Wondering what fun things to do in Rochester or where to begin to explore some of Rochester attractions?
Well, worry no more, Dear Reader!
Rochester is a metropolitan city in New York with a population of one million. It is globally known for its prominence in Science, Research facilities, Information Technology, and its vibrant music industry.
The city of Rochester is home to a wide variety of cultural institutions, from its museums, art galleries, music, public markets, theaters to amusement parks.
There are numerous tourist attractions and a range of things to do in Rochester. From children to adults, there’s something for everyone.
One needs to look at the right place, and this article will help you with the same.
Best things to do in Rochester
1. Genesee Riverway Trail
Genesee River runs from the south city line to Court St. Downtown near the Genesee country village. It’s an off-road trail for biking, running, or walking. Along the Genesee River runs the scenic sights that are loved by locals and tourists alike.
The picturesque views of the Genesee River, along with its waterfalls, pedestrian bridges, historic parks, several hills, and a lighthouse, are not to be missed.
If you enjoy solace and nature, the Genesee Riverway Trail visit is for sure one of the things to do in Rochester.
Address: Genesee Riverway Trail, Rochester, New York
Hours: Open 24 hours
2. Highland Park
Frederick Law Olmsted designed the Highland Park or Highland Botanical Park in Monroe County as an arboretum intended to retain the natural mien that covers 150 acres. In the park, you will see stunning botanical gardens and a diversity of exotic plants and trees. Highland Park contains 1200 lilacs of over 500 varieties and holds Rochester’s Lilac Festival.
The Highland Park has its natural amphitheater, a statue of Frederick Douglas, Greater Rochester Vietnam Memorial, Warner castle Lamberton Conservatory and quite a few varieties of magnolias, wildflowers, rhododendrons, etc.
Highland Park has a lot of importance for the people and is filled with historical and cultural significance.
Highland Park in Monroe County is among the few must things to do in Rochester, tourist attractions, and worth your time.
Address: 180 Reservoir Avenue Rochester, New York
Hours: Open 24 hours
3. The George Eastman Museum
Rochester Museums are a sight for sore eyes!
Don’t believe me, then let me tell you all about – The George Eastman Museum.
It is which is the world’s oldest photography museum as well as the most prominent film archive. The Museum is located in George Eastman’s estate, also the founder of the Eastman Kodak company. The Museum holds several million objects related to Cinema, photography, photographically illustrated books, and cinematographic technology.
Along with the history of film and photography, the museum hosts live music shows, talks, workshops, and you can even grab a bite and explore the mansion and gardens.
Interested visitors can explore the mansion, the Eastman Theatre, and its many exhibits on self-guided tours or learn about the Museum on a guide-led time.
So, suppose you enjoy photography, historical films, in that case, the Museum is the right place to go, or even if you are looking for things to do in Rochester and don’t have a lot of time to see everything, the Museum should be on your list of things to do in Rochester for a wholesome artistic experience all in one place.
Address: 900 East Avenue, Rochester, New York
Hours: Monday – Closed, Tuesday to Saturday – 10 am to 5 pm, Sunday – 11 am to 5 pm.
4. The Strong National Museum of Play
If you are looking for fun places to visit your family or things to do in Rochester, then a Rochester museum like The Strong National Museum of Play should be a mandatory visit on your list.
The Museum’s mission is to collect, preserve, and interpret the history of play. A space of 285,000 acres dedicated to indoor games, dolls, video game hall, library, national toy hall, basketball/volleyball courts, a research center for development around and on play and fun, and theme-based play sections like Wizard of Oz, space invaders, etc.
The Strong National Museum of Play also has the Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden, which offers a sight of various birds, turtles and has an indoor butterfly garden and is the largest in the entire New York State.
The Museum also has a theater renamed The Paychex Theater, which hosts dozens of plays throughout the year with titles like a bright star, happy pirates, or just local juggling acts. It is the kind of theatre young kids enjoy when they are not enjoying the plethora of beautiful games the Museum offers.
There is something for every age group, be it kids, teens, or adults. You can discover all of them, from the oldest games to recently launched indoor to outdoor adventures and fun rides. It will be a day your kids, and you will remember forever.
Address: One Manhattan Square Rochester, New York
Hours: Monday to Sunday – 10 am to 5 pm.
5. Ontario Beach Park
The 39 acres of Ontario Beach Park is perfect for a romantic or just a peaceful stroll. The picturesque pier is one of the most visited and famous attractions of Rochester, NY.
