Photo via @jinz_production 

Returning home to Rochester for the holiday season? Welcome home!


Whether your last visit to Rochester was one month, or one year ago (or even longer!), there are many new spots and old favorites to explore when you are home for the holidays in Rochester. While you’re in town during the busy holiday season, catch up with old friends and reunite with family, all while rediscovering the city you grew up in. Below are some seasonally appropriate options to consider during your return to Rochester.


Grab a drink with old friends

There are plenty of fun and friendly breweries in Rochester, and they come in all shapes, sizes and styles. Did you know that Rochester has been named one of the top cities for beer in the country? Matador Networks called Rochester the “best city for beer in the northeast” and Smarter Asset ranked us on the list for best cities for beer drinkers in the U.S. Some of our favorites include Genesee Brew House, Nine Spot BrewingRohrbach Brewing, Roc Brewing Co., Sager Beer Works, Fairport Brewing Company, Red White & Brew, Strangebird, and Young Lion Brewing. View a comprehensive list here.

Looking for wine or craft spirits? You’ve come to the right place. Check out Rochester's Living Roots Wine & Co., the first urban winery in the Finger Lakes region, and Fairport's Casa Larga Vineyards, one of the top wineries in the region. Taste a full spectrum of wines made in the Finger Lakes at Once Finger Lakes, located on Seneca Lake. Once is a wine bar featuring a curated list of wines produced in the Finger Lakes.

Enjoy a spirit tasting at a Rochester distillery like Black Button Distilling or Iron Smoke Distillery. Both have menus featuring seasonal craft cocktails!


Finish your Christmas shopping…locally!

This city has so much to offer, which is why we love to shop and support local. You can find just about anything here from local boutiques (check out vegan shop Cleo + Kin) and contemporary clothing at Peppermint to Scents by Design, a custom candle shop and award-winning local CBD at Glenna's CBD. 

Rochester also hosts a multitude of seasonal markets. We love THEMATA, Roc Holiday Village’s Shopping Village, the Brainery Bazaar, and the Lucky Flea.

Need a list of all of the local shops? You can find that here.


Dust off your skis and skates

If winter sports are calling your name, Rochester is answering!


Go out on the town

There’s something for everyone in Rochester’s nightlife scene, and it feels like new bars and clubs pop up every day. We love Bitter Honey, Good Luck, and The Cub Room for a craft cocktail. If you love to dance, we’d recommend Lovin’ Cup and Iron Smoke, both of which have live music on weekends. Like games? Radio Social, RecreoThe Playhouse/Swillburger, and Dave & Buster’s each combine good drinks and fun times. For more Rochester nightlife destinations, click here.


Catch a Show

Rochester’s theatre scene puts us on the map, with more than 25 theatrical companies and venues, offering original shows, yearly traditions like A Christmas Carol, touring Broadway shows, and more.

Start planning your night at the theatre with venues like Blackfriars Theatre, Geva Theatre, the Rochester Broadway Theatre League, and more.


Visit a Museum

Did you know that Rochester is the cultural capital of Upstate New York? Take time during your visit home to check out a Rochester museum, like the Strong National Museum of Play (fun for all ages!), the George Eastman Museum, Memorial Art Gallery and Rochester Museum & Science Center – among many others! Also, check out seasonal events at Genesee Country Village & Museum during your visit home. See a full listing of Rochester museums here.


Take in a Festive Function

The calendar is filled with fun and festive events during the holiday season in Rochester. From traditional favorites like the RPO Holiday Pops and Sweet Creations at the George Eastman Museum, to newer events like the ROC Holiday Village, there are many holiday-themed events to enjoy in Rochester. 

Don’t miss any local events during your stay! Read our full Guide to 2022 Holiday Events in Rochester, NY.