Category Archives: Spring

170. Polish Fest

A few weeks ago, I was sitting at Blarney Stone with my roommate enjoying the nice weather and the happy hour when we were approached by a man. He was a nice enough guy, his nephew had just moved to America from Poland…”Here!” he said, “meet him!” He waved for his nephew to come to where we were sitting.  We exchanged a general greeting, asked why he was here, where he’s living, if he’s enjoying Syracuse…you get the gist.

After a few moments, we left…and I’ve never seen him again.


I bet he’ll be at the Polish Fest this weekend!

Polish Fest is a huge deal here in Syracuse. There’s a large Polish population, which is pretty awesome. I like to think that our little city is a melting pot of cultures, and there’s always someone celebrating. Remember a few weeks ago, Greek Cultural Fest?

polish fest
There will be dancing, food, games, drinking, you name it! The Polish Fest is a great way to explore some great Polish culture. There will also be lots of live music throughout the festival, which is a really good excuse to get out of the house and check it out!

Head down to Clinton Square, this weekend June 21-23 for lots of Polish fun!!

polish fest 2

Tip: Find your favorite thing on the schedule & head out there, enjoy a polish sausage, and try some polish beer while you’re at it!

location: Clinton Square

167. Francesca’s

Every once in a while you stumble upon a restaurant that blows away any expectation you may have had. You are introduced to new dishes, a new way of dining. Francesca’s is one of those places.

I recently went to Francesca’s with a few friends on a Friday night. Any old Friday night you can find us dining at one of the great restaurants here in town, but tonight was special. Tonight, the weather was perfect. There was no rain, no humdity, no snow (!!!). We were set on dining outdoors, a kickoff to the summer weather and obviously to enjoy some good company.


When I was guided outside by our hostess to the outdoor patio at Francesca’s I was completely blown away. It was this large, romantic space with a wall of vines and candles and lights and grass and a fire pit…it was a game changer.


We sat at our table, unaware that we were even in Syracuse, NY. It felt like we were in a bustling city, we kept saying that tt’s not every day you find something like this in Syracuse. And on my quest to find the best patio, Francesca’s wins hands down best outdoor dining experience in Syracuse. Without a doubt. I think if you’ve got a space to utilize, you should take a page from Francesca’s book…they’re doing everything right with their patio.

The menu is unreal, their stuffed peppers, utica greens, stuffed olives, seafood chowder, scallops, chicken parm…all of it, was just brilliant. Not to mention, the desserts are to die for. The Italian cuisine is authentic, you can’t go wrong with any of it! It was one of the best meals I’ve had all year, and I’ve been frequenting a lot of restaurants in the area because of this blog…so I’ve had a lot of meals.

I strongly recommend going to Francesca’s for a meal one of these nights…if you can, go during the summer months so you can enjoy the patio! Head out to celebrate an anniversary, a birthday, friendship, love…make any excuse you can and go there. They are open throughout the week, until 10pm and closed on Sunday.

Tip: Reservations are strongly recommended. Their outdoor patio is one of the highlights of the dining experience and on the weekends it’s a long wait for a table. Get there early and enjoy a drink at the bar.

location: Little Italy, 545 North Salina Street

166. Art On The Porches

One of my very good friends from Austin was/is an artist. Before I moved from Austin, I asked him in exchange for a weekend of using my car if he would paint me a piece of his original artwork. I love it. I love unique pieces that aren’t mass produced like you’d find in IKEA…even though I LOVE IKEA.


This weekend, we’ve got a chance to add to our collections of one-of-a-kind pieces at the Art On The Porches from one of the 39 local artists on display.


Not only is this a free event (gosh, I love free events!) but it’s also a festival of sorts. Local artists will come out and display their artwork on various porches in the Strathmore Neighborhood, there will be live music, refreshmants and more this isn’t just any old event! It’s also the same day as that tour I was talking about too!

