It’s time for another Central New York highlight; this time we’re looking at Liverpool. Frankly, Liverpool is my favorite suburb of Syracuse because of how much it has to offer – and it’s usually where you’ll find me when I’m not traveling afar. So, I’ve put together a fun bucket list of all of the great things to do in Liverpool, New York, not to be confused with the much more famous home of The Beatles.
Originally published on October 30, 2017. Updated and republished on November 20, 2019.
The Heart of Liverpool: Onondaga Lake Park
Onondaga Lake Park is in the center of the village of Liverpool, and is a common destination for people all around the area. Aside from the multitude of events held there, the park is a great meeting area for people (and dogs!) of all ages. There is a children’s play park, a skate park, a butterfly garden, volleyball courts, baseball fields, a long walking/biking trail, picnic areas, a marina, and even a dog park. Find whichever part of the park calls to you and hang out there! It’s one of the most popular locations in the area to go for a walk or jog.
Play in a volleyball tournament at Sharkey’s
Sharkey’s is home to several beach volleyball courts – and this year, a new winter pavilion. Throughout the year, there are leagues on every weeknight – from beginners to advanced players. But if you’re not ready to commit to a season, try out a tournament!
Tournaments and leagues now run year-long, but for the most adventurous people, sign up for the Polar Bear Tournament – you’ll most likely play in the snow! Other popular choices include the Drunk Draw (yes, it can get a little messy, but so much fun!), the Frank Memorial Tournament, and Christmas in July. They offer brackets for all levels, and a day in a Sharkey’s volleyball tournament guarantees a fun time! Check one out. The summer also offers outdoor music and Thursday night bike nights. Trivia night is on Thursdays year-round.
Join a recreation sports league
Syracuse Sports Association organizes recreational leagues throughout Syracuse, but a large percentage of them are held in Liverpool. The Kickball Park on Route 57 hosts kickball and flag football. Across the street they have bowling at Flamingo Bowl. SSA also hosts the annual Run of the Dead at the kickball park – choose to be a zombie or a runner in the Halloween run.
Go to dollar bowling night at Flamingo Bowl
Flamingo Bowl. Wednesday nights. $1. Who can argue with that? Get a group of friends together and go bowling! Wednesdays from 8:45 to 11pm, pay $6 for a lane and then only $1 for each game you want to play. It’s even just $1 to rent shoes or grab a snack from the kitchen. On the weekends late-night cosmic bowling is another great option!
PS if you go on a Monday night in the winter, you’ll probably see me. I bowl in the SSA league – but don’t be misled, I’m not very good.
Run, walk, or jog in a 5k along the parkway
The Onondaga Lake Parkway connects the village of Liverpool to downtown Syracuse, and is famous for three things – a really low bridge, variable speed limits, and being closed off for special events, particularly 5ks. The most famous is probably the Corporate Challenge, wherein local businesses form teams to race against each other. But the parkway is home to lots of other charitable and fun run/walks – color runs, bubble runs, inflatables, dog walks, a turkey trot on Thanksgiving, and ‘anything rolls’. Find which one interests you the most and sign up!
Watch an SU game at one of Liverpool’s many restaurants or bars
We’ve talked about this before – Syracuse lives and breathes for out college basketball and football teams. If you can’t make it to the game, head to one of the restaurants in Liverpool to watch the game with a few hundred of your closest friends. They get crowded, so plan to be there early! Here are a few of the more popular options to watch SU sports: The Barking Gull, The Cobblestone, and The Retreat. Choose one, or hop around between them! They are all walkable to each other. And if the weather is nice, most have outdoor seating as well (note that The Barking Gull is seasonal and closed during the colder months).
Walk or drive through Lights on the Lake
Lights on the Lake is a Christmas tradition in Central New York! Running from mid-November to early January every year, you can enjoy the two-mile long light display while listening to holiday music at the Onondaga Lake Parkway. Tickets are typically $10-$20 per car, but you can save some money by pre-purchasing your tickets or showing your Wegmans shoppers club card on a Monday or Tuesday night. Even better? Go on the first two nights of the season for FREE. The first night of Lights on the Lake is open for people to walk through; the second night is a dog walk!
