Syracuse University just nabbed the top spot on The Princeton Review’s list of the best party schools in the U.S.
Although Syracuse isn’t particularly proud of the title, any Orange-man or woman will assure you that there are plenty of explanations why Syracuse deserves the place of honour. We would know, we both are proud alums.
Here are a few reasons why Syracuse is the best party school in the country:
1. Mayfest, Syracuse’s all-day outdoor celebration, is the biggest party of the year.
After braving a long winter and nearly making it all the way through second semester, Syracuse students get to let loose with a gigantic, free-for-all party that spans down Comstock, up Euclid, and on every street in between. Everyone party hops from yard-to-yard (and bouncy house to keg stand) until the night culminates in Block Party, a big concert held in the Dome, which has included recent performances by 2chainz and Kesha.
The University even started giving out free beer and food at Walnut Park in 2012.”Mayfest is the happiest day of the year,” Syracuse alumna Megan Corbet says.”It’s like Christmas.” (Ironically, Mayfest is almost always held in April.)
2. Juice Jam starts first semester off with a wild time.
Earlier in the school year, the university puts together Juice Jam, a gigantic outdoor concert, although sans free beer.
Sweaty students gather in the sunshine of a large field on South Campus and dance their faces off to headliners like Phish, Avicii, and Lupe Fiasco.
3. If you get lucky at Faegan’s Flip Night, all your beers could be free.
Every Wednesday, Faegan’s Pub right off Marshall Street hosts Flip Night.When you order a drink, the bartender flips a coin, and if you call it correctly, your beer is free.
Faegan’s is also known for Senior Sundays, which means a super-cheap Long Island Iced Tea special, and World Beer Tour Tuesdays, where you pay $US3 for a pint and try to drink every beer on the menu throughout the course of the semester.
4. Syracuse is one of the snowiest cities in the country, which leads to plenty of outdoor shenanigans.
Syracuse winters may be almost unbearably freezing, but they also mean sledding on cafeteria trays down Crouse hill, building giant snow creatures in your front yard or at your dorm, and snowball fights in Thornden Park.
(And yes, even when it’s freezing, you’ll still see students trekking across slippery sidewalks at 11 p.m. to “warm up” at parties.)
5. You can always find a house party (often with a theme).
Because Syracuse has a lot of student housing close together on several streets (like Euclid, Ackerman, Livingston, Sumner, and Clarendon, to name a few), you can always find something going on and open on a Friday or Saturday night, even when you’re an underclassman.
Whether you’re packed into an attic or a basement, you’ll be greeted by some combination of flip cup, beer pong, dancing, and Jungle Juice. Ugly sweater party, anyone?
6. Castle Court parking lot parties are a great way to celebrate outside.
Because the Castle Court apartment complex is so close to all the sororities and fraternities on Walnut, a lot of members live there, and will host big outdoor parties that fill the entire lot.
Bouncy houses (and Afroman) have been known to make appearances.
7. Pre-gaming, literally
On game days all across campus, massive tailgating sprees break out. Fraternities even host all-day ragers, like Alpha Tau Omega’s annual pig roast, to kick-off specific rivalries or just a season in general.
And of course, the aforementioned Castle Court gets involved. Claustraphobics or anti-social types should avoid the area entirely.
8. Students camp out in “Boeheimburg” outside the Dome for a week or more before a big game.
“Bleeding Orange” is a major part of the SU experience.This year, students camped out for 14 days in subzero temperatures before the Duke game.
Basketball coach Jim Boeheim himself even made an appearance: He and his staff handed out doughnuts and coffee to all the dedicated (and exhausted) fans.
9. Playing beer pong in your South Campus apartment.
After freshman years spent in tiny dorms, hordes of students turn to South Campus living for their sophomore (and even junior) years. Located by the athletic complex, South campus acts as its own little community, complete with a dining hall, gym, and laundry facilities, all just a five minute bus ride from main campus.
With no RAs and mostly athletes living there, kitchen tables converted to beer pong games become a routine sight. The Inn Complete, a bar(n) with a trivia night, also resides on South Campus for the 21-and-over crowd.
10. Buying beer at the Dome on your student ID.
Once you get inside the Carrier Dome, more shenanigans await. Not only is Syracuse’s stadium loud, it’s one of the few that sells beer. And believe it or not, students can buy brews using their university accounts.
