Hudson Valley is hot right now. The trendy upstate playground has been drawing city dwellers (along with the Vanderbilts and Rockefellers) for years, but given the current sitch, it’s even more popular these days. Good thing restaurants have reopened and local developers have been going after fixer-uppers with hotel potential, like Chip and Joanna Gaines with a vengeance.
Just as New Yorkers flock to the Hamptons in the summer, Manhattan creatives come to Hudson Valley to hibernate in the fall and winter. And considering most of the land surrounding this grouping of idyllic towns and hamlets is either covered by water or trees, it’s quite ideal for social distancing and keeping your six-feet-apart stance.
Whether you’re getting away for the weekend with your besties or bae, or planning a solo trip because that’s the kind of self-sufficient traveler you are, Hudson Valley has it all. And we’ve rounded up the best places to stay and things to do while you’re there. Read on for our top recs and Insta-worthy locales.
Where Is Hudson Valley?
Hudson Valley is in New York, duh. (Hudson River, anyone?) Hudson Valley is technically comprised of a bunch of different waterfront cities and towns, as well as rural farmlands and forests, so you can easily get your glamping on here or post up in an old Victorian-house-turned bougie hotel. HV stretches as far as the capital Albany in the north, toward Yonkers and Westchester County bordering NYC in the south. For trip planning purposes, some of the best spots to check out in Hudson Valley are Hudson, New Paltz, Beacon, Kingston, Woodstock, Rhinebeck, Gardiner, Tarrytown, and Sleepy Hollow. (Yes, Sleepy Hollow is a real place with charmingly spooky vibes. But that’s a given.)
How Far Is Hudson Valley From New York City?
Hudson Valley is much closer to New York City, than, say, the Hamptons, which is why New Yorkers are trading in The Big Apple for apple picking in the sticks. Depending on where you’re heading, you can be there in as little as 30 to 40 minutes, or a few hours. From NYC to Hudson, NY it’s roughly 107 miles.
How To Get To Hudson Valley
Road trip, obvi! The scenic route is much preferred, especially if you’re traveling from non-NYC places (and if you don’t want to sit near strangers for social distance reasons). With that said, Metro-North and Amtrak are options if you don’t have your own wheels or don’t want to drive. Just mask up at Grand Central Station or Penn Station, grab a seat six feet away, and chill for two hours until you get to Hudson, or wherever you’re going. Note: Metro-North service ends at Poughkeepsie, with Amtrak’s Empire Corridor trains continuing north to and beyond Albany.
How To Get Around Hudson Valley
If you’re a Hudson Valley newbie, you might assume everywhere within the area is relatively close. On the contrary, it’s much more spread out and Ubers and cabs are somewhat nonexistent—or super f*cking expensive. So, with that in mind, pick an area and stick to it instead of trying to do the most in a weekend. Or plan ahead and hire a driver, because drinking and driving isn’t cute. We’ve also curated these thoughtful itineraries below based on geographical whereabouts and you’re welcome for that.
Things To Do In Hudson, NY
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Historic Hudson is clearly the HBIC of Hudson Valley. Not only does Hudson proper bear the namesake of the upstate hotspot, but it has one of the longest main streets, packed to the gills with cute shops, hotels, and restaurants, plus antique stores and art galleries. As for activities, when you’re not playing House Hunters: Hudson Valley or bopping from one mid-century furniture store to the next, try one of these delights:
Stop by Opus 40 in Saugerties on the drive up to Hudson. You’ve probably seen snaps of the outdoor sculpture park on your ‘gram, and it’s high time you go.
Let your inner wino loose at happy hour at Sonder Hudson on Warren St.
Be one with nature (the Catskills is right next door and prime hiking territory).
Get blitzed on a craft brewery tour with stops at Hudson Valley Brewery, Hudson Brewing Company, Yard Owl Craft Brewery, Suarez Family Brewery, and Two Way Brewing Company (you can also ferry to breweries if you don’t want to drink and drive to farther ones #smart).
Antique your ass off. The downtown stores can be pricey, but drive to nearby Coxsackie Antique Center for the good finds and then you can lunch at Reds, a locals-loved fish fry joint.
Hit up The Quiet Botanist on Warren St. for dry botanicals and apothecary elixirs.
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Forever in bloom 🌾 at the beautiful The Quiet Botanist on Warren St. #ThisOldHudson
Where To Stay In Hudson, NY
We live for The Maker, the newest boutique hotel that opened this past summer. With the trendiest digs in HV (think: a Georgian mansion filled with fringed lamps, jewel-tone interiors, lots of sumptuous velvet couches, and ‘20s vibes), rooms don’t come cheap. Peak season fall/winter rates range from $350-1,200 a night on weekends, but #YOLO. There’s an all-day Euro-inspired café, a restaurant housed in a glass conservatory, and a speakeasy-style lounge tucked away in a 19th century restored carriage house. Then there are the rooms. 11 swanky suites and rooms designed with a boho sensibility are themed after The Artist, The Architect, The Writer, The Gardener, and other creatives you can bump into around Hudson.
Outside The Maker, hang a right down Warren, then a left toward the train station and you’ll run into Wm. Farmer and Sons. This modern-meets-vintage hotel and bar room also has 11 dreamy rooms (most with clawfoot tubs you’ll never want to get out of) and thoughtful extras that really make a betch feel at home. I mean, look at these details?!