Tip: Learn more about this on the facebook page, it’s got all the details!

location: Ruskin Ave

162. Wednesdays On Walton

SetRatioSize614254-Wednesdays-on-Walton-Concerts-with-a-Cause-WebbannerTons of concert series are popping up all over Syracuse this summer. You’ll have the chance to listen to live music almost every night of the week!….maybe we are becoming more like Austin!

On the 2nd Wednesday of every month (starting tomorrow June 12th) through September 11th, AmeriCU will host The Wednesdays on Walton concert event.

Walton Street will be closed starting at 3pm and people will flock in droves downtown to listen to the live music — concerts start at 5:30. While they’re at it, music fans will end up checking out local restaurants, see lots of local arts and entertainment and enjoy the fresh summer air! This is going to be so exciting.

The line-up is awesome too, these bands are kickass and you should definitely stop downtown to see them.

Tip: This is a free event!

location: Walton Street

161. Downtown Farmers Market

The Regional Market is a great place to find fresh produce, and lots of homegrown and local goodies, but it’s only open on the weekends…and what if you need something on a Tuesday?


Have no fear.

One of the really awesome things about Austin was their farmers market during the week…it was located in the city, you could hit it up on your lunch break…it was awesome. When I moved to back Syracuse I casually mentioned this to my friend and she said we had something like that too!

Cue my excitement.

Every Tuesday throughout June-October from 7am-4pm is the downtown farmers market. Here local farmers come to sell their produce along with flowers, and other foods. This is a great mix up to the regular run of the mill lunch hour, and it does get pretty crowded! This is definitely one of those fun things to do in Syracuse!

Tip: Occasionally there’s live entertainment too!

Location: Clinton Square

160. Syracuse Chiefs

Remember when they were called the Syracuse Sky Chiefs?


Here’s a really cool tidbit about Syracuse…we’re a smaller city and we’ve got 3 semiprofessional teams here…not to mention lots of college athletics.

The Syracuse Chiefs (which will forever be listed in my heart as the Sky Chiefs) are a timeless tradition here in Syracuse. Baseball is America’s favorite past time…so why wouldn’t you enjoy hitting up a game every once in a while! I love going to their games. They’re family friendly, you can go with a large group, a few friends, an alumnae group, your sports team, the options are endless.

Tickets are always affordable, and sometimes you can find free ones through giveaways or on your birthday.

Every year I try to make it to at least one game, but judging by the excitement in and around Syracuse over the (sky) Chiefs, I’ll hopefully be making it to a lot more!

Tip: Wondering when the games are? Click here for the schedule.

location: NBT Bank Stadium

159. Blue Tusk

On my quest to find the best patio in Syracuse, I saved one of my all-time favorite bars for this.

When I started this blog a lot of people would ask me, “Why haven’t you featured Blue Tusk yet?” I didn’t want to tell people about Blue Tusk in the middle of February…then you can’t sit outside and enjoy a beer on the patio! Duh.

blue tusk

Blue Tusk is one of my favorite spots to go to in Armory Square. Hands down, they’ve got one of the best spots in town. I love their patio…it wraps around the building, it’s got a great vibe…any given day during the week you’ll see hoards of people enjoying one of the very fine craft beers and delicious food at Blue Tusk (It is really hard for me to point out what my favorite thing on the menu is…it’s all really really good). They usually have Clam Chowder on Friday…


This is one of those very visible gems downtown. One of those places that everyone wants to be at especially at 5pm on a Friday. It’s hip, cool, a lot of people enjoy going there, it gets kind of crowded but that’s all part of the atmosphere. They’ve got a great happy hour too! From 11-8pm they’ve got $1 off all 20oz pints & $10 off bottles of wine…sign me up! 

Their twitter is also really active, so if you’re looking for that certain brew, tweet to them…they’ll get back to you!…I’m still waiting for them to be the first place in CNY that has Fat Tire on tap….waiting….waiting….

I’m a huge fan of this place…every time I go downtown I try to stop in, even if it’s just for one drink. Some of my favorite evenings have started and/or ended at Blue Tusk.

