‘Cuse me Read Guide >
As with any city containing 20,000 college students, they all tend to congregate in one place. In Syracuse, that place is University Hill, so cleverly named because it’s where the University is located. We like to think that all these students flock here to be closer to the library and professors’ office hours, but something tells me it might perhaps be due to all the raging parties and plethora of bars. Regardless, University Hill is located southeast of downtown and in addition to being home to a major national university, is home to approximately 10,000 college students. Apartments and townhouses in this area will go for a steal at around $750 for a two-bedroom. Room shares are quite easy to spot and you can find yourself in roomie heaven or hell – but in a lovely five bedroom home – for around $300 a person. Although snow shoveling service isn’t included, there’s always a student around willing to do it in exchange for some ramen noodles.
If you’ve grown past your beer-pong days, but still have just enough nostalgia for them to want to stay nearby, Westcott may be up your alley. Located just east of University Hill, Westcott is home to more grown-up people who like to talk about mortgages and dog-walking, but can still tell you all about the underground indie music scene. Westcott Street, between Beech and Dell, hosts the area’s commerce and contains an independent bookstore, thrift stores, coffee shops, hipster bars and other appropriately bohemian accoutrements. Housing here is mostly single-family historic homes and duplexes, but this very desirable area is still a bargain at around $350-$400 per bedroom, depending on how nice the house is. Community Garden space is also available, so you can chit chat with neighbors while cultivating your sustainable radishes even if you don’t end up with a back yard.
Also incredibly popular with the “young-ish-but-I-pay-my-own-bills” set is Eastwood. Eastwood is, as the name implies, on the east side of town and is often referred to as the “village within the city”. Something about that sounds either creepy or endearing, but mega-popular James Street lined with shops and restaurants decidedly lends a quaint, small-town feel to the area. Housing is a bit more varied here in that you can find more apartment complexes and townhomes in addition to single family homes. There are also more converted one-bedroom apartments available, too, for around $550 each or two-bedrooms for $600-$700. A three-bedroom home will go for around $950.
Downtown Syracuse is currently doing what other cities with flagging industries are doing: redecorating. The industrial era here has definitely faded along with its lucrative salt business, yet the historical buildings and warehouses it left behind are undeniably cool. City officials have jumped on the revitalization bandwagon and are currently renovating historical properties and converting them into chic lofts and condos. For some reason, however, living in what used to be a condemned factory will cost you a lot more than a room in a stately old Victorian home in Westcott. It must be admitted, though, that downtown has made some serious strides in the looks department, so it may well be worth it. It’s currently divided into Armory Square, Hanover Square, Downtown East and Heart of Downtown and, when considered together, these areas provide all the amenities for posh urban living. Unfortunately, a one-bedroom loft will run around $1000 and $2000 for a two-bedroom condo. It’s not cheap, but it sure is pretty.
If you’re a fan of old, working-class ethnic neighborhoods, check out Little Italy and Tipperary Hill. I’ll let you guess where the inhabitants of Little Italy originally hailed from, but Tipperary Hill is the historic Irish neighborhood. Both of these spots still have a gritty feel, and it’s a safe bet that they’ll be prime real estate in a few years. Like its cousin in NYC, Little Italy is the place to go for great beer and pizza and, if that’s the budget you’re living on, staying here is affordable. One bedrooms start at around $400, and two-bedrooms can be had for as low as $500, often in large, converted historic homes. Prices are similar in Tipperary Hill, and the nearby Hawley-Green is also popular for those who like to look chic on a budget.
As for the ‘burbs, Manlius and Fayetteville are the runaway favorites for picturesque places to raise kids and vegetables. Fayetteville is just outside of Syracuse and boasts plenty of its own commerce, but Manlius is more of a bedroom community and going out to dinner will probably mean going into Syracuse proper. Homes are very white-picket-fence-y and affordable at around $1200 for a four-bedroom, ranging up to $2500 for newer, more luxuriously outfitted varieties.
Whether you’re moving to Syracuse for school, or basketball, or an extreme affinity for obscene amounts of snow, finding a place to stay is relatively easy. The only major caveat is to verify if your new abode has the utilities (i.e. heat) included in the monthly rent as that can make a massive difference when the temperature drops to fifteen degrees and three feet of snow blankets the ground, as it tends to do in this part of the world. Also similar to the rest of this area, Syracuse has a very decent bus system, but the majority of people here rely on cars for their sole transportation. As long as you’ve got snowshoes and a great internal thermostat, Syracuse offers up just about anything for your taste and budget (except palm trees), so get out there and find your winter wonderland while you can still see the rooftops!