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The bright and cozy sitting area in our Anne Marie suite is perfect for kicking your feet up with a glass of wine or beer from the mini bar, challenging your travel companion in a game of gin rummy or just chilling out in front of the tube. Whatever your pleasure, relax, stay, enjoy the moment.
Their restaurant is tops for cozy, dimly-lit vibes and a damn good menu, with signatures ranging from SNAIL LASAGNA and roasted broccoli parm, to cast-iron caraflex cabbage with foie gras if you’re about that foraged life. And let’s not forget the gorg farm-to-glass cocktails.
For a more affordable alternative, check into The Wick, Hudson, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel. It’s nice, clean, pet-friendly, directly across from the train station, and right around the corner from Warren Street. Rates start at $180 a night.
Where To Eat In Hudson, NY
Aside from the aforementioned haunts, these restaurants and bars are also noteworthy in town: The Cascades for deli favorites, Swoon Kitchenbar for brasserie fare, Backbar for Malaysian cuisine, Grazin’ Diner for burgers, Hudson Food Studio for killer Vietnamese cuisine, Lil’ Deb’s Oasis and pop-up Feugo 69 for Pan-Latin nibbles and plenty of quirky flair, and the Tavern at Rivertown Lodge for brunch or dinner in a revamped 1920s movie theater. And bar-bookshop The Spotty Dog!
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Things To Do In New Paltz, NY
The adorable village of New Paltz sits in between the Gunks (Shawangunk Mountains) and Catskill Mountains, 90 miles north of NYC. New Paltz and Hudson couldn’t be more different however, and are about 40 minutes from one another. While Hudson is a postcard-perfect movie set stand-in, New Paltz is a more remote college town compared to “Upstate’s Downtown”.
There’s still a main drag dotted with the usual suspects—bars, restaurants, novelty stores, and artsy randoms—but this Ulster County enclave is also smack dab in the middle of protected nature preserves. As for other ways to pass your time, we’ve got you covered.
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🎃Happy Halloween! Don’t forget about our Outdoor Orchard Trick-or-Treat event today — we will have candy stations for kids, a spiked festive cocktail, and a $150 gift card raffle for anyone who is dressed in costume. We will be open until 7pm, hope to see you! . 📸: @diannnnneee . . . . . . #twinstarorchards #halloween #trickortreat #pumpkin #spooky #costume #fall #pumpkins #scary #boo #autumn #halloweenfun #halloweentime #photooftheday #cider #hardcider #drycider #hudsonvalley #cidertime #farmstand #tastethisnext #local #newyork #hudsonvalleyeats #upstateny #hudsonvalleyevents #getwithtipsy #hudsonvalleydogs #poughkeepsieny #upstate
New Paltz is a PSL-sipping, plaid-wearing, apple-picking basic bitch’s wet dream. And even though there are breweries and wineries galore, educate yourself and go to a phenom cidery, k? Brooklyn Cider House set up production here for good reason, and their growing grounds (Twin Star Orchards) should be your first stop when you’re ~thirsty~. Wood-fired pies, mouthwatering burgers, and hard ciders that will blow your mind await. P.S. backdrops include cute ponds and vines for one-foot-forward Insta opps.
Nestled in the heart of the Gunks is Mohonk Preserve, New York’s largest nonprofit nature preserve. Surrounding the historic Mohonk Mountain House, a Victorian “Castle of New Paltz” that dates back to 1869, you can explore the Preserve’s 8,000 acres of mountain cliffs, forests, fields, and streams from one of five local trailheads. According to mohonkpreserve.org, a day-use pass is $15 for hikers and $20 for bikers, climbers, and horseback riders (if you plan on getting your gallop on by bringing your own horse). There’s also cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter.
Stroll the impressive lineup of 17th-century abodes, churches, and archaeological sites that line Historic Huguenot Street, where the area’s first French settlers moved in.
Head to Robibero Family Vineyards to sample the local grapes, or take a short drive over to Gardiner’s Whitecliff Vineyard and Winery for an outside tasting by reservation.
Stock up on artisan kitchenwares at Blue Cashew.
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Cheers to Friday! 🥂🍂 Thank you for sharing these gorg photos of your visit @jmargaretbeauty!!
Where To Stay In And Around New Paltz, NY
Bougies and people that like to stay put can live their best life at Mohonk Mountain House. Whether you’re traveling with your boo or your (small) crew, their grand estate rooms with terraces overlooking the peaks and valleys are unparalleled in the area. Plus there’s an epic spa and we could all use a little more self-care these days. Even though rates start in the $500-700+ range, you’ll be relieved to know it’s all-inclusive style with three daily meals and unlimited activities. And I’m not talking free cards in the lounge. Try your hand at tomahawk throwing, lace up some skates over at the Skating Pavilion, become a disc golf pro, go rock scrambling through the Labyrinth and Lemon Squeeze, and do all the sporty things during a round of croquet, bocce, or shuffleboard.