Tip: Their food is great, and if you plan on having a meal there know that you’ve got to order at the counter and they’ll give you a buzzer when it’s ready.


158. Taste of Syracuse

Guys. It’s here.


I’d have to say that the Taste of Syracuse is one of the most highly anticipated festival weekends of the year. Not just because it’s obviously exciting, prime people watching, excellent food tasting and a really great opportunity to highlight the local restaurants in this fine city… but, because long ago…the Taste of Syracuse was just a tiny little street fair…and now it’s become so much more…they expect over 180,000 people to come visit this festival…considering the size of this small city, that’s quite the crowd!

So here’s how it works.

Friday & Saturday, afternoon through the evening, in Clinton Square, vendors will set up their food trucks/stands.  There are a lot of participating restaurants this year.

It is free to go to this event, you just have to have cash handy for all the tasting you will do!
Upon arrival, you begin to wander around and step into lines of some restaurants you’ve maybe never tried before, or they’re your favorite spot. You’ll then pay $1 to taste their samples.

Easy. Peasy.

The absolute coolest thing about The Taste Of Syracuse, besides being able to stuff your face for under 5 bucks… is that it’s quickly becoming a food and music festival. There are tons of live acts performing on 3 different stages, and they attract quite the crowds! Here is a schedule of the entertainment for the 2 night event.

Tip: Parking downtown is going to be chaotic…but there are a lot of free areas you can park at. Here is a list of parking areas in downtown Syracuse.

location: Clinton Square

This is an open call to all my readers and future readers…I want to know what vendor you liked the best. Whose got the best chicken riggies? the best cherry peppers? …will there be clam chowder? I wanna know!

157. Greek Cultural Festival

Remember that one time I told you about the best gyro’s in town? That was a while ago…


Starting today and continuing through the weekend is the Greek Culture Festival at St. Sophia’s Greek Orthodox Church. This is the best chance you’ve got to taste authentic Greek food, listen to Greek music (perhaps dance too!) and learn more about Greek culture.

Which…has always fascinated me…

Here you will have the chance to partake in authentic greek cultural activities…I’m most excited about the food though. So when you’re finished up with The Taste of Syracuse, hop on over to St. Sophia’s and grab a taste of Greece right here in Syracuse!

This is why I love this city, right in our own backyard there are tons of different cultures, and everyone is always willing to check them out…they’re always celebrating…and everyone loves a celebration!

Tip: There will be free parking at CBA, Jamesville-Dewitt Middle School and Tecumseh Elementary School and shuttles will transport you to and from the festival.

location: St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Church
325 Waring Road Syracuse, New York 13224

156. Seneca Lake Wine Trail Summer Kickoff

I don’t know about you, but wine tasting is one of my favorite hobbies… like I’ve mentioned before I’m not really the best at it…it’s all sort of trial and error when it comes to finding the perfect vino but it’s always a really fun time.

Summer in Syracuse is in full swing and we’re getting excited for some pretty awesome events. This weekend alone there are enough events to keep everyone fully satisfied, and throughout the summer there are tons of festivals and evening activities. It’s going to be a really great summer this year, I’m really excited for it.

seneca lake wine trailThis weekend however, the Seneca Lake Wine Trail is having one of their newer events. It’s their summer kickoff. A food and wine pairing event, where people will get the chance to go to the winery and taste summertime foods paired with their appropriate wines! Anyone who doesn’t think this is a good idea is just crazy…

Here’s how it works.

You buy your tickets here. $35 for adults (21+).
You choose the winery you want to start at… and choose quickly, they’re sold out at some wineries and the last of the tickets are going fast!Tickets are picked up at the chosen winery the day of the event.
Each attendee will enjoy a complimentary sample of the dish served by the winery, paired with a sample of wine intended to complement that dish best.

Tip: Make sure you’ve got a designated driver! They’ll have a chance to participate with non-alcoholic drinks and food pairings. They can buy tickets for a price of $25.

location: Various Wineries along the Seneca Lake Trail