Rochester Lilac Festival concert

Rochester, NY Events & Activities: Your Guide to Year-Round Fun

From Rochester’s annual events and festivals to seasonal harvests and activities, we’ll give you insider tips on monthly must-dos. Whether you’re looking for a fun weekend activity, a date night idea, ideas for celebrating a holiday, or a family-friendly outing, these monthly special occasion guides will have something for everyone. So, join me as I explore the best things to do around Rochester all year.

Best of Rochester - Day Trips Around Rochester book

Day Trips Around Rochester, New York


Kick off the new year with a delightful array of January events and activities. January offers a beautiful assortment of experiences to start your year on the right foot, indoors or out.

You can start with a guided First-Day Hike, available at scenic destinations like Letchworth, Taughannock, and Hamlin State Parks, as well as numerous local options.

In winter and early spring, visit Mendon Ponds Park with a pocketful of black oil sunflower seeds to feed the birds. On the Birdsong Fairy Trail, you’ll be delighted as chickadees, nuthatches, and tufted titmice dine right from your hand.

When gray skies loom, visit local libraries, museums, or theaters for indoor fun. For refuge from the chill, explore the lush tropical environment of the Lamberton Conservatory and the enchanting butterfly garden at The Strong National Museum of Play. Or curl up with a cozy read or warm beverage beside a fireplace in a local library or restaurant.

If the weather proves inviting, layer up and explore the great outdoors.


First-Day Hikes on January 1, 2024

Welcome the New Year with a guided First-Day Hike at several parks, including Highland, Letchworth, and the Genesee Valley Greenway.

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26 Easy Winter Walks Around Rochester

Each destination offers a unique perspective of the Rochester area’s natural beauty, from snow-covered parks to picturesque waterfronts.

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Wintertime in Rochester

It’s cold, it’s snowy, it’s dark. It’s wintertime in Rochester! Here are a few suggestions to help embrace our winter season.

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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.

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As Rochester embraces the winter season in February, there are several entertaining events and activities to look forward to.

Rochester Polar Plunge. The Polar Plunge is a thrilling event to witness if you’re not participating. The party-like atmosphere is a great way to shake off winter’s blues. What’s the reason for freezin’? Funds raised from the plunge support the Special Olympics New York’s programs and services. 50 Beach Avenue, The Polar Plunge is one of several events that take place during this weekend’s Lakeside Winter Celebration event.

Dutch Connection. Experience the beauty and fragrance of the mansion’s numerous tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, and other flowering bulbs. This colorful display is a welcome contrast to the monotony of winter. George Eastman Museum, 900 East Avenue,

As we delve into mid-February, you’ll find various events themed around the Super Bowl, Mardi Gras, and Valentine’s Day.

For those seeking active winter adventures, upstate New York offers many excellent sledding opportunities in its parks. Whether it’s the rolling hills of Mendon Ponds or the exhilarating descents at Black Creek, Ellison, or Cobb’s Hill Parks, there’s a sledding hill to suit enthusiasts of all levels. Bring your sled, toboggan, or inner tube and experience the thrill of speeding down these snowy hillsides. Additionally, these parks are perfect for building snowmen and engaging in friendly snowball fights with family and friends, making it a memorable and fun-filled Rochester February.


For the Love of Valentine’s Day: Enjoy Dining, Entertainment, and Spending Time Together in Rochester

From Valentine’s Day-themed dinners and events to enjoying live theater or hiking together, Rochester sets the stage for memorable moments.

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12 Ideas for Staying Warm & Active Throughout the Winter in Rochester

Don’t let winter in Rochester force you into hibernation. If snow doesn’t appeal to you, think of everything there is to do indoors.

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New York State Maple Weekends. Maple Weekends take place every year over two March weekends. It’s an ideal time to visit a maple farm or nature center to enjoy fresh, locally produced maple syrup. Many farms offer unique flavors, such as coffee and bourbon-barrel-aged syrups, and some even offer a pancake breakfast. It’s a great way to discover the diverse range of maple syrups available.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Rochester’s annual parade brings tens of thousands of people downtown. Starting at 12:30 p.m. at the intersection of East Avenue and Alexander Street, the parade proceeds down East Avenue, turning left onto Main Street and crossing the Genesee River before ending near State Street. East Avenue is lined with bars, while the area near Rochester Riverside Convention Center tends to be more family-friendly.

