Shopping is a big part of the attraction in Syracuse, especially for visitors from Canada. The average Syracuse visitor spends $215 shopping on each day of their visit. Much of that takes place at the Carousel Center.
“The Carousel Center is our No. 1 attraction, and the largest shopping center in central New York,” said Danica Bryant, communications manager for the Syracuse Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Right now, it has over 170 stores. They just celebrated their 20th anniversary.”
The mall is also in the midst of a large-scale expansion that will add some 865,000 square feet of space. The addition will feature new retailers such as Sak’s Fifth Avenue and Hugo Boss, as well as numerous restaurants and a bowling alley. The project is slated for completion next spring, and the entire mall will be rebranded as Destiny USA.
For a more intimate experience, numerous shopping districts in and around town offer visitors access to art, designer clothing, jewelry and more. Near the Syracuse University campus on University Hill, Marshall Street has a number of hip boutiques and local restaurants.
A short drive outside of the city, the village of Skinny Atlas features a number of sidewalk stores, craft shops and art galleries situated along the banks of Skinny Atlas Lake.
More shopping opportunities can be found at a number of area museums, the Central New York Regional Farmer’s Market and the Paul deLima store.
“Paul deLima is a major roaster of coffee here in town, and they have a factory store, which is a cool destination for groups,” Bryant said. “They have a museum and a video, and everyone gets a complimentary cup of coffee. Then you can purchase coffee at a discounted rate.”
Gelatin in Genesee
In Genesee County, groups can indulge their appetites at a number of culinary-themed attractions. Foremost among them is the Jell-O Gallery Museum.
“We’re the birthplace of Jell-O,” said Kelly Rapone, tourism marketing director for the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce. “It was invented in our town of Le Roy in 1897. At the 100-year anniversary, the historical society opened a museum.”
Visitors to the museum and gallery can learn about the product’s past and see numerous pieces of artwork, such as original Norman Rockwell oil paintings that were used in early Jell-O ads. The museum also features the Jell-O Brick Road, the Jell-O Meter, a transportation exhibit and a gift shop.
Another favorite culinary site is Cutter’s Cheese Factory. When groups visit, the factory partners with a Finger Lakes winery to put on a wine-and-cheese tasting. Visitors can taste the New York specialties and then go into the on-site store to buy cheese, maple syrup and apple products.
Many groups also enjoy a visit to Oliver’s Candies.
“They make award-winning chocolates and western New York sponge candy,” Rapone said. “It’s a chocolate-covered candy with an airy middle that kind of melts in your mouth once it hits your tongue.
“They have a really neat snack and gift shop on the property, and they do a behind-the-scenes tour of the candymaking plant for groups.”
Chartered in 1609, Albany boasts a 400-year history and, as the capital of New York, has amassed an art collection worthy of the great state. Visitors will find art and culture in traditional venues, such as galleries and theaters, as well as on government grounds.
One of Albany’s most interesting art collections resides at the Empire State Plaza, an 11-building campus that connects the New York state Capitol with the governor’s mansion.
“It’s a huge collection — Nelson Rockefeller started it when he was governor,” said Schyler Bull, marketing manager for the Albany County Convention and Visitors Bureau. “It’s a collection of abstract impressionist art from the 1960s and ’70s.
“Rockefeller’s mother was part of a group that started a modern art society in New York. He was a huge fan of modern art, so he decided to create this collection for New York State.”
Also on the grounds of the Empire State Plaza is the New York State Museum, a large, modern building that includes artwork among its collections. Visitors will find items from the area’s Native American heritage, a 10th-anniverary exhibition on the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and a restored carousel.
The next stop for art-lovers is the Albany Institute of History and Art.
“It was founded in 1791, during George Washington’s presidency,” Bull said. “It’s older than the Smithsonian, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Louvre. It’s an incredible collection of art from this area and all over the world. They have a mummy with a sarcophagus that is actually open.”
Theater fans can choose from three different venues to see shows in the region. Proctor’s Theatre in Schenectady plays host to touring Broadway productions; Albany’s Palace Theatre presents film screenings, concerts and plays; and the Capital Repertory Theatre has a resident company that performs independent and experimental works.