Top 25 things to do in Rochester, NY – That we know you’ll LOVE!

September 23, 2021

Are you looking for things to do in Rochester NY? If so, keep reading!

Visiting Rochester NY soon? Maybe you’re looking for things to do in Rochester NY, to keep you entertained during your trip? If so, hopefully, this list of things to do in Rochester NY will give you plenty of ideas and inspiration for things to do around the area.

Rochester NY is a great destination for a weekend away in the New York State area. It’s located right on Lake Ontario, and it’s a bustling center of activity, with plenty of great options for things to do and places to see. If you’re planning to spend some time in the Finger Lakes, but you want to base yourself somewhere a little more cosmopolitan – Rochester NY is a great spot.

So, let’s get into it!


Here are our top things to do in Rochester NY!


Highland Park

If you’re looking for awesome things to do in Rochester that won’t break the bank, then you’ll adore Highland Park. Not only is this a beautiful spot packed with picturesque oak and pine trees, but it offers the perfect backdrop for a delicious picnic. Should you wish to stretch your legs, there are plenty of incredible trails to try out too! None of them are too long or arduous, so they’re ideal for families with kids in tow.


Try the famous ‘garbage plate’

Next up on our list of things to do in Rochester NY, it’s one for the foodies! Rochester is known for it’s famous ‘garbage plate’ – a giant plate of food (lovingly termed as garbage), that has to be seen to be believed.

Expect fries, burgers, beans, macaroni salad – all the good stuff. It’s an iconic part of New York dining, and you can get the original here in Rochester NY. Nick Tahou’s is the originator of the trademarked Garbage Plate, so you should head there to try it out!


RMSC Strasenburgh Planetarium

If you’re even remotely interested in space or the stars, then be sure to pop the RMSC Strasenburgh Planetarium on your list of things to do in Rochester. The building itself is stunning, but it’s the shows and exhibitions that make this spot special.

Offering virtual star shows and interesting insights into the wider galaxy and beyond, this is one of the best things to do in Rochester if you have a keen scientist in your group!


The Strong National Museum of Play

Kids simply can’t get enough of the Strong National Museum of Play. Realistically, this probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise. It’s a museum dedicated to play, folks! What little tyke wouldn’t love that? Among the interactive exhibits are board games, virtual toys, and even a carousel. Taking up a rather grand 150,000 square feet, we highly recommend dedicating an entire afternoon to this incredible thing to do in Rochester.

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George Eastman Museum

If you’re looking for incredible things to do in Rochester that will give you a look into the area’s interesting history, then be sure to check out the George Eastman Museum. The museum now belongs to the University of Rochester, but it was once inhabited by the famous photographer George Eastman himself.

Packed with incredible photography memorabilia and fascinating exhibits, this is one of the things to do in Rochester that shouldn’t be missed.

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Ontario Beach Park

Those heading to Rochester for sandy beaches certainly need to explore Ontario Beach Park. Open year-round, this is the perfect spot for hiking, biking, fishing, and swimming. However, if you’re looking for relaxing things to do in Rochester will also appreciate this spot. Simply grab a towel, slap on that sunscreen, and bask in the glorious New York sunshine.


High Falls

Next on our list of things to do in Rochester NY, it’s High Falls. This scenic waterfall in the center of Rochester is something you won’t want to miss. It’s quite a sight to see, and it’s also a great photo opportunity too!

Read more about New York State: 20 beautiful waterfalls in NY (with a handy map!)


Artisan Works

Anyone remotely interested in artwork should visit Artisan Works. As well as being an awesome not-for-profit space, this is deemed one of the finest things to do in Rochester as it aims to inspire artists.

As well as housing several exhibits, Artisan Works also supports budding creatives through their art program. If you fancy yourself the next Van Gogh, you certainly won’t regret a visit to this spot. 

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Seneca Park Zoo

Lions, and tigers, and bears, oh my! Expect to see all of these wonderful creatures and more at the Seneca Park Zoo. Although you probably won’t encounter Toto or the Cowardly Lion on your travels, you will get to see plenty of New York’s amazing wildlife. Perfect for both kids and adults, a visit to Seneca Park Zoo remains one of the best things to do in Rochester.


Genesee Brew House

The Genesee Brew House is next on our list of things to do in Rochester NY. It’s a great local brew house, full of beers to try, but the main reason to visit is actually for the rooftop terrace, and the brilliant view of the falls from up there. It’s a perfect place to enjoy a drink or two on a sunny afternoon!

Image credit: https://www.instagram.com/geneseebrewery/

Rochester Museum and Science Center 

The Rochester Museum and Science Center is a wonderful place to visit for all ages. Not only are there over a million items on display at the museum, but it is home to several interactive exhibits, climbing walls, and robot-building sites. You read that right! 

Although we recommend allocating an entire afternoon to this spot, we feel that it can be accomplished in a couple of hours if you prioritize what you’d most like to cover. However, as it’s one of the best things to do in Rochester, it would be a shame not to give it the time it deserves!

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National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House

One of the most important spots in Rochester is the National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House. If you didn’t know, this wonderful woman had an incredible life and helped enormously with moving the women’s rights case forward.

This museum will teach you plenty about Anthony’s life, but it also features artefacts about the women’s rights movement that any visitor will find fascinating. 


