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Top 15 Best Things to Do in Rochester City, New York

Bucket List: 15 Best Places to Visit in Rochester City, New York

Rochester is one of the most interesting cities in Upstate New York, starting from supplying flour around the country to innovating the city and erecting several museums. Visitors can also enjoy the outdoors in Rochester, especially the various activities offered in Genesee River. The busiest months in Rochester are from June to August, the perfect months to hike Cobbs Hill Park, enjoy Seabreeze Amusement Park, and see the animals at the Seneca Park Zoo.

Strong National Museum of Play

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Strong National Museum of Play By Misc – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, cc

The Strong National Museum of Play is a children’s museum with 100,000 square feet of interactive exhibit space. The museum was founded by Margaret Woodbury Strong, a prolific collector of everyday objects like dolls and toys. Before her death in 1969, she donated a portion of her estate to support the museum. The museum has a permanent collection of exhibits, including American Comic Book Heroes, America at Play, Build Drive Go, and eGameRevolution.

Location: 1 Manhattan Square Drive, Rochester, NY 14607

Rochester Museum & Science Center

The Rochester Museum & Science Center is a science museum committed to educating the community in science, technology, and local history. The Science Center has more than 1 million interactive exhibits in its permanent and special collections.

The museum also operates one of its most loved attractions, the Strasenburgh Planetarium, which accurately projects the sun, planets, and 8,000 stars the same way they would appear to the naked eye on a viewing night, and the Cumming Nature Center is dedicated to environmental education in its 900-acre nature preserve.

Location: 657 East Avenue, Rochester, NY 14607

RMSC Strasenburgh Planetarium

The RMSC Strasenburgh Planetarium is one of the sought-after attractions of the Rochester Museum & Science Center. The four-story dome opened in 1968 and provides Rochester with laser shows, hands-on space mission simulations, and free public telescope viewing. The planetarium star projector, sometimes called “Carl” because it was made by the Carl Zeiss Company, has 32-star field projectors that accurately depict the sun, planets, and 8,000 stars the same way they would appear to the naked eye on a viewing night. This accuracy is in line with the Strasenburgh Planetarium’s dedicated purpose: to foster a fuller understanding and appreciation of the order and majesty of the universe.

Location: 657 East Avenue, Rochester, NY 14607

Seneca Park Zoo

Seneca Park Zoo sits on 15 acres of land and is home to more than 90 species of mammals, amphibians, birds, fish, and reptiles. Visitors can see an African Elephant, African Lion, Amur Tiger, and Bald Eagle here. The zoo is one of the oldest attractions in the city, first opening in 1893, and still continues to expand and create better habitats for the animals.

Location: 2222 St Paul Street, Rochester, NY 14621

Highland Park

Highland Park is a world-renowned arboretum designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the father of landscape architecture. Its 150 acres of land has thousands of lilac shrubs, a collection of Japanese Maples, magnolias, and barberries, and hundreds of varieties of azaleas and rhododendrons, Andromeda, mountain laurel, horse chestnuts, a profusion of spring bulbs, and native wildflowers. The park is considered to be one of Rochester’s most beautiful parks. Highland Park has several attractions. Most notably is the Lamberton Conservatory, originally constructed in 1911 and served as a botanical garden.

Location: 180 Reservoir Avenue, Rochester, NY 14620

Genesee River – High Falls

High Falls is one of Rochester’s stunning natural sceneries set along the Genesee River. High Falls was once the key to the city’s settlement and early industrial development, with its waters used to feed flour mills and factories. Today, its powerful torrents are used to generate hydroelectric power for the city and its suburbs. The white waters and breathtaking views of the falls are often used as backdrops to travel photos.

Location: 4 Commercial Street, Rochester, NY 14614

Ontario Beach Park

The Ontario Beach Park is one of Rochester’s top tourist attractions. With its natural sandy beach and several options for outdoor activities, the park is a lovely scenic spot to spend the summer in. The park has several amenities, including picnic shelters, a bathhouse, a performance pavilion, volleyball courts, basketball courts, and softball fields. Ontario Beach Park is located on the shores of Lake Ontario, where visitors can enjoy a day swimming, fishing, boating, or sunbathing.