Heid’s is a classic in Liverpool, right at the big intersection in the center of the village. So famous that it’s even been featured on Man Vs. Food on the Travel Channel. Your visit in Liverpool is not complete without stopping at Heid’s for a hot dog and fries!
… Or a burger from Village Burger
Prefer hamburgers over hot dogs? No worries. Across the street you’ll find Village Burger, the home of some of the most creative and elaborate burgers you’ll ever find. My favorite? The Hollywood burger topped with avocado.
If you’re feeling up to the challenge, make an appointment to try the ‘Towering Inferno’ – a one-pound burger with all the fixings and some seriously hot sauce. If that’s not enough, it also comes with a large order of bacon cheese fries topped with jalapeños. Why suffer through this? If you complete it all, you get your picture on the wall, a t-shirt, and a gift card to return.
Grab some barbecue and a cold beer
The best barbecue joint to rival Syracuse’s favorite (Dinosaur Barbecue), Limp Lizard puts up a great fight! Their jalapeño cornbread is one of their signature sides, and their pulled pork is delicious. With an abundance of craft beers on tap, make sure to include Limp Lizard on your itinerary for the day! Stop in to enjoy dinner and live music, or use them for your next event that needs catering – they are one of the best and most affordable around.
Finish your day with a creative ice cream sundae
Set in one of Liverpool’s historic homes, JT’s Creamery and Café has a delicious selection of unique and original ice cream sundae – like potato chip or PB&J! They have the classics as well, and also have options for gluten-free and vegan eaters. An adorable little spot, great for a quick sandwich or a tasty treat, be sure not to miss it!
Salt mining is an important part of Liverpool’s history, and you can learn all about it at the salt museum. The industry was so important to the development of the area, that’s how Syracuse got its name – from its sister city of Syracuse, Sicily, another city built on the salt industry.
Ska-Nonh Great Law of Peace Center
Originally called “St. Marie Among the Iroquois”, the newly renovated Ska-Nonh Great Law of Peace Center gives us a glimpse into what life was like before Europeans settled in the area. It’s such an enriching experience to learn about the natives who originally lived in the area and the struggles they endured. My favorite part of the museum is definitely the outdoor living history buildings. You can go and walk through replicas of what the chapel, blacksmith, kitchen, and other buildings were like centuries ago. Inside the museum you can also see some interesting Iroquois artifacts and how their community contributed to our modern society.
Liverpool History Museum
Lovingly called the “attic of Liverpool”, the Liverpool Willow Museum is located in Gleason Mansion, a historic house that formerly served at the town hall. The museum is only open for a brief window of time on select Saturdays. The woman who runs the museum is lovely and can tell you stories for hours, if you’d like. Two rooms hold collections of items gathered from Liverpool residents over time. My favorite artifacts were from the amusement park that used to be nearby.
More Liverpool Highlights
Say hello to the dinosaurs
Liverpool Library is one of the biggest and best libraries in the area. They always have what I am looking for and they host a variety of community events. But one of the unusual highlights of the library is the Dinosaur Garden. There are three dinosaur statues in the garden, and they even have names! ZuZu, Dhari, and Mari. This year they have added two more sculptures: dinosaur eggs and a baby dino.
During the summer you can find live music in the village park – which is also a great place to play Pokemon Go or Wizards Unite!
A few other fun facts about Liverpool – if you drive around at dusk, you’re sure to see a few groundhogs hanging out in the grass. It’s a rare day when I don’t see one! Remember, the geese own the park. Canadian geese are everywhere along the lake, so watch your step when you’re walking and be careful of the babies on the road in the springtime!
What’s your favorite thing to do in Liverpool? Let me know in the comments.