Syracuse, New York was recently voted as the 30th best college town in America by Best College Reviews. Besides the numerous college teams that play for Syracuse University, the city is also the home to the International League’s Syracuse Chiefs (AAA affiliate of the Washington Nationals), The American Hockey League’s Syracuse Crunch (affiliate of the Tampa Bay Lightning), and the Major Arena Soccer League’s Syracuse Silver Knights. Even with all the professional sports teams that call Syracuse home, the most popular attended games occur at the Carrier Dome on the campus of Syracuse University.
Construction of the Carrier Dome, located at 900 Irving Avenue in Syracuse, New York, began on November 11, 1978 and was completed on September 20, 1980 at a cost of $25.63 million ($94.68 million in 2016 dollars). In 1979, Carrier Corporation donated $2.75 million in exchange for the name rights to the then to be completed dome. That agreement is still in effect today but recently Syracuse University has asked Carrier Corporation for more funds if they wish to keep their name in place. The Carrier Dome is currently owned by Syracuse University and has a football capacity of 49,250. The Carrier Dome is the largest structure of its kind located on any college campus and is the only domed stadium located in the Northeastern United States.
The Carrier Dome has housed many different events over the past 36+ years. These events include high school sports, college sports, professional sports, concerts, crusades, monster truck jams and even an ice hockey game. The seating inside the Carrier Dome consists of three different levels. All three levels include flat metal benches. The lower and middle level seats come with metal backs. There are a total of 40 luxury suites, split between both sidelines and are on the second level of seating.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
The Carrier Dome has several concession stands on both concession levels. The list of food is not very long. The list consists of the common stadium foods such as hot dogs, sausages, pizza, nachos, cotton candy, popcorn, candy and ice cream but no real signature item. Soft drinks include all Pepsi products. Even though the Carrier Dome is located directly on the campus of Syracuse University, there are several items where beer can be bought. The list of beers includes Labatts, Coors, Budweiser, Michelob, Blue Moon and Sam Adams. Credit cards can only be used to purchase tickets at box office, at the retail locations, Club 44 and the Executive Club Suite. Since credit cards are not accepted at the concession stands, ATM machines are locate near gates B, C, E, M and N.
Syracuse University has had a football team since 1889 and last won a national championship in 1959. They make it to a post season bowl games on a very consistent basis. Syracuse football games rarely sell out unless they are hosting a national known opponent. The Carrier Dome has large scoreboards at both ends of the field and are easily visible from any seat. It is very ironic that the Carrier Dome is named after an air conditioning company but the Carrier Dome does not have air conditioning. Once you enter the seating area, you immediately notice the thickness of the air and the temperature level.
Due to the Carrier Dome being enclosed, you can expect to experience the crowd (regardless of the size) to be louder and even deafening at some points during the game.
The Carrier Dome is located directly on the Syracuse University campus and is surrounded but several old college buildings that ooze the college lifestyle. The closer you get to the Carrier Dome, the harder it is to see due to all of the college buildings demanding your attention with their grand appearance.
A few restaurants that are within walking distance of the stadium are Flame located at 713 East Lafayette Street, Phoebe's located at 900 East Genesee Street and Dolce Vita World Bistro located at 907 East Genesee Street.
The lack of fan support was a little disappointing especially on Homecoming weekend. The fans that were there seemed to be very enthusiastic about the team. Unfortunately, the Syracuse football team may always play second fiddle to the Syracuse men's basketball team which is consistently ranked in the top 20 throughout their season.
Access to the stadium is very easy and well marked whether you are coming from I-690 or I-81. Parking is very accessible and readily available but seemed a bit on the expensive side. Obviously the closer you get to the stadium, the higher you can plan on paying. Outside private parking areas within walking distance of the stadium start at $15.00. Covered parking can be readily found starting at $25.00 and parking distance closer to the stadium can be located starting at $35.00.
Coming in from the north on I-690, the Carrier Dome is easily located in the distance and offers an inviting appearance.
The capacity of the Carrier Dome for a football game is approximately 49,250. The ticket prices are broken down into several different price points starting with $18.00 and topping out at $180.00. All of the seats are metal bleachers with the first and second levels offering seat backs.
