'Tis the season to gather! Whether you're returning home for the holidays or visiting for the first time, there is so much to do in Rochester, NY as you gather with friends and family. We've pulled together the ultimate guide to the holiday season that will keep you busy until you ring in the new year. Whatever you choose to do, share your adventures in Rochester with us using #VisitROC!

 

Holiday Happenings

Sweet Creations, Wreath Display, and Tabletop Tree Display

November 12 Through January 1 | George Eastman Museum

The annual holiday displays will fill the museum with familiar cheer and some new protocols will help ensure the health and safety of guests. Sweet Creations features dozens of cleverly designed and deliciously decorated gingerbread houses. See dozens of uniquely decorated wreaths on view and decorated trees throughout the historic mansion. 

Holiday Afternoon Tea in the Village

November 22, December 14-15, 20-21 | Genesee Country Village & Museum

Don’t miss this exclusive new holiday event at GCV&M! Our Afternoon Tea includes a selection of tea varieties, finger sandwiches, and sweet treats. Wine and mimosas will also be available for purchase.

The Old Farm's Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony with Elsa, Anna and Friends

December 1 | OFC Creation's Old Farm Café

For the first time in forever it is time for the holidays to begin! Join Queen Elsa and Princess Anna as they signify the beginning of the most wonderful time of year by lighting the Christmas tree! Accompanied by their memorable friends, Elsa and Anna invite attendees of all ages with their families to take part in this interactive event.

Genesee Keg Tree Lighting

December 2 | Genesee Brew House

After a two-year hiatus, the Genesee Keg Tree Lighting Event is back and scheduled for Friday, December 2, from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Genesee Brew House. The iconic Rochester holiday tradition will include an exciting countdown and lighting at 6:30 p.m., along with local food trucks, two beer trucks and plenty of holiday cheer.

Holiday Festival and Tree Lighting

December 2-4 | The Lake House on Canandaigua

Join Winter in Canandaigua for the 3rd Annual Holiday Festival and Tree Lighting Ceremony! This is the perfect, family friendly way to commence the holiday festivities.

Holiday Pet Photos

December 2-4 | Lollypop Farm

Begin your holiday season at Lollypop Farm! Bring the family along to create festive, winter-themed memories with your pet. Santa will be available to join in photos if you wish.

Roc Holiday Village

December 2-23 | Martin Luther King Jr., Memorial Park

Roc Holiday Village is Rochester’s favorite holiday festival that brings the magic of the season to people of all ages. The 16-day festival happens on Wednesdays-Sundays in December and includes Santa’s Workshop with free visits & pictures with Santa, free ice skating & skate rentals, a unique shopping village with local hand-crafted goods, bar, live music, food trucks, winter igloos, free crafts for kids, special events, and more. 

It's a Wonderful Life in the South Wedge 2022

December 3 | South Wedge Neighborhood

“It’s a Wonderful Life in the South Wedge 2022”, is a holiday event produced by the Business Association of the South Wedge Area that will be held on Saturday, December 3rd from 11am – 4:00pm in multiple locations throughout the South Wedge. Star Alley will be decorated in a classic Christmas theme with pine boughs and decorations. There will be activities and special visitors for children. You'll be entertained as you shop our many vendors by Matt Weasner on bagpipes, Resonanz providing seasonal carols and The Flower City Pride Band with holiday favorites. The Roc City Singers will close out the day with a memorable Holiday Show! Rochester’s favorite food trucks will be on hand in addition to the South Wedge’s finest eateries, many featuring holiday food and drink specials. Local businesses will provide the backdrop with special sales during the event.

Liberty Pole Lighting & Lantern Parade

December 3 | Roc Holiday Village

The annual Liberty Pole Lighting will include a new Lantern Parade to Roc Holiday Village held in conjunction with the City of Rochester and Downtown Definitely. Community members will have an opportunity to create their own festive lanterns and participate in the popular family parade.

Native American Winter Arts Festival & Hodinöhsö:ni’ Art Show

December 3 | Ganondagan State Historic Site

On Saturday, December 3rd, experience Haudenosaunee culture while shopping for that one-of-a-kind holiday gift.

