strong museum play butterfly garden cover

Escape Winter: 5 Warm & Cozy Places

With tropical temperatures or cozy environments, these Rochester-area destinations offer pleasant snowy-day getaways—at least for a few hours.

2023 Best of Rochester Award Winner

Day Trips Around Rochester, New York

People don’t notice whether it’s winter or summer when they’re happy.

Anton Chekhov
Strong Butterfly Garden
Strong Museum of Play Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden
Strong Museum of Play Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden Rochester skyline
Escape winter: Strong Museum of Play Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden landed on wrist
Butterfly Garden

1. Strong Museum’s Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden

The butterfly garden is the only year-round indoor butterfly garden in upstate New York. With a rain-forest environment it’s the perfect retreat from winter!

Lamberton Conservatory tropical flower
Lamberton Conservatory dessert room
Lamberton Conservatory tangerine
Lamberton Conservatory
Lamberton Conservatory

2. Lamberton Conservatory

Tropical plants need tropical temperatures, so visiting Lamberton Conservatory in winter is a welcome escape from the cold!

Each December, the Holiday Show welcomes you with holiday lights, greens and poinsettias.

The Spring Show opens around the 1st weekend of spring (March 23) through the Lilac Festival in May. They feature hyacinth, daffodils, and tulips; the color and aroma make for a welcome retreat from winter!

Irondequoit Library
Rush library
Scottsville Free Library

3. Monroe County Libraries

Signing up for a free library card gives you access to all 31 Monroe County libraries! The Monroe Country Library System comprises town and village locations, Rochester Public Library branch locations, and the Central Library.

Each library has its own amenities and environments so spend some time this winter exploring a few. Or, check out a local bookstore.

rochester museum science center planetarium seating
Strasenburgh Planetarium
Rochester Museum Science Center mastadon wooly mammoth
rmsc tesla coils
rochester museum science center water cover
RMSC Wonder of Water Exhibit

4. RMSC + Planetarium

In the Science Museum you’ll interact with immersive installations like At The Western DoorRochester’s Underground RailroadScience on a SphereExpedition EarthAdventure Zone, and the Electricity Theater’s Singing Tesla Coils.

There are always new and innovative exhibits that keep each visit unique.

The state-of-the-art Strasenburgh Planetarium takes guests on a journey to explore space from all viewpoints, not just from Earth looking out. It’s an extraordinary asset for the Rochester community and I highly encourage you to go explore the Universe, especially if you have not been in years.

ARTISANworks cars
New York Museum of Transportation Midtown Monorail
NY Museum of Transportation
Museum of the Earth
Museum of the Earth
corning museum of glass
Medina Railroad Museum station
Medina RR
Jell-O Museum
JELL-O Gallery

5. 100+ Other Museums Around Rochester

Take some time to explore some of our lesser-known, off-the-beaten-path, and odd-collection museums.

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Fun, Family-Friendly Restaurants, Cafes, and Breweries

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New & Used Bookstores Around Rochester

Books take us on a journey through time and space. If you’re looking for a new adventure, check out these bookstores around Rochester.

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How do you like to escape winter in Rochester?

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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