132 Things to Do Around Rochester - Day Trips Around Rochester, NY
Letchworth winter volcano cover

132 Things to Do Around Rochester

We’ve pulled together a list of fun things to do around Rochester, NY for college students, adults, and families within two hours of home—perfect for quick getaways. There is so much cool stuff to do and places to go you’ll easily find somewhere new to explore every week.

Top Ten Things to Do Around Rochester, NY

  1. Discover some of Rochester’s hidden places
  2. Enjoy a place that transcends you through space, time, or state of mind
  3. Take a hike along a waterside, inland, or rail trail
  4. Explore the NYS Parks near Rochester
  5. Shop one of our old country stores
  6. Drive around and find these quirky roadside attractions
  7. Stop at one of Rochester’s top ice cream shops along the way
  8. Find date night ideas for a time of social distancing
  9. Spend December visiting our favorite neighborhood Christmas lights
  10. Plan a 3-day getaway within two hours of Rochester
cover Christmas Lights Endicar 2020

7 Spectacular Christmas Lights

May your nights be merry & bright!

Corbetts Glen winter tunnel
Cobett’s Glen

1. Hidden Places Around Rochester

There’s no time like the present to start checking some off these extraordinary places your list. We drive right past some of Rochester’s most unique spots every day, completely unaware of their existence.

I continue to meet life-long residents of Rochester who have no idea these hidden places are just minutes away from where they work & live.

A few of these are a little off the beaten path and worth going out of your way for to experience.

Things to Do Around Rochester - Grimes Glen second waterfall cave
Grimes Glen

2. Transcending Places

Rather than an escape, I prefer to think of these as transcending places that encourage us to transcend space, time, and state of mind.

cumming nature center winter
Cumming Nature Center

3. Hiking Trails

Here are a few less populated, rustic, or unusual trails around Rochester that will inspire you to take a hike.

Letchworth State Park upper falls winter

4. New York State Parks

Venture into one of the 49 New York State Parks within a two hour drive of Rochester and discover what makes them each unique.

Things to Do Around Rochester - Old Country Store
The Old Country Store and More – est. 1849

5. Old Country Stores

When you walk into one of these four old country stores, you feel like you are stepping back in time with aisles of old fashioned toys, knickknacks and candies.

Rochester-Area Roadside Attractions - Big Metal Dragon in East Bethany NY
Metal Dragon

6. Quirky Rochester-Area Roadside Attractions

Here are a few unusual Finger Lakes, Western New York and Rochester-area roadside attractions that make for an interesting day trip.

Abbotts Ice Cream Lake Ave Ontario Beach Park
Ice Cream

7. Top Ice Cream Shops Around Rochester

We love these 45+ ice cream shops for their outstanding atmosphere, taste, variety, and innovation.

Try a specialty flavor like Concord Grape from Lynnie Lou’s, Lavender Goat Cheese from Eat Me, or Cookie, Fig and Honey from Hedonist.

Ice Skating

8. Date Night in Rochester: Ideas in a Time of Social Distancing

Whether it’s your first date or 50th, spending time trying new activities with your partner is a great way to connect, learn more about each other, and avoid the routine rut or feelings of isolation.

Things to Do Around Rochester - Endicar Irondequoit neighborhood holiday lights giraffe

9. Spectacular Christmas Lights Around Rochester

Our six favorite homeowners and communities go all out with their holiday lights to celebrate the season, so let’s get out there and celebrate with them.

Places to Go Around Rochester - Mirbeau Bistro

10. 3-Day Getaways from Rochester

There are two great things about enjoying getaways from Rochester that are less than two hours from home.

First, you won’t waste precious time traveling.

And second, by staying over night, you’re able to immerse yourself in your experiences, and include early morning and late evening activities you may not otherwise participate in.

Things to Do Around Rochester - Quintessential Rochester: Street Art
Atlantic Ave

11. Street Art: Exploring Rochester’s Murals & Graffiti

The term street art means different things to different people. It covers everything from traditional sanctioned or non-sanctioned graffiti to community-sponsored wall murals.

Here, we interpret street art to mean any outdoor, free, public wall art.

Watkins Glen
Watkins Glen

12. Gorge Trails Near Rochester

Gorge trails call out to us from their deep, dark, and cool caverns. They lead us along their timeline, exposing history as their waterfalls walk backwards.

Things to Do Around Rochester - Letchworth State Park hiking
Letchworth Trail #6

13. Seek Solitude

Here are a few spots I can recommend where there’s ample space for finding solitude and solace in nature.

