Shop, play and eat this spring in Syracuse, New York

Renowned as a fantastic shopping mecca, Syracuse certainly didn’t disappoint writer Leslie Foster and her family, who recently enjoyed an action-filled escape to the city.


Just a little more than three hours from Ottawa, Syracuse, New York, is close enough to enjoy an action-packed family weekend or March Break getaway. Here are just a few suggestions to get you started.

The MOST (Museum of Science and Technology)

Located in the heart of downtown Syracuse, The MOST is a hands-on museum that is sure to delight families with younger children. There are many hands-on exhibits to stimulate curious minds. It also offers several exhibits to entertain children of all ages, such as the planetarium, the Bristol IMAX Omnitheatre and the interactive Dancing Light Theatre; Math in Motion. We spent a long time in front of the Dancing Light screens, creating mesmerizing patterns of colours in motion. We even got a little competitive to see who could produce the most interesting patterns.

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que 

Within walking distance of The MOST, you will find the legendary Dinosaur Bar-B-Que. Food at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que is fresh, homemade, stick-to-your ribs (pun intended) goodness. While there, you can pick up some of their spice rub and specialty sauces to enjoy at home.


I always find it exciting to go into a shopping mall in the United States. I’m fascinated by the selection of stores that we don’t have in Canada. I feel like there is so much more selection and at really great value. Despite the exchange rate, I’m still walking away saving money on items I needed to purchase anyway.

Destiny USA 

Destiny USA is excellent shopping and entertainment rolled into one ginormous complex. There truly seemed to be something for everyone in the family to enjoy.

Food at Destiny USA 

From a design-your own cupcake place to sit-down Mexican-inspired food and everything in between, you should be able to find something to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters. We had lunch at Cantina Laredo, where we enjoyed table-side guacamole service.

Entertainment at Destiny USA

Pole Position Raceway – Go karts like I’ve never experienced before. Indoors. Electric. FAST. This was especially exciting for my tween son. Very friendly, clean, and professionally operated centre. We will definitely go back.

Canyon Climb Ropes Course – This is the world’s largest suspended indoor ropes course, up to 20 metres
(70 feet) in the air, with three levels of ropes, and 81 different obstacles and activities. There are no spotters required because your harness is attached to an overhead rail system. They have a smaller course for younger children.

WonderWorks – This is an indoor “amusement park for the mind.” It’s like the coolest hands-on science centre. We played in the bubble lab for a long time and thoroughly enjoyed the Illusion Gallery. If you like roller coasters, don’t miss the roller coaster simulators.

Dave and Busters – If your children love redemption games, they will love Dave and Busters.  This is a combo sports bar and “casino.” The games are redemption-style, like you find at your favourite family entertainment centre and the currency is “tickets” that you get to redeem in the store.

Syracuse proved to be a great escape. We can’t wait to go back and explore some more.