Summer Guide 2017

How to make the most of Syracuse parks department’s 100th birthday

Casey Russell | Head Illustrator

While April showers in Syracuse were often accompanied by snow, May flowers have sprung, and local parks and trails are the places to be all summer long.

The City of Syracuse Department of Parks Recreation and Youth Programs celebrates its centennial this year. The department encourages friends and families to get outside, have fun and participate in the many activities.

From basketball to pickleball to yoga in the park, the parks department created the City Parks Centennial Challenge to get people to log 100 activities in the parks over the year.

The department will host its first free Centennial event on Thursday — Syracuse Parks — 100 Years of Fun and More to Come — in the Onondaga Park Firebarn on 500 Summit Ave. Leaders and members of park associations and staff will speak about the parks’ history and future plans.

With more than 50 parks in Syracuse, here are a few to check out.

Barry Park


Named after William A. Barry, former commissioner of the parks department, the park located on Meadowbrook Drive is within walking distance of Syracuse University. With a baseball diamond, four soccer fields, two tennis courts and a basketball court, community youth sports teams play games throughout the year, and the park’s playground is a perfect place for families to relax on a sunny day.
Burnet Park


With a zoo, a golf course, a swimming pool and a playground, there are many recreational activities at Burnet Park. The park’s nine-hole golf course is more than 100 years old and is open through October 15 from 7 a.m. to dusk. Rosamond Gifford Zoo, open year-round, is the home of more than 600 animals. During the summer, the zoo offers animal demonstrations and pony rides. After a round of golf and a walk around the zoo, the park’s swimming pool is the spot to cool down and unwind.

Clinton Square


Clinton Square is at the heart of Syracuse and has been recognized as the gathering place for central New Yorkers for more than a century. Many know the Clinton Square Ice Rink that operates in the square during winter, but it also hosts Syracuse festivals through October and its weekly farmers market that begins at 7 a.m. every Saturday.

Elmwood Park


Elmwood Park has 65 acres filled with hiking trails, athletic fields, a playground and a picnic area with a pavilion and picnic tables. Dating back to 1806, the history of the park’s grounds is interesting. It was the location of a battle in the War of 1812 and William Pardee’s “First Class Temperance Pleasure Resort” before becoming Elmwood Park in 1927.

Onondaga Park


As part of the Onondaga Creekwalk that connects Armory Square to Onondaga Lake, Onondaga Park is filled with athletic field and courts, a greenhouse for the park’s plants, a swimming pool, a playground, a Firebarn and a gazebo on Hiawatha Lake. The park is the place to go for a stroll or bike ride with friends or family.

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