Rochester, NY is a unique destination for many reasons. Its history and proximity to the Finger Lakes make it an interesting and fun place to visit. There are several events and attractions put on throughout the year that make Rochester a great place to live or visit.
It may not be New York City, but there is always something happening in Rochester. Regardless of your interests, you’re sure to find something fun happening in the area during your stay. At any given time there are at least three festivals happening in Rochester including the Lilac Festival (the largest festival of its kind in the United States), Macedonian Festival, International Jazz Festival, Irish Fest, Park Ave Fest, Garbage Plates Festival, Greek Fest, Festa Italiana, Germanfest, Feast of the Three Saints, and many more.
Here are 9 best places to be in Rochester:
1. The Memorial Art Gallery (MAG) of the University of Rochester
This exquisite art gallery is located right next to campus and features works from Monet, Picasso, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Gauguin, and many other famous artists. There are also special exhibits that rotate throughout the year featuring different artists and pieces. These rotating exhibits make it a great place to visit often as there is always something new to see at MAG.
2. George Eastman Museum
This is a museum honoring one of the most notable citizens of Rochester, George Eastman. This innovative man was the inventor of roll film and the founder of Kodak. The museum includes exhibits on how photography has evolved over time as well as information about Eastman’s life. One of the most interesting areas in this museum is where you can check out cameras from throughout history that has been donated by different people.
3. The Memorial Art Gallery Lilac Festival
This is the largest lilac festival in the United States. The festival features different activities including tours, art exhibits, concerts, games, and contests. The entire month of May is dedicated to celebrating all things lilacs at MAG with this annual festival.
4. Genesee Brew House
This microbrewery makes some very good beers including four flagship craft brews: Genny Light, Genesee Beer, Dundee Ales & Lagers, and Highlander Scottish Ale. You can tour the facility where you’ll learn about how their beer is made as well as try out samples of different types of their beers. Tours are free but if you want a sample of their beer you’ll have to pay for it.
5. Strong National Museum of Play
As the name implies, this museum is dedicated to toys and play. The biggest draw at this museum is the four floors of interactive exhibits. Visitors can try out different arcade games such as Pac-Man as well as participate in activities such as dressing up like a superhero and taking pictures with cardboard cutouts of famous people. It’s basically a toy store that includes all kinds of toys for kids and adults alike!
6. Mount Hope Cemetery
This cemetery is not just a resting place for the dead but a public park where visitors can go to enjoy nature walks among some interesting sculptures and gothic architecture gravesites. You may even see some deer hanging around the area, making it a really cool place to go for a walk.
7. Eastman Theatre
This performance venue offers a variety of performances from symphonies to ballet to silent films with live musical accompaniment. This is one of the most impressive buildings in Rochester with its gothic exterior and details inside. There is also a large organ in this theater that is played often during performances.
8. Genesee Riverway Trail
This trail along the banks of the Genesee River provides scenic views of downtown Rochester and surrounding areas including the historic Erie Canal and Highland Park. The section of the trail near downtown offers a good place to walk through and explore what’s going on downtown. You can also hop on another trail such as the aforementioned Lilac Trail which runs throughout Rochester.
9. Susan B. Anthony Neighborhood
This historic neighborhood has beautiful Victorian homes, quaint shops, and an amazing view of downtown Rochester from atop Cobbs Hill Park. There are also many events throughout the year that take place in this area, including a celebration of Susan B. Anthony’s birthday during March each year where her home is open for tours.
Read More On Exploring Koreatown