Before the game, the open area east of the stadiums turns into a mini pep rally. The school band is playing, cheerleaders are getting the fans ready for the game and several food and drink areas are available.
Once you enter the Carrier Dome, both concourses feel more like a museum than a walkway to get the fans to their seats. The walls are covered with pictures of prior star athletes of not only football but from every sport that Syracuse offers. The trophy from the 2003 NCAA Men's basketball championship is on display.
Even though the Carrier Dome is over 35 years old, it does not feel like an old stadium. It could use a few upgrades here and there and maybe better seats but is a great college stadium.
One word of caution...when you leave the stadium through one of the many doors, hang on to your belongings and small children. Once the doors open, a huge gust of wind assists you with your exit.
While driving on I-81 north on the road to Syracuse, you eventually go around a bend and over a hill and suddenly the city of Syracuse greets your eye for the first time. And during that first glimpse of the Salt City, the Carrier Dome emerges from the hills of Onondaga County, towering above the city on the Syracuse University hill. It's a welcomed site for alumni and diehard fans as in a few short miles you'll be exiting I-81 to find a parking spot around campus and begin a day of tailgating and football.
On this crisp October Saturday morning, alumni steadily crowded the campus and the surrounding area for Homecoming weekend. Alumni quickly pack the quad and Marshall Street, a street right off campus containing a variety of restaurants, bars, and apparel shops. On M-Street, as students affectionately call the strip, some soon-to-be Carrier Dome patrons grab a last pregame beer at one of the several bars; others find comfort in a slice of Varsity Pizza. The quad becomes one large "pregame party" as the school calls it. There, advertisers hand out every conceivable orange colored knick-knack that might make your game experience better. Discarded orange colored seat cushions, pom-poms, and roll-up banners will litter the Dome and the quad following the game.
Before every game, the Pride of the Orange Marching Band performs on the steps of Hendricks Chapel just a few feet away from the closest entrance of the Carrier Dome. When the band is done, it's time to get into the Carrier Dome to enjoy the game.
The quality of the product inside the Carrier Dome can vary dramatically. During the Greg Robinson era, the football was terrible, students were non-existent, and the crowd was quite complacent. Things have begun to change inside the Dome as the football team is getting better; the students are starting to show up; and the crowd finally provides a home-field advantage.
The Carrier Dome doesn't offer a lot of frills - but it can one of the most exciting venues in all of sports, especially for Big East basketball.
The food is standard fare with a couple minor exceptions. Parking is scattered around the hill - plentiful, but you need to be willing to walk a ways, take a shuttle, or arrive nice and early. The walk up the hill can be cold and miserable on snowy January evenings, but it is Syracuse.
A fun place - no bad seats in the house - and an entertaining and involved student crowd during the basketball season.
I did not enjoy my Carrier Dome experience. The dome is old and in need of some upgrades. Thankfully, according to the schools media relations director for athletics, the team is beginning to make some upgrades, especially to the concession areas. I am hopeful that this is improve my experience the next time I visit.
The fan base is there, and they show up and are loud if the team is doing well, but with the exception of last year (2010) the team has been down lately since McNabb played there, resulting in a lot of lack-luster crowds and a bad, stale atmosphere. They didn't even sell out for the game against old rival Penn State a few years ago.
The good news is tickets are cheap and usually easy to find, so the return on investment is good.
Be aware of where you park and allow plenty of time to ride the shuttle if it is one of the far lots.
Also, be sure to check out the Ernie Davis statue they put up a few years ago.
After going to games in Beaver Valley, this place was a little disappointing. The Carrier Dome is a very cool place but the fans just weren't as into the game as I'm used to seeing students. They weren't bad but not, well...rabid. The thing I liked best was the fact that the stadium is right on the campus. Lots of fun stuff for a young person to do. Plus I was staying at a frat house with a friend. I'm told it was quite a weekend.
Great place to watch a game, when the team is good. It gets really loud and there isn't a bad seat in the house. I like that you have to walk through campus to get to the stadium. Its a bit of a workout to get up the hill, but well worth it.
I think its the only on campus venue that serves beer. Dome beers are delicious.
As someone who hasn't been to a football game here in about a decade, my opinion is probably too dated to be useful. But that's ok; as an alum and a former season ticket holder, I wouldn't be able to be objective anyway! But I'll try my best...