Starting in late February, Canada and snow geese migrate north through New York and increase their numbers to the tens of thousands. Spring waterfowl migration may peak from the last two weeks of March to the first two weeks of April. Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge, Braddock Bay Wildlife Management Area, and Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge are the best places to witness this spectacle. 


High School Musicals and Plays in Monroe County

Celebrate the talented young actors performing in high school musicals and plays as they bring classic and contemporary pieces to life.

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🍁 Maple Weekends: 13 Sweet Sugar Shacks Near Rochester

During Maple Weekends, March 16-17 and 23-24, 2024, producers open their sugar shacks to honor the art and science of turning sap into syrup.

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As the chill of winter begins to fade away, Rochester residents and visitors eagerly await the start of spring, which promises warmer weather, longer days, and a wealth of events and activities throughout the city.

Begin the month enjoying the Rochester Red Wings‘ first home games of the season. Red Wings General Manager Dan Mason offers ballpark attendees a 50-degree guarantee for opening day. If the temperature is below 50 degrees on opening day, they’ll receive a free ticket for any game in April or May.

Look for Earth Day events to ramp up in mid-April, leading to Earth Day on April 22.

Another popular late-April event is the Imagine RIT: Creativity and Innovation Festival. Spend the day exploring the many interactive student projects and exhibits on campus. This event suits people of all ages and is a great way to learn about and interact with new technologies. If you have kids thinking about college, this is an excellent opportunity to experience classrooms, labs, lecture halls, eateries, auditoriums, stadiums, and galleries.

The spring migration in New York State is a magnificent sight, with millions of birds passing through the state on their way to breeding grounds in Canada and the Arctic. Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge, and Braddock Bay Wildlife Management Area are popular destinations for birdwatchers to witness this natural phenomenon.

April is also a great time to visit our parks and nature centers and start looking for other signs of life. Listen for peepers around swamps and wetlands. In Highland Park, look for daffodils, cherry and pear blossoms, magnolias, Siberian squill, tulips, and a dozen more magnificent blooms from April to early May. Be sure to stop into Lamberton Conservatory during their annual Spring Show, which begins the first week in April and runs through the end of the Lilac Festival in mid-May.

With April rain showers converging with snowmelt, our tributaries swell with water pushing downstream. The river, creeks, and waterfalls become powerful forces of nature–both awe-inspiring and destructive. April is the ideal time to explore a few waterfalls, like Letchworth, Niagara Falls, or High Falls.

Daffodil enthusiasts will enjoy a hike to the Daffodil Meadow in Powder Mills Park or stop by Mount Hope Cemetery, near the fountain, to observe Dan Whitney’s 15,000 daffodils in bloom. Read the article in the Upstate Gardner’s Journal to learn more. Check out for more details.


Earth Day 2024: Get Involved in Activities Around Rochester

Spring is in full swing, and it’s the perfect time to observe Earth Day (April 22, 2024) and embrace sustainable practices for a better future.

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Child-Sized Fun: 10 Ideas for Enjoying Spring Break in Rochester

This guide offers a variety of fun activities for you and the kids to enjoy around Rochester during the spring school break.

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Springtime in Rochester

Enjoy delightful early springtime day trips around Rochester filled with March migrations, April showers, and May flowers.

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As spring takes hold in Rochester, there’s a palpable energy in the air as locals eagerly anticipate reopening favorite parks, attractions, and businesses. The merry month of May is an exciting time, with events and activities occurring throughout the city.

Perhaps the most eagerly anticipated event of the month is the Rochester Lilac Festival. This 10-day celebration of the city’s vibrant floral heritage features free concerts, art shows, tastings, footraces, and parades, drawing visitors from all over the region to enjoy the breathtaking beauty of Highland Park’s blooming lilacs.

All Monroe County Parks, including roads, restrooms, and other amenities we’ve missed throughout the winter, will be fully open on May 1. Toward the end of the month, New York State Park gorge trails, like Watkins Glen and Stony Brook, will begin to reopen, and Seabreeze Amusement Park will open on weekends. The longhouse at Ganondagan State Historic Site will also open for the season on May 1.

The City of Rochester Public Market hosts Flower City Days.

