Photo Credit: Jim Montanus

Fall Family Fun 

Rochester, NY in the fall is like hitting the seasonal jackpot. The trees have popped on Park Ave. and set the city alight with color. The iconic walkways along the Erie Canal or near High Falls are a photographer’s dream. And for families, the orchards are calling, the pumpkins need picking, and the cider donuts offer a bite of autumn for all.

Pack your bags and take to the roads for an unforgettable trip in a destination full of surprises. Let us help you plan – check out our can’t miss autumn activities below and use this itinerary as your inspiration and your guide.


  • Start your morning and your trip off with a visit to the City of Rochester Public Market (open Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays). The market’s outdoor and indoor vendor sheds are open year-round, with fresh seasonal produce, baked goods and food items, merchandise, clothing, handmade and homemade items. It’s all too easy to fill your basket in the fall, with some of the region’s best in apples, pumpkins, squash, and other harvest goodies.

Food Stop! Swing by one of the many cafes, food stands, or coffee shops for a quick breakfast before you head to your next destination.

  • Kick your trip to Rochester off right with a stop at The Strong Museum of Play. Fun for all ages, this interactive museum features the National Toy Hall of Fame, the world’s largest collection of toys, dolls, and games, a tropical butterfly garden, eGameRevolution and more. Take a walk down Sesame Street and visit with Elmo and friends in Elmo’s World. Shop your heart out at the mini Wegmans, where kids can play both cashier and customer. Battle evil with super strength, super balance, and super flight powers in the American Comic Book Heroes exhibit or become a super sleuth and solve mysteries in Reading Adventureland. There are hours of fun to be had at The Strong – so be sure to reserve plenty of time in your trip to see and do it all.

  • Next, take a ride over to Wickham Farms and spend the afternoon apple picking and enjoying the farm’s family activities. Families can grab an apple-only pass for access to the back lawn area, farm animals, photo ops, and picking for up to ½ peck of apples. Or do the full “Barnyard” pass for access to the jumping pillow, mini golf course, kid’s train ride, corn maze, magic-carpet mountain slide, and more. Pumpkins and farm store items are also available on-site in the fall.

Food Stop! Check out the Big Barn Café for lunch options like pulled pork and apple butter grilled cheese or grab-and-go pizzas, pretzels, and the signature “Fall Shake Up” (apple cider slushee and vanilla ice cream, topped with a cider donut!) on the Pizza Porch. Grab some fresh popped kettle corn to go!

  • If you’ve got some time left in your day, head over to Ganondagan State Historic Site to learn about the Seneca and Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) culture. Explore interactive exhibits at the Seneca Art & Culture Center, a full-size Seneca bark longhouse, and interpreted scenic trails on nearly 600 acres. Once the site of a large 17th-century Seneca town, Ganondagan is a vibrant, year-round destination that will be both fun and educational for the whole family.


  • Letchworth State Park, the "Grand Canyon of the East," lies just 40 minutes south of Rochester, NY. It is regarded as one of the most scenically magnificent areas in the eastern U.S. – but in the fall, it’s truly something spectacular. Plan your morning at the park and head to some of its best viewing areas – the Archery Overlook, Inspiration Point, Middle and Upper Falls, the Great Bend Overlook and more. The full park is accessible by car, but families who want to get a little more adventurous can lace up their hiking boots and choose from over 66 miles of hiking trails, from easy walking to more intense climbs. Trails are also available for horseback riding and biking, and dogs are welcome in the park.

Food Stop! Plan ahead and pack a picnic to enjoy at Letchworth State Park or choose from a few different grab-and-go options within the park. Those looking for a true sit-down meal can find it at the Glen Iris Inn, a small country inn overlooking Middle Falls, with a wide selection of appetizers, entrees, small plates, and a kid’s menu.

  • On your way back to Rochester, make a stop at Stokoe Farms. In late September and into October, the farm hosts a Pumpkin Patch & Harvest Fest, with over 35 family-friendly activities to enjoy – including wagon rides, a bounce pillow, bee line, low ropes course, Farmer 500 Race Track, and mini-pumpkin launcher. Animals on-site go beyond those typically found on the farm with camels, wallabies, baby goats, and sometimes even a baby kangaroo!