Santa at Stokoe

December 3-4 | Stokoe Farms

Santa Claus will be returning to Stokoe Farms to check on all the good little girls and boys. Plan a trip to the farm with the kiddos to meet the jolly old elf. He is excited to get all their lists! Be sure to bring your cameras to capture wonderful memories at the old-fashioned Christmas Tree Farm.

Skate with Santa

December 3 | DICK's House of Sport Rochester

Join DICK’S House of Sport and jolly ole’ St. Nick himself - Santa Claus for our 2nd annual Skate with Santa holiday activity! During this popular ice skating event, families will have an opportunity to hit the ice to holiday music and festive holiday decor. Santa Claus will be on the ice, providing all children an opportunity to give him their holiday wish list, and take photos with him (Santa loves selfies!)​

Victor Jingle Mingle

December 3 | Town of Victor

Come join the Village of Victor for some Holiday cheer! All kids' activities are FREE!

Kwanzaa Celebration

December 4 | Roc Holiday Village

Attend this event for live music and storytelling in celebration of Kwanzaa!

Pittsford Candlelight Night

December 6 | Pittsford, NY

5:00-8:00PM, An annual holiday celebration by the Pittsford Chamber of Commerce.

Hanukkah Celebration

December 11 | Roc Holiday Village

Attend this event for storytelling and crafts throughout the day, presented by the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester.

Holly Trolley Rides

December 11, 18 | New York Museum of Transportation

Visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus in our holiday decorated museum, ride the trolley, see the model railroad in action, and enjoy complimentary hot chocolate and cookies!

Pancake Breakfast with St. Nick

December 17-18 | Genesee Country Village & Museum

Celebrate the holiday season alongside family and friends with a tasty pancake breakfast in the Museum’s holiday-decorated Meeting Center.

Santa Paws

December 17 | Better Together Dog Park

Hey pups, pull out those Ugly Sweaters! Santa Paws is coming to the park for pictures! Local vendors, drink specials and more! Trivia to follow after!

Three Kings’ Day Celebration

December 17 | Roc Holiday Village

Enjoy live music and crafts in celebration of Three Kings' Day, presented by Rochester's Puerto Rican Festival.

Breakfast with Santa

December 18 | Bristol Mountain

How lucky are we that Santa has taken time out of his busy schedule preparing for Christmas to come have breakfast with us in the Rocket Lodge? Bring your list, he’ll check it twice and his elves may even stop through Ski & Sport to add some items under the tree. If you need to do a little shopping, show your Breakfast with Santa ticket at Ski & Sport for 5% off your purchase.

Breakfast with Santa

December 18 | Hyatt Regency Rochester

Enjoy breakfast and get your photo with Santa! Ticket includes breakfast, photo with Santa, and parking.

Christmas Celebration

December 18 | Roc Holiday Village

Enjoy making crafts, singing Christmas carols and more to celebrate Christmas at Roc Holiday Village.

Holiday Open House

December 18 | Genesee Country Village & Museum

Enjoy the delights of the festively decorated historic village during the Yuletide Open House!

 

Light Displays 

Strasenburg Planetarium Holiday Laser Show at Rochester Museum & Science Center

November 12 Through January 2 | RMSC Museum & Science Center

The planetarium’s family holiday spectacular features your favorite holiday songs played back-to-back choreographed with dancing laser light among the stars of the planetarium sky. 

Pittsford's Annual Candlelight Night

December 6 | Town of Pittsford

Sponsored by the Rotary Club of Pittsford, this annual tradition takes place in early December and fills the village with holiday cheer. While the streets are filled with the sounds of live music, holiday lights twinkle as hundreds of luminaries line the sidewalks and streets. This is the perfect night for shopping, dining, and experiencing true small town, holiday charm.

Holiday Lights Tour 2022

December 10-25 | Various Locations

Bivona Child Advocacy Center has again partnered with some of the brightest and most festively decorated homes in the area to bring you a fun, socially distant and family-centered event. Holiday Lights Tour presented by Montage Wealth Management is a great way to celebrate the holiday magic while supporting children in our community.