With so many unique events and activities taking place in and around Rochester throughout May, there’s truly something for everyone to enjoy. So come out and celebrate the arrival of spring and the start of a new season of fun and adventure!


Make Mom’s Day: 7 Ways to Celebrate Mother’s Day 2024

Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 12, 2024. And if you’re wondering how to make this day extra special for your mom, we’ve got you covered.

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4 Ways to Spend Memorial Day Weekend Around Rochester

Over Memorial Day Weekend, May 24–27, 2024, we gather as a community to honor our fallen heroes and kick off the summer season in Rochester.

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Opening in May for the Summer Season

May is the perfect time to plan day trips to your favorite ice cream shops, gorge trails, amusement parks, boat tours, and public gardens.

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Looking for some hot events to jazz up your June? Look no further than the annual Rochester International Jazz Festival. Spend hours enjoying exceptional music with dozens of free performances. The nine-day event attracts musicians and attendees from all over the world to Rochester.

Check out the Father’s Day guide to find out how to treat Dad to a ballgame with fireworks, drive the Glen, attend a battle reenactment, and more for an unforgettable day out.

It’s also the perfect time to start enjoying all the gorge trails and farmers’ markets. By mid-June, beaches, public pools, and waterparks will open for the summer, and the amusement parks will be in full swing.

Look for Flower City Feeling Good weekly guided bike rides on Wednesday evenings and bi-weekly guided walks on Thursday evenings now through late summer.

But that’s not all June has to offer. From Food Truck Rodeos and Zoo Brews to strawberry picking and outdoor concert series, like Concerts by the Shore and Party in the Park, there’s no shortage of exciting activities to enjoy this month.


8 Father’s Day Ideas for a Memorable Day with Dad

Treat Dad to a ballgame with fireworks, drive the Glen, attend a battle reenactment, and more for an unforgettable Father’s Day.

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🍓 Strawberries: 14 Places to Pick Your Own

Here are a few places to pick your own strawberries, plus festivals to taste everything from jams to shortcakes to strawberry wine.

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July brings a vibrant array of events and festivities to the Rochester area that will delight locals and visitors alike. As the summer heats up, the region comes alive with activities to suit every taste. From celebrating the nation’s independence at Genesee Country Village & Museum to medieval cosplay at the Sterling Renaissance Festival, there’s something for everyone in this bustling city and its surrounding areas.

Throughout Monroe County and Greater Rochester, you’ll find events and celebrations, from classic carnivals and film festivals to art showcases and community gatherings. There are plenty of opportunities to connect with the local culture.

So whether you’re a history enthusiast, a music lover, a foodie, or an art connoisseur, July in Rochester promises a month filled with unforgettable experiences. Grab your calendar, gather your friends and family, and get ready to make the most of the exciting events happening throughout the region.

Independence Day at Genesee Country Village & Museum. Each 4th of July, The Genesee Country Village & Museum hosts a Naturalization Ceremony for roughly 50 new American Citizens. It reminds me that the path to citizenship is paved with hard work and determination. The ceremony is quite a thing to witness. It is also a day-long celebration of all things America, with a pie-eating contest, sack races, and a parade.

Corn Hill Arts Festival. Avery Mall (Park) is the official shuttle stop for the popular weekend-long art and music festival in Corn Hill, Rochester’s oldest residential neighborhood. Avery Mall, 281 S. Plymouth Avenue,

Ganondagan Indigenous Music and Arts Festival. Ganondagan invites visitors to experience Haudenosaunee culture through food, music, dance, and craft vendors during the last weekend of July. The festival features national and international artists, and the longhouse and Seneca Arts & Culture Center are open, including the museum, theater, and gift shop. Admission fee. 7000 County Road 41, Victor, Ontario County,

Finger Lakes Wine Festival: With nearly 100 New York State wineries represented, this event is an excellent opportunity to taste and purchase a variety of wines. Besides wine tasting, the showcase also features entertainment, shopping, wine seminars, and culinary classes. Admission fee. Watkins Glen International, 2790 County Route 6,