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Fall is better in the mountains 🍂🏰🍁 📷: @sonoyy . . . #mohonkmountainhouse #mohonk #happyplace #getoutside#greatoutdoors #fallfoliage #fallcolors #fall #biking #nightphotography #aerialphotography #naturephotography #getaway #weekendgetaway #boating #running #familyvacation #rockclimbing #mountaintop #mountainresort #resort #autumn #mountainbiking #archery #romanticgetaway #hudsonvalley #upstateny #upstatenewyork #historichotelsofamerica #historiclandmark
Hasbrouck House: I could wax poetic for days about how awesome this undiscovered gem in Stone Ridge is. For starters, it’s a restored 18th-century Dutch Colonial mansion that’s downright dreamy—and right outside New Paltz. 25 well-appointed rooms with modern bathrooms are spread out across the main building, Stable House, Carriage House, and three-bedroom private cottage. For $250+ a night, you can expect all the bells and whistles that come with proper Hudson Valley habitats, but you won’t blow your entire paycheck staying here. There’s free parking on the premises along with doughnuts and cider in the morning, as well as complimentary passes to Minnewaska State Park and Mohonk Preserve, and there’s also plenty of forest bathing opps around their 50 acres and private lake. When you get hungry, pop into the onsite bar and restaurant, Butterfield, or be on the lookout for the Baba Vegan Food Truck that swings by once a week to satisfy plant-based cravings. A basement billiards room, hot air balloon bedecked lounge with board games, and Aesop amenities round out their list of additional perks.
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Hang in there friends! We’ll be saving this seat just for you!💕 . . . . . 📷@lavina.s #hasbrouckhouse #hasbrouckhouseny #stoneridgenewyork #catskillshotel #catskillshotels #hudsonvalleyhotel #boutiquehotel #luxuryhotel #escapebrooklyn #escapebkln #andnorth #upstateandchill #romantichotel #hudsonvalley #upstatehotel #cntraveler
Where To Eat In New Paltz, Stone Ridge & Woodstock, NY
Spend the day at Arrowood Farm Brewery, where you can sip craft ales and cocktails by fire pits while munching on Bavarian pretzels and tostadas.
In downtown New Paltz, we like Main Street Bistro, Bacchus, Clemson Bros., A Tavola Trattoria, Main Course Marketplace, Huckleberry, and IPho for banging noodle soups, bánh mì, and vermicelli.
Go into a fried chicken coma at Kitchenette Chicken Shack in High Falls—and good luck not trying to go back 20 times during your trip.
For breakfast or lunch in Stone Ridge, hit The Roost or Hash.
For one of the best dinners of your life in Hudson Valley, make a res at Butterfield at Hasbrouck House, where everything is local AF from the farm-grown veggies and cultured butter, to the house-made bread, trout, duck, and venison dishes.
For other dinner options in Woodstock and Saugerties, there’s Phoenicia Diner’s sister spot Dixon’s Roadside BBQ, Silvia, and The Red Onion.
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This is what we call early sweater weather, when the days are full of sunshine and the evenings are getting cozy. ⠀ Come hang with us this weekend ☀️🍂 ⠀ WEEKEND HOURS Saturday 12-10 Sunday 11:30-8 ⠀ Cheers! ⠀ #hudsonvalleyhappenings #fall #catskills #accordny #hudsonvalley #upstateny #hygge #farmbrewery #drinklocal #eatlocal #beer #craftbeerlover
Things To Do In Tarrytown & Sleepy Hollow, NY
Stroll the Scenic Hudson RiverWalk Park at Tarrytown, which comprises 31+ miles along the shoreline from Tarrytown up.
Visit The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze. From now through Nov 22nd, see 7,000 pumpkins light up fall nights in Croton-on-Hudson.
Get your spook on (and relive 4th grade English class) learning about the Legend of Sleepy Hollow and the Headless Horseman on a walking tour of the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. P.S., Washington Irving is obviously buried here.
Tour the gardens at Lyndhurst. Hudson Valley has been home to some of the most powerful families of New York over the years, and Lyndhurst (AKA the Jay Gould Estate) is serious goals. As one of the most impressive Gothic Revival marvels like, ever, you have to see this thing in person—and obviously take photos. Even the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is moving to Lyndhurst in June 2021 because it’s that major. While inside tours are closed for the season, you can still purchase a Daily Grounds Pass to wander around and contemplate what life must be like for the 1%.
Also worth mentioning is another one of Tarrytown’s most famous homes: Kykuit, the Rockefeller Estate. It’s currently closed due to the pandemic, but boy, will it be a beauty to see when it reopens in the new year.
Where To Stay In Tarrytown, NY
If you’re looking for a low-key weekend or a workcation just minutes from Manhattan, check into Tarrytown House Estate, where complimentary WiFi and desks make WFH totally doable—especially when you can sneak drinks by the lawn fire pits in between Zooms. This Westchester County staple has been artfully restored and now boasts several modern rooms in the King Mansion, plus 26 acres of sprawling land fit for hiking, biking, and other outdoorsy things. They’re also pet-friendly and will arm your furry friend with a BarkBox upon arrival. Take a Sleepy Hollow kayak tour through the Hudson River, pick seasonal fruit at Wilkens Fruit & Fir Farm, do dinner at Goosefeather, and let your inner athlete loose during badminton, bocce, and croquet.
