Photo Credit: Seabreeze

“ROC” Your Summer Vacation in Rochester, NY

Hike and bike paths beg you to come outside, amusement parks are ready to excite and ice cream cones are itching to be licked. It must be summertime in Rochester, NY! The warmer weather means blooming buds, outdoor fun, restaurant patios and late nights under the stars.

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 warm weather activities below and use this itinerary as your inspiration and your guide.


  • Go wild at 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. Once inside, you’ll meet Masai giraffes, African elephants, California sea lions, red pandas 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.

  • Go for a hike at Turning Point Park, a short drive away in the Charlotte neighborhood. Walk along the boardwalk, a 3,572 ft-long bridge overlooking the Genesee River for impressive views.

  • Follow the Genesee River towards Lake Ontario to Ontario Beach Park, one of the Great Lakes' best natural sand beaches. Stroll along the shore, enjoy a picnic at one of the park’s tables or ride one of the 52 hand-carved animals found on the historic Dentzel Menagerie Carousel that dates back to 1905. Supervised swimming is also allowed from the Friday following Father's Day through Labor Day.

  • Forgot something? No sweat! Next door at the Port of Rochester you will find a Ship Store, named The Breezeway, for all of your shopping needs. Stock up on Rochester swag and other souvenir items, plus convenience items, candy, soft drinks and more!  

  • End the night with a sweet treat! Visit Abbott’s Frozen Custard at the Port of Rochester or the original location on Lake Avenue and order from their menu of decked-out sundaes, tasty novelties or traditional scoops of custard.


  • Start day two at Seabreeze Amusement Park, the fourth oldest operating amusement park and the oldest family owned park in America. Ride the Jackrabbit – a giant wooden roller coaster with a spectacular 75-foot drop, cool off in the waterpark or show your competitive side as you play along the midway.

Food stop! Whether you’re looking for summertime favorites like hot dogs and hamburgers, or pizza, subs, tacos and more, there are plenty of spots to satisfy your hunger in the park.

  • Get in a round of mini golf at Parkside's Whispering Pines Miniature Golf. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this is the oldest, unaltered mini-golf course in New York dating back to 1929.  

  • Head down the road to Durand Eastman Park and its 5,000 feet of lakefront along Lake Ontario. Walk the shore to gather seashells, go swimming in the supervised area, play on the playground or take a hike along one of three color-coded trails And if you’re feeling warmed up from mini golf, hit the links at the Durand Eastman Golf Course, historic Robert Trent Jones-designed course.

Food Stop! As you head back towards downtown Rochester, stop at I-Square in Irondequoit, a mixed use development with multiple food and beverage options, or check out nearby Union Tavern in historic Seabreeze, NY.


  • Enjoy an easy start to your day by browsing 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 treats and food items, merchandise, clothing, handmade and homemade items. On Saturdays during the warmer months, there are over 300 vending stalls with all kinds of goods and 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.

  • Catch an afternoon game at Frontier Field of Rochester’s minor league baseball team, the Rochester Red Wings. Grab a seat in the stands or lounge on one of the grassy areas and root, root, root for the home team!

Food stop! It isn’t a baseball game without peanuts and crackerjacks! There’s plenty of those in addition to hamburgers and hotdogs, sausages and sandwiches, garbage plates (a Rochester specialty with meat, home fries and macaroni salad), tacos, salads and more. Wash it down with a local craft beer, such as Rohrbach’s Red Wing Red Ale, brewed for the team.

  • Over 5,000 years of history lie within the Memorial Art Gallery (MAG) – from contemporary movements to antique artwork and relics. "Art-Spot at the MAG" sheets ask kids to find over 50 different scavenger-hunt images throughout the museum as well as outdoors. Marvel at Centennial Sculpture Park, a showcase of public art spread out across ten acres of the Gallery’s grounds that allows kids to get up close, touch or even climb on large sculptures.

  • Once the sun goes down, the show begins! See the stars at the Strasenburgh Planetarium, part of the Rochester Museum and Science Center. Discover the wonders of our universe through a variety of star shows, laser light shows, and featured presentations. Outside, a 12.5-inch diameter telescope lets you search the night sky for the moon, planets, and bright star clusters (available Saturdays from April through October, weather permitting).


  • It’s easy to please picky eaters at Highland Park Diner, built on site in 1948, and included in the Rochester Landmark Society’s list of architectural gems! Their breakfast menu is packed with filling flapjacks, oodles of omelets, a bunch of benedicts and a sampling of skillets.

  • Spend time exploring the beauty of Highland Park. In spring, the 150-acre park is in bloom with 1,200 lilac bushes displaying 500 varieties of lilacs showcasing the deepest purples and purest whites. Most notably known for the annual Rochester Lilac Festival, it’s also home to The Lamberton Conservatory with seasonal exhibits, Frederick Douglass Memorial Plaza honoring the late Rochester resident, a Sunken Garden and the Lilac Adventure Zone playground.