"The Dome" might not quite be an iconic college football venue, but it's a well-known one at least. And frankly, considering its celebrity, you might be a little disappointed. Our football team is on an upswing, but we haven't been a power for a while. The seats are a little uncomfortable. Despite being named for an air conditioning company, there isn't any air conditioning in the dome. It can get very hot early in the season. Cuse fans aren't bad or fair-weather, but lots of us wish we were a little more passionate.
That said, The Dome is unique. Tickets are reasonably priced and the seats are good. For D1 football, it's a fairly small facility. You won't get this close to a storied program in many other places. Many of the parking lots require a shuttle, but once you're at the Dome, you're in the middle of campus and can even take a walk to downtown Syracuse.
Overall, it's not quite as special as I wish it were. And it's better for basketball.
Random tip: The air pressure is greater inside the stadium than outside. At a few sets of exit doors, you practically get blown outside. Once outside, jump up and down in between the concrete columns. It sounds likes like a light saber.
One of the more romantic sights for Syracuse University fans or students is when you drive along I-81 coming in from the East and the city suddenly greets you as you nestle yourself in the hills of Central New York. As you look over the city, you see the white puffed roof of the Carrier Dome and your day of football (or basketball) fun awaits.
The Carrier Dome opened its doors for the first time on September 20, 1980 and has remained the largest Domed stadium in the Northeast. An official listed capacity of 49,262 makes it one of the larger on-campus facilities in the nation (the largest for basketball) and plays host to a variety of events for the University. Lacrosse, basketball, high school sports, convocations, volleyball, and even softball events have been hosted on the floor of the Dome.
Football at Syracuse has been very hit or miss. Historically, they have one of the most successful teams in the country due in large part to great success early off in program history. Their lone championship came in 1959 with Ernie Davis at running back, one of the three famed backs to wear the number 44. (The other two: Jim Brown and current Special Assistant to the Athletic Director Floyd Little.)
After a dry period, there was success under Don MacPherson and Paul Pasqualoni that saw several huge names play for the Orange including Donovan McNabb, Marvin Harrison, and Dwight Freeney. Greg Robinson’s time at coach killed all of this momentum and thus a lot of the Dome’s luster as games were rarely filled. The program has begun a revival under Doug Marrone and current (2013) coach Scott Shafer.
I've been to the Carrier Dome for Basketball but took my first trip for Football back in 2010. It was a big game too as Syracuse got a Saturday Night game against conference rival (at that time) U Conn. More than Pride was on the line for Cuse as with a win they would have clinched a share of the conference title.
Its hard to get a reserved spot right outside the Dome but there are a bunch of places to park around the stadium. I feel the Tailgate scene is a step below RU but does have a busy Downtown area that more than makes up for it.
It was a cold November day that thankfully wasn't an issue come game time. The crowd isnt as rowdy as they are during Basketball games but were still lively enough. Would like to go back to another Cuse Football game but it isn't at the top of my return list.
Full disclosure, I grew up in the Syracuse area, so I may be a little biased. I am a much bigger fan of SU basketball than their football, though.
So, the Carrier Dome is one of the rare stadiums in college football that is indoors (Minnesota and Tulane used to be, but now they have shiny new outdoor stadiums). In the FBS, I believe there are currently only 4 - Syracuse, Idaho, UTSA, and Georgia State. Clearly, Georgia State's is the best, but that is cheating a little b/c it is really a pro stadium (Atlanta Falcons).
Being indoors in upstate New York is nice, b/c it is cold and there is lots of snow. Getting to the stadium is a little tricky though, b/c it is sort of on top of a hill, so you have to park far way and either take a shuttle in, or make a long hike (through the cold and/or snow). Pretty good facility though, with good crowd noise, enhanced by having a roof to keep the sound in. Also, Syracuse gets some pretty good teams in here since they got gobbled up by the ACC.
246 W Willow St
Syracuse, NY 13202
734 S Crouse Ave
Syracuse, NY 13210
167 Marshall St
Syracuse, NY 13210
727 S Crouse Ave
Syracuse, NY 13210
802 S Crouse Ave
Syracuse, NY 13210
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