7 Events to Visit this Spring in Syracuse


The county seat of Onondaga County in New York State, Syracuse plays host to a large number of events throughout the year. We’ve picked 7 of the best to look out for this Spring.

(Photo: cp_thornton via Flick / CC BY 2.0)

Not to be confused with its Sicilian namesake, Syracuse is considered one of New York State’s most liveable cities. Home to a bustling university, it has a youthful energy and several notable landmarks and attractions, including the Erie Canal Museum that charts the long history of the famous waterway. If you’re visiting New York State this Spring, here are 7 great events taking place in Syracuse over the coming months.

1. Women’s Lives on the Erie Canal exhibition at The Erie Canal Museum

This exhibition explores the story of the women who lived, worked and were politically inspired by the Canal Erie. The canal, which was built to create a navigable route from New York City to the Atlantic Ocean, played a pivotal role in assisting women’s fight for freedom via the ‘Canal Boat Campaigns’, helping to spread their message across upstate New York. The exhibition is back in Spring 2021 by popular demand, having been featured as part of a larger display in the Weighlock Gallery in 2017. The showcase features a range of original paintings, photographs and writings.

LOCATION 318 Erie Boulevard East DATES Through 31 March 2021

2. Taste of Syracuse

Syracuse’s largest food festival returns to the streets in and around Clinton Square this June. Featuring the most exciting food and music in the city, the three-day festival is completely free for visitors. Sample some of Syracuse’s signature dishes from hundreds of local restaurants, watch top chefs battle it out for your palate’s attention and enjoy live music from 36 performances across multiple stages. This year, select vendors will offer two generous samples for just $1 to those with a special wristband too. The event also collects donations for charitable organizations across the city, this year running the ‘Restaurants Rescue’ campaign to help local institutions affected by the pandemic.

LOCATION Clinton Square Ice Rink DATES Through 4-5 June 2021

(Photo: Taste of Syracuse)

3. Being Human exhibition at Syracuse University Art Museum

Fans of the ancient artform of portraiture are in for a treat this Spring thanks to the hosting of a fascinating exhibition that strives to capture the essence of what it means to be human. Featuring some 25 new works of art, it draws out the nuances of portraiture throughout time and place, showing its role in reinforcing or critiquing power, exploring or crafting identity, and expressing the influence of one’s community. What’s more, it also challenges our accepted expectation of what form a portrait takes by including ceremonial objects, documentary photographs, and abstract paintings.

LOCATION Shaffer Hall DATES Through 19 March 2021

(Photo: Syracuse University Art Museum )

4. NYS Blues Festival

One of the largest free blues events in the Northeast, this three-day celebration of the best regional and national artists in Blues is back in June 2021. For three days every year, artists from a broad range of genres with roots steeped in the tradition of Blues head to downtown Syracuse. Headline performers in the past have included Buddy Guy, DIckie Betts and Bo Diddley. The festival has won multiple awards and is renowned for its work in protecting, preserving and promoting blues music and culture. As well as world-class music, visitors can also enjoy local craft beers and tantalise their taste buds with dozens of street food vendors in Clinton Square.

LOCATION Clinton Square, 161 West Genesee Street DATES Through 24-26 June 2021

(Photo: cp_thornton via Flickr / CC BY 2.0)

5. Portal: The Window in American Photography exhibition at Everson Museum of Art

This exhibition examines the role of aperture in society and explores how windows, whether in houses, vehicles, skyscrapers or storefronts, act as portals to and from other worlds. The showcase draws on pieces from the Everson Museum of Art, which boasts a collection of over 11,0000 works of art, sculpture, video and graphics. The dynamic museum is worth a trip in itself as it’s home to one of the largest holdings of international ceramics in the country. It was also the first museum to house a permanent collection of video art and the first to create a docent program.

LOCATION 401 Harrison Street DATES Through 18 April 2021

6. A Study In Intrigue at the Museum of Intrigue

Part-immersive theatre, part-puzzle game, this avatar-led experience takes place virtually in the ‘Museum of Intrigue’. Join Sherlock and Watson to solve the mystery of a string of robberies, an auction gone wrong and the untimely demise of an assistant curator. Assisted by the famous duo via video chat from the comfort of your own home, you’ll need to solve challenging puzzles, collect vital information and locate hidden clues to get to the bottom of this mystery. Scores are calculated based on your powers of deduction, creativity and ability to track down evidence. The experience is 90-minutes long and is designed for 4-10 people.

LOCATION Virtual only DATES Through 6 May 2021

(Photo: Museum of Intrigue)

7. SCREENED IN, LOOKING OUT: A Disabilities Photo Exhibit at The ArtRage Gallery

This inspiring and insightful exhibit will explore the life and work of renowned trans activist, historian and author Leslie Feinberg. The photographic series was produced between summer 2009 and 2011 and documents the artist’s forced relocation to Syracuse due to failing health. Feinberg describes the body of work as an inner struggle for articulation at a time when illness and disability – and discrimination and prejudice – were silencing. ArtRage, The Northputton Gallery, is dedicated to exhibiting art for social change, publishing work on social justice and environmental themes to a local audience.

LOCATION 505 Hawley Avenue DATES 13 May-11 July 2021