Even though the money you add to your “SUpercard” (See what the administration did there?) comes straight from your own bank account (or your parents’), it still feels like you’re drinking on the university’s dime.
And trust us, no sight parallels a sea of orange at the record-breaking 2010 Cuse-Villanova basketball game.
11. Trivia night at the Inn Complete lets you feel like a brainiac while downing free popcorn and cheap brews.
Every Thursday, the South Campus bar puts on a trivia night where teams of 10 students put their knowledge to the test with tough questions on any topic, while endlessly refilling their bowls of free popcorn and buying each other rounds of beer. (Added bonus: Because Inn Complete bartenders get paid through the school as an on-campus job, there’s no tipping required!)
The grand prize: A jumbo plate of delicious appetizers, a free bar tab, and a whole lot of glory.
12. The annual Totally Fabulous Drag Show brings out the best burlesque students have to offer.
Every winter, Pride Union hosts the fiercest competition on campus, encouraging teams of students to dress in drag and put on a lip-synced, choreographed show. While the performers bump and grind on stage, students throw tips and faculty judges rate their acts.
Shangela Laquifa Wadley, a former contestant on “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” has emceed the event several times, as has another former contestant, Jujubee.
13. If you want some variety from the typical ‘Cuse party, ESF students know how to have a good time, too.
Because Syracuse and SUNY ESF practically share a campus, it’s easy to become friends with students from the other school, which means a whole new group of people to meet and party with.
Every year ESF students have their own version of Mayfest, called Redfest, which features live music and lots of body painting.
14. Fishbowl’s at Lucy’s
Although under new management recently, another bar, Lucy’s, kept the best item on the menu — the Fishbowl.
Fishbowls, which actually come in classic fishbowl-shaped glass containers, formerly sold in two sizes: small (one pint) and large (about two and a half pints). They also came in about 20 different flavours,the Newshouse, an SU publication reports. Personal favourites include the “Georgia Peach” and “Key Lime Sunset.”
The bartenders would also throw in multiple straws, sometimes of the bendy variety, so you could share with your homies. Braving the rum/vodka drink alone might be too much and not enough all at the same time.
15. Write on the walls of the campus’ favourite bar at a gloriously cheap happy hour.
Ask anyone — students fondly look upon Chuck’s Cafe, a divey bar just a short walk from both the dorm and residential areas on campus — oh, and Jimmy John’s.
From 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. every weekday, Chucks-goers can throw down $US3.50 for a pitcher of Honey Brown Lager, poured with love by their favourite bartenders, Thor and Flower. The fried pickles ain’t too shabby, either.
Once they have gorged themselves on carbs, students can grab an aerosol can or permanent marker and leave their marks on the graffiti-ed walls. The bouncers will probably turn the other cheek. Or you can play it safe with the pool table, basketball shooting-game, and dart board.
16. Riding (and falling off) the Bull at Daisy Duke’s
Not only the campus bars offer the opportunity for tipsy memories. Benjamin’s on Franklin, the Syracuse SUDS Factory, and The Blue Tusk all give students a taste of downtown Syracuse. One of these bars, however, Daisy Duke’s, stands out.
On the side of the bar opposite from the laser-soaked dance floor, patrons can ride a mechanical bull for free. But first, you have to lose your shoes — and your dignity.
17. Sampling the finer drinks in life at Al’s Wine and Whiskey Bar.
Speaking of downtown Syracuse, Al’s Wine and Whiskey bar adds an element of class to the usual drinking scene.
Usually reserved for “over-it” seniors and grad students, the hip speakeasy offers a literal wall of whiskey, live music, perfectly worn leather couches, and a pool table in the back.
18. The “Heaven and Hell” Party
Speaking of fraternities, Phi Psi’s annual Halloween event, the Heaven and Hell party, is about as exclusive as events get on a college campus.
Students plan weeks in advance to find a guy who knows a guy who knows a brother in the house who can give them some tickets — which you actually need. Phi Psi keeps a pretty strict guest list, with hired security guys checking tickets, along with student IDs, at the entrance.
For the record, we’re both GDI’s (or in Cuse speak, “god damn independents”) not involved in Greek life. But who can resist the chance for a ridiculous costume, free beer, and a slippery dance floor?
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