Even though the student population is divided up between a number of different institutes in addition to SU, the town of Syracuse still has a large total student population compared to the number of rental properties in the town. That means that you want to start looking for an apartment in May or June for best results.
Syracuse is a college town, which means you'll find lots of landlords who are happy to rent to students. If you're in school, it can pay to do some research on where students typically live beforehand. Then, you know you're applying into a friendly situation before you even send your first email about an apartment.
The Centro Bus System is the best way to get around Syracuse if you're not going to drive. You will find that you can get to most parts of the city affordably and quickly on this system. Many others cycle in the city, but the heavy snowfall in the winters makes this impractical for large portions of the year.
The arts are alive and well in Syracuse. Symphony Syracuse offers free concerts to the public, and a number of groups present live theatre in the city. The Syracuse Orange is a force to be reckoned with, especially in basketball. Syracuse is also known as "The Festival City" and throughout the year you can find a festivals ranging from the Jazz Fest to Oktoberfest.