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Roundtable: Best Places for New SU Students to Live

Roundtable: Best Places for New SU Students to Live

Relocating and starting afresh in a new city is never an easy task, and when that move means setting up a home in a new country, it’s doubly difficult. For international students re-locating to Syracuse, the internet is the obvious place to start an apartment search, but searching “best places to live in Syracuse” only gets you apartment dealers’ ads. Using Facebook to ask for recommendations about apartments requires more trust in strangers than is healthy.

To help you sort out the factors that matter most, LivableCNY convened a group of international students to discuss the best places to live in the Syracuse area. Our discussion is targeted to graduate students who will soon be starting advanced study programs. For this first installment, we focus on the opinions of Syracuse University Masters students. In our next installment we’ll talk to students at Cornell University.

As the conversation about the nine living areas progressed, there was quick consensus about the “two tiers” of available student housing. Most students will want to be in the basic tier, but if money is not an issue, the top tier apartments offer wonderful amenities and some premium services.

Basic Tier

This is the price range that most international students will want. You won’t get luxury amenities, and your utilities (heat, internet, television, etc) will be billed on top of your rent, but these options mean your monthly rent will be a bit more affordable.

A. Newbury Apartment: The panel felt Newbury offered the best option, especially you if you want a quiet neighborhood. Panelists liked the fact that most of the apartments were newly renovated and very reasonably priced. A 10-minute drive from the campus, Newbury is a pet-friendly location with multiple conveniences like free heat, free cable, online payment, onsite maintenance. In general, the U.S. is not very pedestrian-friendly, and there often aren’t good sidewalks. This is true of the area immediately around Newbury apartments.



Rate: $780 for one bedroom; $895 for two-bedroom.

LivableCNY recently published a Student Guide to Syracuse’s Neighborhoods. Check it out.

B. Nob Hill Apartment: According to our panel, Nob Hill has another name—China Town. If past trends hold, you’ll feel at times like you live in a Chinese neighborhood. You’ll smell Asian cuisine on many of building floors. There are communal laundry facilities and indoor garbage disposal units (always good to save a trip outdoors in the winter). It costs $4 to wash and dry a load of laundry. One thing worth special mention: Nob Hill is the 1st stop on the S.U. bus route. The buses stop at all four buildings in the Nob Hill complex, and you can stay inside the lobby while you wait for the bus, a big treat during the 6-month long winter. There is a convenience store across the street with basic items. There aren’t good sidewalks in the area immediately around the complex, and the car traffic can be heavy in the morning and evening.

Rate: One bedroom starts at $643, two-bedroom starts at $738.

C. Clarendon Heights: Another apartment complex owned by DLH properties, Clarendon Heights has more apartments than Newbury and is a bit closer to the university, this one has an enviable location as it I-81 is well accessible from these apartments. For internet access, the complex offers Verizon FIOS at an additional cost.

Rate Range: One bedroom starts at $595, two-bedroom starts at $735.

D. Westcott Nation: The panel liked this diverse neighborhood, and street life. In the summer there are a few neighborhood celebrations and the annual Westcott Street Cultural Fair. The neighborhood has a hipster vibe that’s captured by “Westcott Nation” moniker, and the panelists who live here said they would definitely recommend it to others because of the social scene. The Westcott nation is party friendly. As for amenities, there’s a theatre on the street, as well as pharmacies and all kinds of convenient services. But as we point out in the feature story on this neighborhood, the houses are owned mainly by landlords more interested in collecting rent than in creating a livable neighborhood.

Rate Range: Varies according to different houses (Anything between $300 to $700 per person.)
Website: (search for Westcott area).

