Category Archives: Museums

358. Culture of the Cocktail Hour

Merry Christmas Eve everyone!

We all love a good cocktail hour. It’s something that we all spend time doing…whether you’re enjoying time with friends, grabbing an after-work libation or whatever it is…it’s become a culture.

I also find it very romantic…especially at a place like Al’s…especially when it’s snowing…it’s just…perfect.


As you may already know, I’ve got a certain love for history…it’s so fascinating and I’m obsessed. Which is why when I saw the Onondaga Historical Association was putting on an exhibit (that’s actually been up for some time now) on the Cocktail Hour, and more specifically the cocktail hour in Syracuse, NY. I knew it was something that I needed to check out.

OHA is always putting on these really intriguing displays of history and incorporating it into our city and I don’t think we give them enough credit!

The exhibit is up until June so you’ve got some time, but there’s something about the holidays that makes me nostalgic for the past.

Tip: Check out the Historical Associations walking tour too!

location: Onondaga History Museum

340. Festival of Trees

Here’s something I’ve noticed about Syracuse, and I’ve probably already mentioned this before but I’ve got a way of repeating myself…

With every changing season, the local businesses and groups do everything they can to make Syracuse an interesting and engaging city. During the summer, as you can see from 100 posts ago.. (can you believe it’s been that long!!), there were festivals every weekend!

During the winter, when the sun hibernates and our city turns into what might be the most depressing place on earth, there’s a spark of hope that arises when you see local museums, restaurants, vendors, etc… coming together to make sure that we have things to do!

festival of trees

Something that is one of my favorite things in Syracuse is the art scene…as you may have noticed, I like theater and live music. Museums around here have so much to offer, you just have to know where you’re going and what you’re going to do when you get there.

The Everson has had some really interesting exhibits and events this year. It’s hard to pick my favorite one, but I’m pretty sure it was the Yoga among the artwork…however, the festival of trees always ranks high on my things to do.

The Festival of Trees is exactly that, an array of holiday trees arranged throughout the Everson Museum all donning their own personality of lights and ornaments. There’s live music, artwork, prizes, food, you name it!

The Festival of Trees runs from December 6th to December 15th Tuesday – Friday & Sunday: noon – 5.00pm
Saturday: 10.00am – 5.00pm

Tip: It’s only $5 to attend!

location: Everson Museum

308. Paint By Numbers

The Everson Museum has awesome events throughout the year.

Remember artful yoga?!

They’re doing something really awesome and I’m really excited for it!

On November 7th, from 6-8pm they’ll have a paint-by-numbers event.


BYOC = Bring your own color!

Here’s how it works… you basically pick up a tube of any color of acrylic paint you want. They’ll supply the paint brush & you will be assigned a number. You’ll go to the painting, find your number and paint!

Simple as that!

Tip: If you’re interested in attending this, email Pam McLaughlin,

location: Everson Museum

246. The Everson Museum

Whew…we made it through the fair, Syracuse! How do you feel? Tired? Fat? Both?

Today marks the first unofficial day of Fall in Syracuse and you could certainly tell by the crispness in the air that the leaves will be changing colors very shortly. Which is both good and bad. Good for the fact that we’ll be indulging in everything apple, pumpkin and spice flavored. Bad because we know winter is just around the corner.

That really isn’t stopping me from enjoying the city though!

Today’s thing to do is a bit of a mix up from the free concerts and extreme canines. The Everson Museum of Art sits downtown as a giant building, complete with outdoor sculptures. Every time I walk by I think that I need to head inside, and everytime I head inside I am completely in shock that something this creative and amazing and thoughtful sits in our fine city.

eversonI’ve mentioned them before, they have awesome series like Yoga among the art and their outdoor film series is always a huge hit during the summer time. But there’s also tons of really awesome things to explore at the Everson too!

The current exhibits on display are awe inspiring, And, their future exhibits are just as interesting.

The Everson is open Tuesday-Sunday, closed on Monday. They offer insightful tours and educational programs,

Tip: Follow them on Facebook to keep up to date on their events and exhibits!!

location: 401 Harrison Street

219. Canal Splash!

Upstate, NY has incredibly fascinating history. There’s so much to learn about how important our little corner of the State is. We can recognize this by looking around!

One of the coolest things that I think we take for granted up here is the fact that The Erie Canal ran right through our little city! Seriously, how cool is that.

Clinton Square and Erie Canal, Syracuse, N.Y.

Where we have all of our festivals now in Clinton Square is where boats used to come through! We literally party on the Erie Canal these days!

So imagine my excitement when I learned about the Canal Splash August 9th from 9am-6pm. Canal Splash is a guided cruise along the Canal Systems in Upstate NY from Syracuse to Seneca Falls. It leaves from one of my favorite locks (yes, I have a favorite), Lock 24 in Baldwinsville and will cruise down to Cross Lake, then on towards the Montezuma Wildlife Refuge, and finish at the double locks in Seneca Falls.  How is that for living history!?

You even get to ride on the famous Emita II, which is a double decker ferry tour’s really something!

emitaiiTickets for this event are a bit pricey, they’re $110 for nonmembers and $99 for members…however, included is a continental breakfast and lunch buffet, afternoon snack…so basically, lots of food! You will also return to Syracuse by vehicle and that transportation is provided. Sidenote: A portion of your ticket price is tax deductible.

Tip: Space is limited, purchase your ticket here

location: Dutchman’s Landing, 7415 Hillside Rd., Baldwinsville, NY, 13027

208. Fort Ontario

With Harborfest on everyone’s minds this weekend, we’re doing all things Oswego here on 365 Things Syracuse…have you checked out Rudy’s yet? Pardon the interruption.

