Entertainment and Events
The Syracuse Jazz Fest (http://syracusejazzfest.com) is the largest free jazz festival in the Northeast. The celebration runs for seven days in mid-June, and features a wide variety of jazz events, artists, and styles. In July, the city hosts a smaller but growing Blues Festival (www.nysbluesfest.com). In July and August, the Syracuse Pops and the Syracuse Orchestra play free concerts (315/470-1910) in the city’s parks.
One of the state’s grandest parties is the New York State Fair (New York State Fairgrounds, 581 State Fair Blvd., Exit 7 off I-690, www.nystatefair.org, 315/487-7711), featuring agricultural and livestock competitions, music and entertainment, amusement rides and games of chance, business and industrial exhibits, and talent competitions. The fair runs for 12 days, ending on Labor Day, and attracts about 850,000 people.
In November, the Festival of Nations (315/470-1910) celebrates the traditions, song, and dance of 35 Native American groups.
The best source for what’s going on where is the Syracuse New Times (315/422-7011), a free alternative newsweekly available throughout the city. Many bars and clubs are located in the Armory Square District (www.armorysquare.com).
One of the liveliest music clubs in town is Dinosaur Bar-B-Cue (246 W. Willow St., 315/476-4937), a friendly hole-in-the-wall filled with dinosaurs and blues paraphernalia, bikers and businesspeople. Live blues is performed most nights.
A good club in which to hear local bands is Shifty’s (1401 Burnet Ave., 315/474-0048). On weekends, traditional Irish music fills the Limerick Pub (134 Walton St., 315/475-1819).
One of the more unusual arts organizations in town is the Open Hand Theater (518 Prospect Ave., 315/476-0466, www.openhandtheater.org), featuring giant puppets from around the world. Connected to the theater is an International Mask and Puppet Museum (518 Prospect Ave., 315/476-0466, www.openhandtheater.org, Fri. by appointment and performance Sat.), complete with hands-on activities.
The Syracuse Symphony Orchestra (411 Montgomery St., 315/424-8222, Oct.–May) performs classical and popular music concerts at John H. Mulroy Civic Center. The Landmark Theatre (362 S. Salina St., 315/475-7979) hosts concerts, plays, dance troupes, and classic movies throughout the year.
© Avalon Travel and Sascha Zuger from Moon New York State, 5th Edition