If Rochester isn’t on your list of upcoming travel destinations, it’s time to make some room on your itinerary. (We are listed among the best places to travel in 2023 by INSIDER, after all!)
Rochester, and all the people, places and events that make it great, is ready for your visit in 2023. We consider ourselves: a food-lover’s paradise, offering tastes of every flavor throughout the city; the king of festivals; a hub of historical sites and destinations; and the getaway spot you didn’t know you needed.
And while the city has already been buzzworthy for major events like the upcoming 2024 total solar eclipse, Rochester will only get more love in the new year. Many annual events will be returning in 2023, and there are also new attractions and restaurants joining the ranks of Rochester’s list of places to go.
Keep reading to learn more and mark your calendars for your next adventure. (Go ahead and bookmark this page – you’ll need it later!)
What’s New in Rochester in 2023
- 2023 PGA Championship. In May 2023, Rochester’s prestigious Oak Hill Country Club will play host to the 2023 PGA Championship, marking the fourth time the PGA’s premier event will be held in Rochester at Oak Hill. The greatest golfers will descend on Rochester May 18-21, 2023. More info: https://www.pgachampionship.com/
- Opening of Expansion at The Strong Museum of Play. The top children’s museum in the country happens to find its home in Rochester, NY. The Strong National Museum of Play is the only museum in the world dedicated to the exploration and discovery of play. And beginning in 2023, The Strong will have even more to offer visitors with the completion of a transformative expansion. The heart of the all-new Neighborhood of Play will be The Strong’s 90,000-square-foot expansion which will house state-of-the-art guest amenities and a 24,000-square-foot interactive gallery.
- Neighborhood of Play. In the shadow of The Strong Museum, a new neighborhood, the Neighborhood of Play, has been built up in the footprint of the former Inner Loop. The new neighborhood offerings include housing, commercial space, planned retail – including a new brewery, a gaming themed restaurant, new hotel and more. Also just steps away from The Strong, visitors will find the newly opened Tasting Room for Strangebird Brewing, which was recently named the 2022 Brewery of the Year in New York State Craft Beer Competition.
- Black Button Distilling Expansion and New Distillery. Rochester’s Black Button Distilling was the first distillery to open in the area since prohibition, when it first opened in 2012. Now ten years in business, Black Button recently announced plans to expand its production space and tasting room to University Avenue in Rochester’s Neighborhood of the Arts. The new facility, which will renovate a historic building (built before World War I) into a 28,000 sq. foot distillery. Black Button will move to its new location in summer 2023.
- Expansion of Rohrbach Brewing on Railroad Street. As Black Button Distilling prepares to move from its current home near Rochester’s Public Market to its new space, the move presents an opportunity for Black Button’s current neighbor, Rohrbach Brewing Company to expand its existing space. Rohrbach is Rochester’s first craft brewery, serving craft brews since its opening in 1991. The expansion will allow for more production space for the pioneer in the Rochester’s growing beer scene, as well as event space and more seating for guests in its Railroad Street Beer Hall, adjacent to the Rochester Public Market – one of the oldest and largest markets in the country.
- Development alongside the Erie Canal in Fairport NY + Empire State Trail. The Empire State Trail connects New York State, from Buffalo to NYC. In the Rochester area, the trail is comprised of the Erie Canalway Trail. The Rochester area is home to several canal side communities, including the picturesque village of Fairport. In Fairport, visitors will discover a new entertainment district known as The Cannery, which was once the home of the American Can Co. The 62,000 sq. foot structure was originally constructed in 1908, and today is home to two breweries, a distillery and several different restaurants.
2023 EVENTS & FESTIVALS
January - April
February 18: NYS Ice Wine & Culinary Festival
Hosted by Casa Larga Vineyards, this annual event is the largest ice wine tasting festival and celebration of ice wine produced in New York State. Horse-drawn sleigh rides, s’mores and hot beverage stations, and ice wine-inspired (and infused) cuisine are on the docket for this festive event.
March 11: Rochester St. Patrick’s Day Parade
In addition to the many pubs, restaurants and businesses that will be hosting festivities around the city, you won’t want to miss all the fun, music and culture that’ll be making its way through the streets of Rochester during the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
May - July
May 12-21: Rochester Lilac Festival
Find out how the Flower City got its name, and meet us in Highland Park for 10 days of celebrating North America’s largest collection of lilacs. In addition to the gorgeous display of flowers, you’re in for entertainment, food, activities and more.
May 15-21: 2023 PGA Championship
The PGA Championship returns to Rochester in 2023 to the historic and world-class Oak Hill Country Club.
June 2-4: Fairport Canal Days
Summers are a perfect time to enjoy the city’s waterways, and the annual Fairport Canal Days event is a great way to soak it all in. Enjoy arts, music, food and more alongside the Erie Canal.
June (5-11): Rochester Cocktail Revival
Celebrating Year 10! The Rochester Cocktail Revival is New York State’s only weeklong festival celebrating craft cocktail culture. Broaden your appreciation for all things mixology with pairing dinners, tasting events, educational seminars, a themed gala and more.
June 23 - July 1: Rochester International Jazz Festival
Get your tickets to this anticipated and celebrated festival, and let these musical performances be the soundtrack to your summer!
August – October
September 12-23: Rochester Fringe Festival
The Rochester Fringe Festival has become one of the largest and most successful fringe festivals in the nation, drawing more than a half-million visitors from all over the world since its debut in 2012. You won’t want to miss this incredible arts festival that features dance, theater, music, film and more.
September: Purple Foot Festival
Meet us back at Casa Larga and get ready to stomp and squish those toes in some grapes during the Purple Foot Festival! This is one of the largest grape-stomping festivals in the Eastern U.S.
September - November: Festive Fall Activities
When the leaves begin to change and the air cools to those autumn temperatures, rest assured you’ll find plenty of ways to celebrate the season. From pumpkin picking and visiting corn mazes to attending annual events like Oktoberfest, there’s something for everyone. Check out this post to get some inspiration, and keep an eye on our blog and events calendar for 2023 activities.
October: Halloween Events
Speaking of fall, we can’t forget the spookiest holiday of the year – Halloween! There will certainly be annual favorites like Halloween at the Market and events promoted by Haunted History Trail of New York State. But what else might you find around mysterious corners of the city…? Here’s a list of events to help you get inspired while we see what else can conjure up...
November - December
Mid-November through January 1: Holiday displays at George Eastman Museum
Each winter, ROC-stars make their way to the George Eastman Museum to view the beautiful holiday displays, tabletop trees, wreaths and Sweet Creations gingerbread houses. It’s tradition around here.
December (date TBD): Lighting of the Genesee Keg Tree
The keg tree that sits outside the Genesee Brewery is brought to life during the annual Keg Tree Lighting. Between the sight of this symbolic homage to Rochester’s beer culture and the rushing waters of High Falls just across the way, you might just find yourself falling into a different kind of love with the city.
December (dates TBD): ROC Holiday Village
And last, but certainly not least, is the ROC Holiday Village – a little slice of the winter holidays all wrapped into one. Go ice skating, shop with vendors, warm up around a firepit or in an igloo, enjoy free crafts, live music, and food and drinks, and more.
Do you need any more reasons than that? If you’re still not sure that Rochester is the place to be in 2023, check out our Things To Do page and learn just how “limitless” this city can be.