Sterling Renaissance Festival. Open weekends from early July to mid-August, this Renaissance festival is one of the best medieval cosplay events in New York. Taking part in the event is half the fun, whether you make a floral headpiece, rent a dress, or wear a full suit of armor. Purchase tickets online and download the schedule of events in advance to help plan your day. With nearly 100 performances on 12 stages across 35 acres, there are a few shows you won’t want to miss, such as the highly energetic jousting tournament, which takes place twice a day at noon and 5:45 p.m. Make sure to arrive at Ye Field of Honor early to secure a shaded spot to stand. The food and drink lines can be long, so bring a cooler for a picnic in the parking lot—be sure to have your hand stamped to re-enter the fair. 15385 Farden Road, Sterling, Cayuga County,

Seneca Veterans Powwow: The powwow takes place in Veterans Park, located in the heart of Salamanca, on the lands of the Seneca Nation. The gates open at 10 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The weekend will be full of competition drumming, powwow festivities, and smoke dancing.

Convention Days. Convention Days brings to life the historic 1848 Seneca Falls Convention for women’s rights through art, drama, and scholarly presentations. Each year has a different theme, with three days of activities offered throughout the village. Women’s Rights National Historical Park, 136 Fall Street,

Arts in the Gardens. Visit the 50-acre estate at Sonnenberg Gardens for a day of art, music, food, and beverages. Admission fee. 250 Gibson Street,

Antique & Classic Boat Show. Visit Clift Park to enjoy dozens of historic boats on display at Skaneateles Pier. The two-day event features a boat parade, contests, and nautical-themed activities. 15 W. Genesee Street,

50-mile Route 90 Garage Sale. Extend your day with a 15-mile drive along County Route 90—one of New York State’s scenic byways—between Seneca Falls and Aurora, or drive the entire route to Homer. Every year, there are new things to see, with different homeowners participating and various villages and clubs providing food and fun along the way.

Canandaigua Lakefront Art Show. Attend the two-day event at Kershaw Park on the north shore of Canandaigua Lake and enjoy regional arts, music, and food. 155 Lakeshore Drive,

Garden Walk Buffalo. With over 300 private and public gardens in Buffalo’s Elmwood Village and Parkside neighborhoods on display, Garden Walk Buffalo is the most extensive self-guided garden tour in the United States.

Look for Flower City Feeling Good weekly guided bike rides on Wednesday evenings and bi-weekly guided walks on Thursday evenings now through late summer.


Summer Break: Ideas for Fun, Educational Rochester Day Trips

School’s out for summer break! Find the perfect balance between fun and education with ideas that extend learning outside the classroom.

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Fireworks & Summer Fun: 8 Ways to Enjoy the 4th of July in Rochester

Here are eight ways to make the most of your 4th of July around Rochester with traditional Independence Day celebrations and summer fun.

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🍒 Cherries: 8 Places to Pick Your Own

Here are a few places you can pick your own cherries near Rochester. The season runs mainly in July, but start checking in late June.

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🌸 Raspberries: 8 Places to Pick Your Own

Here are a few places around Rochester you can pick your own raspberries, starting in July. Fall varieties ripen in late August.

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Experience Rochester’s rich cultural heritage at festivals like the Puerto Rican Festival, Saint Stanislaus Polish Arts Festival, and Ukrainian Arts and Craft Festival. Sample delicious cuisine and listen to vibrant music as you immerse yourself in the city’s diverse food and music scene. Then, enjoy a late-summer harvest of blueberries and sunflowers.

No August event list would be complete without featuring The Great New York State Fair. With a rich history dating back to 1841, this fair is the oldest state fair in the United States and one of the largest. Prepare to be amazed as you join over one million visitors in exploring the exhibits, entertainment, and culinary delights that await.

In addition to these featured events, we’ve compiled a list of other exciting happenings throughout August. Plenty of activities, entertainment, and amusement are available, from weekly guided bike rides and walks to concerts, parties, and festivals. Enjoy the end of summer!