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Where To Eat In Tarrytown And Sleepy Hollow, NY
Make a res at Chef Dale Talde’s Goosefeather for crazy good Chinese barbecue and dim sum under strings of backyard lights. If you’re looking for vegan-friendly options, check out Sweet Grass Grill. Waterfront tavern RiverMarket is great for a biodynamic wine list and thoughtfully curated market. There’s also The Twisted Oak for Italian-American signatures, Pik Nik BBQ for smoked meats, Bistro 12 for Mediterranean fare, and Hudson Farmer & the Fish for sweeping views and seasonal staples.
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Anytime is a good time for pizza 🍕 Come and get one of our wood fire pizzas designed to your liking. With toppings ranging from baby arugula to even jumbo shrimp 🍤 and much more! * * * * * #pizza #woodfiredpizza #tarrytown #restaurant #yummy #delicious #swag #cool #pretty #foodporn #appealing #drinks #cocktails #togo #takeout #delivery #ubereatsdelivery #doordash #goodtimes #drinks #slurp #bar #liquor #thirsty #instagood #wow #drinkup #photooftheday #greattime #instadaily
More Places We Love In Hudson Valley
Cedar Lakes Estate in Port Jervis, NY: Escape to the heart of Hudson Valley where your personal pine cottage is waiting. Cedar Lakes is now booking three- and four-night stays through winter. All meals, a selection of beverages (boozy and non), and use of the property are included in the $125 per person, per night resort fee. You’ll also be treated to the following comped activities: Monday night football in their Treehouse (!), morning farmer’s markets stocked with fresh produce, Friday night trivia, and Saturday fall fests with campy pastimes (think canoeing, tennis, fishing, basketball, field games, and more). Did we mention there are Bob Ross-inspired paint nights? (BYO wig!)
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GOOD NEWS! We are now offering shorter stays beginning October 5 🍂 Come enjoy 3-night stays, either Monday-Thursday or Thursday-Sunday in our Sleepy Pine Cottages or Garden Suites beginning October 5.* (All other cottages continue to require a 6-night stay.) Interested in the Farmhouse? Enter FALLFARMHOUSE for 20% off from now until November 22 🎃 *All accommodations are Monday-Sunday for Thanksgiving week
Crabtree’s Kittle House Restaurant & Inn in Chappaqua, NY: Crabtree is another beyond-cute inn made for a romantic getaway with your main. Nestled in a hamlet in Westchester County, it has charm for days and maybe a few ghosts, since it was built in 1790 and served as a former roadhouse during the Prohibition era. Famous for hosting late-night ragers before becoming a private girls’ school and then a restaurant and inn, it has quite the collection of stories within its walls (along with an award-winning wine cellar in the basement). The restaurant’s ever-changing, locally-sourced menu also makes this landmark a one-stop shop for old-world accommodations and fine dining.
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Treat Dad to a special Father’s Day this Sunday! Choose from our brunch and dinner options on premise and takeout ➡️ www.crabtreeskittlehouse.com/dining #fathersday #dad #garden #outside #socialdistancing #brunch #dinner #takeout #togo #curbside #family #together #special #hudsonvalley #westchester
Image: Mohonk Rd, New Paltz. Jueun Song / Unsplash
Listen up, freshmen. We’re bringing back Betches Love This College, where we give you the no-BS rundown of all the schools you’re thinking of applying to. It’s all the sh*t your guidance counselor will never say.
Dear Orange Friends,
In the heart of Upstate New York, Syracuse University serves as a home to Barstool’s most idiotic, the entire female population of Long Island, and our mascot, a literal f*cking orange named Otto. Known for its school spirit and occasionally good basketball team, Syracuse tends to pop up on many students’ list of safety schools.
Ranked at 53 in the country, Syracuse is the top school for B+ students. While some programs are more difficult to get into than others, the overall mentality at Syracuse is “here for the college experience” also known as blacking out on Tuesdays and getting STDs you can’t pronounce.
The likes of Joe Biden, Aaron Sorkin, Jessie Mueller, Taye Diggs, and Col. Eileen Collins (she’s the first female space shuttle commander f*cking duh) walked on the very same promenade as you. JK the million dollar promenade is like three years old. But they probs sat in the same drafty buildings as you, because those are like, historical artifacts. One building was even used as the Addams Family house.
Syracuse is one big orange family. By that I mean the entire school has a weird obsession with The Dean, Kent Syverud, and the head of construction, Pete Sala. Between these odd characters and last year’s mumps epidemic, there has been no shortage of memes surrounding Syracuse life. And that’s all you need to know about any college right? It’s meme-able. Also, Terry from Brooklyn Nine-Nine went here, so that’s v important.
To give you the real scoop on what goes down at this extremely well-known but mildly-respected college, we’ve broken everything down into categories.
Whitman: They probably have their impress score in their Tinder bio and truly believe that being in Whitman is a personality trait. The typical day-to-day outfit of a Whitman student is a suit, a Canada Goose coat, and death in their eyes. Whitman is home to dozens of frat boys awaiting the day their dads hand them over the company keys. The girls in Whitman come in two types: Boss betches and betches looking to get wifed (some ladies are even doing guys’ homework. For free. We’re sending help ASAP).
Newhouse: Truly a mixed bag in here. You’ve got students who are die-hard first amendment, tape themselves to the White House fence, protest a protest type of people. Then you have Becca from Long Island whose greatest aspiration is doing PR for Glossier-there’s no in between.
iSchool: They’re the people you go to with literally any technology question, even though they probably don’t have the solution. These people were smart and didn’t ED Whitman or Newhouse because they’re actually learning valuable skills like coding and sh*t. They’re going to be making bank long before you’ve even thought about moving out of your parent’s garage.