With its lush green parks and natural beaches, the beach provides you with the epitome of serenity and the opportunity to experience fun and refreshing beach and water activities. The park has various other amenities like Food stands, bathing areas, restrooms, picnic tables, etc.
The Ontario Beach Park is a perfect place for someone who loves seas and beaches or is just looking for a calm or romantic place to go for a stroll.
Address: 50 Beech Avenue, Rochester, New York
Hours: Monday to Sunday – 7 am to 11 pm.
6. Seneca Park Zoo
The 20 acre Seneca Park Zoo is a learning organization located in Monroe county and designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and is home to over 90 species such as arachnids, amphibians, mammals, birds, reptiles, etc.
The Museum hosts various events throughout the year and classes and workshops and even allows you to do volunteer work with them. The park’s mission is to encourage the community to care for and conserve wildlife.
The Seneca Park zoo has a five-acre Animals of savannah area, including Zebras, Rochester raging Rhinos, Giraffes, etc., then the E.C.O. Center and the Cold Asia area, which provides for penguins, polar bears, sea lions, snow leopards, red panda, etc. It even had an animal hospital.
The park is open throughout the year, and its fantastic variety of Flora and Fauna is a sight for your adventure-seeking eyes. So don’t forget to add it to your list of things to do in Rochester.
Address: 2222 St Paul St, Rochester, New York.
Hours: Monday to Sunday – 10 am to 4 pm
7. Memorial Art Gallery
The Art Gallery is a memorial for James George Averell. The gallery’s collection comprises 12,000 pieces like Homer, Cezanne, Matisse, Monet, Cassatt, Helen Frankenthaler, Wendell Castle, etc. From ancient relics to contemporary art, the gallery introduces you to the world’s over 5000 years old art.
The Memorial Art Gallery is part of the University of Rochester. In its 14 acres vast campus, the Memorial Art Gallery hosts various events like the biennial Rochester-Finger Lakes Exhibition, educational programs, annual festivals, concerts, family activities, etc.
The Memorial Art Gallery campus is a spectacular urban space that is a must-visit destination for the local community and visitors alike.
So, what are you waiting for? Add the Memorial Art Gallery to your list now for the state-of-the-art experience (pun intended!).
Address: 500 University Avenue, Rochester, New York
Hours: Monday & Tuesday – closed, Wednesday to Sunday – 11 am to 5 pm, Thursday – 11 am to 9 pm.
8. Rochester Public Market
The best place to shop and discover fresh and organic, local & seasonal stuff at reasonable prices in Rochester, NY, is the Rochester Public Market, and this market has been around for 100 years. Three hundred occupied stalls provide you with fruits, veggies, meat, seafood, bread, vine, beverages, grains, beautiful plants, tools, etc. you will not be disappointed or be back empty-handed.
The facilities are exceptional too. You can treat yourself to ethnic delicacies in the food stands, visit cafes, The chai guy, retail shops, breweries, and much more. Free as well as paid parking spaces are available too. The Rochester Public Market also conducts fun family events on non-market days like – Truck rodeo, Garage sales.
Along with some good quality and pocket friendly, you can enjoy exploring the market, buildings and enjoy the incredible wall arts along with some delicious food. Some of the top restaurants near the market are Cure, Fiorella, Redd, Nosh, do check them out.
Address: 280 North Union Street, Rochester NY
Hours: Sunday, Monday & Wednesday – closed, Tuesday & Thursday – 6 am to 1 pm, Saturday – 6 am to 3 pm.
9. The Central Library of Rochester & Monroe County
The Central Library of Rochester consists of the Rundel Memorial Library building and the Bausch & Lomb Public Library Building. The library enriches the visitors with its most extensive collection of books, magazines, electronic reading resources, and a lot more.
The library also provides space for interaction and engagement for the community and is very famous among college groups, locals, and tourists. The facilities include – a variety of free events, quiet study spaces, designated public meeting locations.
The library has a secret door hidden behind bookshelves. They have a collection 0f 200 and more unique dolls donated to the library and were a part of the project – to exchange Shirley temple dolls across the country.
If you are bored in the city and looking for a good read, visit the Central Library of Rochester to choose from the extensive range of collections, select a quiet study space and enjoy a hot coffee.
What a perfect day, right?
Address: 115 South Avenue, Rochester, NY
Hours: Monday & Wednesday – 9 am to 8:30 pm, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday – 9 am to 6 pm, Saturday- 9 am to 5 pm.