Skaneateles Festival. Skanfest takes place over several weeks at multiple venues throughout the village. The festival attracts a diverse array of local and international musicians, including renowned classical ensembles, jazz groups, and folk performers. Besides the concerts, Skanfest also features lectures, workshops, and other special events. It’s an excellent opportunity for music lovers to experience some of the best musicians from around the world. Admission fee. 2433 W. Lake Road, Skaneateles, (315) 685-7418,

Glorious Garlic Festival. This three-day event celebrating the regional garlic harvest features food, wine, beer, cooking demonstrations, music, and art along Seneca Lake’s shoreline. Lakefront Park, Geneva,

Pageant of Steam. The multiday celebration showcases antique steam-powered equipment through parades, demonstrations, and tractor pulls. 3349 Gehan Road, Canandaigua,

Erie County Fair. Established in 1819, the Erie County Agricultural Society organizes the annual 12-day fair, which features the World’s Largest Demolition Derby. It is said that the creation of the hamburger can be traced back to the 1885 Erie County Fair. 5600 McKinley Parkway, Hamburg,

Ithaca Artists Market. Over 80 artists showcase and sell their works at a juried art show held at the market. The event features live music and offers food, wine, and beer for purchase, creating a festive atmosphere. 545 3rd Street, Ithaca, (607) 273-7109,

Lewiston Art Festival. The juried art show takes place during the second full weekend in August and features crafts, music, and food. Center Street, Lewiston, (716) 754-0166,

The Great New York State Fair. Established in 1841 and moved to its current Syracuse location in 1890, New York operates the oldest state fair in the United States. Ours is also one of the largest, with roughly one million visitors annually, with some days seeing over 100,000 people. The fair runs annually, starting on the third or fourth Wednesday of August and ending on Labor Day. 581 State Fair Boulevard, Syracuse, (315) 487-7711,

Fairport Music Festival. Enjoy two days of music on three outdoor stages along Liftbridge Lane East, as well as performances in bars and restaurants around Fairport. 5 Liftbridge Lane E., Fairport,

Lewiston Jazz Festival. On the last weekend in August, the two-day music festival features over 100 performances on five outdoor stages. Local pubs also host after-hours jam sessions and performances. Center Street, Lewiston (716) 754-9500,

Look for Flower City Feeling Good weekly guided bike rides on Wednesday evenings and bi-weekly guided walks on Thursday evenings through late summer.


🫐 Blueberries: 9 Places to Pick Your Own

Here are a few places around Rochester you can pick your own blueberries. The season typically runs from early- to mid-July through August.

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🌻 Sunflower Season 2023: 3 Fabulous Fields Around Rochester

Lose yourself in a sea of sunflowers! Each August, acres of bold blooms become the perfect backdrop for family photos and sunny selfies.

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🍑 Stone Fruit: 3 Places to Pick Your Own

Peaches, plums, nectarines and apricots (stone fruit) hit their prime mid-August-mid-September. Here are a few places you can pick your own.

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Escaping Extreme Heat

When temperatures rise above ninety degrees for several days, we all need to find a place to cool down. Water and shade are critical.

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September marks the beginning of fall in Rochester, offering unique seasonal activities and events. Whether indulging in the sweet and juicy flavor of apples, exploring the diverse worlds of art and music, or joining in the lively atmosphere of a festival, this month promises to be packed with joyful experiences and unforgettable moments.

Early September to late October is the ideal time for apple picking. Farms along Lake Ontario’s southern shore offer a bountiful harvest of mouthwatering varieties, such as Honeycrisp, Jonagold, Autumn Crisp, Twenty Ounce, CrimsonCrisp, Macoun, Empire, Red Delicious, Fuji, Golden Delicious, Jonamac, MacIntosh, Cortland, Gala, Ida Red, Granny Smith, and Cameo.

Embark on an adventure to find the most delicious cider, fry cakes, fritters, and slushies. Our favorite apple farms to explore include Schutt’s, Kelly’s, Robb’s, Green Acre, and Zarpentine Farms. Each farm offers its specialties, and it’s up to you to determine who deserves the title for the best apple treats.

Enjoy festivals celebrating grape, peach, apple, pumpkin, garlic, and tomato harvests throughout September. Experience a season full of pumpkin-picking, corn mazes, hayrides, train rides, and other agriculture-themed activities at Stokoe, Wickham, and Long Acre Farms.

Beyond the farms, the city buzzes with excitement. Immerse yourself in the vibrant arts and culture scene at the Rochester Fringe Festival and the Memorial Art Gallery’s Clothesline Festival. These events showcase a diverse range of creative expressions that are sure to captivate your imagination.