Engineering And Computer Science: The less relevant version of the iSchool but still really smart. They take a sh*t ton of math classes, so that’s clearly not the major for most of us. Thank u, next.
Visual And Performing Arts: A huge range of majors in here. We’ve got all your high school band geeks making it big time, aspiring opera singers, and professional clarinet players. The worst building on campus to study in, needless to say. The highlight major in VPA is for sure Com Design. They’re the designated artsy friend, can Facetune your pictures to Vogue quality, and are like super creative. Just be aware that if you do choose to go down this path you’ll be spending most of your days in the Warehouse until 4 am.
Architecture: Every so often you’ll see one of these students crawl out of the woodwork. Architecture students are a rarity. They’re either asleep, chained to their desks, or a combination of both (which happens way more often than you’d think). Your best shot at seeing an Architecture student in the wild is when they’re drowning their sorrows in alcohol.
College Of Arts And Sciences: All the kids who didn’t get into Newhouse, Whitman, and are undecided until they’re forced to pick a major after being threatened by guidance counselors.
Maxwell: Do not make the mistake of assuming that these students are in the College of Arts and Sciences BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT and they will literally eat you for breakfast if you assume otherwise. But for reals, don’t argue with them cause all these kids end up being lawyers or politicians. Not worth your time.
School Of Education: These students are either the moms of the friend group or the drunken child that needs to be escorted home by campus police and hooked up to an IV the next morning. The teachers of our future children, ladies and gentlemen.
Falk: Half of Falk is really athletic and wants to like, manage a sports team. The other half of Falk just really likes to eat. They legit can take cooking classes for their major and now I’m questioning all my life choices.
Honorable Mention – SUNY ESF: These students walk around with fake squirrel tails attached to their ass, major in sunflowers, doesn’t wear shoes 99% of the time, and will literally fight you for killing a bug. Long live the roaches.
Freshman: Freshman break down into two categories: The first bunch are in Day or Flint Hall and are 1000% from New York or New Jersey. They came to school with literally 30 best friends because they did a meet-up at Cantina in the city. They Instagram from every single night they go out on a blank wall in the dorm then edit using the C1 filter from VSCO. Captions are typically along the lines of “you better get used to seeing these faces”. All of their tailgate clothes are custom done by Snipped & Styled or By Gabby.
The second live in Haven, Dellplain or BBB. Their entire friend group consists of people from their floor who they swear will be their besties for life. They walked into college not knowing one human, brought a purse to DJ’s on their first night out, and spent a dangerous amount of time seeking out parties that would let them in based on their boy-to-girl group ratio. These students come from states other than the East Coast (see: Ohio, California, Nebraska, etc.) or are international students (see: China, Canada, Spain, etc.). In case you’re wondering, I was this freshman. Cheers!
An easy way to differentiate between these two types of freshman is to see who ends up going to the AEPi jersey party first semester. Contrary to popular belief, this is not a party for people from Jersey, but rather a party where one must panic-call their mom to overnight their brother’s prized jersey, wear it as a dress, then do copious amounts of research about whose name is on the back.
Greeks: I’d like to start off by acknowledging that Greek life at Syracuse is straight-up abysmal. This all started back when some lame engineering frat (not even a social frat) decided to post a hazing video, in which they managed to check off every type of “-ist” and “-phobic” slur the dictionary provides. It offended every possible human on earth except straight white men (tell me something I don’t know), so you better believe this sh*t made it all the way to CNN. So now Greek life is under close watch by the Dean and a different chapter gets kicked off campus every other week. If you still exist, you better watch your f*cking backs because no one is safe (we see you in that Uber, Ron). It’s the legit Hunger Games rn. So in an effort to keep my sorority from getting abolished, we’re going to talk about Greek Life ~holistically~.
Sororities: Let’s be real here. 99% of the girls in Greek life are from the East Coast, no matter what house you’re in. One house to the next varies in their differentiation of basic b*tch – from earth loving-hoes to wannabe Insta-models to actual Insta-models to dripping in daddy’s credit card–you get the whole swatch of sorority stereotype all on one campus. What a wonderful cultural experience. Also, rush seems like a WAY bigger deal than it actually is (I almost anxious puked in a house) but the secret is, once you’re in a sorority, all the frats become your playground. Don’t try to BS me that you’re doing this sh*t for sisterhood or philanthropies. We all know you just want to get dicked by a ZBT guy your friend f*cked last week cause he’s kinda hot and she said it was actually good and now you’re like, so jealous.
Pro tip: If you don’t find a house you like (or you wrecked your GPA and can’t rush) just create your own house. No one will f*cking know. You can’t break the rules if you’re your own Nationals! Besides, anyone can order ~letters~ online, it’s 2018. Rush Alpha Rho Iota everyone! Alpha Sigma Sigma for hottest pledge class!