Places to Go Around Rochester - Seneca Park Zoo winter walk
Seneca Park Zoo

14. Great Winter Walks Around Rochester

These ideas for winter walks should motivate you to step outside for some fresh air and, with any luck, sunshine. So bundle up and get out there!

Taughannock Falls winter overlook
Wiscoy Creek Falls

15. Roadside Waterfalls

Our 30+ roadside waterfalls near Rochester are spectacular, and for some, you do not need to get out of your car. Impressive waterfalls are not all buried in dark ravines accessible only by difficult trails.

Places to Go Around Rochester - Robert H Treman State Park
Robert H Treman

16. Natural Swimming Areas

On a hot day, you can sit under a waterfall, swim in a lake, or jump in a creek at one of 35+ refreshing natural swimming areas.

Sunken Garden at Warner Castle Rochester NY
Sunken Garden

17. The Sunken Garden

When you stroll around the back of Warner Castle and down the lawn, you’ll discover the Sunken Garden. It’s a peaceful retreat, and beautiful anytime of the year.

Places to Go Around Rochester - Rochester Hidden Secret Sidewalk
Hidden Sidewalk along Lake Ontario

18. Rochester’s Hidden Sidewalk

To find Rochester’s hidden sidewalk, start at Ontario Beach Park & head west on Beach Ave. Across from Clematis St. & Cloverdale St. are the two main entrances.

Corbetts Glen South Postcard Falls winter
Corbett’s Geln

19. Corbett’s Glen Nature Park

Corbett’s Glen is a hidden green space in a suburban jungle, nestled in between an expressway and 2 highly trafficked roads near the Penfield/Brighton Town border.

Places to Go Around Rochester - Grimes Glen first waterfall
Grimes Glen, Second Waterfall

20. Grimes Glen

There are few experiences like Grimes Glen around Rochester. The glen is public, free, and you are encouraged to walk in the water. Most people look forward to wading the creek to the first and second falls–both 60′ cascades.

Channing Philbrick Park winter
Channing H. Philbrick

21. Channing H. Philbrick Park

As Irondequoit Creek passes through Channing H Philbrick (Linear) Park in Penfield, it drops 90 feet over one mile giving us the cascades that make this park so special.

Places to Go Around Rochester - Canadice Lake kayak launch
Canadice Lake

22. Water Trails

Depending on your definition, water trails are either formally marked routes along a navigable waterway, or simply any waterway suitable for canoes, kayaks, and small motorized watercraft. Find 58 places to put in and paddle.

Webster Arboretum
Webster Arboretum

23. Public Gardens Around Rochester

Enjoy a peaceful afternoon at one of these 40+ arboretums, labyrinths, estate gardens, or botanical gardens, all within a two hour drive of Rochester.

Hidden places: Turning Point Park snow winter
Turning Point Park

24. Turning Point Park

Turning Point Park’s most striking feature is a 3,572 ft-long bridge over the Genesee River Turning Basin, part of the greater Genesee Riverway Trail.

Erie Canal Holley Canal Falls

25. Holley Canal Falls

Holley Canal Falls is located in the heart of the Village of Holley. The water that flows into the glen is overflow from the Erie Canal.

Griffis Sculpture Park bathers
Griffis Sculpture Park

26. Griffis Sculpture Park

There are over 250 whimsical, fantastical, and delightful sculptures at Griffis Sculpture Park, integrated into the bucolic landscape. Plan a visit when they’re open for the season.

Places to Go Around Rochester - Maple Sugar kettle fire
Cumming Nature Center

27. Maple Syrup Weekends

Find a sweet sugar shack! In March, these local producers open their sugar bush and sugar shacks to the community to celebrate the innovative process of turning sap into syrup during Maple Syrup Weekends.

Places to Go Around Rochester - Caledonia Village Inn
Caledonia Village Inn

28. Highly Recommended Restaurants

Some of these 350+ food destinations are well-established, while others are quickly becoming favorites as Rochester’s culinary scene explodes.

Share your time & talent

29. Rochester-Area Volunteer Experiences

I can’t think of a better day trip than one that helps others. Make time to volunteer your time and talent with one of these 25 amazing Rochester-area organizations.

Places to Go Around Rochester - ARTISANworks retro room

30. ARTISANworks

I’ve heard ARTISANworks described as a walk-through kaleidoscope, a bombardment on the senses, a 360° canvas, a space that defies all boundaries, a place that can’t be described but must be seen, surprising, inspiring, and in some instances shocking.

