This central New York city of 145,000, like other cities in the state of New York, is constantly overshadowed by the New York City, but Syracuse has something to offer the world. The average rent here is a paltry $650, meaning that you can bunk down for the winter in a cozy habitation for far less than many other places (New York City, I’m looking at you) and enjoy the beautiful spring and summer months to your frugal heart’s content.
University Hill is located southeast of downtown. Apartments and townhouses in this area will go for a steal at around $750 for a two-bedroom.
Located just east of University Hill, Westcott Street, between Beech and Dell, hosts the area’s commerce and contains an independent bookstore, thrift stores, coffee shops, and bars. 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.
Eastwood is, as the name implies, on the east side of town and is often referred to as the “village within the city”. 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 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. 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.
As for the ‘burbs, Manlius and Fayetteville are the runaway favorites. 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.
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!