SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) – As Thanksgiving rolls on out of here, and Christmas is merely a month away, maybe you’re looking to get into that holiday spirit.

The best part of living near Syracuse is the tree-mendous amount of displays and activities you can find around Central New York around Christmas time.

We’re here to provide you with a fun-filled Christmas scavenger hunt to help you get into the holiday spirit.

Be sure to send us pictures of you completing the activities so we can share them!

Go Ice Skating in Clinton Square

(Courtesy of Ben Verrette)

Whether you’re looking for a romantic night out, or just looking for some fun, the Clinton Square Ice Rink is a local favorite around Christmas time.

With the rink located right next to the Clinton Square Christmas tree, the area is captivating with Christmas decor and holiday music, this magical gem of Syracuse will help you get into your holiday spirit.

(P.S. the rink is just walking distance from Starbucks, so once you’re done skating be sure to warm up with a nice warm cappuccino or hot cocoa!)

Skate Rental and Admission Fees

  • Admission (12 and under): $3
  • Admission (13-54): $5
  • Admission (55+): $3
  • Skate Rental: $5

Public Skate Hours

  • Monday – Thursday: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Friday: 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
  • Saturday: 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
  • Sunday: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • School Vacations: 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Holiday Hours of Operation

  • December 24: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • December 25: Closed
  • December 31: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • January 1: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

Visit the Dicken’s Christmas Village

Although this is located in Skaneateles, just outside of Syracuse, this is certainly a location that will encapsulate visitors and thrust them into the story of Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol”.

Each weekend in December, the crew will continue their story, meaning every weekend will have a different piece of the story to tell, with the audience’s help of course.

The actors use the audience for their convenience during the course of the play, so visitors should be ready to jump into character!

Along with their fantastical storytelling, the visitors can participate in horse-drawn wagon rides, watch a variety of musical performances, and indulge in some free refreshments including roasted chestnuts and eggnog (Saturdays only).

If being a part of a timeless play isn’t really your thing, try exploring the village shops. shared the following information on merchants offering specials:

  • Emma + James and Hap + Main — $20 gift card for use on a future purchase with every $100 spent
  • The Wandering Kind — 10% off full-price styles
  • Rhubarb — savings on Swiss Diamond Cookware, Wusthof Cutlery, and Cuisinart, plus tastings from Finger Lakes Harvest (shrubs and tonics) and Ayvaco (olive oil). Follow the shop on Facebook and Instagram for additional holiday specials.
  • DROOZ and Company — complimentary gift bags and gift tags
  • Sea Culture/Sakran & Shaw — 10% off all merchandise and a free bag of Milk House Roastery coffee to the first six people who make a purchase
  • Nest 58 — 10% off all merchandise
  • The Savage Homestead — holiday shopping by candlelight with festive refreshments, and deluxe samples with every purchase. Buy 3 Get 1 Free on select candles.
  • The Local Branch — $10 gift card with purchases over $100, $20 gift card with purchases over $250, and $50 gift card with purchases over $500. Gift cards are valid through Dec. 31, 2023.

Lights on the Lake

Lights on the Lake 2

This pleasant pathway will surely leave visitors feeling that yuletide spirit.

This holiday staple consists of marvelous displays of lights along the scenic Onondaga Lake Park.

Along the two-mile-long drive-thru show, families can stay in the comfort of their own vehicles while wandering through the luminous lights while listening to some holiday hits.

According to the Lights on the Lake website, there will be a light display of Oz, a twinkling fantasy forest, colorful section arches, memorable animated scenes, and a fairy tale magic grand finale!

New Lights on the Lake includes the following items:

  • 2022 Lights in the Lake Ornament
  • 2022 Lights on the Lake Beanie
  • Fiber Optic Snowman Wand

Ticket Pricing per vehicle:

Monday – Thursday: $10

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday: $20

Ticket pricing per mini-bus: $24

Ticket Pricing per motorcoach: $75

Each charity night will cost $5 per person, Charity Nights will be held on the following dates:

  • January 9
  • January 10
  • January 11
  • January 12
  • January 13

Holiday Nights at the Zoo

A female Amur leopard cub born at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse.

This family-friendly event is certainly a hidden gem around the holidays in Syracuse.

Families can stroll through the zoo as they experience the animals walking amidst a winter wonderland like no other.

Watch as the zoo transforms into a whimsical display of lights, exerting the holiday spirit.

Guests can enjoy the interior of the zoo while warming up by a fireplace and listening to live musical performances of hit holiday songs.

Along with the display, guests can enjoy hot chocolate, s’mores, ice carving, and roving entertainers and animals on the evening exhibit.

Tickets ARE available now!

Advanced sale members: $7

Non-members: $8

Day of sale tickets for members: $8

Day of sale tickets for non-members: $9

Festival of Trees & Lights

Bridge Street: Everson Museum's Holiday Festival of Trees 12/1/17

This one-of-a-kind event allows visitors to step into the whimsical wonderland of Christmas trees.

Every year, the Everson Museum of Art captivates locals with the tradition of displaying a variety of decorated trees.

According to, the trees are decorated and donated by companies, schools, and individuals around the community.

People can purchase the trees on display, and the funds will be donated to the museum.

Trees that are purchased must stay on the premises until the festival is over.

Other events include a fashion show, a teddy bear tea party for children, and a visit from Santa.

Guest will be emersed in the scenery while listening to live music and eating delicacies provided by the Everson Museums cafe.

Entrance fees are as follows:

  • Children 12 and under: $5
  • Adults: $10

Gingerbread Gallery

This scenic beauty is located in the Eerie Canal Museum. Visitors will be graced with the unique Gingerbread Gallery that the museum hosts every year around Christmas time.

Through the streets of Downtown Syracuse, locals will be enchanted by the aroma of gingerbread as it flows through the city.

The gingerbread will be displayed in storefront windows along the street.

The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Admission fees are as follows:

  • Adults: $10
  • Children 3-17: $4
  • Children two and under are free