Snow Shoe Rentals
Cumming Nature Center

31. Rent Snowshoes

If you’re looking to spend more time outdoors, try snowshoeing. There are a few places around Rochester to rent snowshoes and learn how to use them.

Taughannock Falls winter hiking
Taughannock Falls

32. Taughannock Falls State Park

Taughannock Falls is one of the most accessible waterfalls in our park system. You can walk in the creek and play in the tiny cascades along the gorge.

Mendon Ponds Park winter
Durand Eastman Park

33. Monroe County Parks

Our 21 Monroe County parks are free, so take advantage of 12,000 acres of natural, zoological, horticultural, historical and geological experiences.

Penn Dixie Fossil Park Nature Reserve
Penn Dixie Fossil Park

34. Penn Dixie Fossil Park and Nature Reserve

At Penn Dixie, you keep every fossil you find, though it takes a keen eye and persistence to find the fossils, many of which are smaller than pebbles.

basket of blueberries
Blueberry Season

35. Locally Grown Produce

Your guide to Rochester’s harvest seasons! Find out which locally grown produce (fruits, vegetables, plants) are at their peak each month, and enjoy Rochester-area harvest festivals.

corning museum of glass
Autumn Scene – Edgerton Model Railroad

36. Other Museums Around Rochester

It’s time to explore 100+ lesser-know, off-the-beaten-path, and odd-collection museums around Rochester.

Historic Inns Around Rochester Avon Inn
Avon Inn

37. Historic Inns & Hotels Around Rochester

These 21 historic inns around Rochester offer unique dining experiences. Unlike bed & breakfasts, their dining rooms are open to the public. Unlike restaurants, they offer lodging. And their food is as extraordinary as their stories.

Free Rochester Day Trip Ideas: Rochester International Jazz Festival
Rochester International Jazz Festival

38. Cheap & Free Concerts

Free outdoor concerts around Rochester start ramping up in June, when the city and surrounding towns kick off their summer music series and festivals.

Things to do around Rochester NY: Craft Beverage Tasting Rooms in Monroe County
Craft Brew

39. Craft Breweries in Monroe County

It can be overwhelming to consider all of the craft beverage artisans that call the Finger Lakes and Western New York home. So, let’s focus on the ones we have right here in our backyard.

ice volcano

40. Letchworth State Park

Letchworth State Park comprises 14,350 linear acres along the Genesee River. It takes 30 minutes to drive from the Mount Morris entrance to the Glen Iris.

Lamberton Conservatory Bird of Paradise
Lamberton Conservatory

41. Lamberton Conservatory

Tropical plants need tropical temperatures, so visiting Lamberton Conservatory in winter is a welcome escape from the cold. Don’t miss the Spring Show that runs late-March through May and the Holiday Show in December.

Spencerport Lift Bridge Erie Canal
Union Street Lift Bridge

42. Explore Your Own 15 Miles on the Erie Canal

Of the Best 100 Miles on the canal, 85 of them are between Lockport and Palmyra. Here are a few ideas to start planning some day trips along the canal.

Niagara Falls USA winter skyline
Niagara Falls in Winter

43. Exceptional Waterfalls Near Rochester

Think of this as a starter-set of 5 exceptional waterfalls near Rochester that you should absolutely visit if you haven’t already.

Eternal Flame Trail Chestnut Ridge Park Buffalo
Eternal Flame

44. Eternal Flame Hiking Trail

When you reach the Eternal Flame, sheltered in a tiny cave under a beautiful little waterfall, you’ll find it is a fascinating reward for all of your hard work.

Pinnacle Hill

45. The Pinnacle Range

The Pinnacle Range along the Rochester’s southern border is a glacial moraine created by the retreating Wisconsin Glacier 12,000 year ago.

Little Rock City in Rock City New York State Forest
Little Rock City

46. Little Rock City in Rock City State Forest

Little Rock City in Salamanca’s Rock City State Forest is free to explore. You could spend 20 minutes or two hours wandering through the boulders, some as large as houses.

Mount Hope Cemetery kettle
Mount Hope

47. Rochester’s Geologic History

These day trips into Rochester’s geologic history—filled with drumlins, fossils, house-sized boulders and a meromictic lake—will leave you awe-struck.

Ice Skating at Churchville Park snow sports
Churchville Park

48. Outdoor and Indoor Ice Skating Rinks

There are several options when looking for ice skating rinks around Rochester, NY. It first depends on whether you own your own skates or need to rent.

