Download GPX file for this article
43.45-76.50Full screen dynamic map

From Wikivoyage
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Oswego (population 17,000 in 2020) is a small city in Central New York on the southeastern shore of Lake Ontario at the mouth of the Oswego River.

Historic buildings at Bridge and First Streets


Established in 1722 as a British trading post, Oswego had a long military history and a series of fortifications as Fort Oswego (1727-1756), Fort George (1755-1756) and Fort Ontario (1755-1778, 1792-1814 and 1839-1940). Before the American Revolution (1776-1783), Oswego was British and its arch-nemesis Cataraqui (1673-1758), directly across Lake Ontario, was French. In the War of 1812, Oswego and Sackets Harbor were on the front line against British forces stationed in Canada. The city's military history ends with the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division (United States) relocated away from the region during World War II; Fort Ontario then housed approximately 982 wartime Jewish refugees (August 1944-February 1946) before being turned over to New York State post-war. It has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1970.

Get in[edit]

View across Oswego Harbor

Intercity rail, bus and air connections are available at Syracuse.

By car
  • New York State Route 481 runs north from Interstate 81 in Syracuse via Fulton
  • New York State Route 104 runs east from Rochester (New York)
By bus
  • Centro (Central New York Regional Transportation Authority), Transit Center, W. 1st Street at W. Bridge Street, +1 315-442-3400. Regional bus service, Oswego-Syracuse and Oswego-Fulton-Mexico.
By boat
  • The 23.7 mile (38 km) Oswego Canal, built in 1828, connects the Erie Canal at Three Rivers (near Liverpool) to Lake Ontario at Oswego. The canal has a depth of 14 ft (4.2 m), with seven locks spanning the 118 ft (36 m) change in elevation.
  • 1 Port of Oswego Marina, 3 Basin St, +1 315 342-0436.

Get around[edit]


Fort Ontario
  • 1 Fort Ontario State Historic Site, 1 E Fourth St, +1 315 343-4711. Fort Ontario is built on the ruins of three earlier fortifications dating to the French and Indian War, Revolutionary War, and War of 1812. $4 adult, $3 student/senior. Fort Ontario (Q3077968) on Wikidata Fort Ontario on Wikipedia
  • 2 Safe Haven Museum, 2 E 7th St. The War Relocation Authority established the Fort Ontario Emergency Refugee Shelter, the first and only in the United States, housing primarily Europeans of Jewish descent. Safe Haven Museum and Education Center (Q7398480) on Wikidata Safe Haven Museum and Education Center on Wikipedia
  • 3 H. Lee White Marine Museum, 1 E 1st St, +1 315 342-0480, fax: +1 315 343-5778. Daily Sep-Jun: 1-5PM, Jul-Aug: 10AM-5PM. Marine history museum on former grain elevator site at canal terminus. Exhibits, galleries and a fleet of historic vessels the length of Oswego's West First Street Pier. Treasure Chest souvenir shop. Historic vessels open mid-May - Sep 30, weather permitting. $7, teens $3.
  • 4 Richardson-Bates House Museum, 135 E 3rd St, +1 315 343-1342. Apr-Dec: Th-Sa 1-5PM. Victorian (1867) lawyer's home with Oswego County Historical Society archival collections and exhibits documenting the history of Oswego County. $5, student/senior $3. Richardson-Bates House (Q7330311) on Wikidata Richardson-Bates House on Wikipedia
  • 5 SUNY Oswego. Founded 1861 as Oswego Normal School, a teachers' college. Now offers a variety of liberal arts degree programs. Former students include comedian Jerry Seinfeld, NBC weatherman Al Roker and ESPN anchors Steve Levy and Linda Cohn. State University of New York at Oswego (Q7603627) on Wikidata State University of New York at Oswego on Wikipedia
  • 6 Oswego Harbor West Pierhead Light (At end of breakwater). An active aid to navigation, built in 1934 at the mouth of the Oswego River to replace an earlier light constructed in 1880. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in the United States of America, owned by the City of Oswego and operated by the United States Coast Guard. Oswego Harbor West Pierhead Light (Q7108231) on Wikidata Oswego Harbor West Pierhead Light on Wikipedia


Cannon at Fort Ontario; Oswego Harbor West Pierhead Light is visible in the upper left corner
  • 1 Thunder Island Water Park and Family Entertainment Park. - located in Fulton
  • 2 Oswego Speedway, 300 E Albany St, +1 315 342-0646. Classic Weekend end-August, Labor Day weekend 200-lap, non-wing, big-block super-modified Bud Classic and Race of Champions. $25-65/person. Oswego Speedway (Q7108243) on Wikidata Oswego Speedway on Wikipedia
  • 3 Fishing on Oswego River. Watch salmon- and trout-fishing from walkway upstream starting from Utica Street or from behind Oswego Salmon Shop. Three-year-old King salmon are spawning below dam during October. Free to watch, up to $350/person for guided fishing with all equipment included, in a drift boat..
  • 4 Kayak in Oswego harbor, 29 Lake Street, +1 315 342-8186. Kayak out to lighthouse or start up Oswego River. One hour's rental from city-run Wright Landing or Oswego Expeditions is all you need to see a lot and get a good workout. Kayak rental $20.
  • The Underground Railroad included eleven historic sites in Oswego County; most are individual safe houses which served as way stations for the legendary 1850s freedom train north to Canada. The town of Oswego [dead link] and the county both publish itinerary for a driving tour.


  • Harborfest, Oswego Harbor Festivals Inc, 41 Lake St, +1 315 343-6858, fax: +1 315 343-7390. Three and a half days, last full weekend of July. Annual festival with live music and entertainment, fireworks, arts and crafts, programming and activities for children and families Free admission..
  • 5 CNY Great Pumpkin Festival, Washington Square Park (E Bridge St between E 3rd & E 4th St). One weekend, end Sep or early Oct. Live music, arts and crafts vendors and demonstrations, pumpkin carving lessons, ghost stories, scarecrow building and pumpkin carving contests, a mini farmer's market, and a wide variety of hearty foods. Free admission..
  • PaddleFest. One Saturday in mid-August. Annual benefit event: Kayak the Oswego River from Indian Point (in Fulton, 13 mi (21 km)) or Minetto’s Riverview Park (on NY Route 48, 5.5 mi (8.9 km)) through four canal locks to H. Lee White Maritime Museum’s Boating Center on the West First Street pier in Oswego. registration $35/adult, $10/youth.


Old City Hall and Water Street Cafe
  • 1 Oswego Farmer's Market, West First St between Bridge and Oneida St, +1 315 343-7681. May 24 to October: Th 4:30-8:30PM. Wide variety of vendors, live entertainment each week beginning at 6PM. A second location operates Saturdays in Fulton.



Oswego County Courthouse, built in 1860



  • 3 Oswego Public Library, 120 E 2nd St, +1 315 341-5867. M-Th 10AM-8PM, F 10AM-5PM, Sa Su noon-5PM, closed Su in summer. Internet, computers, Wi-Fi, fax, scan, copy, reading room, community room. Oswego City Library (Q7108223) on Wikidata Oswego City Library on Wikipedia

Go next[edit]

Routes through Oswego
RochesterWolcott  W  E  WilliamstownEND

This city travel guide to Oswego is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.