Eastman Theater

If you want to catch a show in Rochester, then there’s truly no better place to go to than the Eastman Theater. Since it was established in 1922, this gorgeous theater has become one of the premium performance spaces in Rochester.

The music and theater performances that take place here are always top-tier, but what makes this one of the best things to do in Rochester is the architecture. Both opulent and acoustically perfect, this is a must-visit spot for any artistic type heading to the city. 


Memorial Art Gallery

The Memorial Art Gallery is a local favorite, and it’s been around since 1913! As one of the best things to do in Rochester, it does tend to get rather busy. However, as long as you allocate plenty of time to exploring, you should be able to fill your soul to the brim with each of the exhibits on show here. Although there are plenty of permanent exhibits, the gallery also tries to cycle temporary exhibits to switch things up. It truly is one of the best things to do in Rochester, so don’t miss out! 

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City of Rochester Public Market

This may not be something that everyone wants to add to their list of things to do in Rochester, but if you’re looking to grab some fresh produce and live like the locals do, there’s really no better place to be. Not only will you find fruit, vegetables, and flowers, but you’ll be able to pick up unique crafts to take back home with you too!


Frontier Field

The next item on our list of the best things to do in Rochester, it’s Frontier Field. Although we don’t think you’ll be adding this to your personal list of things to do in Rochester if you’re not interested in baseball, we still think it’s worth a visit if you want to experience a real-life game. Able to seat over 10,000 people, the atmosphere in the stadium is always incredible. 

Hey batter-batter! 


Crush Beer and Wine Tours

Okay, so you’ll need to head slightly outside of the main city to experience one of our favorite things to do in Rochester, but it’s well worth the detour. Crush Beer and Wine Tours is one of the best things to do in Rochester for anyone who loves a tipple.

Not only will these tours allow you to find out how beers and wines are made, but there are always plenty of tasters available. Oh, come on – we knew you wanted to know the answer to that burning question! 


Seabreeze Amusement Park

If you’re looking for fun things to do in Rochester, then the search is over! Amusement parks are always fun, but there’s something inherently charming about Seabreeze Amusement Park that we can’t get enough of.

There are plenty of thrill rides on offer at Seabreeze for adrenaline junkies, but there are also tamer rides that will suit younger guests. If you get hungry during your adventure, be sure to pop by one of the many food stalls dotted around the park. Nothing will ruin your groove quicker than a bout of hunger, after all! 

Image credit: https://www.instagram.com/seabreeze_park/

Altitude Trampoline Park

Next oon our list of things to do in Rochester NY, it’s the Altitude Trampoline Park. If you liked the previous suggestion for Seabreeze amusement park, then this will probably be your kind of thing too!

And as a bonus, it’s a great activity for rainy or cold weather – as it’s all indoors too. Indoor trampoline parks are so much fun, and they’re the perfect choice for things to do in Rochester NY for families and kids.


Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse

Although the Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse isn’t the most astonishing lighthouse in the world, its charming appearance and fascinating history makes it one of the top things to do in Rochester. It’s only 40-feet high, but this lighthouse just so happens to be the oldest lighthouse that is still active in this area. Built in 1822, this is a historical spot that needs to be on everyone’s list of things to do in Rochester!


Mount Hope Cemetery

It may seem a touch morbid to have a cemetery on a list of things to do in Rochester. However, we ask that you bear with us – this place is truly awesome. With activists, human rights leaders, and famous historical figures all resting here, it’s perhaps one of the most historically prolific spots in the city.

With frequent guided tours of the cemetery running each day, you can learn everything you need to know about this incredible location and its permanent residents. 

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Warner Castle

Did you know that Rochester has it’s own castle? Next up on this list of things to do in Rochester NY, it’s Warner Castle! This fantastic replica of a Scottish castle is located right in the heart of Rochester NY, and it’s a lovely place to wander around and enjoy. The gardens are especially beautiful – so it’s worth visiting in the spring and summer!

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Cobb’s Hill Park

Cobb’s Hill Park is truly beautiful. Whether you’re looking for things to do in Rochester that will keep you active or you’re simply on the hunt for a relaxation spot, Cobb’s Hill Park is sure to fit the bill. With plenty of walking trails and local flora on offer, this is the perfect place to visit for that perfect holiday snap. 


Rochester Auto Museum

The name of this place speaks for itself! Our next suggestion for the best things to do in Rochester NY, is the Rochester Auto Museum. If you’re into your cars and automobiles, then you’ll definitely get a few hours of enjoyment from visiting this cute little museum.


Rochester Lilac Festival

Not only is the Rochester Lilac Festival one of the most magical things to do in Rochester, but it’s also completely free! Budgeting for a vacation can be tricky, and it’s always a good idea to have a couple of low or no-cost items on your list of things to do in Rochester.

As you might expect, you’ll see an amazing selection of lilacs on display here. However, there tend to be additional events that run throughout the festival that you should try and catch too. These vary year-on-year, so be sure to check the Rochester Lilac Festival prior to visiting for the most up-to-date events list!


Hopefully, this list of things to do in Rochester NY has given you plenty of ideas!

Rochester is a great city to visit, and as you can see, there are so many things to do in Rochester NY too! Enjoy your visit!

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