Monroe County Rochester NY Skyline

Monroe County

Monroe County is the heart of the Greater Rochester Nine County Region. The City of Rochester is surrounded by 19 towns and villages.

In the City of Rochester, the Genesee River crosses paths with the Erie Canal, flowing north through on its way to Lake Ontario.

Monroe County is also considered among the 14 counties in the Finger Lakes Region.

Here are a few places to start exploring Monroe County

19 Monroe County Towns and Villages

Each Monroe County town & village has something unique to offer. Here is just a taste of what makes each one special.

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13 Places in the City to Enjoy the Genesee River

At Genesee Valley Park, the Genesee River begins her journey through the city, racing over a dam and three waterfalls before emptying into Lake Ontario.

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Rochester Public Market

The Rochester Public Market is the place to grab the freshest local and wholesale fruit, veggies, seafood, beef, cheese, bread, flowers and spices.

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17 Hidden Places Around Rochester

Explore some of our hidden gems this week! There’s no time like the present to start checking some off these extraordinary places your list.

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2019 Jazz Fest: 14 Things to Do Nearby

Most Rochester International Jazz Fest performances begin early-evening, so you’ll have plenty of time during the day to explore the Rochester area.

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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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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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23 City of Rochester Parks

Many of our City of Rochester parks have beginnings embedded in Rochester’s youth. Some were even designed by notable landscape architects.

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Our Favorite 5 Town Parks to Explore

These town parks have a unique offering of woods, wildlife, and water features to explore walking paths ranging from pavement to boardwalk.

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21 Monroe County Parks

Monroe County parks are free, so take advantage of 12,000 acres of natural, zoological, horticultural, historical and geological experiences!

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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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Street Art: Exploring Rochester’s Murals & Graffiti

The term street art means different things to different people. Here, we interpret street art to mean any outdoor, free, public wall art. 

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Ontario Beach Park Concerts by the Shore
Concerts by the Shore at Ontario Beach Park

Monroe County Facts

The county is along Lake Ontario’s southern shore. As of 2017, Monroe County’s population was 747,642. Its county seat is the city of Rochester. The county is named after James Monroe, the fifth President of the United States.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county’s total area is 1,367 square miles, of which 657 square miles is land and 710 square miles (52%) is water. [source]

Irondequoit Bay Park Seneca Nation historical marker

A Brief History

Only 200 years ago, the area was largely unsettled; Ridge Road, a mere 12 inches wide, was an Indian path through dense forests. The remaining section of the original Merchants Road, with its nine twists and curves in one mile, reflects its beginnings as the well-traveled Indian link between Canandaigua and the Genesee River.

Early settlers included the Algonquin, who were later taken over by the Seneca. The Seneca, who joined the League of the Iroquois, were known as the “Keepers of the Western Door” and controlled trade in all directions.

The Indian Landing in Monroe County’s Ellison Park marks where their major east-west and north-south routes intersected. Seneca struggled against both the French and British to retain possession of the area, but once Revolutionary settlers returned home with stories of the good soil available here, settlement began in earnest. [read more]

Monroe County -  University of Rochester

Monroe County is home to nine colleges and universities

Bryant & Stratton College in Greece and Henrietta

Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School in the city

Monroe Community College in Brighton with a campus in the city

Nazareth College in Pittsford

Roberts Wesleyan College in Chili

Rochester Institute of Technology in Henrietta

St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry in Pittsford

St. John Fisher College in Pittsford

State University of New York at Brockport in Brockport with a campus in the city

University of Rochester in the city

Monroe County - Free Rochester Day Trip Ideas: Rochester International Jazz Festival
Rochester International Jazz Festi

Major Festivals, Concerts and Events

Lilac Festival

Rochester International Jazz Festival

High Falls Film Festival

Corn Hill Arts Festival

Rochester Fringe Festival

Hilton Apple Festival

Spencerport Canal Days

ROC the Riverway

Rochester Pride Festival

Fairport Canal Days

Clothesline Art Festival

Park Ave Summer Festival

Monroe County Fair (Rush, take the trolley to the fair!)

Rochester’s Fun Facts: Oldest, Original, Only, & More!

Rochester’s fun facts will inspire you to explore more. And these are just some of the historical tidbits that make Rochester special.

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Where are your favorite places to visit in Monroe County?

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.