Originally built by the British in 1755, Fort Ontario, at the eastern edge of the harbor, has been actively involved in most U.S. conflicts up to and including World War II. It has been restored to its 1860s appearance, and you can take a self-guided tour; the fort is open daily from mid-May to late October. In the adjacent waterfront park, you’ll find picnic facilities, a swimming pool, an ice rink (open October –April), a skateboard park, a youth center with an indoor basketball gym, a playground and baseball diamonds.
Also on the Fort Ontario grounds is the Safe Haven Museum, (https://www.safehavenmuseum.com) which commemorates the lives of almost 1,000 refugees from the European Holocaust who found sanctuary through the U.S. Department of Interior at the Fort Ontario Emergency Refugee Shelter. A nominal admission is charged and the museum is open Thursday-Sunday: 11:30 AM-4:00 PM except major holidays.
The Oswego Civic Arts Center located just south of the historic fort is home to the Art Association of Oswego https://artassociationofoswego.wordpress.com with an Art gallery (open weekends 12-4:00 pm) and art studios that offer art classes and the Oswego Players www.oswegoplayers.org which offers community theatrical productions throughout the year.
The area on the west side of the harbor entrance, including Wright’s Landing and Oswego International marinas, has been designated as the Maritime District. It’s the location of the Oswego Maritime Foundation, https://www.oswegomaritime.org that over the last few years has been building a late-1800s Great Lakes topsail schooner. The steel hulled schooner is on public display.
The last weekend of July features the city’s annual Harborfest, an outdoor festival featuring more than 100 free performances, a regatta, carnival rides, tall ships and fireworks. Trolleys and shuttle buses are available to take people to the events held at various venues throughout the city.
The H. Lee White Marine Museum, www.hleewhitemarinemuseum.com in the Maritime District at the north end of West First St., has hands-on exhibits for children and displays artifacts, paintings and ship models that relate to the history of the harbour and Lake Ontario. The museum, which is open afternoons daily during the summer, includes 2 vessels you can visit: a World War II tug and a 1925 New York State canal boat.
The Best Western Captain’s Quarters Hotel, on the east wall south of Oswego Marina and north of lock number 8, offers boaters a day pass that provides access to its Captain’s Club spa and fitness centre. The fee varies depending on whether you want to use just the shower area, the pool or all the facilities.
The Oswego River is a popular spot for picking up everything from panfish to bullhead to walleye. Trophy-winning brown trout, salmon and walleye are plentiful in the early spring and fall, particularly at the mouth of the river up to the last power dam. In midsummer, the fish take refuge in the deeper waters around the harbor entrance.
Most of the fishing charter boats operate out of Oswego Marina, and fishing licenses can be obtained at City Hall and Wal-Mart. Call the Fish-n-Fun line at 1-800-248-4FUN for more angling information.
Taxi service and rental cars are available. The Centro bus (342-4400; https://www.centro.org/OswegoSchedules.aspx) stops along E. Bridge St. about 2 blocks from Oswego Marina, and on W. Seneca St. near Wright’s Landing and Oswego International Marina. The local bus also has routes to Syracuse, about 30-minutes away, where connections to intercity buses, trains and the airport can be made.
Information provided by the City of Oswego Community Development Office.