10. Mount Hope Cemetery
The Mount Hope Cemetery acres is not just a cemetery, but this place holds a lot of significance for the natives. So the cemetery offers guided tours, private and guided walking trails to educate the visitors of the history of the place and show its beautiful Victorian cemeteries, lofty hills, marble & granite monuments, mausoleums, crypts. The cemetery is open to all, and one can even choose to take a self-guided tour around the place.
The Mount Hope Cemetery holds many notable activists, advocates, leaders, and many other influential people in its space. Not only them but over 350,000 Rochester natives have selected the cemetery to be their final resting place. And because of the rich significance of the cemetery, it often organizes especially designed school visits for the children.
So, if you are a history buff or just curious about the native history, then the Cemetery should be one of your choices.
Address: 1133 Mount Hope Ave. Rochester, NY
Hours: Open at 7:30 am & closing time changes seasonally.
11. The Little Theatre
The Little Theatre is one of the oldest active nonprofit movie theatres. It specializes in Independent and foreign art films.
The Little can be a very different experience than the traditional commercial Cinema. It harbors unique movies and also hosts live music performances and the Rochester International Jazz festival. The Little holds film festivals throughout the year, so you will never be left disappointed no matter what season you visit.
The Little Theatre is brimming with unique theatrical goodness, and if you love good movies, anime, music, or theater – The Little should be on your list of things to do in Rochester.
Address: 240 East Avenue, Rochester, New York
Hours: Monday & Tuesday – closed, Wednesday & Thursday – 5 pm to 9 pm, Friday – 2 pm to 9 pm, Saturday & Sunday – 11 am to 9 pm.
12. Seabreeze Amusement Park
Rochester has so many great attractions and activities that one cannot have enough of it but if you are looking for a day that is full of fun and laughter for then the Seabreeze Amusement Park (located in Rochester, NY, near Lake Ontario) is one of the 13 trolley parks with 70 attractions is the right place to be.
The park’s “The Jack Rabbit” rollercoaster is the fourth largest rollercoaster globally and, therefore, one of the most prominent attractions of the amusement park.
The Seabreeze Amusement Park has a variety of rides and attractions – 4 rollercoasters, live shows, thrill rides, water slides, bumper cars, and fantastic food services. And not only these, but the amusement park also offers a beautiful landscape, picnic groves, dancing platforms, arcade, etc.
If you have stuck around this far, then the Seabreeze Amusement Park should be a must-visit on your list of things to do in Rochester, and taking its rides and having fun with your family should undoubtedly be one of the things to do in Rochester.
Address: 4600 Culver Road, Rochester, New York
Hours: Open from 11 am to 6 pm.
13. Susan B. Anthony Square Park
Susan B. Anthony Square Park, located on the west main street of downtown Rochester its near one of the Rochester museums called the Susan B. Anthony Museum. Visitors often take to the park after visiting the Museum.
The park’s major attraction is the bronze sculpture “Let’s have tea” sculpted by Pepsy Kettavong in 2001. The visitors are encouraged to interact with the sculptures as was intended by the artist. The piece portrays the leaders of the abolishment movement to end slavery – Fredrick Douglas and Susan Anthony.
After all, those interesting facts do head to Susan B. Before leaving Anthony Square Park and Museum, enjoy the stunning flora and the historical sculpture, and don’t forget to interact!
Address: 31 Madison St, Rochester, NY
Hours: Open all week – 6 am to 11 pm.
14. Rochester Museum and Science Center
The Rochester Museum and Science center is dedicated to lifelong learning and equipping the community with Knowledge, understanding, and foundation of tech and inspire curiosity in science, the natural world, and cultural space.
Under the Museum is also the Strasenburgh Planetarium which is known worldwide for its technical and programming innovations. The planetarium puts forth spectacular shows and is located along with the Rochester Museum, and the Science center operates the Cumming Nature Center, a 900 acres environmental educational establishment. It offers a variety of programs and activities throughout the year to keep the visitors engaged.
If you hike, science and nature you then it is must change things to do in Rochester! But even if you don’t miss a chance to sit in a worldwide recognized, state-of-the-art planetarium and enjoy quite a few spectacular shows with your kids.
Address: Science Museum & Strasenburgh Planetarium – 657 East Avenue Rochester, NY; Cumming Nature Center – 6472 Gulick Road, Naples, NY
Hours: 9 am to 5 pm (the timings may differ).
Start planning your Rochester, NY now!
With a plethora of Rochester attractions and a long list of things to do in Rochester – you are going to have the best and most picturesquely delightful trip ever.
I hope you have found this article helpful about the 14 top things to do in Rochester, NY!