What Are The Pros And Cons Of Living In Syracuse, NY?

Paige Hanawalt
by Paige Hanawalt

Syracuse is one of the five major cities in upstate New York which also include, New York City, Albany, Rochester, and Buffalo. As part of upstate New York, Syracuse is a city that will show you that it can be just as appealing as its surrounding and sometimes more famous counterparts.

Syracuse is centrally located in the state of New York and is the home of the Erie Canal. The city is known for its waterways system tracing back to the mid-1800s.

Living in Syracuse has become more attractive to young professionals, as well as college students looking for a career in education, technology, and healthcare. The pros of living in Syracuse include an abundance of outdoor activities and trails to explore, unique culinary experiences to try, a rich college community, and affordable real estate. The cons to living in Syracuse include a high amount of violence, a high tax rate, and very cold winters.

Keep reading to find out if Syracuse is the right place for you.

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What Are The Pros Of Living In Syracuse?

Syracuse boasts beautiful landscapes and plenty to do outside. It is considered a smaller city with a smaller economy but is one of the most affordable cities to live in out of all the places in New York. Since Syracuse is a diverse community, there are naturally more culinary options that you can’t find in many other places.

Best Outdoor Experience

In Syracuse, you can enjoy the outdoors year-round. Visit the waterfalls in the summertime, go apple picking in the fall, enjoy the slopes in the winter and smell the cherry blossoms in the springtime. Syracuse offers breathtaking outdoor scenery to enjoy no matter what season you’re in.

There are many great state parks, lakes, and trails to visit during the summer and spring seasons. Whether you are looking for a challenging forest hike or an easy paved walk, Syracuse has a place for every outdoor lover.

Lakes And Trails In Syracuse

Syracuse has lake parks and trails located all throughout the city. Listed below are some of the best ones to check out.

  • Onondaga Lake Park
  • Green Lakes Perimeter Trail
  • Beaver Lake Nature Center
  • Green Lakes State Park
  • Murphy’s Island
  • Thornden Park

Affordable Living

Syracuse has a high affordability rate when it comes to living costs. This isn’t due to annual incomes being high, it has to do with low-priced homes. The average home price sells at around $88K.

Half of the homes for sale in Syracuse sell for no more than $99K. Less than half of the homes can sell for as high as $700K+, but this is only 1% of the real estate in Syracuse. Surprisingly, even though mortgages are so low, the majority of residents in Syracuse rent a home rather than own a home. This is primarily due to high property taxes and state taxes, which we will cover later.

A Great Culinary Experience

Due to its diverse community and culture, Syracuse offers a unique culinary experience that you might not find in the average town. You won’t find many chain gas stations, markets, or grocery stores. Instead, you’ll find a variety of fresh markets selling different cuisines from different countries and backgrounds

You’ll find restaurants other than the expected, as well, which offer American, Mexican, or Italian food.

Best Places To Eat In Syracuse

Some of the best restaurants in Syracuse will be located in the heart of Syracuse, downtown.

  • Salt City Soup Co
  • Pastabilities
  • Kitty Hoynes Irish Pub
  • Eva’s European Treats
  • Ethioeritrea Restaurant

You’ll find foods that encompass a variety of cultures including Ethiopian, French, Irish, and more! This city will make you want to step out of your comfort zone and try something you’ve never experienced before.

College Community

Syracuse University is a private college and the treasure of Syracuse. This university is known for its school pride and sports teams.

This university offers a variety of learning experiences but their major schools are the Whitman Business School and the Newhouse Communications School. Syracuse is proud of its University Community, and its continuous growth over the years.

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Fantastic Shopping

Syracuse is home to the biggest shopping mall in New York, the Destiny USA mall. The mall is massive and houses the major big box stores including Macy’s, At Home, Forever 21, DSW, Nordstrom Rack, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Burlington Coat Factory, Old Navy, Pottery Barn, and TJ Maxx. It also includes trendier boutiques like Aeropostale, Aerie, Armani, Ann Taylor, Pandora, Pacsun, American Eagle, Athleta, Banana Republic, Buckle, and so many more.

