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Living in Syracuse: Top Student Neighborhoods

Living in Syracuse: Top Student Neighborhoods

There are many reasons the city of Syracuse attracts students from all over the state. This article focuses specifically on the Student Neighborhoods of Syracuse University (SU).

SU is a popular study destination since it was voted No. 1 college for school spirit three years in a row according to Princeton Review. Meanwhile, it is upholding its rank as the No. 4 party school in the country since 2017. SU Greek life is very active, according to the SU website. But it’s not just the social aspect that attracts large numbers of students – SU brings 13 academically reputable schools and colleges together to offer a wide variety of majors from which students can choose. Still, the alleged safety issues and perception of danger in Syracuse concerns some parents and potential students.

Hall of Languages on the Campus of Syracuse University. Many Student Neighborhoods are near-by.

The view on the Hall of Languages greets SU students when they step onto the Campus.

We’ve previously shared information on the most popular Syracuse neighborhoods, and touched on the sparse distribution of human and financial resources. LiveableCNY will go into more detail about Syracuse’s Southside in a future article. For now, we want to reassure anyone considering studying at SU that there are many safe student neighborhoods. Keep reading to find out more.


On- vs. off campus


According to data provided by the university, approximately 70 percent of the student body lives in college-owned or affiliated facilities. That number is so large due to the fact that the university requires matriculating first year students to live on-campus for their first two years, unless they have immediate family nearby and can commute. Transfer students get accepted into university housing on space-available basis or can elect to live on South Campus. Since they do not have to live on-campus like new first years, many of them choose to reside in the neighborhoods around campus. In almost all cases, graduate and exchange students also live off campus.


What makes up a good student neighborhood?


There are some things to look out for when searching for a place to live off campus. The Office of Off-Campus and Commuter Services (OCCS) offers a list of questions to consider when selecting a neighborhood. If you can’t be in Syracuse while hunting for a place to live, it can be difficult to answer a lot of these questions remotely. But don’t worry; we did the research for you.


Syracuse’s most popular student neighborhoods


The University Hill area is a clear student favorite and also the most convenient option terms of accessibility to SU’s facilities, like the gyms, libraries and dining halls. It also offers quick access to Downtown Syracuse and other interesting areas like Tip Hill. This is the neighborhood where all the sports games Syracuse is famous for take place – namely in the popular Carrier Dome. It’s also where you’ll find the Marshall Street strip, where you can grab a quick bite, a beer with friends or shop for Syracuse orange apparel. Thornden Park is located right off Marshall Street, where one can find the beautiful E.M. Mills Memorial Rose Garden.


“Just stay away from the park at night,” said Joseph W. Shanley, senior patrol specialist for SU’s Department of Public Safety (DPS). “You want to generally avoid desolate areas when it’s dark,” Shanley said.


East of Thornden Park and part of the area considered “student neighborhood” is the Westcott Nation. It is home to some of the city’s most popular shops and restaurants. Students can be found hanging out at Recess Coffee or Alto Cinco.


Another popular student neighborhood is Brighton, which borders on the southwest part of SU’s Campus. Though it is mainly a residential area, there are many student-friendly places there. Brighton is reachable within 15 minutes by bus.

Inside a bookstore on James Street, a Student Neighborhood in Syracuse

Books and Melodies llc Bookstore on James Street.

Lastly, Outer Comstock and Near Northeast also qualify as student neighborhoods. Outer Comstock lies right next to SU’s South Campus and offers several student-friendly apartments. Situated northeast of Downtown and near North Salina Street is the heart of Syracuse’s Little Italy. You can find a number of affordable housing options in James Street’s apartment complexes. James Street is also home to 2 great Syracuse bookstores and one of Syracuse’s most popular tattoo shops.


Neighborhoods to avoid


“I’d say every neighborhood has its challenges, so I wouldn’t generalize,” said Shanley.

SU Department of Public Safety officer Joseph W. Shanley is known in the Student Neighborhoods of Syracuse

Students know SU Department of Public Safety officer Joseph W. Shanley as “friendly Joe.” Joe said he assures students that DPS officers are “always there for the kids.”

Shanley encourages students to aim for neighborhoods closer to SU and to be mindful of best safety practices: rent in an area with good street lighting for night walks, seek out apartments that offer privacy and touch base with current residents to make sure they’re friendly neighbors.

About The Author


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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