 

Shopping

RMSC Council: Holiday Bazaar

November 18-20 | RMSC Museum & Science Center

Come celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Holiday Bazaar Arts & Crafts Sale November 18-20, 2022. The Holiday Bazaar is a juried show with five floors of displays across the RMSC campus. A spectacular variety of exhibitors will showcase creative, unique, hand-made items including: ceramics, fiber arts, glass, jewelry, mixed media, paintings, photography, prints, sculpture, woodwork, and more.

Holiday Market & Preparing for Winter

November 19-20 | Genesee Country Village & Museum

Prepare for winter yourself by shopping the Holiday Market and see how Western New Yorkers prepared for winter in the 19th century. The perfect family activity to kick off the holiday season!

Skully's Magical Mercantile at Iron Smoke Distillery (21+)

November 20 | Iron Smoke Distillery

Join Iron Smoke for a "Nightmare Before Christmas-esque" experience at Iron Smoke Distillery on November 20th.
There will be 20 local makers for all of your holiday shopping needs. And did we mention that Santa is hosting an ugly sweater contest? Come drink, eat and be merry at this boozy holiday market!

The Lucky Flea

November 20, 27 | Radio Social

100+ of your favorite local vendors offering top notch sustainable and secondhand goods every Sunday 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.

Black Friday

November 25 | Record Archive

You've filled yourself to the brim with stuffing and gravy, now it's time to fill up on music as well! Nov. 25th is Black Friday, and Record Archive is here to keep you busy with the family after all the doorbusters. They'll be opening an hour early at 9am and have tons of exclusive Record Store Day Black Friday vinyl releases as well as their famous dollar records.

Black Friday + Shop Small

November 25-26 | The Hungerford

Skip the malls and big box stores this year and support local makers! You’ll find a unique shopping experience without the crazy crowds. Visit with artists in their studios and see where they create their beautiful work. It’s truly a unique experience as each artist’s studio is a glimpse into their creative world.

The Thanksgiving Sale

November 25-27 | Corning Museum of Glass

Visit The Shops for the best holiday deals in town! You’ll find great discounts on holiday items and gifts, from glittering ornaments and jewelry to home decorations and handmade glass items from around the world.

THEMATA

November 25-26, December 19 | Culver Road Armory

This market at the Culver Road Armory features handmade artisans, independent designers and artists that sell high-quality, well-designed and ethically made products. We believe in showcasing diversity, innovation and entrepreneurship, as well as encouraging creativity and community participation.

Holidays at the Market

November 27, December 4, December 11, December 15 | City of Rochester Public Market  

A Rochester holiday tradition for more than 25 years, Holidays at the Market features dozens of holiday-focused vendors (trees, decorations, holiday foods and crafts, gifts, and more), visits with Santa, hayrides, cookie decorating and more! 

Holiday Brainery Bazaar

December 3-4, 10-11, 17-18 | Rochester Brainery

Since 2013, the Rochester Brainery has welcomed local makers and artists into their space for Brainery Bazaar. Brainery Bazaar is back this year with three weekends of shopping and different vendors each day!

Merrymaking Makers Market

December 10 | New York Kitchen

Join New York Kitchen in Canandaigua on Saturday, December 10th, from 1:00-5:00 p.m. for a family-friendly, super fun, holiday market! Drop your kids off at the "theater" for a festive movie and popcorn while you shop! There will be 15+ artisans available with everything from jewelry to home-décor to stationary, candles, candy and more! 

 

Performances

Harry Connick, Jr.: A Holiday Celebration

November 26 | Rochester Broadway Theatre League

Harry Connick, Jr. invites you to celebrate the holidays with him and his band as 2022 draws to a close. One of the most beloved artists performing holiday music, Harry has been thrilling audiences around the world for decades with his definitive take on Christmas classics, as well as his own originals and fan favorites like “(It Must've Been Ol') Santa Claus” and “When My Heart Finds Christmas.”

A Christmas Carol

November 29-December 30 | Geva Theatre

The sparkling classic returns, full of spectacular magic, heartwarming music, and holiday tradition. 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.

Trans Siberian Orchestra: The Ghost of Christmas Eve

December 1 | Blue Cross Arena

For 2022TSO brings a completely updated presentation of the unforgettable, multi-generational holiday tradition, “The Ghosts of Christmas Eve,” to 60 cities across the nation.

