Lamberton Conservatory spring show cover

Make Mom’s Day: 7 Ways to Celebrate Mother’s Day 2024

Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 12, 2024. And if you’re wondering how to make this day extra special for your mom, we’ve got you covered. From taking a relaxing stroll in the park to enjoying a cruise on the Erie Canal or immersing yourself in a cultural experience such as exploring the 19th century or attending a musical theater, there’s something for everyone. For those looking to add a unique twist to traditional Mother’s Day brunches, we have options like brunch with honkey-tonk drag queens or under the stars. Our guide to Mother’s Day in Rochester has the inspiration you need to plan a perfect day.

Best of Rochester - Day Trips Around Rochester book

Day Trips Around Rochester, New York

Best of Rochester Award-Winning Book for Best Published Literary Work of 2023.

Highland Park Lilacs
Highland Park Lilacs

1. Fill the Day with Flowers

Spend the day at the Rochester Lilac Festival, which draws visitors from all over the region to enjoy the breathtaking beauty of Highland Park’s blooming lilacs, pansies, tulips, magnolia, rhododendrons, azaleas, and flowering dogwood and cherry trees. You can also enjoy Art in the Park, which takes place on weekends during the 10-day festival. And stop into Highland’s Lamberton Conservatory to see the Spring Show.

The City of Rochester Public Market hosts Flower City Days on Sunday. You can also plan a trip to Sonnenberg Gardens.

Experience the beauty of Rochester’s historic Ellwanger Garden during their special Lilac Weekend open house. This perennial flower garden at 625 Mt. Hope Avenue has been tended to since 1867 and showcases a variety of unique plants.

Up for a road trip? Book your spot now for the magnificent and unparalleled Sycamore Hill Gardens in Marcellus, just 10 minutes northeast of Skaneateles.

Durand Eastman Park blossoming trees
Durand Eastman in May

2. Take a Walk in the Park

While Highland Park will be busy with Lilac Festival activities, our 20 other Monroe County Parks are perfect for exploring on Mother’s Day. All Monroe County Parks are fully open on May 1, including roads, restrooms, and other amenities we’ve missed throughout the winter. Enjoy an easy stroll through Durand Eastman Park Arboretum, relax by Webster Park pier, look for fairies along the Birdsong-Fairy Trail at Mendon Ponds Park, or take a more challenging hike through Ellison and Lucien Morin Parks.

Enjoy a guided walk through the Durand Eastman Park Arboretum with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Monroe County from 2–4 p.m. on Sunday, May 12. The routes will traverse moderate hills and wooded trails, so please dress accordingly. There is no charge, but donations to support the Extension’s Master Gardener Program will be accepted. Meet at the kiosk on Zoo Rd. (off Lakeshore) next to the park maintenance center.

RBTL West Herr Auditorium Theatre
RBTL West Herr Auditorium Theatre

3. Enjoy Musical Theater

Treat mom to a shared experience at the theater. Choose from Shrek the Musical at the West Herr Auditorium Theatre or The Producers at OFC Creations.

Sam Patch interior
Onboard the Sam Patch

4. Cruise the Erie Canal

While the official canal season begins on May 17, our tour boats receive special permission to cruise the canal for Mother’s Day. Enjoy a cruise onboard the Colonial Belle, Sam Patch, or Riverie. The Sam Patch is not accessible for wheelchairs. The Colonial Belle is accessible; however, the restroom is not. The Riverie is accessible.

Rochester Museum and Science Center Planetarium
RMSC Planetarium

5. Enjoy a Stellar Brunch

Celebrate Mother’s Day with your mom by treating her to brunch under the star-filled dome of the RMSC Strasenburgh Planetarium or down on the farm with OFC Creations’ Drag Me To Brunch

Genesee Country Village
Genesee Country Village

6. Wander Into the 19th Century

Take a trip to the Genesee Country Village & Museum, where mom gets in for free on Mother’s Day. Explore historic homes, gardens, and kitchens, and treat mom to a traditional 19th-century pastry from D.B. Munger & Co. Confectionery.

Washington Square Park Dachshund Parade
Washington Square Park Dachshund Parade

7. Celebrate on Saturday

If mom is a dog-lover, do not miss the chance to see the adorable Rochester Dachshund Parade in Washington Square Park. And Railfans will enjoy a special Mother’s Day train ride at the Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad Museum.

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Do you have a favorite way to spend Mother’s Day?

Your insights and experiences are valuable. Please share them in the comments.

Debi Bower, Day Trips Around Rochester NY

Debi Bower is the founder and creative director of and author of the award-winning book Day Trips Around Rochester, New York.

People often ask me if I get free access to places while exploring. The answer is no unless I’m invited to previews or granted behind-the-scenes access as part of my media role. Generally, I don’t mention my project, Day Trips Around Rochester, NY, because I want the same experience you would have. I create and share content simply because it brings me joy. I would appreciate your support—a cup of coffee or two to help fuel future field trips—if you have found valuable information here that has helped you explore the Rochester area.

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