E. Madison Tower: If you aren’t interested in American-style houses or wooden structure apartments, one urban alternative is Madison Tower located closest to downtown but still fairly close to the main S.U. campus. Panelists liked the proximity to shopping, the campus, Marshall Street (college-town bars and restaurants), and the easy walk to downtown. This high-rise building is outfitted with modern equipment. An added bonus—most of the residents are the students or doctors at Upstate Hospital so the neighborhood is usually clean and quiet. There are also townhouses available in buildings surrounding the tower. With all that, you might wonder why this complex is ranked so low. It’s because one of our panelists had her apartment robbed. “We left the sliding door to the patio unlocked, and thieves stole all our electronics—our computers, our TV and PS4. They even stole one of our backpacks to carry everything. Even worse, the thieves came back a few days later. Our neighbor saw them with a hammer trying to break in. It was terrifying.”

Rate Range: one bedroom starts at $856, two-bedroom starts at $1,200 for a two-level, two-bedroom townhouse.

F. Genesee Street: There are a number of apartment buildings and houses on East Genesee Street, but the panelists who live in this area say it’s a dodgy neighborhood. The panelists said that the neighborhood definitely “felt less safe than the areas closer to campus” and you’re quite far from the social heart of the campus. Average cost to wash and dry a load of laundry is $2.75; heat is included in the rent.

Rate Range: one bedroom $675, two-bedroom $875
Website: (search for Genesee Street).

A group of international students discussing the best places to rent an apartment around the SU campus

A group of international students discussing the best places to rent an apartment around the SU campus

Luxury Tier

In this tier, the discussion was very different; panelists mainly argued about which apartment complex had the better amenities. Seriously. As a result, you should really consider these complexes as very close—the rankings could easily be reversed.

G. Copper Beach Commons: If you’re looking for an all-inclusive, luxury apartment close to campus, CBC has what you want. Indoor basketball Courts, on-site movie theatre and in-house maintenance crew. All apartments have their own clothes washing machines, in fact, CBC apartments come fully furnished with flat panel TVs, cable and internet inclusive. CBC also provides a private shuttle bus direct to Syracuse University, as well as a weekly shuttle to Wegmans. Short-term leases are also available.

Rate Range: $1000 – $1100 per person per month

H. University Village (UV): University Village apartments are located conveniently at Syracuse University’s south campus, together with the undergraduate students’ dormitories. UV is pretty strict about security and you have to flash your ID card to get into the complex after 8:00 pm. A great bonus is UV provides free printing for your term papers. All your utilities, heat, water, and internet is included within the rent. The panelists felt the best amenity was summed up in 3 words: No. Shared. Bathrooms.

University Village Apartment. PHOTO TAKEN BY ZIXIN LI

University Village Apartment. PHOTO TAKEN BY ZIXIN LI

Rate Range: Starting from $1039 per person per month

I. Campus West: With the name Campus West you know this residential area is located on campus. It has a fully equipped fitness center, furnished apartments and study lounges with free-internet. More importantly, one of the only two Starbucks’ on/near campus is right downstairs. Each room has a private bath and an in-apartment washer and dryer.

Rate Range: Starting from $1059 per person per month.

Other neighborhoods The area we call Livingstock—addresses south of Euclid Street like Fellows Avenue and Roosevelt Avenue—are another option. One of our panelists lived in this area and she spoke about her “strict landlady who is like a surrogate mother.” Generally, this neighborhood is less tolerant of parties, and homes are often owner-occupied. For studious grad students, this might be the best option. The range of costs varies widely, and we could not find any information about standard costs. Bottom line: it’s a pleasant neighborhood, especially further from campus, but your experience will vary.

For the official Syracuse University site with information on renting an apartment, visit

A late addition to the list of available apartments is Creekwalk Commons. Learn about this brand new downtown option here.

Follow @LivableCNY on twitter to receive alerts on new articles about all that makes central New York a great place to live. The student staff are all willing to help out.

About The Author

Shuai Wang

Master of Science in New Media Management


This site celebrates the people places, and culture that make Central New York one of the most vibrant and livable regions in the country. From Auburn to Utica, from Syracuse, to Ithaca, this is LivableCNY.

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