Rochester Fringe Festival. This 12-day festival offers a wide range of entertaining performances. The Fringe team produces half the events, while each venue selects the other half. Centered in Rochester’s East End, the festival includes popular attractions such as the Spiegelgarden, Spiegeltent, Pedestrian Drive-In, and major weekend events. There’s a mix of free and ticketed shows offered across multiple venues.

Clothesline Festival. The Memorial Art Gallery hosts this renowned two-day arts festival, and the gate fee includes museum admission. 500 University Avenue,

Naples Grape Festival. Set in the charming village of Naples, the two-day Naples Grape Festival celebrates local music, art, and food. The festival’s wine-tasting tent is a popular destination, featuring the finest regional wines, craft brewers, and distilleries. The World’s Greatest Grape Pie Contest is a must-see event. Unique to the Finger Lakes region, grape pies were created in the 1950s by Naples resident Irene Bouchard. Getting to the Naples Grape Festival can be hectic, as there is only one main thoroughfare in and out of the village. Plan to arrive before 11 a.m. to avoid heavy traffic. Parking is available at Hazlitt Red Cat Cellars, with a free shuttle bus to take attendees directly to the festival grounds at the Memorial Town Hall and Naples High School. 154 N. Main Street, Naples, Ontario County,

National Buffalo Wing Festival. At Highmark Stadium, the home of the Buffalo Bills, enjoy this two-day festival celebrating Buffalo’s most famous invention and America’s favorite appetizer. Wingfest features dozens of local, regional, national, and international eateries serving captivating combinations of flavor and heat. You’ll find live music, chicken wing eating competitions, a celebrity sauce competition, bobbing for wings, and the United States Buffalo Wing Eating Championship. Orchard Park,

Niagara County Peach Festival. Enjoy four days of old-fashioned fun and entertainment celebrating the peach harvest. Academy Park,

Grand Prix Festival. Celebrate Watkins Glen’s rich racing history throughout this annual street festival. Featuring over 600 vintage cars alongside vendors and musicians, enjoy a late-afternoon reenactment of America’s first post–World War II road race that sparked a new passion for auto racing. North Franklin Street,

Bristol Mountain Fall Sky Rides. Enjoy a 20-minute round-trip ride on the Comet Express chairlift on weekend afternoons from mid-September through October, plus Monday, October 11. Absorb the rich fall colors while facing Stid Hill on the ride back down. Admission fee. 5662 New York State Route 64, (585) 374-6000,

Borderland Music Festival. Get your tickets early for the popular grassroots music and arts festival at Knox Farm State Park. Admission fee. 230 Knox Road,

Ithaca Porchfest. Visit the Fall Creek and Northside neighborhoods, located just north of downtown, where homeowners turn their front porches into performance stages for the afternoon. Use the digital map and schedule on the website to find the nearly 150 bands playing across roughly 25 porches. You’ll find an information station at Thompson Park at the intersection of North Cayuga and West Marshall Streets.

Apple Harvest Festival. Wander around Cayuga Street and Ithaca Commons to find delicious apple cider, doughnuts, food trucks, craft vendors, and entertainment. Local shops and restaurants also take part in the celebration of all things apple. Ithaca Commons,


Autumn in Rochester

Scenic train rides, leaf-peeping, bird migrations, and ghost walks happen only in autumn in Rochester—take advantage of them while you can!

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🍎 Apple Everything! Rochester’s best ciders, fry cakes, fritters, pies, and more

Come mid-September, we begin to crave all things apple. Apple cider. Apple cider donuts. Apple fritters. Apple pie. And warm fry cakes.

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🍎 Apples: 16 Places to Pick Your Own

Many of our farms offer a family-fun experience, with hay rides, cider & donuts and activities for the kids, in addition to pick your own apples.

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🍇 Grapes: Pick Your Own at Jerome’s

My family has been going to Jerome’s U-Pick Grapes for 20 years. To avoid the crowds, go the week before or after the Naples Grape Festival.

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From pretty to paranormal, October in Rochester has no shortage of unique seasonal activities! Enjoy scenic train rides, leaf-peeping in our arboretums, fall bird migrations, ghost walks, and fun on the farm this month.

For the ultimate fall foliage experience, plan your leaf-peeping outings from mid-October to early November. Arboretums like Mount Hope Cemetery, Durand Eastman Park, and Highland Park showcase breathtaking displays of vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows, creating picturesque scenery perfect for capturing those Instagram-worthy moments.