As you’ve all probably figured out, I’ve got a passionate obsession with History. From museums to walking tours I’m basically down to learn about anything. It’s completely mind-boggling to me, and that’s why I love it so much.


Fort Ontario is one of those places that is jaw droppingly beautiful but at the same time completely creepy and interesting. It’s really a conundrum.

Considering the fact that in Syracuse, we only live about 30 minutes away from some pretty significant structures used during The French and Indian war all the way through WWII and on we’re pretty lucky. Not many people have this much significant history surrounding them.

As a little History lesson for you…Fort Ontario was originally constructed by the British to protect the Lake in 1755, and was used as a fort during The French and Indian War. It served as a fort for the British during the War of 1812 and during WWII it was the only refugee camp established by the United States for Jewish fleeing from Nazi Germany.

Fort Ontario is now open to the public as a part of the New York State Parks Service. They’ve done a really great job of rehabilitating the property and it is actually quite breathtaking. It even has a little spook to it! It was featured on Ghost Hunters! SEE! History CAN be fun!

It’s open to the public at varying times throughout the year, but for the summer months it’s open daily from 10am-4:30pm.  If you just want to check it out, walk around, and explore the property it’s free, otherwise it’s $4 for admission (or $3 for students!) which brings you inside the walls for some exciting history lessons, artifact admiring and guided tours.

Tip: Fort Ontario’s location is perfect for viewing the fireworks during Harborfest!


194. Downtown Walking Tour

downtown tourA few months ago, when the weather was chilly and the sky was gray I found myself in Armory Square on a Sunday…this particular Sunday it felt like the city was a ghost town…what’s up with that, Cuse?

A friend of mine & I began to walk all over town, until we came across the Historical Association, where we picked up a pamphlet and took a self-guided walking tour of Downtown.

This was probably one of the most interesting afternoons I’ve had in a very long time.

This book, which is put together well with descriptions of 71 buildings and a map of downtown, guides you to all the landmarks. It explains abut the Hotel Syracuse, The MOST and how it used to be an Armory, it gives detailed information about the inside of some of the oldest buildings in Syracuse…it’s really quite amazing.

I was in awe of this great walking tour, it really was fanatastic.

The weather this weekend is expected to be beautiful, what better than to stop by the Onondaga Historical Association and pick up a walking tour booklet and give yourself a history lesson!

Tip: The packets can be picked up at the front table in the entry way of the Onondaga Historical Association

location: Downtown Syracuse

179. Oakwood Ghostwalk

ghost walkI’ve got a confession to make…and don’t judge me. I totally believe in ghosts.

When I learned about the Oakwood Cemetery Ghostwalk I felt a chill…but not the scared chill, the intense excitement chill…one of those chills you get when your favorite team wins the Superbowl, or your favorite song comes on the radio.

Oakwood itself is creepy. It’s old. Built in 1859, it is home to some of the most famous Syracusians.

So, imagine the excitement when the Onondaga Historical Association announced they’d be offering ghost tours in June of this historic plot.

You get a chance to walk through the cemetery, learn about the lives of some of the most infamous people buried there and spend the evening connecting with Syracuse, past and present.

Tours are this Friday (June 28th) and Saturday (June 29th) starting at 6pm and going every 15 minutes, they leave from the Oakwood chapel off of East Colvin St. Tickets are $10 for members and $12 for non-members

Tip: For more information and reservations please call Karen at 428 1864 x 312.   RESERVATIONS ARE STRONGLY ADVISED.

location: Oakwood Cemetary Chapel

164. Strathmore Parks Home Tour

Have you ever seen Home Alone?

Remember the scene where Kevin is walking sadly down the road, and is watching all the families on his street celebrate Christmas? He looks in all the front windows and sees families smiling and laughing and having the best time.


The Strathmore Parks Home Tour is kind of like that, but instead of walking along the road being sad because your family left you in the attic by mistake, you actually get to visit these homes and check out all the fun the families that own them are having inside. You’ll be able to explore unique architecture and historical significance with the homes featured along the tour. You remember how much I love history right? This is going to be so much fun!

This event started back in 1994 and has been on the 3rd Saturday of June since. It’s a great way to explore the community, check out the old homes and spend some time in Strathmore.


This year from 10am-4pm on Saturday June 15th, get a chance to explore 8 homes in the Strathmore park area, all unique in their own way. All the information you’ll need is on the website which can be found here.

Tip: Tickets are $10 the day of the event and $8 pre-sale. They can be purchased here.

location: Various homes throughout Strathmore

145. The MOST

Deep in the heart of Armory Square sits a haunting building, massive in size and features it’s home to an old armory. It’s dynamic size and structure watches over Syracuse, it protects it…it’s awareness leads to innovation and creativity. It’s the coolest place around, by far.


After years of different uses, it settled in as a Science Museum. Now, the building gets hundreds of visitors per day, curious about cells and robots and the most hands on interesting activities in town. This building is The MOST.

Personally, I’m just plain old awful at Science. I never understood any part of it…and the only time I can really get a grasp on the way Science works is when it’s hands on…not to mention, it’s really fun to experiment with all the cool tools there!

The MOST is great, it’s a fantastic activity for people of all ages, and even caters to the older crowd too, like Tap into the MOST, an IMAX theater –the only one in town, a planetarium (!!!) and they’re always bringing really awesome features around…like interactive exhibits on Robots!

The MOST is open throughout the week (closed on Mondays & Tuesdays) and the prices vary for what you’re interested in discovering. Click here for more details.

There’s so much stuff that goes on at The MOST that my suggestion to you is to try it out for yourself…walk around, feel the learning around you and take in the gigantic structure of the old Armory while you’re at it.

Tip: Museum Week is just around the corner, Buy 1 admission get 1 free the week of June 12-16.