Best Things To Do in Rochester, New York

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THINGS TO DO AND SEE

Art, theatre, music, photography, history, nature and play, Rochester has something to offer to every kind of a traveller. The city of Rochester is home to many cultural institutions. Many Arts community help visitors encourage their creativity by opening their doors for open houses and behind the scenes looks at galleries and studios. Museums, galleries, theatres and attractions offer special events and experiences that delight visitors from all over the world. Rochester also has several parks where one can witness definite colours describing the changing seasons. Rochester has acquired several nicknames like “The World's Image Centre", "The Flour City" and "The Flower City". Visitors can choose to hike, bike, paddle or ski depending on which time of the year they visit Rochester.

  • Things to do in Rochester for free: Located just 25 kilometres from the city, Mendon Ponds Park is a country park where one can go to enjoy nature trails, water activities, and even go sledding during winter. This park is also locally famous for its birdwatching activities. Get the feel of public art in and around Rochester by visiting the Rochester Public Art, where you will see artists design and install an artwork to better the aesthetic goals of the city. Proceed to the Legal Wall, where you can witness an impressive display of very creative and energetic graffiti painted on the buildings. Legal Wall is one of Rochester's unique cultural treasures. Explore the Downtown Rochester, which is the hub of all activities with self-guided walking tours.
  • Things to do in Rochester on budget: One of those “must see” things in Rochester, George Eastman Museum, the world's oldest museum which is dedicated to photography and having one of the world's oldest film archives is located at 10 mins drive from the central business district of Rochester. Visit the Dollar Theatre, where one can watch a film for just $1 every Tuesday is a great way to catch films that you have missed. Go Ice Skating at the Ritter Ice Arena at RIT where you can rent skates for as low as $3. Right down the street from Rochester’s public market, is the Black Button Distillery where you can see how they craft their spirits and go tasting. Located about 50 kilometres from the city are the Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion where one can stroll through its gardens full of flowers, have a picnic under the majestic trees and visit the magnificent Sonnenberg mansion.
  • Things to do in Rochester at night: After a long, tiring day, the best thing you can do is keep it simple. Head out to Schooners Riverside Pub, a laid-back restaurant to sip on some cocktails and groove to live music by local bands. Depending on the season, head out to Frontier Field or the Blue Cross Arena to root for one of Rochester’s sports teams. Before catching on the game, head out for a beer at the Genesee Brew Co. and some amazing finger food to go with it. The atmosphere at the Old Toad is always cosy and jolly, where you can enjoy the trivia quiz over some beer and a plate of pub style comfort food.
  • Romantic things to do in Rochester: Head out to the beach avenue road to watch the sun set over the Charlotte beach. While there, visit Abbotts Frozen Custard where the soothing sound of the waves and the sweet sugar rush of the custard will surely make you fall in love with your partner again. Ride to Casa Larga Vineyards in Fairport for a tasting of the best wines that the Finger Lakes region. Go for the chocolate and wine pair when visiting the vineyards. Go on a romantic stroll down the splendid East Ave, and head out to the Dryden and the Little Theatre where you can experience a thought provoking movie experience. Head out for a French meal at Roux, refined and cultured, yet warm and romantic, this restaurant has an exquisite selection of cocktails, wines, and dining.
  • Things to do in Rochester during winter: If visiting Rochester during winter, you will have a range of winter activities that you can enjoy with your family and friends. Go ice-skating at Martin Luther King Jr. Park, also known as the Manhattan Square Park, is a beautiful outdoor facility in the downtown area of Rochester. 30 minutes’ drive from the city towards the south and you will reach the Genesee Country Village & Museum where numerous trails are available for hiking and cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. Head out to Varysburg, an hour’s drive from Rochester, to visit the Hidden Valley Animal Adventure where you take a sleigh ride in the winter and see animals in the snow. Visit the Finger Lakes, 11 glacier-carved lakes and beautiful panorama with over 100 New York State wineries located here.

Below we have a list of things to do in Rochester and the places where you want to spend the best moments of your trip. At the same time, the city offers you the best neighborhoods to explore and new foods to try.

This list should help you in deciding and prioritizing what you should plan on your Rochester getaway. Find a mix of must-see tourist spots, underrated local hangouts, and maybe even a few new experiences you can try out.

Make the most of your trip to Rochester with confidence.

Tourist Attractions in Rochester

Here is the list of things to do in Rochester and tourist attractions in city.

  1. George Eastman Museum

    4.7 (80 Votes)
    George Eastman Museum

    Museum

    Built in 1905 for George Eastman (who bequeathed it to the city of Rochester upon his death), chartered as a museum in 1947, this building is the world’s oldest photography museum (400,000 photographs), as well as one of the oldest film archives (28,000 titles). As such, the museum is also famous for having pioneered film and photography preservation. It’s most famous exhibits inclu...Read more
  2. Seabreeze Amusement Park

    4.5 (29 Votes)
    Seabreeze Amusement Park

    Amusement Park, Water Park, Rides

    Opened in 1879, this is the 12th oldest operating amusement park in the entire world. Additionally, the park’s Jack Rabbit rollercoaster is the 4th oldest in the world. Today, it’s famous for its 4 roller coasters, the historic 1915 carousel, various thrill rides, the waterpark (complete with a wave pool, tubes, and flumes), and kiddie rides. There are shows and exhibits such as the...Read more
  3. Seneca Park Zoo