Ontario County Park Gannett Hill Jump Off Trail view from platform
Jump Off Trail

49. Breathtaking Fall Foliage Views

These destinations offer colorful fall foliage and varied landscapes so you can appreciate them each in their own unique way.

Things to do around Rochester NY Paranormal Activities
Haunted house?

50. Paranormal Activities: Our Favorite Haunts

There is something about October that peeks our interest in paranormal activities. These day trips encourage you to explore the other side of Rochester.

Lily Dale Assembly
Lily Dale

51. Lily Dale Assembly

Lily Dale is a lake-side hamlet of Victorian homes and cottages. It is both quirky and peaceful; a spiritual community unlike nowhere else on Earth.

Mendon Ponds Wild Wings
Wild Wings at Mendon Ponds Park

52. Nature Centers & Preserves

Our nature centers, wildlife preserves, management areas, etc., all serve to protect and sustain life, while making nature accessible to people to enjoy and learn from.

Oatka Creek in LeRoy
Oatka Creek through LeRoy

53. Incredible Creeks

These 21 creeks around Rochester impact us in such subtle ways they sometimes disappear into the background of our lives. Our creeks provide us with opportunities for recreation and relaxation.

Things to do around Rochester NY: Chimney Bluffs State Park
Chimney Bluffs

54. Chimney Bluffs State Park

The bluffs, rising 175 feet above Lake Ontario, are fragile drumlins, like all of the truncated drumlins along this section of shoreline.

County State Fairs
County Fair

55. New York State & County Fairs

Our state and county fairs offer their own unique blend of agriculture, amusement and entertainment: parades, demolition derbies, contests, food, tractor shows and pulls, midway rides, vendors, livestock exhibits, and live music.

Things to do around Rochester NY: High School Musical Phantom of the Opera
Churchville High School Musical

56. Performing Arts Venues Around Rochester

Rochester has an excellent performing arts scene. Find plays and musicals by high school and college students, local professionals, and touring companies.

Greater Rochester Region - Oak Orchard Point Pleasant Lighthouse
Oak Orchard at Point Pleasant

57. Lighthouses Along Lake Ontario

These nine New York lighthouses are all within a two-hour drive of Rochester. And where there is a lighthouse there is a sweeping Lake Ontario view.

Bergen Swamp
Bergen Swamp

58. National Natural Landmarks

Recognized for their outstanding biological and geological resources, these 11 National Natural Landmarks are all within a two-hour drive of Rochester.

Arcade and Attica Railroad
Arcade Station

59. Arcade & Attica Railroad

A 90-minute steam train ride from the historic station & museum to Curriers Depot through the countryside and farmlands that have remained virtually unchanged since the line was originally laid in the 1880’s.

Diner-car diners Swan Street Diner interior
Swan Street Diner

60. Authentic Dining-Car Diners

Diners were modular–manufactured in one place and moved by rail to the final location. They were designed to look like a train’s fine dining car. These 6 diners are extraordinary examples of that era.

Watkins Glen Rainbow Falls
Rainbow Falls

61. Watkins Glen State Park

Glen Creek descends 400 feet along its 2-mile course through Watkins Glen State Park. Follow the 806-step Gorge Trail and wind your way over and under 19 breathtaking waterfalls.

Moss Lake
Moss Lake

62. Other Great Lakes Near Rochester

Rochester is well-known for our 11 Finger Lakes and 2 beautiful Great Lakes, Ontario and Erie. But there are 39 more fantastic, fresh-water lakes out there to discover.

Record Archive
Record Archive

63. Rochester’s Fun Facts

Let these inspire your next day trip! I’ve been gathering Rochester’s fun facts for several years and am so excited to gather them all together here. Just some of what makes Rochester special.

Honeoye Lake from Harriet Hollister
Honeoye Lake from Harriet Hollister

64. Harriet Hollister

Harriet Hollister Spencer State Recreation Area is a New York State Park located in the hills six miles south of Honeoye Lake.

Here you will find one of the most unique scenic views in the Finger Lakes region.

Hit the Trail Passport

65. “Hit the Trail” Passport

Pick up your “Hit the Trail Passport” booklet at Wegmans, or print your own. You’ll have everything you need to start your hiking adventure.

Finger Lakes Visitor Center in Geneva on Seneca Lake
Finger Lakes Visitor Center in Geneva on Seneca Lake

66. Spend a Day in the Finger Lakes Region

The Finger Lakes Region is one of the most beautiful places on earth, and right in our backyard. It is easy to get out there and explore.

