Some folks rob themselves of the chance to enjoy the city parks, because they're just not aware of the fantastic options right outside their doors. Syracuse has a number of gems that have more than just a playground and a picnic area. Those are nice and all, but to be able to enjoy water and wildlife, flora and fauna, even trails for easy hikes, is a genuine treat.
There isn't always enough time to drive away from the city and explore the forest, but that's no reason to skip an outdoor fix. With very little investigation, it's easy to discover some of the city's not so hidden treasures.
Elmwood Park is in tight proximity to the inner city, but tucked in ever so neatly, it's like a mini getaway. With its old stone stairways and cool running stream down the hillside, it provides a wooded escape from the sounds and sights of its nearby neighborhoods. It's a fun park to explore.
Not more than a short drive from Elmwood is Onondaga Park. This is easily one of the prettiest in the city with a gazebo on the edge of the pond, a stone bridge, and hill overlooking the city. An hour or two could disappear at Onondaga, especially with a camera in tow.
Speaking of killer views of the city, Thornden Park offers one like no other. The eyes can see for miles and miles from that hilltop and if conditions are favorable, it's ideal for capturing sunsets too. Thornden is also home to the area's favorite and largest rose garden, plus an outdoor amphitheater. Photographers have plenty to aim their lens at here.
Just a stone's throw from Thornden is Barry Park, which sits within the curve of a small, but formidable wetlands site. The body of water is known as Meadowbrook Basin and becomes a flurry of feathered activity during the spring and summer. The trail that leads around it offers a detour into the wooded area alongside, which is a welcome little extra. Meadowbrook is super for a bit of birding as well.
There are more, and it's definitely worth looking into. Parks are there to enjoy. If time is limited, it doesn't necessarily mean there's not enough time to play. It merely means that it's time to take advantage of what's close at hand. Fortunately in Syracuse, there is plenty.