Mushroom House

Roadside Attractions

If you’re familiar with Roadside America and Atlas Obscura, then you know both organizations showcase quirky and unusual roadside attractions throughout the United States, like the largest ball of twine in Kansas or the Garden of One Thousand Buddhas in Montana. Here are a few interesting things to see around the Rochester area while driving to your day-trip destinations.

Have fun finding these fun roadside attractions—shoe trees, a skeleton army, a metal dragon, a shark girl—within two hours of Rochester.

City of Rochester

Frederick Douglass Memorial Plaza
Frederick Douglass Memorial Plaza

Frederick Douglass Monument and Memorial Plaza

In 1899, the people of Rochester, New York, were the first in the United States to create a statue honoring an African American citizen. Initially placed in a prominent location in front of Rochester’s New York Central Train Station, the statue of Frederick Douglass was moved to the Highland Bowl in 1941. In 2019, it was moved again to a more visible spot on South Avenue. The memorial features a sculpture of the North Star, which represents a guide for people seeking freedom from enslavement, and was the name of Douglass’ abolitionist newspaper. This original likeness inspired 13 fiberglass Frederick Douglass statues , currently undergoing restoration, and a bronze statue inside the Frederick Douglass Greater Rochester International Airport (ROC). Once restoration of the statues is complete, they will be placed indoors at Rochester City Hall, the Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County, and the Aqueduct Building, so they will be protected from the elements. Robinson Drive and South Avenue,

Liberty Pole
Liberty Pole

Liberty Pole

The current pole, designed by architect James H. Johnson, is the third version of the original pole that the City of Rochester built in 1846. Liberty Pole Way

Memorial Art Gallery ceiling
Memorial Art Gallery
Memorial Art Gallery Creation Story scene
Memorial Art Gallery Argentum Double-Positive

Memorial Art Gallery’s Centennial Sculpture Park

On MAG’s 10-acre campus, many sculptures are on display, but none are as prominent as Creation Myth. It features two significant figures at the corner of Goodman and University Avenues and 17 miniature bronze muses scattered throughout the park. Look high and low to find them all. In the evening, check out Argentum: Double-Positive, which includes two illuminated metal cylinders with text representing Rochester’s diverse history. 500 University Avenue, (585) 276-8900,

Phillis Wheatley Community Library
Phillis Wheatley Community Library

Phillis Wheatley Community Library

The library, designed by James H. Johnson in 1971, was named in honor of the nation’s first published African American woman and first published African American poet. 33 Dr. Samuel McCree Way, (585) 428-8212,

Susan B Anthony Frederick Douglass Lets Have Tea
Anthony Square

Tea in the Square

After touring the Susan B. Anthony Museum and House, take a short walk down Madison Street to Anthony Square, where you’ll find the “Let’s Have Tea” statue featuring Susan and Frederick Douglass. 31 Madison Street, (585) 235-6124,

Writers and Books
Writers and Books

Neighborhood of the Arts

Keep an eye out for roadside art installations like a giant pencil outside Writers & Books, an umbrella bus stop, and a rainbow-colored walkway in this neighborhood known for its abundance of public art. 740 University Avenue,

Monroe County

Powder Mills Park Rochester NY
Mushroom House

Mushroom House

View this private James H. Johnson-designed home from Park Road leading into Powder Mills Park. Use the fish hatchery parking lot and then carefully walk along the roadside to admire its unique design. The best time to see the intricate details is in the winter and early spring, while trees are leafless. 142 Park Road, Perinton

Rochester's Fun Facts - Whispering Pines Mini Golf
Whispering Pines Mini Golf

Parkside Whispering Pines

Built in 1930, you can play a round at America’s oldest miniature golf course near Seabreeze Amusement Park. 4383 Culver Road, Irondequoit, (585) 323-1570,

“Serenity” Dove/Phoenix

Find this magnificent metallic sculpture at the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Five Mile Line Road. While it is private property, the owners welcome visitors to walk along a spiral pathway to view the public art project, Art as a Way to Peace, sculpted by James Seaman. It symbolizes peace born from the ashes of a global pandemic. You may already be familiar with Seaman’s work if you’ve seen the massive stainless-steel eagle along I-90 at Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge. 2826 Atlantic Avenue, Penfield,

Wat Pa Lao Buddhadham
Wat Pa Lao Buddhadham

Wat Pa Lao Buddhadham

As you gaze upon this incredible temple, you are momentarily transported to the beautiful landscapes of Laos. This architectural masterpiece, nestled among sprawling farmland on the outskirts of suburbia, is a true gem. 135 Martin Road, West Henrietta,