ROC the Riverway Weekend. This multi-day event celebrates the Genesee River and its impact on the city with guided hikes, bike rides, and paddles. Discover the hidden beauty of Rochester’s natural landscapes. Most activities are free, though a few are ticketed and require registration.

As October rolls in, there’s an undeniable attraction to the paranormal. Explore the eerie side of Rochester through ghost walks, storytelling, and investigations that will give you goosebumps!

Ride the rails on a heritage train or cruise along Rochester’s waterways to witness the fall transformation from a different perspective. The fall-themed schedules of these family-friendly experiences provide a unique opportunity to appreciate the season.

October wouldn’t be complete without taking part in fall harvest celebrations. Immerse yourself in the quintessential fall experience by visiting farms in the Rochester area and attending harvest-themed events. You can enjoy activities like hayrides, apple cider, corn mazes, and the irresistible scent of freshly baked fry cakes.


🎃 Pumpkin Patches & Farms Around Rochester

Experience the perfect autumn day at our Rochester-area pumpkin farms with wagon rides, fresh apple cider and donuts, and corn mazes.

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Roc the Riverway Weekend: October 6–8, 2023

Enjoy Roc the Riverway Weekend with activities highlighting the beauty, history, and significance of Rochester’s majestic Genesee River.

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Paranormal Activities: Our Favorite Haunts for 2023

There is something about October that piques our interest in paranormal activities. Explore the other side of Rochester!

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22 Fabulous Fall Hikes in Monroe County

Our favorite fall hikes offer a variety of elements and views. The presence of water, trees, and solitude helps rank these high on our list.

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🍁 Fall Foliage: 7 Breathtaking Views Near Rochester

If you’re looking for picturesque autumn scenery, these locations offer stunning fall foliage and unique landscapes.

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November is a month of transition and reflection. The last whispers of fall blend seamlessly with the early murmurs of the holiday season, creating a vibrant and festive atmosphere. As the month begins, enjoy the final moments of autumn’s beauty, then watch the world transform, with homes and streets twinkling in festive lights and holiday decorations.

Kick off the holiday season with Holidays at the George Eastman Museum, Lights on the Lake, Dickens Christmas, and various local markets and bazaars to support community businesses, which continue through December.

Nov 11: Canandaigua Treaty Day Celebration. The Canandaigua Treaty, signed on November 11, 1794, established peace and friendship between the United States of America and the Six Nations of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. This event is a unique opportunity to witness the past and present coming together and remind us of the treaty’s significance and the bond it has created between the two nations. Ontario County Courthouse, 27 N. Main Street,


Skaneateles Dickens Christmas 2023

Experience the magic of Skaneateles’ Dickens Christmas with festive performances, carriage rides, and a cast of merry-making characters.

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It’s December, and Rochester is a picturesque winter wonderland filled with joyful melodies, glistening lights, and festive jubilations. As we navigate through the varied public celebrations and personal reflections, let’s not merely observe but take part, adding our own stories to the rich narrative that defines our community.

Rochesterians have a deep-seated nostalgia for midtown at Christmastime. Roc Holiday Village encapsulates the holiday magic in one month-long event featuring yuletide festivities, shopping, refreshments, and entertainment.

Our city becomes a stage where traditional holiday performances such as the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra’s Gala Holiday Pops, Rochester Broadway Theatre League’s The Nutcracker, and Geva’s A Christmas Carol enchant audiences and kindle the holiday spirit within.

The Little Theatre and Dryden Theatre screen classic holiday movies while live music is performed in halls and houses of worship.

Because December is the darkest month, we welcome grand displays of Christmas lights to brighten the night. Pack the car with snacks and hot cocoa, and sing along to Christmas carols as you drive around the area. It’s a magical time of year, full of wonder and joyful celebration.

