Your Guide to the Holidays in Rochester, N.Y.
Friday, December 2, 2016 3:00 PM by Rachel Laber
Limitless ways to celebrate the holidays in Rochester and the Finger Lakes
Give the gift of locally-made goodies and gifts this holiday season. Cross everyone off your list with a visit to the following holiday shopping events in Rochester.
4th Annual Brainery Holiday Bazaar
The annual event features more than 40 local vendors, DIY gift wrapping stations, and the raffling of locally-curated gift baskets to raise money for Rochester Youth Culinary Experience (RYCE), a not-for-profit organization that brings experienced-based entrepreneurship skills to youth in the city of Rochester, so they may positively impact their communities.
Holiday Family Fun
The holidays are the perfect time for spending time and having fun with the entire family – parents, children, grandparents and everyone in between!
Sweet Creations at the George Eastman Museum
This annual display features dozens of cleverly designed and deliciously decorated gingerbread houses and objects. As one of the Greater Rochester community's most beloved holiday traditions, Sweet Creations provides a visual and aromatic treat for visitors of all ages.
Visit the historic home of Kodak founder George Eastman through December 14 to enjoy the annual display. All of the confectionery creations are available for purchase through a silent auction, and winning bidders will be notified on the evening of December 14. Proceeds from the auction will help support future restoration projects of this National Historic Landmark property.
Yuletide in The Country Tours
Take part in an event that harkens to the Christmases of yesteryear with the Genesee Country Village & Museum’s Yuletide in the Country tours. The year is 1849, and New York has just declared Christmas an official state holiday. The snow-covered Historic Village is alight with activity as the villagers hear this news and begin their Christmas preparations. As you visit the homes and businesses of these villagers, you will take in music, dancing and family traditions, such as lighting the Christmas tree. Daytime tours allow for a beautiful afternoon walk through the village, while nighttime tours offer a serene lantern-lit walk. Tours are led by a costumed guide and last approximately 1 ½ hours. Tours take place weekends during the month of December.
Holidays at the Public Market
Each year, Holidays at the Market features dozens upon dozens of vendors with art, crafts, decorations, holiday food delicacies, gifts, stocking stuffers and more at the Rochester Public Market, named one of the best farmer’s markets in the country. Take advantage of a wide selection of holiday trees, wreaths, fresh garlands, and a plethora of other holiday goods and goodies. Families can take a free horse-drawn carriage ride with Santa (from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each event), and decorate a free holiday cookie!
Holiday Music and Traditions
It's that time of year, when you just can't get that holiday music out of your head. Don't fight it, give in and enjoy these special holiday performances.
A Christmas Carol at Geva Theatre Center
On Christmas Eve, Scrooge is visited by a series of ghosts who remind him who he was and what he might yet become. He learns the true meaning of the season and that it’s never too late to make a new start. The famous tale of redemption for the most despised man in London will awaken your heart and rekindle your spirit in this critically acclaimed adaptation. One stage at Geva Theatre Center through December 24.
Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra: Gala Holiday Pops
Sleigh bells ring and jingle bells chime as Rochester’s favorite holiday tradition returns! Join conductor Jeff Tyzik, the world-renowned Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and a 200-voice high school chorale for a festive concert of treasured carols that’s sure to bring put you in the holiday spirit. Catch performances December 16-18.
The Holiday Spirit
Nothing gets you into the holiday spirit like a cup of good cheer.
Black Button Distilling Winter Cocktails at the New York Wine & Culinary Center
What better way to liven up your holiday party than with cocktails from Black Button Distilling? Join the New York Wine & Culinary Center as they team up with Rochester’s Black Button Distilling for a holiday cocktail class. An experienced NYWCC instructor, along with a representative from Black Button Distilling, will guide guests through three cocktail mixology methods, using Black Button Distilling’s products. Sip and savor samples of the cocktails made with products like, Four Grain Bourbon and Bourbon Cream. Learn how to leave Santa a drink he really wants on December 9.
Casa Larga Italian Holiday
Celebrate Christmas the traditional Italian way with Casa Larga founder “Mrs. C’s” traditional Italian favorites like pizzelles and panettone, while enjoying holiday music and mulled wine.
For more information on ways to celebrate the holidays in Rochester, see our full round-up of special events, and activities along with all of the places in Greater Rochester to see Santa this year!