Location: 4799 Lake Avenue, Rochester, NY 14612

Eastman Museum

The George Eastman Museum was the personal residence of George Eastman, founder of the Eastman Kodak Company and the pioneer of modern photography. Upon his death, his mansion at the University of Rochester became the world’s oldest museum dedicated to photography and film archives. The museum’s collections have grown since it opened in 1949, originally with the Historical Collection of Eastman Kodak Company and the Medicus collection of Alexander Gardner’s Civil War photographs.

Location: 900 East Avenue, Rochester, NY 14607

National Susan B. Anthony Museum and House

The National Susan B. Anthony Museum and House were established to pay homage to Susan B. Anthony, an American civil rights leader who fought for equal rights for women and for their right to vote. The museum is located in the restored heritage house where Anthony lived as an activist. It was also the same site where she was arrested in 1872 for casting her ballot in the 1872 Presidential Elections and for voting illegally. Visitors can tour the museum and see volumes of research materials, artifacts, and memorabilia from Anthony’s life. Additionally, the museum serves as a learning center and offers educational programs for the younger generation.

Location: 17 Madison Street, Rochester, NY 14608

The Memorial Art Gallery is a civic art museum founded in 1913. The museum has a permanent collection of more than 12,000 objects on display, ranging from contemporary to post-modern. The 14-acre museum also hosts lectures to empower the community and enrich the way we see ourselves and the world around us through creativity.

Location: 500 University Avenue, Rochester, NY 14607

Seabreeze Amusement Park

Seabreeze Amusement Park is a historic family amusement park that opened in the summer of 1879.  The park is one of the oldest of its kind in New York. The amusement park has more than 70 attractions. There are 11 thrill rides, 7 water parks, 5 family rides, and 7 kiddie rides. The park opened more attractions like The Jack Rabbit and The Soak Zone to celebrate its centennial anniversary.

Location: 4600 Culver Road, Rochester, NY 14622

Cobbs Hill Park

Cobbs Hill Park is a popular hiking destination, with over 109 acres of trails that lead to scenic spots and some of the best views of Rochester. Large quantities of lilac and oak trees throughout the park provide shade too casual walkers and color the park in spring and fall. Cobbs Hill Park has several park amenities, including a children’s play area, tennis courts, and basketball courts. There are two cabins that visitors can rent in the summer before heading to the reservoir to fish.

Location: 80 Culver Road, Rochester, NY 14610

Artisan Works

Artisan Works is a not-for-profit art space that is devoted to showcasing art to the community. Resident and visiting artists create their work and can present their finished projects to other visitors. Artisan Works offers guided tours, but visitors can choose from a self-guided tour. Art enthusiasts and those with creative minds will enjoy touring the place and may even join other artists in the art-making process.

Location: 565 Blossom Road, Suite L, Rochester, NY 14610

Bristol Mountain Ski Resort

Bristol Mountain Ski Resort is the perfect winter destination when in Rochester. It is the premier ski resort in the area and has 138 acres of skiable terrain, 3 kilometers of Nordic trails, 39 slopes and trails, and a breathtaking view of the mountain. Night skiing and snowboarding are allowed in the resort. On any given day, terrains are covered nicely as Bristol Mountain is known for grooming and snowmaking.

Genesee River

The Genesee River is an important aspect of Rochester, serving as the modern city’s lifeline and the Iroquois Nation who first lived there. The Seneca Indians of the Iroquois Nation gave the name of the river, meaning “pleasant banks.” After centuries of redevelopment and urban challenges, the river has become the economic and ecological heart of Rochester. Locals and visitors can experience the River for themselves. Whether through hiking, biking, paddling, canoeing, or kayaking, Genesee River is a blessing to the city.

How to get there

Visitors can get to Rochester by plane, car, train, and bus. The Frederick Douglass – Greater Rochester International Airport is the nearest airport to Rochester City. Private cars can take the New York State Thruway or Lake Ontario State Parkway to enter the city. The main train station serving Rochester City is the Rochester Station, served by Amtrak. Across the train station is a bus terminal served by Greyhound Lines, New York Trailways, and Megabus.

Our Top Hotel Picks for Rochester City NY

Rochester City NY Travel and Tour Packages

Searching for the best hotels, resorts, and affordable flights in the nearby Cities? Check out our list of cheap Rochester City NY hotels and resorts via Agoda, Booking, or you may also see available Airbnb properties in the city.

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