Greater Rochester

Roadside attractions: Canandaigua Lake Boat Houses pier 2
Canandaigua City Pier

Canandaigua City Pier Boathouses

Take a walk or drive down Canandaigua City Pier to see the 80 colorful boathouses. Interestingly, it is unlawful for owners to spend the night in their boathouse—they are for daytime use only. Canandaigua, Ontario County

Five Arch Bridge
Five Arch Bridge

Five Arch Bridge

The 1857 abandoned railroad bridge on New York State Route 39 offers a scenic crossing over Conesus Creek, making it a lovely location for a picnic. 2100 Avon Geneseo Road, Avon, Livingston County

Rochester-Area Roadside Attractions - Big Metal Dragon in East Bethany NY
Metal Dragon
Rochester-Area Roadside Attractions - Tiny Bus in East Bethany NY
Tiny Bus

Giant Metal Dragon and Tiny Bus

Find these two installations on either side of Transit Road near Keller Road. 10187 Transit Road, East Bethany, Genesee County

Seneca Lake Geneva I Love NY
Finger Lakes Visitor Center in Geneva on Seneca Lake

I Love New York Sign

Find a perfect photo op next to the massive sign on the shore of Seneca Lake at the Finger Lakes Welcome Center. 35 Lake Front Drive, Geneva, Ontario County, (315) 787-0007,

barn JELL-O sign
Mail Pouch Tobacco Barn LeRoy
Mail Pouch

JELL-O/Mail Pouch Barn

Locate an advertisement for LeRoy’s world-famous invention on the south-facing side of the Ashbury Road barn. On the north-facing side, there is a Mail Pouch Tobacco ad. Only two additional Mail Pouch ads still exist near Rochester, one on Akron Road in Lockport and the other on William Street at North Virginia Street in Waterloo. 9599 Asbury Road, LeRoy, Genesee County

Erie Canal Medina Culvert Road
Culvert Road

The Only Tunnel Under the Erie Canal

Also listed in Ripley’s Believe It or Not, Culvert Road is the only road under the Erie Canal. Beep the car’s horn inside the tunnel—it’s tradition. 3699 Culvert Road, Medina, Orleans County

Lyndonville shoe trees
Lyndonville shoe trees

Shoe Trees

For decades, shoes have been hanging from the trees at the intersection of Lakeshore and Foss Roads. Legend has it that successfully catching a shoe in the branches will grant a wish or bring good luck. 12041 Lakeshore Road, Lyndonville, Orleans County

Statue of Liberty LeRoy NY
Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty

The Lady Liberty statue on Wolcott Street is eight feet tall, the exact measurement as the original statue’s index finger. In 1950, the Boy Scouts of America bought 200 copper replicas for cities across the country, but only 100 remain today. 7 Wolcott Street, LeRoy, Genesee County

Livingston County Veterans Monument
Metal Poppies

Veterans Monument

At Hampton’s Corners Complex on New York State Route 63, just south of Geneseo, there is a field of 250 metal poppies that sway in the breeze. Each poppy was designed and welded by a veteran or a veteran’s family member in their honor. 5871 Groveland Station Road, Mount Morris, Livingston County

Surrounding Counties

Green-on-Top Traffic Light

At the intersection of Tompkins and Milton in Syracuse’s Tipperary Hill neighborhood, the traffic light has a green light at the top, symbolizing the Irish community’s pride and resilience. 106 Burnet Park Drive, Syracuse, Onondaga County

From the Onondaga Historical Society: THE IRISH & TIPPERARY HILL – The Irish have been a strong community on Tipperary Hill since the mid-1800s when the Great Potato Famine forced many out of Ireland. It was not unusual for immigrants from the same country, region, or town to settle near one another. Tipperary Hill was given its name due to the number of families who settled together there from the County Tipperary of Ireland. The area is best known for two things: the pubs and the “upside down” traffic light. In 1925, when the city first installed traffic lights, the Irish were appalled at the sight of the “British red” over the “Irish green.” In protest, they repeatedly threw stones at the lights and broke the original and all replacements. The alderman of Tipperary Hill, John “Huckle” Ryan, petitioned the city to hang the light upside down. The city agreed, but soon, the state stepped in, declaring it unsafe and insisting it be turned back over. The city obliged, but immediately, the light started malfunctioning for no apparent reason. The press jokingly pointed the finger at leprechauns fighting for the Irish. The residents of Tipp Hill again petitioned the city, calling the light an insult and demanding it either be flipped over or removed completely. Again, the city obliged, and the malfunctions stopped. To this day, the traffic light on Tipp Hill remains with the green light above the red.

