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All Roads Lead to Rochester, NY

Thursday, May 13, 2021 10:00 AM by Visit Rochester Staff

Photo: Montanus Photography 

Plan a road trip to Rochester, NY this summer and you’ll have the whole family asking, “are we there yet??” With over 75 family attractions within a one-hour drive of the city limits and a destination filled with great food, culture, history, beautiful parks and outdoor adventures, it’s hard not to believe that all roads lead to Rochester for your next fun-filled getaway. 

Plan Your Trip

Rochester is a mecca of amazing activities for all interests and ages. The hardest part of planning your visit is narrowing down what to do! A great place to start is by browsing our themed itineraries online, which provide both inspiration and our best recommendation for the must-see stops all across the Greater Rochester region:

Mix and match to create a personalized, perfect weekend away! The ideas are as limitless as our city. Check more itineraries and trip ideas here.

Getting Here

One of the perks of Rochester, NY is that it is close to many major cities in the Northeast! No matter where you start your journey, you’ll find you’re just a scenic drive away from a great garbage plate and weekend of new experiences:

  • Cleveland, OH (~4hr)

  • Pittsburgh, PA (~4hr 15min)

  • Philadelphia, PA (~5hr 15min)

  • NYC (~5hr 30min)

  • Boston, MA (~6hr)

Traveling with kids? Get them excited for an adventure away, starting with the car ride! Keep little ones occupied with a Rochester coloring book page. Or download one of our Learning ROCs Scavenger Hunts for the older kids, and they’ll be learning fun facts about the history, science, music and more found across our Flower City. 

When You Arrive

Rochester has many distinct neighborhoods to explore, each with their own unique offerings and personalities:

Corn Hill: Located at the edge of downtown Rochester, Corn Hill is one of the area’s oldest residential neighborhoods and home to many beautiful Victorian homes. It is the setting of the city’s annual Corn Hill Arts Festival and adjacent to the Genesee River. Corn Hill Landing houses several riverside restaurants including Flight Wine Bar and Tony D’s, and (just across the river) Rochester’s Dinosaur Bar-B-Que.

East/Alexander: East Avenue at the intersection of Alexander Street is home to some of Rochester’s most notable bars and restaurants, including Veneto Wood Fired Pizza & Pasta, Roc BrewingOx and StoneThe Swan DiveThe Daily RefresherThe Old Toad, and Locals Only. A short walk down East Ave brings you to the George Eastman Museum, former home of the pioneer of modern photography and founder of the Eastman Kodak Company. 

High Falls: In the midst of downtown Rochester is a 96-foot waterfall and spectacular gorge harkening back to Rochester’s industrial days. Overlooking High Falls you will find the Genesee Brew House, a restaurant, tasting room, pilot brewery and interactive museum celebrating the origin of Genesee beer. 

Mount Hope/Highland Park: Also called the Lilac Neighborhood, the Mount Hope/Highland Park area is most notably home to Highland Park and Rochester’s Annual Lilac Festival. The park alone is home to over 1,200 bushes and 500 different varieties of lilacs, as well as the Lamberton Conservatory, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Worker’s Memorial, Victims’ Rights Memorial, and AIDS Remembrance Garden.

Neighborhood of the Arts: Rochester’s Art District or NOTA has a history in artistic offerings thanks in no small part to the world-class Memorial Art Gallery (MAG) and adjacent sculpture park. It is also home to some of Rochester’s most renowned and diverse restaurants, including Brown Hound DowntownGood Luck RestaurantLentoSalena's Mexican RestaurantThe Gate House, and Nox – all housed in the creative shared space called Village Gate Square, located just across the street from the MAG. 

Park Avenue: Park Ave is a cultural and historic neighborhood in Rochester, well-known for its summer art festival, Park Ave Fest and winter Park Ave Holiday Open House. The street is walkable and alive with activity in all seasons, full of impressive architecture, boutiques, galleries and businesses, and many amazing cafes, bakeries and restaurants ranging from cultural cuisine to easy grab-and-go options. Be sure to enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner any time of the day at Jines Restaurant, a Park Avenue institution since 1971. Grab a sweet treat Stever's Candies, serving homemade confections since 1946. 

Pittsford/Erie Canal: Along the historic Erie Canal in Pittsford, NY is a collection of boutique shops and restaurants including Label 7 Napa Eatery & Bar, Erie Grill at the Del Monte LodgeAladdin’sSimply Crepes, and Lock 32 Brewing. Stroll the canal path on foot or rent bikes for easy exploration. The Sam Patch Boat Tour also runs out of Pittsford, taking visitors for a trip down the canal by water and through a historic canal lock. 

South Wedge: The South Wedge is considered to be one of the fastest growing urban neighborhoods in the state outside of New York City. It has a lot of local pride and is one of Rochester’s “hip” hotspots. The Playhouse // SwillburgerTap and MalletSwiftwaterRochester Beer ParkBoulder Café and Lounge, and John’s Tex Mex are a few of the favorites you will find here. 

Not only is Rochester, NY the perfect destination to call your home-base for a few days, it’s also a great starting point for a day trip to Finger Lakes. Or maybe even Niagara Falls.

In just under an hour and a half, you can find yourself gazing at a nearby “wonder of the world,” the renowned Niagara Falls. Niagara Falls, NY offers endless outdoor activities – and you don’t even have to leave the state to see the falls in full view. 

Or choose to stay a little closer to the city and plan a day trip into the Finger Lakes region. Rochester, NY is considered the gateway to this world-class region of wine, water, and wonder. Taste your way down one of the area’s wine trails, sail across 11 glacier-carved lakes, hike the famed Letchworth State Park (the Grand Canyon of the East) or spend a day at the Corning Museum of Glass. 

Rochester acts as your access point to a world of new discoveries! All you need is a car and the drive to do something different – we’ll be waiting.

Author: Visit Rochester Staff

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