All are welcome in Rochester, NY! With a rich history of civil rights, it shouldn't come as a shock that Rochester is among the most welcoming, LGBTQ-friendly metro areas in the U.S., previously ranked 11th in Advocate’s Gayest Cities in America list. It's also one of the most culturally abundant. Rochester has also previously received a perfect score of 100 from the Human Rights Campaign.
Tucked between Lake Ontario and the Finger Lakes wine region, the tradition of dignity for all runs deep here. Susan B. Anthony's home, a National Historic Landmark, still stands in Rochester and is open to the public. Frederick Douglass established his abolitionist newspaper, The North Star, here. The first statue in the country honoring an African-American still stands in Highland Park.
From locally-owned coffee shops and restaurants, to nightlife, art, culture, shopping and more, explore all that Rochester’s vibrant and diverse LGBTQ+ community has to offer.
Festivals & Events
- Rochester Pride: Held annually in July, signature Pride events including the Pride Parade, Pride Festival and the Pride Picnic. Numerous other events occur in conjunction with Rochester Pride which is a celebration that attracts about 10,000 people, making it New York State's second-largest Pride celebration.
- Rochester Black Pride: A week-long cultural & arts festival that works to celebrate, empower, & inspire the Black Queer/LGBT+ community.
- ImageOut: The Rochester LGBTQ Film Festival: This 10-day Festival screens sought-after new material from around the world, including foreign films, short programs, documentaries and classics. (October)
- Rochester Lilac Festival: Features more than 500 varieties of Lilacs with art, music and food. (May)
- Rochester International Jazz Festival: All genres of creative improvised music from all corners of the world come together with over 1,500 musicians and more than 300 concerts. (June)
- Corn Hill Arts Festival: Features hundreds of artists and continuous live music. (July)
- Clothesline Festival: The Memorial Art Gallery's annual event that offers works from local and area artists. (September)
- Rochester Fringe Festival: Expect the unexpected during this unique multi-arts festival that both showcases and stimulates creativity. (September)
Rochester is a welcoming community with a wide range of friendly bars and nightclubs. However, a few LGBTQ+-owned establishments and traditional gay bars can’t be missed.
- The Bachelor Forum is central to Rochester's Neighborhood of the Arts, home to ART Walk on University cafes, galleries, museums, and fantastic restaurants.
- Roar Rochester hosts Drag shows, live bands and more. But the number one focus is creating a unique safe space for the LGBTQ+ community.
- The Avenue Pub is an institution in Rochester, this bar offers a place to chill, visit and mingle with the locals in the heart of Rochester's eclectic Monroe neighborhood.
Support LGBTQ+ Owned Businesses
Add the following LGBTQ+-owned businesses to your trip itinerary, who help make Rochester the vibrant city that it is.
- Equal=Grounds is the quintessential neighborhood coffeehouse, this spacious cafe is filled with comfy chairs, art, and the whirl of the espresso machine. It's in the center of another one of Rochester's most popular urban neighborhoods, the South Wedge, home to galleries, shops, and foodie-magnet attractions.
- Hedonist Artisan Chocolates & Ice Cream make locally-sourced, handcrafted chocolates and ice cream. Their mouth-watering shop is located in the South Wedge neighborhood, and their chocolates are available for shipping.
- Crisp Rochester is an American food restaurant serving seasonally inspired, modern comfort food with a southern influence. They serve lunch, brunch and dinner in their old school chic, cozy atmosphere. You can find their restaurant in the South Wedge.
- Laughing Gull Chocolates crafts high quality chocolates made with locally and transparently sourced ingredients. They also feature a Pride collection including a Pride box of chocolates, rainbow hearts and rainbow Pride bark.
For LGBTQ+ families, Greater Rochester is a dream trip. Countless festivals and attractions offer family fun all year round. Check out our family-friendly itineraries for more inspiration on family-friendly activities including:
The Strong National Museum of Play | Rochester Museum & Science Center | Seneca Park Zoo | Seabreeze Amusement Park | Genesee Country Village & Museum | George Eastman Museum | Memorial Art Gallery | Ganondagan State Historic Site