My family will be taking a road trip from Chicago to the upstate NY area in August...husband, myself and 2 college age kids. I am considering using Syracuse for a base because we want to take day trips to Chimney Bluffs, Watkins Glenn and Old Forge without having to change hotels.
I have all the literature, but I am having a hard time figuring out where to stay because NY's promotions department divides the city up into areas: north, downtown, east and west and even the fairgrounds area. I am also finding some information telling me that downtown is old and tired and some areas are crime ridden, which I am having a hard time believing when I read about the Carousel Center and Armory Square for shopping.
I understand that urban areas all have their high and low points. I am just looking for some answers on what areas of the city would be safe, have reasonable hotels/restaurants/activities/shopping and be in a good location to make day trips. Also, are there areas to avoid?
We are also runners and the park area around Onondaga Lake looks like it has great running and biking paths from the pictures in my literature. Is it an ok area?
Thanks for any and all advice.