Syracuse's Clinton Square features a reflecting pool meant to mimic the Erie Canal.

What IEA Nationals competitors should explore in Syracuse

To everyone competing at IEA Nationals this weekend — and especially the parents — Syracuse is sorry for the weather. Lake Cazenovia, the Onondaga Creekwalk, and Green Lakes State Park are beautiful when it’s not below freezing.

The New York State Fairgrounds aren’t exactly cozy, so we’ve put together some suggestions for indoor fun and food while you’re here.

For coffee and light meals

Without a horse to warm up or groom, this horse show morning probably isn’t as early as what you’re used to. But there’s no reason to quit your caffeine addiction now.

Cafe Kubal

324 W Water St.

Friday 6:30 a.m. -6 p.m., Saturday & Sunday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Kubal is Syracuse’s most widespread local favorite, with a handful of locations around the city. The closest one to the fairgrounds is in Creekwalk Commons, and it has any hot or iced coffee drink you could ask. Get there before 11 for their savory, spicy Breakfast Benedict or try the New York-inspired Upstate Grinder for lunch.

Salt City Coffee

509 W Onondaga St.

Friday 7 a.m. – 4 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Salt City is a relatively new addition to Syracuse’s coffee scene, and it’s also a bit further from the main drag of downtown. But that means it’s not usually as packed as the two longtime favorites. With its wide selection of teas, signature coffee drinks and seasonal food rotations, Salt City worth discovering — but it’s closed on Sundays, so get there early.

Recess Coffee

110 Montgomery St.

Friday 6 a.m. – 7 p.m., Saturday & Sunday 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.

No matter what time you get up or finish showing, Recess is there for you. It’s home to delicious homemade syrups that’ll make your mocha taste like an Almond Joy or Reese’s Cup. Plus, there are a handful of baked goods and light lunch items to make it a meal.

For food

Armory Square in downtown Syracuse is a cluster of the city’s best food, shops and fun. Tackle the MoST science museum if you have a few hours, pop into one of the many dress shops, or grab a bite to eat at one of these Horsey recommendations.

Sorry, the shops all stand alone, so you will have to walk outside a bit.

The Stoop Kitchen (full meals)

311 West Fayette Street

Friday & Saturday 5 p.m. – 10 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

The Stoop Bakery Cafe (pastries and coffee)

Friday 6:30 p.m. – 4 p.m., Saturday & Sunday 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Stoop’s Sunday brunch is full of new mixes on old classics: Lemon poppyseed french toast, hash potatoes with duck, vegan tofu scrambles. Their whole menu, including dinner, is locally sources and flips with the seasons, and you’ve caught them at a good time. And when they aren’t serving up the full menu, stop by for casual pastries and coffee. For a big group, make a reservation online — there’s a long table to fit you all.


311 S Franklin St

Friday & Saturday 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., 4-10 p.m., Sunday 4-10 p.m.

This updated Italian joint is probably Syracuse’s most popular spot for dinner, mostly because of their famous hot tomato oil. This subtly spicy sauce is great for dipping bread or drizzling over noodles. If you’re here Friday or Saturday, be sure to swing through their cafeteria-style lunch.

Original Grain

302 S. Salina St.

Friday and Saturday, 7:30 a.m. – 9 p.m.

California taste meets Central New York cold. If you’re missing the tastes of the big city or anywhere warm, stop here for poke bowls, tasty toasts, sushi wraps and any other trendy thing you can think of. It’s quick and easy to take on the go, too.

Modern Malt

325 S. Clinton St.

Friday & Saturday 8 a.m. – midnight, Sunday 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Your favorite diner just got a makeover. Traditional shakes come in flavors like Wild Berry Pop-tart, Benedicts are stacked with pork and cranberry, and french toast is crusted with Fruity Pebbles. The best part? Breakfast is available all day.

For everything else

If you’re headed to the exhibitor party at Wonderworks Friday night, you’ll realize you could probably spend another whole day in Destiny USA. Get dinner at all your favorite chains like The Cheesecake Factory and P.F. Chang’s. Grab some Syracuse-made Gannon’s Ice Cream. Watch a movie at the Regal Cinemas. Shop at all of your favorite stores. All without freezing your butt off.

Kathryn Krawczyk

Kathryn is the founder and Editor in Chief of Horsey.

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