Tinker Park winter
Tinker Park

67. Tinker Nature Park

Tinker Nature Park comprises 68-acres in Henrietta with a 1.2 mile flat perimeter trail for jogging, biking, skiing, snowshoeing or walking.

Seabreeze Amusement Park Jack Rabbit exit tunnel

68. Amusement Parks Near Rochester

Oh, how we miss our amusement parks in the winter. When May comes around, you find the parks with dry-rides opening on the weekends, with the water parks opening closer to Father’s Day in mid-June.

Orion night sky early morning October
Orion in October

69. Find the Darkest Sky Near Rochester

Locations northeast of Rochester close to Lake Ontario, or south of US-20 in the Finger Lakes will offer the darkest sky near Rochester.

Sonnenberg Gardens Japanese Tea Garden
Sonnenberg Gardens

70. Sonnenberg Gardens

Sonnenberg Gardens is an exceptional example of the lavish wealth and philanthropy of the Gilded Age.

Mendon Ponds Park Monroe County XC Skiing
Mendon Ponds

71. Downhill and Cross-Country Skiing

Skiing around Rochester is as much winter recreation as it is a social experience, competition, and a tradition. A few of these destinations also offer cross country ski rentals.

Cobbs Hill Water Tower
Cobbs Hill Water Tower

72. Cobbs Hill and Washington Grove

The view from Cobbs Hill, the quiet, the breeze, the friendly nature of people walking and taking it all in—there’s nothing quite like it in Rochester.

Sam Patch interior
On board the Sam Patch

73. Sam Patch Erie Canal Tours

Sam Patch Erie Canal Tours are a great way to experience the canal, the locks, & learn about its history along your narrated cruise.

Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse
Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse

74. Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse

You can climb the Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse’s 40 foot high tower and enjoy the view of Lake Ontario, the Genesee River, and Ontario Beach Park.

Mendon Ponds Park birdsong trail
Mendon Ponds Park

75. Mendon Ponds Park

Mendon Ponds Park is the largest Monroe County Park with 2,500 acres of woodlands, ponds, wetlands and glacially created landforms.

Pittsford Village Spa Depot
Del Monte

76. Rochester Railfans: Trains, Depots, Rail-Trails, Models, & Clubs

Our innovative use of the railroad, trolley, subway, and the Erie Canal helped develop the Rochester area as a center of manufacturing & commerce.

Rochester railfans are incredibly lucky that passionate preservationists before us saw the value in retaining structures we can still appreciate today.

Ganondagan State Historic Site winter longhouse fire
Ganondagan Longhouse

77. Ganondagan State Historic Park

Everything you will see and do at Ganondagan is centered around these core values: peace, cooperation, and respect for each other and the natural world.

Strong Museum of Play Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden
Strong Museum

78. Warm & Cozy Places to Escape Winter

There are several places around Rochester with tropical temperatures or cozy environments to escape winter, at least for a few hours.

MacKay Wildlife Preserve Caledonia NY
MacKay Wildlife Preserve

79. MacKay Wildlife Preserve

There are interesting man-made and geologic wonders to discover at MacKay Wildlife Preserve in Caledonia, including a sea of round, moss-covered boulders.

Olcott Lakeview Village Shoppes
Lakeview Village Shoppes

80. The Lake Ontario Seaway Trail

The Lake Ontario Seaway Trail is the portion that runs along the southern Lake Ontario shoreline, from Fort Niagara in Youngstown to Fort Ontario in Oswego.

Day Trips from Rochester NY: 30 Day Trips within 30 Minutes of Rochester: Old Canal Lock 62
Old Canal Lock 62 behind Pittsford Plaza

81. Historic Erie Canal Lock 62

Old Erie Canal Lock 62 is tucked just far enough off the beaten path that many do not realize it’s there, just over the hill behind Pittsford Plaza.

Things to Do Around Rochester: The Little Theater
Little Theatre

82. Historic Movie Theaters

There is something about a 100-year-old small movie theater that enhances your experience and transcends you through space and time. Enjoy these theaters we have around Rochester.

Helmer Nature Center
Helmer Nature Center

83. Helmer Nature Center

The paths at Helmer Nature Center, made primarily of wood chip, boardwalk, and hard-pack gravel, are easy to navigate and clearly marked. There are sloped portions that take you down to the valley floor where the terrain around you is hilly and tree covered making it peacefully quiet.

