Facing a daunting finals week? Here are some ways to de-stress

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With assignments piling up and the end of the semester looming, stress levels on campus are rising. But it’s important to take study breaks when you can, especially as the sun starts shining again.

Check out these activities in Syracuse to balance your work with a little fun during finals week:

Salt City Market

For Syracuse University students that frequent the dining halls or the restaurants on Marshall Street, a venture downtown could be a good opportunity to destress and try something new.



Opened in 2020, Salt City Market is one of Syracuse’s newest international food options. There is no need to bicker with friends over where to eat at Salt City Market because it houses over 10 vendors with cuisine from many regions of the world, including the Southern United States, the Middle East and Jamaica. The food court dining style is also perfect for grabbing a bite with friends.

The McCarthy Mercantile

SU students can find finals week relief with some retail therapy. Support the Syracuse community by shopping locally at McCarthy Mercantile.

Located on the basement floor of the McCarthy building on South Salina Street, McCarthy Mercantile includes a variety of pop-up shops open every weekend alongside its roster of 12 other permanent vendors, which are open everyday except Mondays.

The McCarthy Mercantile also hosts its “Crafted Underground” event from 12-6 pm every Saturday and Sunday. With an emphasis on highlighting homegrown, handmade and uniquely Syracuse small businesses, the shopping experience here is what makes this market special.

McCarthy Mercantile has a shop for every SU student, with prices ranging from a few dollars to hundreds for some of the finer pieces.

One of the shops there, The Cherry Pit, was founded by an SU student. The shop sells eclectic, curated vintage pieces perfect for warmer Syracuse weather. But for students who are more into skate culture, The Flower Skate Shop sells anything from graphic boards to the latest street wear.

And before finding all your crystals and witchcrafting needs at The Cozmic Cauldron, take a coffee break and relax at Nectar Espresso Bar & Vintages, which has a full café along with a selection of vintage home goods.

Funk ‘n Waffles

Featured in four episodes of Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Dive-Ins, and Drives,” Funk ‘n Waffles is well known for its savory and sweet creations.

Unwind with the 17 different sweet waffles and 15 savory waffles on the menu, and options for every waffle lover. The restaurant’s most popular options are the Star Child Waffle and the Chicken & Waffles. But if you’re not in a waffle mood, no worries! Funk ‘n Waffles also has over 10 different sandwiches and paninis to choose from.

Additionally, every Thursday through Sunday, Funk ‘n Waffles hosts live music shows or open mic events after 8 pm SU artist Liv For Now performed rock music at a past show with Fazoogie and Studio 89, two other SU bands. Tickets are always under $15, and sometimes they are even free.

Destiny USA

Destiny USA is the largest mall in New York state and the 8th largest mall in the country.

The megamall has numerous entertainment attractions, including Dave & Busters, Apex Entertainment and WonderWorks, which offer ample fun activities ideal for finals week decompression. Destiny also just opened The Vault, a selfie museum with over 15 rooms to choose from, perfect for a fun photo shoot with friends.

Escape room fans can visit 5 Wits, a live-action entertainment complex designed to make you feel like a character in a video game, or Mystery Room, which is similar to a game of Clue, and involves solving puzzles and deciphering hidden codes.

Mall-goers looking for a thrill can also try out airsoft shooting at Aim Point, bungee jumping at Euro Bungee and indoor 45 mph go-karting at RPM Raceway

house shows

Doors open Saturday, May 7 at 6 pm for Happy Jack’s Music Therapy, an outdoor music festival co-hosted by The Summit. The show features up to eight sets — sometimes even more — of student DJs and artists. All proceeds from ticket sales go to The Child Mind Institute to spread awareness about mental health.

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