Photo Credit: Jim Montanus

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Under the Radar Rochester

Rochester is largely “under-the-radar” and undiscovered. You could call us one of the world’s best-kept secrets.  Rochester is the third largest metro area in New York State, is located on the southern shore of Lake Ontario, is the “front door” to the majestic Finger Lakes wine region and is considered to be the cultural capital of upstate New York. The city is affordable, accessible and offers an abundance of arts and cultural offerings.

Image City & The Pioneering of Popular Photography 

Creating popular photography—making photography available to the average citizen—is Rochester’s legacy created by one of its most famous citizens, George Eastman. Eastman founded a process that let everyone take pictures and by doing so, literally changed how people saw the world. He then adapted his film for motion pictures, creating the film Thomas Edison needed for his new movie machines. Eastman used the resulting fortune in ways that helped change the world. The story is well-told in Rochester at Eastman’s National Historic Landmark estate, George Eastman Museum.

Rochester Rolls Out the Red Carpet for Families 

Rochester rolls out the red carpet for family travelers. We have an incredible amount of family-friendly attractions (more than 75 within an hour’s drive of Rochester!), from kid-friendly picturesque parks and scenic outdoor settings, to world-renowned museums and interactive exhibits, historic sites, theater, sporting events and more. There's something for all ages and every interest. Must see spots for families in Rochester include The Strong National Museum of Play, Rochester Museum & Science Center, Genesee Country Village & Museum, Seneca Park Zoo, Seabreeze Amusement Park and many more.

City of the Arts

Rochester is the cultural capital of Upstate New York. For a city its size, Rochester punches way above its weight when it comes to our arts scene, offering an abundance of cultural experiences and institutions. Rochester has previously been named the 17th most arts-vibrant city in the country by the National Center for Arts Research, ranking alongside large cities such as New York City, Los Angeles and Washington D.C. From major museums to intimate art galleries, dance troupes, theatre groups and music groups galore, Rochester is the place to be for arts aficionados. 

Can’t Miss Museums

Rochester’s museums offer something for everyone. From the largest collection of toys, dolls and games in the world at The Strong National Museum of Play, to the oldest photography museum in the world at the George Eastman Museum, the largest living history museum in New York State at the Genesee Country Village & Museum, to the Memorial Art Gallery’s collection of 5,000 years of art history, Rochester boasts multiple can’t miss museums. 

Public Art & Murals 

Rochester has one of the most surprising and impressive public art scenes in the country. Within the city’s limits, there’s dozens of places to explore and hundreds of pieces of art to take in. We’re fortunate to have a robust scene, with some incredibly talented artists creating here year-round, and many others who visit and whose creations make up the fabric of our city.

Rochester’s Culinary Culture 

Like the city that surrounds it, the food and drink scene in Rochester, NY is in the midst of a major upswing. Rochester is the gateway to the Finger Lakes region – considered by some to be the most important food and drink region in North America. Rochester and the Finger Lakes are home to some of the best wineries, craft breweries, distilleries and restaurants in the country. Those who are involved in the local food scene will all agree that “Rochester is on the precipice of something big.” There is a dedicated community of dining, drink and hospitality professionals who are working hard to make Rochester the next great food and drink city in America. According to one local restaurateur, “good food is important for the soul of the city.”

The Erie Canal 

The Erie Canal literally opened up the western United States to expansion in 1825 when the canal was built and Rochester became the country's first "boomtown." The Erie Canal is credited for creating New York City as a major port and thus, one of the world’s foremost cities. Today, the Canal presents a fascinating story of an almost forgotten commercial waterway emerging as a major tourist destination and recreational resource. 

Women’s Suffrage and the Fight for the Vote 

Rochester and the Finger Lakes are where the woman’s suffrage movement of the 19th and early 20th century were born. Celebrate the legacy of the women who made the right to vote possible with a visit to the National Susan B. Anthony Museum and House, the national historic landmark home of the legendary suffragist. The Anthony Museum preserves the legacy of Susan B. Anthony and her life-long struggle for equal rights and voting rights for women. Pay your respects at Susan B. Anthony’s grave site in Rochester’s Mount Hope Cemetery. It has become a rite of passage for visitors to place their “I Voted” stickers on Anthony’s grave on election day. In 2016, an estimated 10,000 visitors passed through the cemetery on election day to pay their respects to Susan B. Anthony. 

Frederick Douglass & African-American History 

History surrounds us in Rochester, N.Y. But our community's legacy in African-American history is especially noteworthy. One of Rochester's most widely recognized contributions to African American history, stems from one of our most notable residents, Frederick Douglass -- abolitionist, orator and publisher. Douglass called Rochester home from 1847 to 1872, and lived here longer than anywhere else in his life. In Rochester he published his newspapers, the North Star and Frederick Douglass’ Paper, assisted friends Amy and Isaac Post in Underground Railroad activities, hosted runaway slaves in his own home, gave speeches, supported women’s suffrage alongside suffragist Susan B. Anthony and much more before moving to Washington D.C. in 1872. Frederick Douglass' legacy continues to be felt in Rochester to this day. He was laid to rest in Rochester's historic Mount Hope Cemetery. 

Festival City 

Rochester hosts more than 140 festivals annually, including unique “only-in-Rochester” events like the Rochester Lilac Festival, Rochester International Jazz Festival, Corn Hill Arts Festival, Park Avenue Festival, the Clothesline Art Festival, Rochester Fringe Festival and the ImageOut Film Festival. From May through November, weekends in Rochester are filled with multiple festivals each week. 


With 60+ courses within a 45- minute drive including resort, semi-private and public courses, Rochester is a prime golf destination. Golf Magazine and the National Golf Foundation named Rochester one of the 10 Best Golf Cities in America. Rochester’s famed Oak Hill Country Club has hosted all six major men’s championships – multiple times. 

A Brewer’s Paradise

Rochester is the perfect example of a mid-sized city with a thriving craft beer scene. Currently, more than two dozen craft breweries call the Greater Rochester area home.  Beer lovers will find no shortage of different breweries with varying styles, experiences and personas. Plan a “brewcation” to Rochester, and visit some of the many breweries that make Rochester one of the best cities for beer in the country.