Rochester is open for the season! Some of our favorite places and businesses have been closed completely since October or November while others have been limited in access and services. We’re excited to enjoy the warmer days of springtime at our favorite places and businesses opening in May.
The Great Outdoors
While you can explore some of our parks all year long, many have limited resources, limited access, and trails that are closed completely. In May, the begin to reopen.
- All 20 Monroe County Parks are fully open May 1-Oct 31. That means gates, roads, trails, picnic areas, and restrooms! Monroe County parks are free, so take advantage of 12,000 acres of natural, zoological, horticultural, historical and geological experiences.
- New York State Park Gorge Trails, like Watkins Glen and Letchworth’s Lower Falls, tend to remain closed until later in the month when the pathways are free from debris and winter damage and are deemed safe to open.
- The Erie Canal officially opens for the season on Friday, May 17, 2019. Recreational boating fees are still waived through 2021!
Venture into one of these New York State Parks within a 2-hour drive of Rochester and discover what makes them each unique!
Water trails are either formally marked routes along a navigable waterway, or simply any waterway suitable for kayaks and small motorized watercraft.
Businesses & Activities
Opening in May
You’ll find many of our seasonal businesses located along our lake shores. In preparation for the long Memorial Day weekend, destinations start opening in May, sometimes weekends-only, before getting into the full summer swing. Some key dates & locations to note:
- Although you can stroll around the Genesee Country Village & Museum on Sundays in the wintertime, mid-May through Labor Day is when history comes to life through activities, refreshments, house-tours and guides. On weekends you’ll find major special events like the Civil War Reenactment and Laura Ingalls Wilder Days. The village is closed on Mondays except for Memorial Day and Labor Day.
- Sam Patch Erie Canal Tours holds its inaugural run on Mother’s Day each year. Colonial Belle opens in mid-May as well, along with all boating activities along the canal.
- The free Discover Niagara Shuttle begins its scenic run between Niagara Falls State Park and Fort Niagara State Park weekends starting the first week of May, with daily service beginning Memorial Day weekend.
- Plus Olcott Lakeview Village Shoppes, The Silo, Panama Rocks & Rock City Park, Bristol Mountain Aerial Adventures, Balloons Over Letchworth… tell us your favorites in the comments below and we’ll add them to the list!
Although April is one of my favorite times to visit the magnolia collection in Highland Park, May is when flowers and flowering bushes and trees burst to life!
Look for lilacs, tulips, daffodils, pansies, tree peonies, hyacinth, azaleas, flowering dogwood, crab, cherry, pear, and horse chestnuts.
- Make sure to hike the Daffodil Trail in Powder Mills Park around May 1, and the Highland Park lilacs around May 10.
- Set your sights on late-April to early-May to see the native blue belles, trillium, and ferns in their full spring glory in Breese Park.
- Sonnenberg Gardens open May 1
Rochester became a global center for flower and tree nurseries in the mid-1800s, fostering our identity as The Flower City.
- Lilac Fest
- Lilac Festival Weekends at Ellwanger Estate
- Tree Peony Festival
- Buffalo Cherry Blossom Festival
- Zoo Brew Friday nights, once a month May through September, with special events throughout the year
- Flavors of the Market Saturday mornings, May through September
- Flower City Days at the Market Sundays mid-May and early-June
What businesses and activities are you most looking forward to opening in May?
Share with us in the comments! We’d love to add to our list and your insight is invaluable.