  • After exploring Highland Park, be sure to include time in your schedule for a visit to The Strong National Museum of Play. The Strong is the only museum in the world dedicated to all things PLAY, and is a favorite for visitors of all ages. The Strong is also the home of the National Toy Hall of Fame and the World Video Game Hall of Fame.

  • Head to Schoen Place in Pittsford, where you’ll find a collection of retail and restaurants along the historic Erie Canal. Active kids and teens will enjoy biking, hiking or rollerblading on paved paths next to the water. They are flat and wide, making it safe enough for even the smallest cycler or a stroller.

  • Departing daily, cruise the Canal aboard the Sam Patch, a replica packet boat right out of the 1800s. It’s sure to be an unforgettable adventure!

  • Following your cruise, enjoy a craft brew from Lock 32, the canal-side microbrewery is named after the closest canal lock.

Food Stop! Grab lunch or dinner at one of these recommendations:

  • Label 7 Napa Eatery & Bar offers an outdoor patio for viewing the Erie Canal. Order off their menu of New-Age American fare and colorful libations, saving room for one of their delectable desserts.

  • With something for everyone, Wegmans is a crowd pleaser. The Pittsford store is the grocery chain’s flagship location with an attached Burger Bar, prepackaged sushi, pizza ovens and made-to-order Mexican. Upstairs has lots of seating including child size tables and chairs.

Food Stop! Settle your sweet tooth with dessert from Pittsford Farms Dairy, whose landmark dairy dates back to 1814. The Dairy uses the old fashion method of vat pasteurization, which takes longer but makes their milk and ice cream taste sweeter.


  • Kick off your final day in Rochester with a visit to Genesee Country Village & Museum, the largest living history museum in New York State. Step back in time and discover what life was like in the 19th century. Tour centuries old houses and speak with interpreters, enjoy hands-on demonstrations and immersive experiences for all ages.

  • Food Stop! GCV&M has a variety of food and beverage locations on the premises. The Depot Restaurant & Freight House Pub and the Pavilion Garden Restaurant. Grown up guests will enjoy tasting two custom craft beers brewed specifically for the museum using 19th century recipes.

  • Before you depart, a visit to Letchworth State Park is in order! Letchworth, known as the “Grand Canyon of the East,” is a short drive from Genesee Country Village & Museum. Visit Letchworth for breathtaking views of the Genesee River Gorge. Families will enjoy the Humphrey Nature Center and the first of its kind Autism Nature Trail, a safe and inclusive experienced designed for visitors with autism and related disorders, but appropriate for everyone!


Some of the season’s tastiest foods, funkiest art, and overall most fun can be found in Rochester at these annual events:  

  • Lilac Festival: A ten-day free festival in May, celebrating Highland Park’s 1,200 lilac bushes in bloom. The event also has two concert stages, a juried arts and crafts show, a craft beer festival, food vendors and more!

  • Rochester International Jazz Festival: One of the world’s leading jazz festivals, featuring more than 1750 performers in 320+ shows across nine days in June.

  • Corn Hill Arts Festival: Each July, 300 juried artisans showcase their best artwork, in addition to live entertainment, family fun and a beer and wine garden.

  • Roc Pride: Nine days in July filled with events that celebrate the accomplishments and history of the LGBTQ+ community, including a Pride Parade.

  • Park Ave Summer Art Festival: Stroll along Rochester’s Park Avenue in August to shop from 350+ artists, listen to live music on three stages and fill up on festival food.

  • Keybank Rochester Fringe Festival: A ten-day festival with all-out visual and performing arts shows that range from music and dance to comedy, poetry and street theater.   


  • Stay ten minutes from Seabreeze Amusement Park at the Hampton Inn Rochester / Irondequoit. Wake up with a fresh coffee brewed from your in-room coffeemaker before grabbing a bite of free breakfast. After a fun-filled day, relax poolside at their year-round, indoor pool and then curl up to watch a family film on their free premium movie channel.

  • Holiday Inn Express Rochester NE – Irondequoit provides complimentary grab & go breakfast to fuel the family before a fun day ahead and black-out shades in guest rooms to ensure everyone gets some shut-eye. With cots, cribs and pet-friendly rooms available, you can easily accommodate the whole family.

  • Hilton Garden Inn Rochester/University & Medical Center is located in the newly developed College Town complex, ten minutes from both the heart of downtown and the airport. In addition to its warm and comfortable atmosphere, there’s an indoor pool, fitness center and restaurant with all-day dining.


Rochester Family - Summer Fun Itinerary