Food includes restaurants like PF Chang’s, Poke Noodle, Panera, Salt City Eatery, Texas De Brazil, TGI Fridays, Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville and The Cheesecake Factory. There are also several fast food stops like China Express, Arby’s, and Burger King. And of course there are small dessert shops like Cold Stone and Razzle Dazzle Italian Ice.

Fun Entertainment At The Destiny Mall

The entertainment at this mall is also fantastic. They have the world’s largest suspended ropes course called Canyon Climb Adventure at Wonderworks, which also includes a science themed amusement park. After climbing and museums, you can play virtual golf, bowl, make a run through the Amazing Mirror Maze, take a ride on go-carts at the RPM Raceway, or visit the Imax theater with over 19 different theaters. Destiny Mall also has Dave and Buster’s and Funny Bone Comedy Club.

There is so much fun, food, and entertainment at this massive mall. You could take your family many times over and not see all of it. And it’s right in your backyard!

What Are The Cons Of Living In Syracuse?

Syracuse has been a community trying to grow into a bigger city with more amenities, but due to their challenges, it has made it more difficult than usual. With the homeless community and high crime rate, new businesses and complexes end up closing down or being surrounded by rough areas. This makes it hard for interested parties to live in the area and allow the businesses to thrive.

It Gets Very Cold

It’s no secret that New York gets cold during the winter months and gets more snowfall than most other areas in the United States. Syracuse as a city is known for getting the most snowfall on average in comparison to the rest of the state and surrounding areas.

Luckily, due to the state getting consistent snowfall yearly, the city is well prepared to remove large amounts of snow so as to not inconvenience its residents.

High Taxes

The affordable cost of living becomes less affordable when taking into consideration the high tax rates New York and the city of Syracuse impose. Combined, the state tax for New York and city taxes come out to be about 9%. This may not seem too bad, but if you are a homeowner in Syracuse it can get pricey.

Homeowners first pay the 9% and then add on the county tax, which is another 12%. Then add an additional school tax of 17%. In total for a property owner, your taxes total up to be about 39%.

This tax rate is the major reason why many residents don’t own a home and choose to rent instead. While the total amount of taxes and mortgage still equal less than or equal to the average cost of living in other states, compared to the median household income, this is considered very high.

A Lot of Violence

Compared to other metro areas of the same size, the crime rate is higher than average in Syracuse. Since the city put in a major highway dividing Syracuse into two sections, there has been a lot of tension between the two sides.

One side houses the homeless community and impoverished areas of Syracuse. The other side is slightly more affluent and safe. Unfortunately, the homeless and low-income households make up over 30% of the population in Syracuse.

Poorly Rated Schooling

Syracuse has an economy that has been struggling for years. This has affected the school district and the public school system. The schools rank very low due to violence, low budget, and minimal updates.

Public schools in Syracuse haven’t been able to keep up with maintaining their campuses and updating their curriculums compared to other school districts. This is due to the economy’s downturn and a lack of budget to afford new resources.

This doesn’t necessarily mean the education is poor, it just means that certain resources are lacking in the public school systems.

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Our Summary

Syracuse, New York is a vibrant and dense suburban city located in central New York. It offers many great activities for outdoor lovers like parks, trails, and lakes. If you prefer the indoors, the culinary scene here is fantastic. The housing is affordable, and there is a great college for students.

Even though Syracuse has a lot to offer, they also face their challenges as a city. The homeowner taxes are high, and the economy has had its trials over the years. This has led to other issues such as poverty, violence, and poor educational systems.

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Paige Hanawalt
Paige Hanawalt

Paige is an elementary school librarian with a passion for writing. Her hobbies include reading an exorbitant amount of fantasy, slowly teaching herself to draw, and home decor. While she isn't the most talented artist or interior designer, what she lacks in skill she more than makes up for in enthusiasm. When she's not curled up with a book, you can certainly find her curled over the keyboard.

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