Paleontological Research Institution and its Museum of the Earth in Ithaca NY
Museum of the Earth

84. Museum of the Earth

Museum of the Earth focuses primarily on life in New York State beginning in the Cambrian Period, covering roughly 635 million years of geologic record.

Rochester-Area Day Trip: Mendon Ponds Park Monroe County Sledding
Sledding at Mendon Ponds Park

85. Sledding Hills Around Rochester

Monroe County Parks have the best sledding hills around Rochester. The great thing about sledding is that there are no barriers to entry.

highland park winter
Highland Park Lilacs

86. Highland Park

Highland Park was designed to be enjoyed year-round. Every pathway, every tree, every vista & every relationship between the land & water is intentional.

Thomas Creek wetlands
Thomas Creek wetland walk

87. Thomas Creek Wetlands Walk

Most folks when visiting Fairport walk along the canal path not knowing that the Thomas Creek Wetlands Walk is running parallel to them. There is also a viewing platform where you can relax and take in the sights and sounds.

High Falls walking tour
High Falls

88. High Falls

High Falls—called Genesee Falls back in our frontier days—is both the name of the waterfall and the district in the city where it can be found. There’s plenty of parking on both sides of the river.

Martin Luther King Jr Memorial Park at Manhattan Square

89. Martin Luther King Jr Memorial Park at Manhattan Square

Concerts, events, and festivals at Martin Luther King Jr Memorial Park at Manhattan Square are organized more frequently now, and the cascades behind the stage will make for a beautiful backdrop.

Rochester-Area Chocolatiers: Stevers on Park Ave

90. Rochester-Area Chocolatiers

Any one of our 18 fine Rochester-area chocolatiers makes for a great day trip detour or destination. Many of the chocolates are crafted by 3rd- and 4th-generation descendants using traditional family recipes with modern twists.

Braddock Bay Marina Trail
Braddock Bay marina trail

91. Braddock Bay

The Braddock Bay Fish and Wildlife Management Area complex includes the bay and the surrounding wetlands.

Buttermilk Falls State Park swimming
Buttermilk Falls

92. Buttermilk Falls State Park

In Buttermilk Falls State Park, like most of the Finger Lakes gorge parks, stairs are the primary walkway along Buttermilk Creek. It’s a challenging hike and worth it.

Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge
Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge

93. Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge

Swallow Hollow Nature loop trail is an accessible trail of ramps, gravel pathways and boardwalks making it easier to enjoy this unique ecosystem.

Scenic Keuka Lake Views Rooster Hill Vineyards
Rooster Hill Vineyards

94. Wineries with Scenic Keuka Lake Views

There are sophisticated publications out there dedicated to the intricacies of wineries, vineyards, cellars, and tasting rooms in the Finger Lakes Region. Our priority is simply to show you which ones have the most spectacular scenic Keuka Lake views.

Canandaigua Lake: Jump Off Trail on Gannet Hill in Ontario County Park
Jump Off Trail on Gannet Hill in Ontario County Park

95. The Jump Off Trail

The Jump Off Trail is ADA-accessible and affords one of the most beautiful scenic views in the Finger Lakes Region.

Winter break: Seneca Park Zoo
Seneca Park Zoo

96. Seneca Park & Zoo

The Seneca Park Zoo is a but a small part of the greater 297-acre Seneca Park, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted in 1893.

Water Trails: Conesus Lake
Conesus Lake

97. Conesus Lake

Conesus Lake is the westernmost Finger Lake and the closest to Rochester. You can drive around the entire lake in 30 minutes.

Webster Arboretum
Webster Arboretum

98. Webster Arboretum at Kent Park

Follow the pathways that meander around Webster Arboretum’s 40 acres of open spaces, flower & herb gardens, water elements, and a wide variety of trees.

Monroe County Ellison Park Rochester NY
Ellison Park

99. Ellison Park

Established in 1926, it is our first official Monroe County Park. Irondequoit Creek meanders through Ellison Park on its way to Irondequoit Bay and Lake Ontario, offering visitors year-round fishing and non-motorized boating opportunities.

Many folks with their own kayaks and canoes launch them here and paddle to the bay through Lucien Moren & Tryon parks.

Charlotte Pier winter ice
Ontario Beach

100. Ontario Beach Park

Lake Ontario Beach Park is located at the northernmost tip of the city of Rochester, and is bordered on the East by the mouth of the Genesee River.

