Today Downtown Syracuse is an economic center, with many insurance companies, banks, and law firms having a large presence there.
Since the late 1980s Downtown Syracuse has also increasingly become a nightlife center, with many bars, clubs, restaurants, and pubs being located in the Armory Square area. Most of Syracuse's cultural festivals, such as Oktoberfest and Festa Italiana also take place downtown. The Downtown Committee of Syracuse has also taken a great deal of effort to revitalize the area, and most sidewalks and streetlights have been restored in the past 15 years, with maps and other information posted on many street corners. Today downtown is lively on weekdays, but, with the exception of the three main Squares: Armory, Hanover, and Clinton, it is very dormant on weeknights and weekends.
Armory Square is a small neighborhood on the west side of Downtown Syracuse, New York. It began life as a busy commercial and industrial area just to the west of the central city. After World War II, Syracuse's central city became less and less populated as more housing and business facilities were built in the suburbs. In the 1980's, plans were first made to transform the languishing district into a small shopping/arts/nightlife district surrounding the Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science and Technology (formerly the Discovery Center), which inhabits the former Syracuse Armory. These plans came to fruition during the 1990's, when new stores and restaurants opened, and several new buildings were constructed in a compatible style to the early Twentieth Century architecture dominating the district.
Today, Armory Square is the home of some of Syracuse's better restaurants, at least two coffeehouses, a radio station company, dozens of small shops selling everything from band instruments to used records to women's clothing, several bars and nightclubs, a newly-restored upscale hotel, and two tattoo parlors. The area is popular with students from Syracuse University, located about three miles away.
Its borders are generally considered to be the circular road around the armory (Jefferson Street) to the south, Onondaga Creek to the west, Washington Street to the north, and Clinton Street to the east.
Hanover Square is a small triangular square in Downtown Syracuse, New York formed by the intersection of Warren, Water, and East Genesee Streets. It was Syracuse's first commercial district. At the center of the Square is a plaza and fountain where lunchtime entertainment is featured in the summer months. The plaza is surrounded by offices and retail businesses.
Hanover Square now boasts a variety of salons, retail stores, cafes, nightclubs, and offices. It is also a residential neighborhood, as many of the upper floors of Hanover Square's historic buildings have been converted into loft-style apartments. Hanover Square offers its residents a European lifestyle, where just outside their front doors they can enjoy an afternoon in the park, an outdoor cafe, and often live entertainment.