Holiday Show at Lamberton Conservatory. Enjoy evening hours on Friday and Sunday nights until 9 p.m. to appreciate the holiday lights after dark. The show begins on the first Friday in December and continues through the second weekend in January. Note that Saturday evenings are reserved for weddings. Admission fee. 180 Reservoir Avenue, (585) 753-7270, learn more

Holidays at the George Eastman Museum. GEM is a gorgeous place to experience the joy of the holiday season. Besides the delightful Sweet Creations gingerbread houses, wreaths, and tabletop Christmas tree displays, Dryden Theatre offers a wide selection of festive films throughout the season. Admission fee. 900 East Avenue, (585) 327-4800,

Holidays at the Genesee Country Village. Experience the joys of past Christmases on a guided tour of the village. Meet families as they plan traditional meals, share stories, and prepare for the long winter. Take part in various December events, such as candlelit Yuletide in the Country Dec 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 15, and 16, Holiday Afternoon Teas Dec 13, 14, 20, and 21, Breakfast with St. Nick Dec 16, and the Holiday Open House and Breakfast with St. Nick Dec 17. Admission fee. 1410 Flint Hill Road, Mumford, (585) 538-6822,

Holidays at the Rochester Public Market. This delightful tradition showcases vendors offering fresh trees, wreaths, decorations, specialty foods and drinks, handcrafted items, and more. You can enjoy music, carriage rides, and even see Santa on select Sundays. 280 N. Union Street, (585) 428-6907,

Roc Holiday Village. The festivities kick off on the first Saturday of December with the Main Street Liberty Pole lighting and a Santa-led procession to Roc Holiday Village. In the heart of downtown, the charming village offers a range of free holiday-themed activities and community events, including ice skating, live music, and a visit with Santa Claus. Visitors can also shop and dine in the village. Closed Mondays & Tuesdays. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park, 353 Court Street,


December Events: A Heartwarming Guide to Rochester’s Festivities and Traditions

It’s December, and Rochester is a picturesque winter wonderland filled with joyful melodies, glistening lights, and festive jubilations.

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Our 4 Favorite Extreme Christmas Lights Around Rochester: 2023 Edition

Enjoy our four favorite extreme Christmas lights, plus more extraordinary Rochester-area homes and holiday-themed events.

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🌲 20 Christmas Tree Farms Around Rochester

As December nears, it’s time to start thinking about one of the most beloved family traditions—selecting and decorating the Christmas tree.

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Child-Sized Fun During the Holiday School Break

This guide offers a variety of fun activities for you and the kids to enjoy around Rochester during the holiday school break.

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Celebrate New Year’s Eve 2023-2024 in Rochester

I’ve compiled a list of some playful places to celebrate New Year’s Eve on December 31, 2023, and welcome 2024 in style!

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All Aboard! Ride the Rails at These 4 Heritage Train Museums

Listen to the rhythmic chugga-chuggas and whistling choo-choos while enjoying the scenic landscape passing by on a Rochester-area train ride.

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Year-Round Fun


7 Significant City of Rochester Festivals in 2024

This guide aims to showcase Rochester’s most popular festivals, which attract hundreds of thousands of visitors to our beautiful city.

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Things to Do in Rochester This Weekend

Discover the best concerts, festivals, community events, special events, and other things to do in Rochester this weekend or anytime!

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Food & Beverage Guide

Whether savoring a gourmet meal, enjoying local delicacies, or embarking on a culinary adventure, you’ll love Rochester’s dining scene.

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H2O Heritage: Exploring Rochester’s Freshwater Resources

Rochesterians are fortunate to be surrounded by abundant freshwater resources that present us with unique stewardship opportunities.

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Rochester in Bloom: Where and When to Experience The Flower City’s Seasonal Beauty

Rochester in Bloom is a comprehensive guide to Rochester’s bold botanicals, offering information on what blooms, when, and where to find them.

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Rochester’s Cultural Heritage

Rochester’s theaters, museums, and events offer opportunities to celebrate the region’s unique identity and cultural heritage.

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Geologic History of the Rochester Area

These day trips into Rochester’s geologic history will remind you just how amazing our corner of the Earth is.

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Rochester-Area Shopping Guides

Rochester offers delightful shopping experiences, from charming neighborhood boutiques to bustling shopping destinations in nearby villages.

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My Favorite Books About the Rochester Area

I’ve provided links to borrow these Rochester-themed books from a Monroe County Library or to purchase them online via Amazon or Bookshop.

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104 Day Trips From Rochester

I have compiled a quick reference list of 104 natural attractions, parks, museums, and tours to inspire your day trips from Rochester.

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What are your favorite things to do around Rochester each month?

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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