Durand Eastman Park Log Cabin Road November
Autumn in Durand Eastman

101. Durand Eastman Park

Durand Eastman Park’s landscape design was inspired by the work that Olmsted had done 20 years earlier in Highland, Seneca, and Genesee Valley Parks.

Rochester Public Market Best Coffee at the Market
City of Rochester Public Market

102. Rochester Public Market

The Rochester Public Market is the place to grab the freshest local and wholesale fruit, veggies, seafood, beef, cheese, bread, flowers and spices.

The market is surrounded by excellent restaurants, cafes, a donuts shop, and a distillery.

Meridian Centre Park boardwalk
Meridian Centre Park

103. Meridian Centre Park

Meridian Centre Park is located off Winton Road. There are several points of access from the large parking area to the Erie Canal path.

Stony Brook State Park early morning waterfall
Stony Brook State Park

104. Stony Brook State Park

Stony Brook State Park is absolutely stunning year round, but my favorite time to visit is on a mild November day, once the crowds and heat of summer have slipped away.

Niagara Falls USA winter tower
Niagara Falls

105. Niagara Falls, USA

Niagara Falls is beautiful year round, and I highly recommend going at different times throughout the year to witness the uniqueness of each season.

Mount Hope Cemetery winter pyramid side
Mount Hope Cemetery

106. Mount Hope Cemetery

Fun fact: There are more people dead in Mount Hope Cemetery (~350,000) than living in the City of Rochester (~208,000).

Strong Butterfly Garden
Strong Butterfly Garden

107. Stay Warm & Active Through Winter

Don’t let winter in Rochester force you into hibernation. If snow sports or hiking don’t appeal to you, think of all the things there are to do indoors.

Rochester Museum Science Center

108. Rochester Museum & Science Center

Experience the vastness of the Universe, the confinement of hiding along the Underground Railroad, an ice age and an age of electricity all in a single day.

The new technology inside the Planetarium allows you to explore the solar system and the entire visible universe from any perspective. The quality of the images and near-real-time data is extraordinary.

On Saturday nights during the warmer months, when the sky over Rochester is clear, you can climb the winding 60-steps to the Planetarium Observation Tower & look through the telescopes at planets, nebula, and other stellar objects for FREE.

Vintage Drive-In Avon sign
Avon Vintage Drive-In

109. Vintage Drive-Ins

Yes, there are still drive-in theaters near Rochester! Avon’s Vintage Drive-In is the closest, but there are five others within a 90 minute drive.

Things to Do Around Rochester - Montezuma NWR
Montezuma NWR

110. Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge

Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge is a 7,000-acre (28 km2) preserve located on the north end of Cayuga Lake, under one of the most active flight lanes in the Atlantic Flyway.

Strong National Museum of Play new exterior cover
Strong National Museum of Play

111. Strong Museum

The Strong National Museum of Play has a wealth of interaction for toddlers, school-aged children and adults, including play-shopping at Wegmans.

Things to Do Around Rochester - Powder Mills Park Daffodil Meadow Trail
Powder Mills Park Daffodil Meadow Trail May 1

112. Powder Mills Park

Powder Mills Park favorites include the fish hatchery, and Daffodil Trail, and the Mushroom House, which is technically private property but still draws a crowd.

Water Trails Around Rochester NY Genesee River through Genesee Valley Park
Genesee Valley Park

113. Genesee Valley Park

Genesee Valley Park is a Frederick Law Olmsted-designed park located at the intersection of the Erie Canal, Red Creek, and Genesee River.

Genesee Country Village holiday open house
Genesee Country Village

114. Genesee Country Village & Museum

Genesee Country Village & Museum is the largest and most comprehensive living history museum in New York State, and the third-largest in the United States.

The campus includes the historic village (mansions & homesteads, merchants & services, churches & schools, tavens & town halls), the John L. Wehle Gallery, green spaces, a ball field, and an expansive nature center with miles of walking trails.

Chili Public Library
Chili Library fireplace

115. Monroe County Libraries

Signing up for a free library card gives you access to all 32 Monroe County libraries. The Monroe Country Library System comprises town & village locations, Rochester Public Library branch locations, and the Central Library.

Things to Do Around Rochester - Seneca Park pedestrian bridge autumn
Lower Falls

116. Places in the City to Enjoy the Genesee River

At Genesee Valley Park, the Genesee River begins her journey through the city, racing over a dam and three waterfalls before emptying into Lake Ontario.

Lower Falls Maplewood
Lower Falls

117. Maplewood Park

Maplewood Park is a linear park that follows the river from the Lower Falls to the Rose Garden and Kelsey’s Landing, ending just north of Route 104 at the pedestrian bridge over the Genesee near King’s & Hanford’s Landing.