  • Food Stop! Enjoy a tasty dinner after a busy day at one of these recommended options. 

    • Veneto Wood Fired Pizza & Pasta, 318 East Avenue, Rochester, NY 14604

    • Genesee Brew House, 25 Cataract Street, Rochester, NY 14605

    • Simply Crepes, 7 Schoen Place, Pittsford, NY 14534

  • Special Event: During the spooky season, you can end the evening at the Genesee Country Village & Museum for a special event that takes you through the spirits and spooks of Halloween’s past. Costumed interpreters bring to life spine-tingling tales of magic, fear, tragedy and betrayal, as you make your way through the lantern-lit 19th-century Historic Village. The evening ends with sweet fall snacks and libations. It is recommended for families with children ages 12 and older.


  • Jine’s Restaurant on Park Avenue has been a Rochester staple for over 40 years – and it’s the perfect place to start day three of your family getaway. Their breakfast menu is expansive with both savory and sweet options. And, with over 20 varieties of waffles, pancakes, and French toast, we’re sure the whole family will be smiling and satisfied after a breakfast at Jines.

  • Less than a 5-minute drive from your breakfast spot, Cobb’s Hill Park is a perfect little detour for the best in fall views. Head up the hill by car and stop at the top for amazing fall foliage and one of the most scenic city skyline views of Rochester, NY.

  • Every season is a great one to visit the Seneca Park Zoo, open year-round, rain or shine, right in downtown Rochester. The moment you drive through their scenic entrance, you’ll be transported into another world – and discover animals from the savanna, the rocky coasts, the tropics, and more. Watch as the California sea lions charm the crowd, feed the giraffes, observe the lions roar and play, and delight in the fluffy and adorable red pandas. There’s an important education piece here too for our youngest visitors. Your support directly helps save animals from extinction, as the Seneca Park Zoo remains a national leader in species survival and conservation action, globally and locally. Some recent projects undertaken by the Zoo include reintroducing lake sturgeon to the Genesee River, supporting reforestation in Madagascar, and more.

Food Stop! The Eagle’s Landing Café and the Crater Canteen offer great food for families within the Zoo, including “Little Cub” combos, meals from the garden, the grill, the fryer, and some snack options as well.

  • End your day at Long Acre Farms, known for the largest of the area’s corn mazes – The Amazing Maize Maze! This five-acre logic maze is full of twist and turns and the perfect family team building activity. On the weekends, the maze goes “dark” with its evening Moonlight Maze, adding a new layer to an already challenging escape! After conquering the corn, check out the other fun farm activities including a cow train, corn cannon, ice cream shop, and even an on-site winery.


Kick up your feet and stay a while with these local accommodations, fit for the whole family!

  • Hilton Garden Inn Rochester Downtown. High ceilings and marble floors grace the Hilton Garden Inn Rochester Downtown, which was once the former home of the National Clothing Company, established in 1924. But more than charm, this Hilton has all the right amenities for a family vacation – a heated pool, arboretum, fitness center, in-room wifi and complimentary transportation to and from the airport.

  • Strathallan Hotel & Spa. Right in the midst of the action, The Strathallan puts your family downtown and nearby all of the best Rochester attractions. Check out their current packages and you may find museum tickets, pizza party deals and more included in your overnight stay. The Strathallan also features a heated pool, fitness center, spa, in-house restaurant, and free and convenient parking for guests.

  • Woodcliff Hotel & Spa. Situated in the scenic hills overlooking the city, Woodcliff Hotel & Spa takes you out of the downtown scene and into a relaxing retreat. It’s truly a resort hotel, with an on-site nine-hole golf course, full-service spa, café and restaurant, outdoor pool, fire pits and more. No one in the family will be complaining about a stay at Woodcliff, with a little something to suit every taste and style.


Rochester Family - Fall Fun Itinerary