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6 Things to Do in Rochester Over Thanksgiving Weekend

Monday, November 19, 2018 3:00 PM by Visit Rochester Staff

Are you visiting Rochester, NY for the Thanksgiving holiday? After you have enjoyed all the turkey and stuffing with family and friends, plan on getting out and exploring some of the many things to do in Rochester this holiday weekend.

Here are a few suggestions. For even more ideas on things to see and do when you visit Rochester, please check out our Events Calendar.

  1. Catch a performance of The Nutcracker 

The annual performance of The Nutcracker by both the  Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and the Rochester City Ballet is one of Rochester’s most treasured holiday traditions. Plan on enjoying a performance through the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend at the historic Eastman Theatre. This beloved story of a young girl’s Christmas Eve dream never fails to touch the heart, and is the perfect start to the holiday season. 


  1. View the Monet’s Waterloo Bridge exhibit at the Memorial Art Gallery

Be inspired by the legendary artist’s series of paintings focused on Monet’s “Waterloo Bridge” series. This small but powerful exhibition includes the stellar “Waterloo Bridge” example from MAG’s collection along with seven others borrowed from North American sister institutions. Monet painted over 40 versions of Waterloo Bridge during three London sojourns between 1899 and 1901. The exhibition Monet’s Waterloo Bridge offers visitors the unique opportunity to experience several versions of the series concurrently.


  1. Sweet Creations at the George Eastman Museum

Kick off the holiday season with this sweet annual display of gingerbread houses at the Eastman Museum. This annual display features dozens of cleverly designed and deliciously decorated gingerbread houses and objects. Sweet Creations provides a visual and aromatic treat for visitors of all ages. Most of the confectionery creations are available for purchase through a silent auction. Proceeds from the auction will help support future restoration projects of the National Historic Landmark property.


  1. Family Fun at The Strong Museum, Rochester Museum & Science Center and Seneca Park Zoo.

There is plenty of fun to be had for visitors of all ages during the holiday weekend in Rochester. Bring the family to The Strong Museum and enjoy the museum’s Be the Astronaut exhibit, which helps guests experience the wonders of space. Plan a space mission, learn about the technology and math skills required to be an astronaut, and fly spaceships, pilot landers, and drive rovers.

Visit the Rochester Museum & Science Center and check out the new SoundSense exhibit. SoundSense explores the nature of sound and how we sense it, dives into the science and art behind the tools we use to create different types of sound, and discover how humans use this compression of air molecules we call sound to create the emotion experience we call music.

Bring the family to Seneca Park Zoo, which is open throughout the holiday weekend, with the exception of being closed on Thanksgiving Day. Visit with newer additions to the zoo, including red pandas and giraffes. Seneca Park Zoo is open all winter long, rain or shine.


  1. Enjoy local craft beverages.

Did you know that Rochester is home to one of the best beer scenes in the country? Treat out of town guests to a flight or pint at one of the more than two dozen breweries in Monroe County!  Our favorites include the tasting room experience at the Genesee Brew House (a visit to High Falls is also a must while at the Brew House!), a tour of Rochester’s first craft brewery Rohrbach’s Beer Hall at the Rochester Public Market, enjoying award-winning beers from ROC Brewing at their Union St. brewery and tasting room, or check out what’s pouring at CB Craft Brewers, where the tasting room features 26 craft beers daily. The tasting rooms at Black Button Distilling and Iron Smoke Distillery are also great places to bring visiting friends and family over the holiday weekend. 


  1. Shop local!

The Thanksgiving holiday, and Black Friday, mark the official start of the holiday shopping season. Get started on holiday shopping with some distinctly Rochester gifts and shopping events taking place over the Thanksgiving weekend.


BONUS: Enjoy a performance of Les Misérables at Rochester Broadway Theatre League!

This Tony-award musical phenomenon is returning to Rochester for "One Day More" (well, more like a few days more!). Treat visiting friends and family to a performance of Les Mis at RBTL's Auditorium Theatre, November 20-24, 2018. Set against the backdrop of 19th-century France, Les Misérables tells an unforgettable story of heartbreak, passion, and the resilience of the human spirit. Featuring the beloved songs “I Dreamed A Dream,” “On My Own,” “Stars," “Bring Him Home,” “One Day More,” and many more, this epic and uplifting story has become one of the most celebrated musicals in theatrical history. 

These are just a few of the many things to see and do in Rochester over the holiday weekend. Share your Thanksgiving weekend adventures in Rochester with us using #visitROC! 

Author: Visit Rochester Staff

Visit Rochester staff share the inside scoop on Rochester and the Finger Lakes region.