    4.5 (24 Votes)
    Seneca Park Zoo

    Park, Zoo

    Spread over 15 acres, this excellent zoo is home to about 90 species of animals. Opened in 1894, it’s quite old. Most of the animals here are from the planet’s temperature and polar regions - penguins, sea lions, cranes and lynx. They have large water tanks too, and you can view the more amphibious animals, including the polar bears, swimming through the the glass walls of the tanks...Read more
  4. Highland Park

    Garden, Park, Statue

    Formed of a glacial moraine, this 150-acre park was one of USA’s first municipal arboretums. With 1200 lilac shrubs covering 500 different varieties of the flower, this park is the reason lilacs came to be associated to the city of Rochester. The remaining floral wealth of the park isn’t bad either - Japanese maples, hundreds of kinds of rhododendrons, azaleas, pansies, and wildflow...Read more
  5. Mount Hope Cemetery

    4.7 (46 Votes)
    Mount Hope Cemetery

    Cemetery

    This beautiful cemetery is rather important for multiple reasons. For one, notable dignitaries such as Frederick Douglass, General E.G. Marshall, Margaret Woodbury Strong and Susan B Anthony have been laid to rest here. This was also USA’s first municipal cemetery. Its 350,000 graves have unusual groupings - veterans of specific wars, firefighters, Jews who passed away in poverty and so o...Read more
  6. Geva Theatre Center

    4.8 (65 Votes)
    Geva Theatre Center

    Entertainment, Performance, Theatre

    This professional theatre company is located inside a historic 1868 building that’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It has two stages - the old 552-seat Mainstage, and the newer 180-seat Nextstage. The building was originally used for performances and political conventions, and later was vacant. But when the Genesee Valley Arts Foundation (GeVa) was founded, the theatr...Read more
  7. Frontier Field

    4.6 (51 Votes)
    Frontier Field

    Stadium, Concert

    The city of Rochester’s most popular baseball stadium also hosts soccer (Rochester Raging Rhinos of the USL First Division) and lacrosse (Rochester Rattlers of Major League Lacrosse) matches. Opened in 1996, It has a seating capacity of 13,500. Other than sports, events hosted here have included musical concerts and a hockey match. On the first base side of the field you can see the plaqu...Read more
  8. Artisanworks

    4.7 (4 Votes)
    Artisanworks

    Arts And Crafts, Sculpture

    This self-funded, not-for-profit is spread out over 40,000 square meters of recovered factory space. It’s easily one of the liveliest and most fun spaces in the city, with multiple warehouses connected together to form a sprawling art space. In there, you’ll find a collection of half a million artworks ranging from paintings, sculpture, antiques, automobiles, photographs, furniture,...Read more
  9. Rochester Public Market

    Market

    Cities don’t feel complete without a really good farmer’s market. This one, in operation since 1905, 52 weeks a year on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, is one of the finest you’ll find in the state. On the busiest weekends, you can find up to 300 vendors selling everything from meat, vegetables, fruits, cheeses, baked goods, perfumes, flowers, coffee, beer, and specialty it...Read more
  10. Ontario Beach Park

    4.4 (19 Votes)
    Ontario Beach Park

    Park, Walking Area

    This 39-acre beach park has a lot to offer to everyone looking for a relaxing day out. Queen among its highlights is the lovely pier, which is perfect for romantic walks in the sunset. Nearby you’ll spot the Historic 1905 Dentzel Carousel, a pretty ride with 52 animals; kids can’t get enough of it. But kids can also make use of the excellent playground. When it comes to water activi...Read more
  11. Genesee River's High Falls

    View Point, Bridge

    The Genesee River, flowing through the city of Rochester, has three large waterfalls. This is the prettiest and most accessible of them. The water falls 96 feet into a large gorge, and in the gorge, you can see the remnants of the city’s earlier industrial mills. In those times this neighborhood was full of factories making beer and processing flour. The best way to view the falls is by c...Read more
  12. Durand Eastman Park

    4.5 (32 Votes)
    Durand Eastman Park

    Park, Wildlife Park, Lake

    Popular with the sunbathers in the summer and cross country skiers in the winter, this is Rochester’s favourite waterfront. The north end of the parks runs along the waters of the Lake for 5000 feet. The Durand Eastman Beach in turn is the city’s favourite beach, and where most of the city comes to swim, though that is only permitted in the summer months. The park is 977 acres in si...Read more
  13. Black Button Distilling

    4.6 (18 Votes)
    Black Button Distilling

    Food And Drinks, Winery, Adults

    This is apparently the first distillery in the city since Prohibition. The name of the distillery comes from the young proprietor’s grandfather, who used to work at Shantz and Associates, a WWI era button manufacturer. Using locally made grain and cider, the distillery capitalised on local patriotism. Appropriately, the city quite appreciates it, and the craft whiskey distilled here has r...Read more
  14. Village Gate

    4.4 (10 Votes)
    Village Gate

    Mall

    This is a rather unusual mall. It was originally or shopping complex that was converted into a mall in 1981. But it doesn’t host any of the big chain staples. Rather, it’s home to a series interesting independent shops (mostly mom-and-pop stores) selling books and clothes, eateries, offices, and even homes. There’s a cute courtyard inside. On the upper floors, you’ll fin...Read more
  15. Rochester Riverside Convention Center

    Convention Center

    The four storey high Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center is 100,000 square feet worth of conference and exhibit space in the middle of the city. It has meeting rooms, banquet facilities, exhibit halls, and a 10,000-square-foot ballroom. In addition to all this, the center is known for the lovely views of the city from its patios and balconies. It offers catering services to...Read more