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Ten Reasons to Love Winter in Central New York

Experience unique opportunities for fun and adventure on campus and in the region.

overhead view of campus with snow on the ground

Syracuse is ranked #1 for snowfall in metropolitan areas in the nation. When you see those first flakes swirling in the air, are you thrilled? Excited for snowy days and bluebird skies? Or do you shudder—and dream of warm beverages and movie nights? Whatever your feelings about winter, we’ve got some ideas to help you all make the most of it!

*The photos for this story were taken following proper health and safety precautions. Some were captured before the COVID-19 pandemic.

1.Want to build a snowman?

five people around a tall snow sculpture on a snowy hill with a brick building in the background

Snow is an invitation to play! Bundle up, grab a sled and some friends and head to the hill by Crouse College. Build a snow sculpture. See who can make the most perfect snow angel. There’s no denying winter—so we might as well love it!

2. It’s showtime

person dancing on a stage

Winter nights are long—so take advantage! The University community is bursting with creativity; keep your eye on the calendar and check out some of the dance, theater, comedy and music generated by your talented peers. You’ll find great shows to attend and maybe even an act you want to join!

Remember that students in the department of drama at the College of Visual and Performing Arts work alongside theater professional at Syracuse Stage, bringing world-class performances right to our doorstep.

a group of people on stage in a theatrical performance

3. A great ice breaker

two people and Otto the mascot holding hands and ice skating

Have you been to Tennity Ice Skating Pavilion yet?? Whether you’re a pro skater or a newcomer to ice sports, be sure to add this outing to your bucket list. Syracuse University student I.D. holders can rent skates for free, and you’ll find a wide range of ways to enjoy the rink—everything from club hockey and curling to late night skating and broomball. Ice skating lessons are available too.

You can also skate in the city! Check out the open-air rink downtown in Clinton Square and skate under the sky, surrounded by some of Syracuse’s beautiful historic buildings.

open-air ice skating rink with blue sky above it and historic stone buildings around it

4. Ready, set, slide!

person on a snow tubing sled at the top of a snow tubing slope on a sunny winter day

What would you get if you mixed a waterslide and sledding? Yup—snow tubing! While different campus groups may sponsor snow tubing trips throughout the winter, you can also get a group of friends together and head out on your own to get in on the fun.

5. Orange After Dark

three people wearing roller skates

Orange After Dark (OAD) is the University’s late-night programming, organized for and by students. OAD offers a range of free and very low-cost activities every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night to all students throughout the academic year. So, fill up those long winter weekends with on-campus shenanigans like glow-in-the-dark roller disco or grocery bingo, or off-campus expeditions to trampoline parks, game arcades, movie premiers, night-time snow tubing and more.

6. Class it up

group of people doing yoga on yoga matts indoors

We get it—motivation can be a challenge when it’s dark or cold outside, but it’s a lot easier when you’ve got a schedule to keep and buddies to work out with. At the Barnes Center at The Arch you’ll find a wide array of group classes to choose from. Or, if you prefer, try out for one of the many intramural sports teams. Go ahead and try something new! And when you’re done, reward yourself with a soak in the hot tub. 😊

7. Membership perks

two people seated and drumming

There are so many reasons to join a club: getting involved in something you care about and enjoy, new friends and experiences, memories you’ll cherish. And at Syracuse, there are more than 300 student organizations—including ones centered on winter activities, like the ski club!—to choose among. So, if you haven’t already, sign up!

8. Hot on the trail

man in coat and hat, wearing a facemask, standing outside holding a map and pointing

What’s the best way to deal with a lot of snow? Get out into it! Nothing beats fresh air and exhilarating exercise and a great way to get both is on a snowshoe hike or cross country ski. All the gear you could need is available to you for free with a Syracuse University or SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry I.D. So go ahead, strap in and explore the trails at Drumlins Country Club or check out the many fantastic local parks (which, by the way, are great for a trek any time of the year).

9. Gameday

group of sports fans wearing face masks  in a stadium cheering

Get yourself a seat in the Loud House and support our men's and women's basketball teams, or head up to Tennity to cheer on our women’s ice hockey team. Check out the winter home game schedule of our Orange athletes and get in on the camaraderie, spirit and fun!

10. Out on the town

view of city skyline under a clear sky on a sunny day

Go to the zoo, explore diverse museums and galleries, sample local restaurants and cafes for a taste of cuisines from around the world. There’s a lot to do in Syracuse and Central New York, and winter is a great time to experience it all.

Sarah H. Griffin

This story was published on .

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Also of Interest

  • Groups and Activities

    Sing with The Mandarins, Otto Tunes, or one of the five other student a cappella groups on campus. Grab a group of friends for a free movie screening courtesy of Orange After Dark. Join a fraternity or sorority, connect with your culture, get out into nature, write for a student-run publication, or fight to protect human or animal rights.

  • City of Syracuse

    Syracuse University is located in the heart of New York state, resting atop a hill overlooking the City of Syracuse. The sprawling campus is just a short walk, drive or bus ride away from downtown.