Fraternities: There are only two types of frats at Syracuse: those who host afters and those who do not. If you’re a girl, you’ll get into literally anywhere for free once the clock strikes 12, like Cinderella, but more diseased beer-pooled floors and less chivalrous men. If you’re a guy looking to rush, you’re going to want to aim to be in a frat that hosts afters, but realistically you won’t be. Good luck making it through hazing hunny. We’re talking locked in coffins on LSD and burning your Canada Goose at the stake. But it’s worth it right?? Brotherhood! Unity! SATURDAYS ARE FOR THE BOYS!
The Daily Orange: I would like it to be on the record that I was fired from The Daily Orange on the grounds that I didn’t “participate in group activities” enough. So basically I was voted out of the cult that is this student-run newspaper. I swear these people are another breed of human and legitimately think their everyday lives are scenes out of The Post. They’re always sweating and scratching sh*t down on dollar-store notepads like they’re about to break f*cking Watergate. But don’t be fooled, they report on sh*t like Trump supporters feeling ~unwelcome~ on campus *plays worlds smallest violin*.
CHAARG/Dance Works: If you host philanthropies and have formals or date nights, you’re basically a sorority. The only thing that makes these girls different is that they actually work out after a night of binge drinking and coke. The rest of us just walk-of-shame in ABC costumes in negative 30-degree weather from Castle Court (see below).
First Year Players: If I could go back in time to my freshman self, I would give her two pieces of advice: boys who ask if you want to do homework at their place don’t actually want to do homework and join First Year Players so you can make friends who are equally as obsessed with Broadway as you (rather than just drunk singing to Wicked by yourself). FYP throws insane parties on Sumner and does big-little—that’s like as Greek as you can get.
GDIs: The God Damn Independents make up like 70% of the student population at Syracuse. They f*cking hate Greek life, so don’t ask them what house they’re in – it’s deeply offensive. They usually host house parties on Lancaster or Ostrom or some street that’s probably way too far from where you live, so trekking there is a real commitment. As their name states, GDIs are independent AF and really make the most of their time at ‘Cuse. They like, actually, branch out and meet people who aren’t from Westchester and do things other than going naked to frats in the dead of winter. So cheers to the GDIs, may we know them and be them (but not actually because we’re too reliant on our sororities’ social schedules).
Castle Court: This is the place for upperclassmen frat boys and sorority girls who are “one of the boys”. She’ll remind you she lives here at least six times in one conversation. And that Castle tailgates are unreal and it’s literally SO f*cked up that DPS shuts them down after three seconds. Also, the messier your apartment, the cooler you are. I don’t make the rules, I’m just stating them. 98% of the time, all the apartment doors are open and people just enter as they please. But don’t you dare take a whippet without venmoing for it first.
Park Point: Welcome to the palace to the JABs. If you live here, you’ve for sure got a stocked bar cart that sits right under your sorority flag or a poster of a celeb you don’t even follow on Insta but claim is your “actual goals”. You for sure order Bleu Monkey an absurd amount and can never decide between Pike, ZBT or Sig Chi afters. One of your roommates probably has a small yappy dog that they bought at PetSmart but literally swears is from a cruelty-free farm in Pennsylvania. Can it, Jenna.
The Marshall: Basically the pregame to Park Point. Mostly juniors living it up in this newly built (but probably still not finished) apartment complex right on Marshall street. Location is prime with DJ’s as your backyard and Lucy’s as your front. The hallways smell like a mix of stale McDonald’s, dirty bong water and New Amsterdam. There is no one you won’t run into in this building. The elevator is basically a carousel of all your regretted hook-ups. So it’s really fun to run into Tuesday’s guy while walk-of-shaming from Saturday night’s frat boy.
Miscellaneous Housing: Off campus, there are tons of random, minorly rundown houses that probably haven’t been up to safety code since 1982. The people who live in these are either GDIs or stoners. The odd time you’ll get a few Greeks who feel like going against the grain. Off-campus houses are also the scene for GDI parties, but more on that later.
Walnut 505: A stunning building that nobody lives in ’cause it’s too far and we’re all lazy and cold. Props to you if you can make the walk, but most of us can only get as far as Kubal.
South Campus: This poor excuse for campus living was Syracuse’s genius idea to resolve their tight housing issue. So instead, they built rooms out of shipping containers down the street from a cemetery. If that doesn’t say college spirit, IDK what does. Mostly sophomores and athletes occupy this territory, but some upperclassmen like to live here because it’s cheap and on the Centro bus line. Driving through here literally looks like a deserted junkyard or something out of a post-apocalyptic movie.
Things To Do During The Day
Destiny USA: Probably one of the most ratchet malls I’ve ever been to, but you’re in bumble-f*ck nowhere so it’s the best you’re going to get. They have a huge movie theatre and PF Changs, so those are both positives, but other than that it’s looking pretty lame. Pro tip for all my fellow JABs – there are always discount Wildfox sweaters at Saks Off Fifth.
Target: It’s winter. You’ve been diagnosed with SAD. The counseling center is overbooked with other depressed people because hey, it’s Syracuse. What else is there left to do but Target? Much cheaper than finding a local Syracuse therapist and most certainly a lot more fun. Target is the answer to practically every question: theme party? Target. Pledge packs? Target. Threw up on your sheets? Target.
Skaneateles: If you’re feeling like a bougie betch, head out in your sorority sisters’ Jeep and drive to Skaneateles. It’s just outside of Syracuse and surprisingly civilized. They have a spa, mediocre shopping, a nice seafood restaurant, and a lake that makes for a beautiful (and mandatory) Insta backdrop. You can also meet up with your
smarter Cornell friends here because it’s not too far from Ithaca.
