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Experience Art for All Ages in Rochester, NY 

The arts can be attainable for all, when you take the family to Rochester, NY. From museums that make art fun to eclectic collections found in the most unique places, this city surrounds you with creativity. If you’re looking for a chance to engage your originality, expand your imagination, and find something fresh and new, look no further. 

Pack your bags and take to the roads for an unforgettable trip in a destination full of surprises. Let us help you plan – check out our arts & culture activities for all ages below and use this itinerary as your inspiration and your guide.

DAY ONE

  • Start your visit with a driving tour and play “I Spy” as you spot the art hidden all around the city! Rochester is home to over 100 murals, all carefully documented and mapped out on the local Wall-Therapy website. You may even notice some familiar faces splashed upon these walls, such as Joan of Arc on Alexander St. or Martin Luther King Jr. on Park Ave. Get the scoop on the public art scene in Rochester in our blog post here

  • Next, head over to the Memorial Art Gallery (MAG), where over 5,000 years of history and art can be found. Stop by the MAG website after your visit to try your hand at artistic creation with “Little Lessons,” a short video series of easy and fun art activities designed for kids and adults to enjoy together. 

  • Walk the grounds of the MAG and enjoy some outdoor art too, at Centennial Sculpture Park, a showcase of public art spread out across ten acres of the Gallery’s grounds. You’ll find the works of four major artists there in larger-than-life form, including Wendell Castle, Jackie Ferrara, Tom Otterness, and Albert Paley. 

  • After a morning at the MAG, hop across the street and enjoy a late lunch at the creative industrial space that is Rochester’s Village Gate. Village Gate is a creative and eclectic cultural space filled with restaurants, bakeries, boutique shops and local workspaces. 

For lunch with the family, head over and dine at:  

  • Salena’s Mexican Restaurant is a bright, fun Mexican cantina atmosphere featuring traditional Mexican fare. Settle in for tacos, burritos, enchiladas, and other spicy and savory entrees – while mom and dad enjoy a margarita, or two. 

Dessert stop! Before you leave Village Gate, make a quick stop at the Get Caked Bakery for a sweet post-meal treat! The in-store menu features rotating cupcake flavors such as Boston Cream, Lemon Blueberry, Chocolate Peanut Butter, and Vanilla Raspberry. Vegan, dairy-free, gluten free, or egg-free cupcakes also available.

  • After lunch, walk off the sweets and treats with an outdoor stroll at Cobbs Hill Park. This downtown park gives you a prime view of the Rochester City skyline (perfect for the photographer in the family) and is a favorite for its easy walking loop around the sparkling water-filled reservoir. 

  • An afternoon at ARTISANworks brings new meaning to art, with roughly 500,000 items housed in this 40,000 square foot renovated factory building. From a life-sized giraffe at the entrance to colorful and creative canvases and themed rooms, ARTISANworks offers surprises at every turn. It’s like no art gallery you’ve ever been to. 

  • End the day with a family bowling night at Radio Social! Located just down the road from ARTISANworks in the historical Stromberg-Carlson warehouse, this retro-style social club contains 34 bowling lanes, plenty of lounge areas, seasonal lawn games and two bars. Currently open evenings Wednesday – Saturday and for Sunday brunch from 11am-2pm. 

Food stop! If you’re looking for a bite to eat, Radio Social also provides two in-house culinary experiences. Ophira is Middle Eastern fare served in their front dining room and Shortwave provides bar-style snacks (pizza slices, wings, burgers, fries, and more) from their back bar.

DAY TWO

  • Start your second day at Jines Restaurant on Park Avenue, a Rochester staple for over 40 years. Their breakfast menu is expansive with both savory and sweet options – and with over 20 varieties of waffles, pancakes, and French toast, we’re sure the whole family will leave smiling and satisfied. 

  • Then, take a walk along Park Avenue, a cultural and historic neighborhood in Rochester. Although it is well-known for its summer art festival, Park Ave is “a street for all seasons,” coming alive with different colors throughout the year. Stroll along the street to admire the impressive architecture. Browse the boutiques, galleries and businesses. Or visit any of the various cafes, bakeries, restaurants and pubs for a little pick-me-up. 

  • Head one street over to East Ave and tour the George Eastman Museum, the world’s oldest photography museum and the estate of George Eastman, the pioneer of popular photography and motion picture film. Learn about his life, rise to fame and the history of the Eastman Kodak Company. Be sure to swing by the featured photography exhibits before you leave – a list of upcoming exhibits and artists can be found year-round on the museum’s website. 

  • Make your way to the charming town of Pittsford, NY for a walk along the Erie Canal path or rent bikes to enjoy the route at a faster pace. The canal offers beauty in every season, with little boutique shops, galleries and restaurants dotting the path as you go. Park in Schoen Place to find yourself at the center of it all.  

  • In the warmer months, grab tickets to enjoy a 90-minute cruise along the Erie Canal with The Sam Patch Tour Boat, a replica packet boat that offers public tours. Learn the history of New York State’s legendary canal, considered by some to be the eighth wonder of the world. Kids will love the quintessential canal experience of passing through Lock 32, a century old lock that brings you in through its massive 40-ton gates and floats you gently upward as the lock fills. 

  • Then, do dinner with a view at the Erie Grill at the Del Monte Lodge. Big windows overlook the Erie Canal path and waters, while a seasonal menu serves up some amazing and original entrees and desserts. The cocktail list is sure to be a crowd-pleaser as well, for the adults in the group. 

Dessert stop! Before leaving the Pittsford area, make a final stop into Pittsford Farms Dairy, whose landmark dairy dates back to 1814. The Dairy uses the old fashion method of vat pasteurization, which takes long but makes their milk and ice cream taste sweeter. Grab a cone or hand-packed pint of one of their unique homemade flavors to-go or pick out a bakery pastry (lemon squares, chocolate bombs, filled croissants and scones, cupcakes, cookies and more) for the road. 

ACCOMMODATIONS

  • The Strathallan DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel puts your family in the midst of the action, within a short driving distance to the activities of this itinerary. The Strathallan extends an unforgettable experience to its guests, with posh guest rooms, heated pool, fitness center, spa, in-house restaurants, and free and convenient parking.

  • Located in Pittsford, The Del Monte Lodge Renaissance Rochester Hotel & Spa is located right along the Erie Canal (and across the street from Pittsford Dairy!). Sink into its stylish comfort with pillowtop beds and complimentary wireless internet. Also on-site is an award-winning restaurant and spa. 

  • Hilton Garden Inn Rochester/University & Medical Center is located in the newly developed College Town complex, ten minutes from both the heart of downtown and the airport. In addition to its warm and comfortable atmosphere, there’s an indoor pool, fitness center and restaurant with all-day dining.