145 miles W of Albany; 245 miles NW of New York City; 58 miles NE of Ithaca
It may not have the romantic ring to it as do many villages in the Finger Lakes, and as a modern, rather industrial upstate city, Syracuse isn't vitally connected to the natural beauty of the region; however, the second-largest city in the area is the principal eastern gateway to the Finger Lakes. Syracuse is perhaps best known as the home of the NCAA National Champion Orangemen, but this city grew up on the Erie Canal and was once known as "Salt City," when its role was to supply the U.S. with salt. Today, Syracuse is staking its future on the largest mall in the U.S., DestiNY USA, the current Carousel Center that developers are remaking into a resortlike shopping experience. Beyond those outsized shopping opportunities -- I mean, experiences -- Syracuse is a city that appeals mostly to passersby and business travelers. However, it is also a good, brief gateway stop for families.