Griffis Sculpture Park roadside wedding
Griffis Sculpture Park

Griffis Sculpture Park

While the Mill Valley Road site needs to be explored on foot, enjoy the Rohr Hill Road site just by looking out the car window. You will find impressive sculptures on both sides of the road. The view is extraordinary, especially in the fall. 8810 Rohr Hill Road, East Otto, Cattaraugus County, (716) 667-2808,

Veterans and Heroes Park Buffalo America
Patriots and Heroes Park

Patriots and Heroes Park

This over-the-top park honoring our soldiers and first responders is an awe-inspiring place to pay tribute to those who serve our country. The eight intricate monuments, including the impressive large-scale replicas of iconic American landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, Niagara Falls, Washington Monument, and US Capitol Building, are truly captivating. 6675 Transit Road, Williamsville, Erie County

Scary Lucy
Scary Lucy
Lovely Lucy
Lovely Lucy

Scary Lucy & Lovely Lucy

Two Lucy statues stand near each other in Lucille Ball Memorial Park near Jamestown. It is a popular must-see destination for visitors to Lucy’s hometown. The original Lucy statue, sculpted by Dave Poulin in 2009, depicts Lucy performing her famous tipsy TV pitch for Vitameatavegamin health tonic. Despite a new Lucy statue sculpted by Carolyn Palmer in August 2016, the village of Celoron kept both on display. 21 Boulevard Avenue, Celoron, Chautauqua County, (716) 487-4175,

Second Coming House of Prophet Isaiah
Second Coming House of Prophet Isaiah

Second Coming House of Prophet Isaiah

The exterior of this home boasts thousands of vibrant designs and sculptures, making it a feast for the eyes. Sadly, the artist Prophet Isaiah Henry Robertson died on January 25, 2020. In response, the Kohler Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving art environments, purchased and donated the house to the Niagara Falls National Heritage Area. 1308 Ontario Avenue, Niagara Falls, Niagara County

Canalside Shark Girl
Canalside Shark Girl, images from Google Maps

Shark Girl

Shark Girl is a fiberglass sculpture of a girl with a shark’s head sitting on a boulder on the Immigrant Steps. This art installation was sponsored by the Albright-Knox Gallery in 2013 as part of their Public Art Initiative, which aims to bring art to public spaces around the city. 130 Main Street, Buffalo, Erie County

Wilkeson Pointe Park Whirligigs up
Wilkeson Pointe

Wilkeson Pointe Park Whirligigs

At Buffalo’s Outer Harbor, the whimsical spinning metal structures are a fun attraction to enjoy while taking in the beautiful view of Lake Erie. 225 Fuhrmann Boulevard, Buffalo, Erie County, (716) 436-7100,

Google Map of Locations

view map separately here

Day Trips Around Rochester New York book cover

Day Trips Around Rochester, New York: The Book!

paperback • ebook • audiobook

Seasonal Roadside Attractions

Not all things worth seeing are permanent! Holidays and seasons bring out the creative side in all of us. Check out these displays when & while you can.

Endicar Irondequoit neighborhood holiday lights giraffe
Endicar Drive in Irondequoit

Christmas Lights

Because December is the darkest month, we welcome these Spectacular Christmas Lights Around Rochester to brighten the night. These homeowners and communities go all out to celebrate the season, so let’s get out there and celebrate with them!

Roadside Attractions Skeleton Army Canandaigua Canandaigua Country Road 4
The Skeleton Army

The Skeleton Army

Head out to Hopewell near Canandaigua for this amazing Halloween display! Over 200 skeletons (humans, horses, dinosaurs and dogs!) are marching on the home, which is heavily defended by trees (think of the Ents from Lord of the Rings).

Haunted House on CR-4 on Facebook

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Where are your favorite roadside attractions?

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 book Day Trips Around Rochester, New York.


3 thoughts on “Roadside Attractions”

  1. Tree Creations (Tree Houses) in Geneseo, NY (listed on America’s Roadside Attractions) has a whimsical tree house village connected by rope bridges that includes an actual automobile and an airplane off the ground among the trees. It’s Free with an appointment and the contact info is on the website.

    1. Joe, that is a great recommendation! I actually didn’t think of Tree Creations as a roadside attraction, but I think you’re right! They are still on my list of places to visit. According to their Facebook page, they open when leaves are on the trees, “available for visits and play from Late June until September.”

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