While you may assume that winter in Rochester is prime time to hibernate, it’s actually a wonderful season to visit Rochester! Whether you’re young or old, outdoorsy or more of an indoor cat, there’s something for everyone. We’re sharing our best recommendations for spending a wintry weekend in Rochester, NY based on your interests.

Arts & Culture
  • Museums & Art Galleries - There’s no shortage of museums to visit in Rochester! The Eastman Museum is a great place to start, the historic mansion and home of Kodak founder George Eastman. If you’re in town in February, you can’t miss their Dutch Connection exhibit, where thousands of tulips brighten up the Conservatory. There’s always a new exhibit to catch at the Memorial Art Gallery, often referred to as the mini MET due to its well-balanced collection! If you’re lucky, you can catch a guided DeTOUR, a quirky museum tour that incorporates humor and memes into learning about art. The UUU Art Collective is new on the scene in Rochester and well worth a visit! Enjoy new work by emerging artists in their space on State Street.

  • Theatre - Catch a play while you’re in town! There’s an abundance of options, from Blackfriars Theatre, featuring everything from dramas to musicals, and smaller venues like the MuCCC, with an offbeat assortment of shows. Enjoy the latest touring productions at Rochester Broadway Theatre League (RBTL) or grab a ticket for whatever is on stage at Geva Theatre, Rochester's award-winning regional theatre. 

  • Music - You can take in live music from a multitude of different types of groups at venues around Rochester. The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra performs classical music at some concerts and pop hits at others. The Eastman School of Music also puts on over 700 concerts a year, many of which are free and open to the public! You can also check out coffee shops and bars for live music, like Abilene, Starry Nites, and Boulder Coffee.   

  • Coffee - Rochester’s well-loved coffee scene will keep you warm and cozy even on the coldest of days. Third wave, minimalist shops like Ugly Duck Coffee and Fuego are local favorites, but there are also cute and comfy second-wave shops like Cafe Sasso that are perfect for curling up in an armchair with a good book and a hot drink.

  • Restaurants - Our food scene here can’t be beat. Radio Social has both unique and delicious Israeli food and bowling, so you can’t go wrong. Enjoy tasty Mexican food at Salena’s in Village Gate, or try Jines on Park Avenue for all-day breakfast. See more Rochester restaurants here

  • Bars - There are many fun places to grab a drink in Rochester, but the Playhouse stands out. This barcade offers cocktails, beer, top-notch burgers, and tons of pinball. Wine lovers will want to try Living Roots, Rochester’s only urban winery, that produces both Finger Lakes and Australian wines, and Casa Larga, which was one of the first wineries to open in the Finger Lakes. The Cub Room in the hip South Wedge neighborhood is another excellent spot to grab a well-made craft cocktail.

  • Play - The Strong Museum of Play is a fantastic place for all ages, but especially for families with kids! The museum is the only in the world dedicated to all things play, and is home to the largest collection of toys, dolls and games in the world! Visit The Strong for tons of interactive exhibits, including a mini Wegmans where kids can go grocery shopping and ring up items themselves.

  • Learn - No family trip to Rochester is complete without a visit to the Rochester Museum & Science Center! From motion simulators to rock climbing walls, plus a newly-renovated Planetarium next door where you can catch educational shows and entertaining laser light shows, there’s something fun for kids of all ages.

  • Explore - For an affordable option that merges outdoorsy with indoorsy, head to Lamberton Conservatory. It’s free for kids 5 and under, just $2 for kids 6-18, and $3 for adults. Walking inside feels like a tropical getaway, with greenery and beautiful flowers everywhere. Be careful not to step on the quail!

  • Bonus - visit the Zoo! Did you know that the Seneca Park Zoo is open all year round? Visit the Zoo during the winter months and watch the animals explore - and play in - the snow. 

  • Snowshoeing - There are tons of trails for snowshoeing in Rochester, and you can rent snowshoes at places like Tinker Nature Park in Henrietta or at the Cumming Nature Center in Naples. Take in the beauty of Upstate New York while getting some fresh air and exercise!

  • Ice Skating - Throw on some skates and get out on the ice! Martin Luther King Park in the heart of downtown is one of the most popular options for outdoor ice skating. You can rent skates while you’re there, or even take a spin on an ice bike! For indoor skating, head to the Bill Gray’s Regional Iceplex and skate your heart out.

  • Skiing & Snowboarding - Many of Rochester’s trails are great for cross country skiing, but if you prefer downhill skiing or snowboarding, head to Bristol Mountain! The mountain boasts 1200’ of vertical (the highest peak between the Adirondacks and the Rockies), 2 high speed quads, and state-of-the-art snowmaking. Nearby Swain Ski Resort offers terrain for all abilities, with lessons packages available for every age.

No matter the season, there’s something for everyone in Rochester! We have plenty of beautiful trails to explore on snowshoes or skis, museums and art galleries galore, and delicious food to fill you up between activities. Give Rochester a chance in the wintertime--you won’t regret it!