots = best things to do in Syracuse, New York
  • Yellow dots = best places to stay in Syracuse, New York

Who is Deb Pollack?

Deb is a clinical psychologist with a private practice. She also teaches classes at Syracuse University to help train the next generation of psychologists.

In her spare time, she’s a moderator for the popular Finance Buzz Elite Facebook group with over 40,000 members. Deb also has her own travel blog, Adventures in Travel Hacking, where she shares how she uses her airline miles and hotel points to travel the world with her family.

Best things to do in Syracuse New York Deb Pollack Alto Cinco for happy hour

Deb Pollack enjoying happy hour at Alto Cinco

Here are a few articles that she’s written:

You can connect with Deb at her website and on Instagram.

Big thanks to today’s affiliate partner – AwardWallet

This episode is brought to you, in part, by AwardWallet. Using airline miles and hotel points makes travel affordable, but keeping track of all of those loyalty programs can be a challenge.

That’s why I use AwardWallet to track my miles and points balances, reservations, and special goodies like free hotel night certifications and airline companion passes.

Having everything in one easy to use dashboard helps ensure I don’t let any rewards expire and makes logging into my accounts super easy. Go to to start your free account.

Best things to do in Syracuse New York Deb Pollack Chittenango Falls State Park

Go for a hike at Chittenango Falls State Park

Stay tuned for our next episode

Best things to do in Cleveland Ohio Kevin PayneListen to the next episode when Kevin Payne of Family Money Adventure shares the best things to do in Cleveland, Ohio. In this episode, we’ll talk about the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame, the house where A Christmas Story was filmed, and the annual Duck Tape Festival. We hope you’ll join us when We Travel There.

What’s your favorite part of Syracuse? Send us a Tweet, let us know in the comment section below, or continue the discussion in our Facebook group!

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Related episodes

To learn more about upstate New York and other nearby destinations, listen to our other episodes from this area: