Jazz fest Eastman Theatre

2019 Jazz Fest: 14 Things to Do Nearby

Most Rochester Jazz Fest performances begin in the early-evening, so you’ll have plenty of time during the day to explore the Rochester area. We’ve picked some of our favorite things to do within two miles of Eastman Theater, many of which you can walk to or grab an Uber or Lift.

There are free shows every night on “Jazz Street” and at outdoor stages around East Ave. For 2019, here are a few of the Jazz Fest headliners for the FREE concerts:

Fri, Jun 21 – Downchild Blues Band featuring Dan Aykroyd

Sat, Jun 22 – Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes

Sun, Jun 23 – The Honey Smugglers

Mon, Jun 24 – Aquaducks

Tue, Jun 25 – Bill Tiberio Band

Wed, Jun 26 – Music Educators’ Jazz Ensemble

Thu, Jun 27 – Soul Stew

Fri, Jun 28 – Jimmie Highsmith Jr.

Sat, Jun 29 – Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue

Things to Do Around Jazz Fest - High Falls Genesee River Rochester
High Falls on the Genesee River

1. High Falls

High Falls is both the name of the waterfall and the district in the city where it can be found. There’s plenty of parking on both sides of the river.

Things to Do Around Jazz Fest - Rochester Public Market
City of Rochester Public Market

2. Rochester Public Market

On Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday the Public Market is the place to grab the freshest local and wholesale fruit, veggies, seafood, beef, cheese, bread, flowers and spices.

There are also notable restaurants in the area offering everything from coffee and donuts to vegan burgers, empenadas, and farm-to-table meals.

Things to Do Around Jazz Fest - Highland Park in June

3. Highland Park

Highland Park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted to be enjoyed year-round. Every pathway, every tree, every vista & every relationship between the land & water is intentional.

Things to Do Around Jazz Fest - Welcome to Rochester
Welcome to Rochester by Geva Theatre

4. Landmark Society Walking Tours of Rochester

If you are a fan of history and architecture, you will enjoy these self-guided Landmark Society walking tours of center city Rochester. The Liberty Pole East City Loop Tour and the East End & Cultural District Tour are closest to the Jazz Fest performance venues.

Cobbs Hill Rochester skyline

5. Cobbs Hill + Washington Grove

The view from Cobbs Hill, the quiet, the breeze, the friendly nature of people walking and taking it all in—there’s nothing quite like it in Rochester.

The Washington Grove trail takes you by the graffiti-tagged water towers and winds through a quiet grove of ancient oaks.

Mount Hope Cemetery

6. Mount Hope Cemetery

Mount Hope is America’s first municipal Victorian Cemetery. There are more people dead in Mount Hope Cemetery than living in the City of Rochester! 

Formed by glaciers, the landscape features high hills and deep valleys, winding eskers and deep kettles, with roadways meandering throughout.

Mount Hope is the final resting place for Susan B. Anthony, Frederick Duoglass, and Nathaniel Rochester, to name but a few notable Rochesterarians.

George Eastman House Museum garden

7. George Eastman Museum

The George Eastman Museum is a beautiful tribute to his life & legacy, and is the world’s oldest photography museum with one of the oldest film archives.

Susan B Anthony House typewriter
Susan B Anthony’s home

8. National Susan B Anthony Museum & House

It is difficult to summarize the life of Susan B Anthony, her passion for the rights of all Americans, and specifically how tirelessly she worked as a suffragist for women’s right to vote.

Therefore, we encourage you to visit her home in Rochester, historic landmarks in Seneca Falls, and her final resting place in Mount Hope Cemetery to dive deeper into her remarkable life.

Strong Museum space invaders

9. Strong National Museum of Play

The Strong National Museum of Play has a wealth of interaction for toddlers, school-aged children and adults, including play-shopping at Wegmans!

The Strong houses the world’s largest collection of historical materials related to play and is home to the International Center for the History of Electronic Games, the National Toy Hall of Fame, and the World Video Game Hall of Fame.

ARTISANworks retro room

10. ARTISANworks

I’ve heard ARTISANworks described as a walk-through kaleidoscope, a bombardment on the senses, a 360° canvas, a space that defies all boundaries, a place that can’t be described but must be seen, surprising, inspiring, and in some instances shocking.

Day Trips from Rochester: Rochester Museum and Science Center
Rochester Museum and Science Center Tesla Coils

11. Rochester Museum & Science Center

Between the star shows, laser shows, interactive exhibits, and Singing Tesla Coils, the Rochester Museum and Science Center will entertain you for hours!

Memorial Art Gallery

12. Memorial Art Gallery

Rochester’s Memorial Art Gallery has an extensive permanent collection, an incredible variety of traveling exhibitions, & a well-rounded calendar of events.

Maplewood Rose Garden orange

13. Maplewood Rose Garden & Lower Falls

Maplewood Park is a linear park that follows the river from Driving Park and the Lower Falls to just north of Route 104, ending at the pedestrian bridge over the Genesee.

The fall and the rose garden, with over 3,000+ rose bushes, are the star attractions.

Things to Do Around Jazz Fest - The Little Theater Rochester NY

14. Catch a movie at a historic theater

There is something about a 100-year-old small movie theater that enhances your experience and transcends you through space and time.

There are three in the city of Rochester: Little Theatre, Dryden Theater, and Cinema Theater. Some are even venues for various Jazz Fest performances.

Map of Places Around Jazz Fest

This map above highlights both the venues used during Rochester International Jazz Festival and places worth exploring within a 2-mile radius of “Jazz Street”.

Free Rochester Day Trip Ideas: Rochester International Jazz Festival
Rochester International Jazz Festival

Jazz Fest Venues

The nine-day festival is held at 20 diverse venues throughout downtown Rochester New York’s East End cultural and entertainment district, including Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre, Kilbourn Hall at the Eastman School of Music, Hatch Recital Hall, Lutheran Church of the Reformation, Christ Church, the Rochester Regional Health Big Tent, Max of Eastman Place, Montage Music Hall, Xerox Auditorium, Wilder Room, The Little Theatre, and multiple outdoor free stages and venues – all within walking distance and many on “Jazz Street” (otherwise known as Gibbs Street during the rest of the year), which is closed off for the festival’s nine days.

More than 90 free concerts and events are presented on outdoor stages and other free venues. [source]

Eastman Theatre

Eastman Theatre is the primary performance space for Eastman School of Music students, home of the RPO, and host for world-renowned performances.

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Summertime in Rochester: Eastman Theatre Jazz Fest
Jazz Fest

Food & beverage around Jazz Fest

There are plenty of food options available right on the street during Jazz Fest. Food trucks and food tents can be found on Main Street, in the Big Tent, and at East Ave/Chestnut. Here are a few more options for when you’re out exploring Rochester during the daytime.

359 Highly Recommended Restaurants, Diners, Cafes, Pubs, Bakeries, and Bars Around Rochester

Some of these food destinations are well-established, while others are quickly becoming favorites as Rochester’s culinary scene explodes.

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20 Historic Inns & Hotels Around Rochester

These historic inns around Rochester offer unique dining experiences. Unlike bed & breakfasts, their dining rooms are open to the public.

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8 Rochester-Area Restaurants Featured on the Food Network and Travel Channel

Tonight, you can dine at restaurants that Zimmern, Bourdain, Fieri and other Food Network and Travel Channel hosts have enjoyed. Bon Appétit!

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24 Craft Breweries in Rochester and Monroe County

These Rochester craft breweries show off their newest and most popular creations while giving you a complete food experience.

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Explore more of the Rochester area

If you are staying in Rochester for Jazz Fest, and have a vehicle you can use to explore the region during the daytime, these are a few places you should check out!

Free Things to Do Around Rochester

Our top 12 day trip ideas for unique, fun, and free things to do in Rochester will give you over 500 actual destinations to explore.

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132 Things to Do Around Rochester, NY

We’ve pulled together a list of fun and unique things to do around Rochester, NY within two hours of home—perfect for quick getaways.

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60 Day Trips within 30 Minutes of Rochester

Sometimes you just need a fun, spontaneous adventure or quick getaway to refresh your day. Try one of these day trips within 30 minutes of Rochester.

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Summertime in Rochester

Fresh produce, fresh water, outdoor concerts, and 13,500 square miles to explore! Take advantage of everything summertime in Rochester has to offer.

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Rochester’s Olmsted Designed Parks

Rochester is fortunate to be one of a handful of American cities that have a park system comprised of Frederick Law Olmsted-designed parks.

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The Lake Ontario Seaway Trail

The Lake Ontario Seaway Trail runs along the southern Lake Ontario shoreline, from Fort Niagara in Youngstown to Fort Ontario in Oswego.

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Spend a Day in the Finger Lakes Region

The Finger Lakes Region is one of the most beautiful places on earth, and right in our backyard! It is easy to get out there and explore.

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15 Miles on the Erie Canal

The Erie Canal spans 100-miles between Lockport and Lyons, with Rochester located right in the middle. Choose just 15 miles to explore for a great day trip!

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Our Favorite 5 State Parks to Explore

Within a 2-hour drive of Rochester, there are 49 NY State Parks all worthy of exploration, but try our favorite five if you haven’t already!

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What are your favorite spots around Jazz Fest?

Share your thoughts with us in the comments. Your insight and experience is invaluable!


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COVID-19 NOTE: Some of the information you find in our articles may currently be inaccurate due to closures and cancellations.

Please follow the most current recommendations from the CDC and New York State for spending time away from your home. The great outdoors can provide a well needed respite & escape during stressful times. Please move quickly through parking lots, trail heads, and scenic areas. If crowded, choose a different park, trail, or time to visit. Please day trip responsibly.