What's it like to live in Syracuse, NY?


Lauren Levine

Profile written by local expert:

Lauren Levine

When you hear someone mention Syracuse, New York, it's likely that they're making a weather-related joke. Snow is certainly a part of the Central New York lifestyle, considering residents get more than 120 inches of it per year. However, the region has much more to offer than just snow drifts and slushy water. Syracuse is more affordable than other major U.S. metro areas, making it a popular place to live for families and retirees. Young professionals also enjoy the region, both for its prices and because there's plenty to do.

Many people who grow up in Syracuse stay and then raise their children in the area. It's a comfortable place to live, and the metro area continues to enjoy improvements, including a massive cleanup of Onondaga Lake.

Convenience is a major perk of life in Syracuse. The center of the city proper is under 20 minutes from desirable suburbs, including places like Manlius, Baldwinsville and Liverpool. When you'd like to get away for the weekend, an easy drive gets you to the Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, New York. Four hours or so will have you in New York City, and three hours will get you to a Buffalo Bills game. Syracuse is also situated in prime wine-drinking territory; a short trip to the Finger Lakes region allows you to sip your way through the area's best wineries.

Rankings

U.S. News analyzed 125 metro areas in the United States to find the best places to live based on quality of life and the job market in each metro area, as well as the value of living there and people's desire to live there.

Syracuse, New York is ranked:

#48 in Best Places to Live

#78 in Best Places to Retire

6.6

Overall

Scorecard

Best Places to Live

  • Desirability
    5.5
  • Value
    7.6
  • Job Market
    6.3
  • Quality of Life
    7.1
  • Net Migration
    4.8

Read how we rank places

Syracuse, NY Quick Stats

  • 660,652

    Metro Population

  • $48,530

    Average Annual Salary

  • 57.6° / 38.9°

    Avg High/Low Temps

  • 39.1

    Median Age

  • N/A

    Median Home Price

  • 38.5 inches

    AVG Annual Rainfall

  • 5.0%

    Unemployment Rate

  • $780

    Median Monthly Rent

  • 21.1 minutes

    Avg Commute Time

What's the cost of living in Syracuse, NY?

One of the reasons you'll see extended families living near each other in the area is the low housing costs: You can be close to relatives without having to live in the same house, since many residents can afford to branch out on their own. The median home sale price in Syracuse is much lower than in other U.S. metro areas. However, Syracuse residents tend to spend more on everyday necessities like groceries and utilities. 

Value Index

Index Score: 7.6 /10

How we calculate this.


Syracuse offers a better value than similarly sized metro areas when you compare housing costs to median household income.

Buying or selling a home? Find top real estate agents in Syracuse, NY.

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What's the weather like in Syracuse, NY?

Syracuse is famous for its heavy snowfall. While some might worry that the snow inhibits a good quality of life in Syracuse, the region has mastered the art of snow removal. Meanwhile, during the summer, the area experiences comfortably warm weather, allowing residents to enjoy the area's outdoor pastimes.

Seasonal Temperature (Avgs)

26.3°F


Winter

46.2°F


Spring

69.3°F


Summer

51.1°F


Fall

Seasonal Rainfall (Avgs)

3.2 in


Winter

3.2 in


Spring

3.8 in


Summer

3.7 in


Fall

Monthly High and Low Temperatures (°F)

Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center.

What's the best way to get around Syracuse, NY?

Syracuse is a fairly car-dependent region, as there is no major public transportation system other than the Centro bus. With traffic only a minor concern though, it's easy to explore various neighborhoods or the downtown area by car. Parking is typically ample in these neighborhoods, and downtown Syracuse has a number of garages and surface lots that are available for public use.

Getting from home to the office in Syracuse takes about 21 minutes, which is less than the average American's commute. Snow can slow this down of course, but for the most part you won't be wasting away in bumper-to-bumper traffic.

For longer trips, rely on the newly renovated Syracuse Hancock International Airport or hop on an Amtrak train, which makes regional trips affordable and convenient.

Commuting in Syracuse, NY

Means of Transportation
Driving
88%
Above national average

Bicycling
0%
Equal to national average

Walking
5%
Equal to national average

Public Transit
2%
Below national average
Average Commute Time

21.1 minutes

5.0 minutes less than national average

Average Commute Times by Zip Code

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

Who lives in Syracuse, NY?

The average age of Syracuse residents skews around 39, and roughly 50 percent of residents classify themselves as religious.

There are pockets of the region that are highly affluent, such as Fayetteville, Manlius, Skaneateles and Cazenovia. However, there's a wide range of socioeconomic status in the area. Racial inequality in the city is in part caused by residential segregation. Another issue that's prevalent in Syracuse is homelessness. Though the area has plenty of Rockwell-esque neighborhoods, local leaders are faced with the task of adequately assisting a homeless population that exists primarily downtown.

When you live in Syracuse, there are certain cultural markers that are inherently understood – things like the area's devotion to famed restaurant Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, for example. These quirks may seem odd to outsiders, but if you live in Syracuse long enough, you'll learn that they're just part of life.

Age Distribution

Marital Status Breakdown


About the same number of single people in Syracuse as national average

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

What is there to do in Syracuse, NY?

Families enjoy kid-friendly events and activities, ranging from the Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science & Technology to the Rosamond Gifford Zoo at Burnet Park. Syracuse also has plenty of appeal for millennials, too. On the weekends, you'll find the bars and restaurants in Armory Square packed.

People of all ages buzz about a visit to the Great New York State Fair for some camp-like fun in the summer. When it gets cold, residents frequent ski areas like the Toggenburg Mountain Winter Sports Center. For those who prefer to pass on the slopes, there's the ice skating rink at Clinton Square.

Of course, most Syracuse residents also spend a considerable chunk of time cheering on their Syracuse Orange at the Carrier Dome.