Yuletide in the Country Theatrical Tours and Holiday Dinner & Brunch

December 2-4, 9-11, 16-17 | Genesee Country Village & Museum

As you explore the wintry village bedecked in holiday splendor you’ll be invited into vignettes that illuminate the link between today’s cherished holiday traditions and the cultural customs of generations that came before. Yuletide tours run from 5 – 7:30 p.m. on Fridays, from 2 – 7 p.m. on Saturdays, and from 12 – 3 p.m. on Sundays. And don’t forget, you can pair your festive experience with a delicious dinner or brunch!

Holiday Soul Jam

December 3 | Rochester Broadway Theatre League

Celebrate the holidays with a soulful ensemble featuring Loose Ends, Klymaxx, Lakeside, Cherrelle and Big Bub.

A City Sings for the Season 2022

December 4 | Edgerton Stardust Ballroom

Performing this year are the Hochstein Youth Singers, Maryellen Giese, Director; ROCMusic Collaborative, Rachel Mills, Artistic and Executive Director; the Spiritus Christi Mass Choir, Paul Boutte, Director; and the Rochester Academy of Irish Dance, Christine Broomfield, Director. The Rochester Oratorio Society chorus and its touring small ensemble, Resonanz, perform under Artistic Director Eric Townell. This concert is free and open to the public. Donations of food, clothing, personal care items, and cash accepted at the door benefit Action for a Better Community and ROCmusic Collaborative.

Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley

December 9-31 | Blackfriars Theatre

This Christmas, cozy up with your favorite Pride and Prejudice characters at Pemberley, the grand estate of newlyweds, Mr. and Mrs. Darcy. Middle daughter Mary Bennet, bookish and often overshadowed by her sisters, blossoms when a curious visitor proves himself an intellectual match, kindred spirit and possibly more. Told with modern wit and period style, this effervescent, comedic sequel to one of the most beloved literary romances of all time will enchant Austen fans and newcomers alike.

Gala Holiday Pops

December 16-18 | Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre

Enjoy your favorite holiday songs by streaming performances by the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra from the comfort of your own home. Five holiday streaming concerts are available for purchase and with unlimited enjoyment for up to 45 days. 

Rochester City Ballet’s Nutcracker

December 23, 25-27 | Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre

The Nutcracker’s timeless tale of wonder and imagination has captivated audiences for nearly 130 years and has become a Rochester holiday tradition. Be whisked away to a magical land of sparkling snow and delectable sweets as enchanting dance from Rochester City Ballet pairs with Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky’s unforgettable score, performed in all its glory by the RPO. This beloved story of a young girl’s Christmas Eve dream never fails to touch the heart!

 

Holiday Spirits (21+)

Unwrap NY Wine for the Holidays

November 26 | New York Kitchen

The holidays are here and so is the season of gift giving and New York wines just might be the solution. Celebrate Small Business Saturday learning about locally produced, reasonably priced and most of all, delicious NY wines! NYK Beverage University Instructor, Sandy Waters, will guide you through a tasting of several gift-worthy wine candidates. Enjoy a small plate of tasty holiday appetizers alongside your tasting. Make your list… check it twice… a New York wine would be so nice!!

Sparkle Party

December 6 | Living Roots Wine & Co.

While many view it as a celebratory drink, the Living Roots team are fans of enjoying sparkling wine any day of the week. In this class, you'll explore how bubbly is made, how to properly open and serve it, best food pairings, and more - all while tasting through different styles of sparkling wine produced by Living Roots.

Sparkling Holiday Cocktails and Chemistry

December 17 | New York Kitchen

Join NYK Beverage University Instructor and MCC Adjunct Chemistry Professor, Heather McKechney for a trio of delicious holiday cocktails while learning about all the wonderful science that is involved in making the season such a special time of the year. From the chemistry responsible for the smell of Christmas trees and baking gingerbread men to the science of snowflakes and ornaments, we will explore it all, including answering the age-old question does turkey really make you sleepy. All the cocktails will feature New York sparkling wine, and you will leave with the recipes to use at your own holiday parties!