Historic Armory Square is downtown's premier restaurant and specialty retail district. Visitors can find clothing and accessories, jewelry, original art, a chocolate factory, bakeries, a brewery and other specialty retail. Located in a 19th century warehouse district, Armory Square is one of New York State's brightest examples of urban renaissance.
At the turn of the century, the area was densely built up and bustling with activity. There were more than twenty hotels in the neighborhood, servicing the railroads. The Jefferson Street Armory, built around this time, is actually three buildings and was once used to quarter the cavalry and the infantry. As the railroads declined in the 1930s, the majority of industries and hotels relocated or ceased operation. Between 1940 and 1960, many buildings were vacated or demolished.
Armory Square retains a significant and well-preserved concentration of historic buildings exhibiting a variety of architectural styles. The architectural and historic significance of the area is now recognized. In 1984, an application filed by the Downtown Committee of Syracuse, resulted in the area's designation as a National Historic District, and facilitated a new spurt of development and renovation.
Go to the Armory Square Association Website for more information: www.armorysq.org
The Downtown East area is located around one of the largest green-space parks in downtown Syracuse - Fayette Firefighters' Memorial Park, one of downtown's most beautiful parks. The mature trees, benches, fountain, and monuments to fallen firefighters make this area a popular spot for outdoor lunches and relaxation. The site of Fayette Park was originally a swamp and wildlife area, but as the land around it developed, the area became a fashionable residential district housing some of the most prominent families in the community. The Hamilton White House, built in 1832 by banker, investor, and railroad promoter Hamilton White, is reflective of this period.
Historic Hanover Square was Syracuse's first commercial district. At the center of the Square is a plaza and fountain where lunchtime entertainment is featured in the summer months. The plaza is surrounded by offices and retail businesses.
Hanover Square was the site of original Village of Syracuse well. Now listed on The National Register of Historic Places, the Square features a diversity of 19th century architecture, some of which date back to 1834 when a fire leveled the original Square. The structures on the north side of the Square were originally canal loft “double-enders.” This allowed merchants to hoist goods up into their stores from barges on the Erie Canal and then lower the goods by pulley and tackle into wagons in Hanover Square. During the Civil War, Hanover Square was the main recruiting area, and the site of spectacular bonfire made from recruiting booths at the War's end. In 1871, a huge crowd gathered here to witness the first recorded hot air balloon ascension in the Syracuse area.
Hanover Square now boasts a variety of salons, retail stores, cafes, nightclubs, and offices. It is also a residential neighborhood, as many of the upper floors of Hanover Square's historic buildings have been converted into loft-style apartments. Hanover Square offers its residents a European lifestyle, where just outside their front doors they can enjoy an afternoon in the park, an outdoor cafe, and often live entertainment.
Go to the Hanover Square website for more information: www.hanoversq.co
Heart of Downtown
South Salina and South Warren Streets are downtown Syracuse's traditional main streets, which run north and south through the central business district. These primary corridors are home to a multitude of apparel, accessory, and drug stores, discount retailers and eateries. The Galleries of Syracuse, with entrances on Salina and Warren Streets, is home to the central branch of the Onondaga County Public Library. The 200 and 300 blocks of South Salina, as well as the Dey's Building on the 400 block, are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Efforts to rehabilitate several buildings in this area are underway with state funding through the Restore NY Communities initiative, the Governor's City-by-City program, and the New York Main Street Program. This public funding will leverage over five times more in private investment. The infusion of these funds into the core of downtown Syracuse provides the means to transform the Heart of Downtown into a thriving corridor, with retail stores, restaurants, loft apartments, and 24/7 activity.
Clinton Square has a long tradition as a center of activity in Syracuse. The Erie Canal once ran through the center of Clinton Square and was the main loading and unloading point for cargo and packet or passenger boats.
Clinton Square remains the centerpiece of downtown Syracuse. It features a spectacular fountain surrounded by a plaza with outdoor seating. From June through October, Clinton Square hosts the Downtown Farmers’ Market as well as several festivals, including Taste of Syracuse, the Northeast Jazz & Wine Fest and Irish Fest to name a few. During the winter months the water feature is transformed into an ice skating rink.
The Cathedral Square neighborhood is home to many of the key civic, cultural and governmental institutions in Syracuse, Cathedral Square brings together living, learning, the arts, and service with so much style and grace that it might catch you by surprise. Click here to learn more about this exicting downtown neighborhood.
Presidential Plaza, on the eastside of downtown, consists of multi-story apartments and townhouses. Presidential Plaza's proximity to the hospitals on University Hill makes it a popular home for medical students and doctors.
The convention district is located on the southern edge of downtown. Within the convention district, visitors can find the Everson Museum of Art, which is recognized for its extensive and significant collection of ceramics, pioneering art video collection and distinctive structural design by the noted architect I.M. Pei. Also located within the district is the the Convention Center at Oncenter - one of the most flexible and versatile facilities in the Northeast. The complex, which is served by an attached 1,000-car parking garage, can be used for conventions, sporting events, meetings and conferences, banquets, ice rink events, concerts, shows, and theater performances.