Things To Do At Night
DJ’s: If I were to encapsulate Syracuse in one way, it would be DJ’s. This bar attracts legitimately every human on campus and packs them all into a basement guarded by two obese men holding fake guns and taking 50s from freshman boys whose fakes won’t scan. Everything smells like rum buckets and sweat. There’s nowhere to move unless you lock yourself in the cage. Yes. They have a f*cking cage. DJ’s is also the ONLY place you should go for Happy Hour because it’s literally absurd. The attire is leggings and snow boots, backpacks are on, you probably still have a class at 6:00 but you’re chugging a vodka Redbull anyway.
Harry’s: In case DJ’s wasn’t disgusting enough, meet its across the street neighbor, Harry’s! Also in a basement (but this time below CVS, yum), Harry’s typically hosts upperclassmen or GDIs. Usually, the young Greeks flock to the frats or DJ’s, leaving this place slightly more sophisticated (as sophisticated as a CVS storage room full of horny drunks can be).
Lucy’s: If you refer to this place as Orange Crate, you can leave now. It always and forever will be Lucy’s so you can just GTFO now. Lucy’s is a classic Syracuse staple that caters to the legal population of Syracuse (or the people with fakes that are better than the ones from ID God). This is easily the best bar at Syracuse because it has a sh*t ton of space with both indoor and outdoor areas. They also are notorious for having the best pizza. Realistically, it probably sucks, but who f*cking cares, you’re drunk.
Faegan’s: Faegan’s is without a doubt the most normal bar out of the bunch. They’re super strict on IDs, so everyone is actually legal and doesn’t projectile vomit onto your shoes. They also host flip-night which is the most fun thing at Syracuse that you don’t see anyone go to. And by see, I mean profusely post on Snapchat. But I guess with age comes maturity, and with maturity comes less of a need to live stream your unhealthy drinking habits.
Space Camp: I’ve never been able to actually locate Space Camp because the address is ever changing, but it’s supposed to be super cool. It hosts exclusive and artsy parties attended heavily by Com Design and Bandier students. It’s your go-to place to see Soundcloud rappers and that local band from Rochester you’ve never heard of.
Good Uncle: There’s something quite dehumanizing about waiting in your pajamas in a line for food that’s cooked out of a van. But this is Syracuse, so are you really that surprised? Good Uncle is a food delivery service that brings you “New York style meals, in a Syracuse minute”, could I make this sh*t up? Everyone orders from it because of the convenience but not one person has a good thing to say about it. Except for the fact that their mac & cheese is worth the heart attack.
Bleu Monkey: Eating sushi in Syracuse is like playing Russian Roulette. Eventually, you’re going to get food poisoning because you’re eating raw fish in Upstate New York, so just pick your sushi place and ride it out. Bleu Monkey is an obvious choice, with Oishi as the runner-up (because Anthony the delivery man is the sh*t). They sure as hell don’t card at the restaurant, so you can down a bottle of sake with your California roll and have yourself a night.
Strong Hearts: Stave off the freshman 15 with the only decent salads on campus. Strong Hearts is a fan favorite among ladies and thots alike. This place is no bigger than a bathroom but I guarantee each time you go, you’ll run into at least eight people you know, or at least follow on Instagram but def wouldn’t say hi to in person. I give this place mad props for actually making tofu taste good, cause they like, deep fry it until it tastes like chicken nuggets. But it’s vegan so it’s healthy… right??
Water Street Bagel Co: If you miss your classic New York bagel, this is seriously the place to go, they’re overpriced and everything! For the perfect hangover cure, look no further than their bacon, egg, and cheese. This place is absolutely amazing, but their one drawback is that they don’t have f*cking iced coffee. Like what betch eats her bagel without an iced coffee with almond milk and Stevia? They do have coffee and ice though so I guess you could put two and two together, but I’m sorry it’s just not the same.
XO Taco: This is Syracuse’s attempt at trying to be cool and trendy. Considering the market for Mexican food was pretty open, XO Taco fit right in. They have these neon light lips on the walls, so you can for sure Insta story that upon arrival. The tacos are honestly not that good but look pretty, so use some flash and get a pic in for your aesthetic. They make good drinks and don’t card strictly, so tequila shots on me!
Pastabilities: For a long time, this was the only edible food in Syracuse. Now it has some competition, but it’s still a staple. Hands-down, this is the best pasta you’ll get in Syracuse. And it’s not even just Syracuse good, it’s good good. Their best kinds of pasta are homemade and they’re most well known for their spicy-hot tomato oil. Pro tip: If you go towards the end of the night and stay until they start closing, they’ll give you a free baguette. Free bread! What more could you ask for?
Dinosaur BBQ: People legit travel to Syracuse to try Dinosaur. It’s so successful that they even opened up one in NYC. Their sauce is on another level, but my favorite dish is for sure their poutine (that’s the true Canadian in me coming out). People also die over their pulled pork sandwiches, but I can’t relate because #kosher. I’m also pretty sure Guy Fieri has been here, so if that’s not reason enough to try it out IDK what is.