Things to Do Around Rochester - Hamlin Beach State Park
Hamlin Beach

118. Hamlin Beach State Park

Hamlin Beach State Park has 7 miles of beautiful biking and walking trails, including a mile-long self-guided tour of a CCC/POW camp.

More day trips within 30 minutes: George Eastman Museum
George Eastman Mansion

119. George Eastman Museum

The George Eastman Museum is a beautiful tribute to his life & legacy, and is the world’s oldest photography museum with one of the oldest film archives.

Rochester and Genesee Valley Train Ride
Photo courtesy of Rochester and Genesee Valley Railroad

120. Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad Museum

R&GV Railroad Museum is the only operating railroad museum and home to the largest collection of historic trains in New York State, with fun train rides every third weekend from April through December.

Things to Do Around Rochester - Rochester experiences: Farm Sanctuary Watkins Glen
Farm Sanctuary

121. Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen

Farm Sanctuary sits on 175 acres in Watkins Glen, just west of Sugar Hill State Forest, and is home to more than 500 rescued farm animals.

New York Museum of Transportation trolley
Trolley Rides at the New York Museum of Transportation

122. New York Museum of Transportation

The New York Museum of Transportation houses fourteen full size trolley cars, a caboose, steam locomotive, antique highway and horse-drawn vehicles, and the various associated smaller items that illuminate our transportation history.

Your half-hour excursion on the only trolley ride in New York State is aboard one of the museum’s 87-year-old trolley cars.

Things to Do Around Rochester - Discover Niagara Shuttle
Discover Niagara Shuttle

123. Discover Niagara Shuttle

The round-trip on the Discover Niagara Shuttle takes around 2 hours if you’d like to simply enjoy the ride. Otherwise, you can hop on and off at any stop.

Groge Trails Cascadilla Creek Ithaca
Cascadilla Gorge

124. Cascadilla Gorge

Cascadilla Creek produces 8 waterfalls as it descends 400 feet through Cascadilla Gorge. The trail consists of stone steps, pathways, and bridges.

Things to Do Around Rochester - Sandy Bottom Park Nature Trail boardwalk swamp
Sandy Bottom

125. Beautiful Boardwalks

These boardwalks are incorporated into larger trail systems to help people meander through wetlands, or to help preserve wildlife.

Black Creek Park winter bench
Black Creek Park

126. Black Creek Park

At 1,505-acres, Black Creek Park is one of the largest of Monroe County’s 21 parks, second only to Mendon.

Memorial Art Gallery
Memorial Art Gallery

127. Memorial Art Gallery

Rochester’s Memorial Art Gallery has an extensive permanent collection, an incredible variety of traveling exhibitions, & a well-rounded calendar of events.

Paranormal activities: cobblestone museum
Cobblestone Trail

128. Self-Guided Tours

These 11 self-guided tours around Rochester are like a regional scavenger hunt. Learn the stories behind some of the things you see along our roadways.

Things to Do Around Rochester - Susan B Anthony House typewriter
Susan B Anthony’s home

129. Susan B Anthony House & Museum

Susan B Anthony’s passion for securing women’s right to vote started with her work as an agent of the anti-slavery movement.

Panama Rocks

130. Panama Rocks

Watch your footing, know your limits, and use common sense when it comes to climbing on the boulders at Panama Rocks Scenic Park.

Things to Do Around Rochester - Oatka Creek Park goldenrod birch trees
Oatka Creek Park

131. Oatka Creek Park

Oatka Creek Park in Wheatland is one of the more strollable in the Monroe County Park system, with little change in elevation along the 3.3 mile loop trail.

Old Fort Niagara State Park Youngstown NY
Old Fort Niagara

132. Old Fort Niagara

Fort Niagara was active for 300 years as a strategic stronghold during the French and Indian Wars, War of 1812, American Revolutionary War, and American Civil War.

How many of these things to do around Rochester have you checked off your list? How many have you added?

Share your thoughts with us in the comments. Your insight and experience is invaluable!


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COVID-19 NOTE: Some of the information you find in our articles may currently be inaccurate due to closures and cancellations.

Please follow the most current recommendations from the CDC and New York State for spending time away from your home. The great outdoors can provide a well needed respite & escape during stressful times. Please move quickly through parking lots, trail heads, and scenic areas. If crowded, choose a different park, trail, or time to visit. Please day trip responsibly.