Stella’s & Rise N’ Shine: When you’re in need of a greasy brunch, you’ve got two options. Stella’s is bigger and dirtier, but way faster. Rise N’ Shine is slightly classier and has really good M&M pancakes (don’t judge my choices I’m an adult), but it takes FOREVER to get a seat. You can’t go wrong with either choice, but just know that you’re probably going to dedicate your entire morning to this brunch, so make it count.
Original Grain: This place is a little far from campus, but worth the trek every once in a while. OG does bowls, salads, and sandwiches that are definitely above average in terms of Syracuse cuisine. I wouldn’t recommend making this a regular place to grab a meal, because it doesn’t take long to get sick of. But I guess that’s like everything in Syracuse soooooo.
Kissing Bench: I’m pretty sure this was made up just to be a stop on the campus tour, but people eat this sh*t up so I guess it’s legit? Basically, if you sit on this random cement bench with a person, you like, have to marry them. Cause that’s your soul mate. But sit on it alone, and your soul mate is yourself. Spooky sh*t. I only realized this rule after some upperclassmen laughed at me while I was calling my mom on said bench. So that explains a lot.
The Legend Of 44: Syracuse’s fav number is 44, because their only good football players to ever exist wore it. Now they retired the number so no one can wear it, which was a bold choice considering our team hasn’t won in like, ever. Syracuse is legit so obsessed with 44 that they changed the postal code so it could have 44 in it. And every number on campus has 44 in it. IDK about you, but that sounds like some serious OCD sh*t to me.
Crouse Chimes: This one is my f*cking favorite. Atop the Hogwarts building (not its official name, for the record) rest a set of bells. A few selected students get the honor of playing said bells. Every. Damn. Day. I can’t explain how fun it is to hear the chime version of Little Mermaid while taking a final. Or trying to do a presentation and being rudely interrupted by the Scooby Doo theme song. The bells even have a Twitter account where you can submit songs or receive updates. It’s weird.
Standing At Basketball Games: This one’s a little weird and I have no idea the origin, but basically, you have to stay standing at basketball games until the team scores. This becomes trying when you’re f*cking blacked from the tailgate and the team sucks *ss and keeps missing, but you still have to stand. Basketball is also a huge deal at Syracuse, so that’s important to note if you’re like, into sports or something.
Before You Graduate You Should…
– Have sex in a Whitman team room or on the quad
– Skip a class because it was too cold
– Go in the cage at DJ’s
– Take the FST 422 (the beer and wine class)
– Go to a Syracuse Vs. Duke basketball game
– End up at Crouse Hospital
– Hangover-puke in your home college
– Have a public mental breakdown in Bird
– Make it through a night of bar hopping
– Dome in the dome
– Befriend the people at Orange Hill Liquor (that’s when you know)
– Smoke a blunt in the graveyard behind Lawrinson
– Witness a frat brawl (bonus points if it’s over you)
– Fall off an elevated surface and live
– Meet the screaming Jesus man on the corner of Marshall
Pepsi Campus: This is pretty self-explanatory, but Syracuse is a certified Pepsi campus, meaning they don’t sell Coke anywhere (the drink, that is). And to make matters worse, their water of choice is f*cking Aquafina. That’s enough to drive someone to full insanity. Don’t try to fight me. All waters taste different, and this one tastes like walking out of an exam you know you failed. That was poetic *hits blunt*. Pro tip: There’s a cafe under Hendrick’s Chapel called People’s Place. It’s fairly angsty and low-key dirty, but they live under a church so they can sell Coke. Because somehow the rules of sponsorships don’t apply to places of worship?
Cold AF: It’s like, record-breakingly cold in Syracuse, so if you’re not ready to tread through the snow to make it to your 8 am, this ain’t the place for you. The wind literally can make you cry some days and I’ve slipped on ice more times than I’d like to admit. The school does a pretty good job of clearing the snow, but it’s hard to keep up with it when it’s falling at like an inch a minute.
Dangerous: One thing they for sure don’t highlight on the tours is that Syracuse is scary as sh*t. The crime rate is absolutely wild, and the local folks are rather frightening. It varies from burglaries to muggings to bomb threats to gun violence, so we really run the gamut. A fun fact: The Lovely Bones is loosely based off an incident that occurred in Syracuse’s very own Thornden Park! Don’t go walking there alone kids. There was also that really fun time when a man hid in the women’s bathroom and videotaped a day’s worth of sh*tting. BTW, every reference was from 2018 alone. Good vibes.
Why Syracuse Is The Best
Okay so I may have just spent the past thousand words ripping Syracuse a new one, but that’s just to give you a fuller picture. Overall, Syracuse is actually the best. There is so much school spirit, making games and tailgates insane. It was voted in the top five party schools by Princeton Review and the booty-call capital by GoPuff. Take that information how you please.
They also have some seriously top-notch programs (if you’re into like, academics and sh*t). In 2018, Newhouse was ranked the third best and Education was ranked the second-best in their fields. Syracuse is also the eighth most represented college on Broadway as of this year. And Architecture always ranks as one of the top programs the school offers.
At the end of the day, I would not be where I am or who I am today without Syracuse (I just gagged at that sentence but it’s true). The alumni are so supportive and like, actually really want you to get a job one day, and isn’t that the point of college? So best of luck to you youngins on your college hunts and GO ORANGE!
Images: Giphy (8)