Durand Eastman Park

132 Things to Do Around Rochester

We’ve pulled together a list of fun and unique things to do around Rochester, NY, for college students, adults, and families, within two hours of home—perfect for quick getaways. There is so much cool stuff to do and places to go you’ll easily find somewhere new to explore every week.

Top Ten Things to Do Around Rochester, NY

  1. Discover some of Rochester’s hidden places
  2. Enjoy a place that transcends you through space, time, or state of mind
  3. Take a hike along a waterside, inland, or rail trail
  4. Explore the NYS Parks near Rochester
  5. Shop one of our old country stores
  6. Drive around and find these quirky roadside attractions
  7. Stop at one of Rochester’s top ice cream shops along the way
  8. Find ideas for date night
  9. Spend December visiting our favorite neighborhood Christmas lights
  10. Plan a 3-day getaway within two hours of Rochester
Day Trips Around Rochester New York

Please help fuel my quest!

People often ask, “Do you get into places for free?” The answer is no. I rarely mention Day Trips Around Rochester, NY, while out-and-about. I want the same experience you would have. I create and share content because I love to and believe you’ll find it valuable, not because I’ve been paid to promote it. If you’d like to fuel my quest for new and exciting places to share, I’d appreciate anything from a cup of coffee to a full gas tank. Thank you!

Saras Garden Center blue sky
Sara’s Garden Center

1. Hidden Places Around Rochester

We drive right past some of Rochester’s most unique spots every day, completely unaware of their existence.

I continue to meet life-long residents of Rochester who have no idea these hidden places are just minutes away from where they work and live.

Some are a little off the beaten path but worth going out of your way to experience.

Things to Do Around Rochester - Grimes Glen second waterfall cave
Grimes Glen

2. Transcending Places

Rather than an escape, I prefer to think of these as transcending places that encourage us to transcend space, time, and state of mind.

Mendon Ponds September trail

3. Hiking Trails

Here are a few less populated, rustic, or unusual trails around Rochester that will inspire you to take a hike.

Taughannock Falls winter icy
Taughannock Falls

4. New York State Parks

Venture into one of the 49 New York State Parks within a two-hour drive of Rochester and discover what makes them unique.

Things to Do Around Rochester - Old Country Store
The Old Country Store and More – est. 1849

5. Old Country Stores

When you walk into one of these four old country stores, you feel like you are stepping back in time with aisles of old-fashioned toys, knickknacks, and candies.

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

6. Quirky Rochester-Area Roadside Attractions

These unusual Finger Lakes, Western New York, and Rochester-area roadside attractions make for a memorable day trip.

Abbotts Ice Cream Lake Ave Ontario Beach Park
Ice Cream

7. Top Ice Cream Shops Around Rochester

We love these ice cream shops for their outstanding atmosphere, taste, variety, and innovation.

Try a specialty flavor like Concord Grape from Lynnie Lou’s, Lavender Goat Cheese from Eat Me, or Cookie, Fig, and Honey from Hedonist.

Niagara Falls couple
Niagara Falls

8. Date Night in Rochester

Whether it’s your first date or 50th, spending time trying new activities with your partner is a great way to connect, learn more about each other, and avoid the routine rut or feelings of isolation.

Things to Do Around Rochester - Endicar Irondequoit neighborhood holiday lights giraffe

9. Spectacular Christmas Lights Around Rochester

Our favorite homeowners and communities go all out with their holiday lights to celebrate the season, so let’s get out there and celebrate with them.

Places to Go Around Rochester - Mirbeau Bistro

10. Day Trip Destinations

Spend a day exploring a new city, village, or region around Rochester. Each of our favorite destinations offers a full day of unique site-seeing opportunities with shops, restaurants, local artisans, and signature events worth traveling to experience.

Things to Do Around Rochester - Quintessential Rochester: Street Art
Atlantic Ave

11. Street Art: Exploring Rochester’s Murals & Graffiti

The term street art means different things to different people. It covers everything from traditional sanctioned or non-sanctioned graffiti to community-sponsored murals.

Here, we interpret street art as any outdoor, free, public wall art.

Watkins Glen
Watkins Glen

12. Gorge Trails Near Rochester

Gorge trails call out to us from their deep, dark, and cool caverns. They lead us along their timeline, exposing history as their waterfalls walk backward.

Things to Do Around Rochester - Letchworth State Park hiking
Letchworth Trail #6

13. Seek Solitude

Here are a few spots I can recommend where there’s ample space for finding solitude and solace in nature.

Turning Point Park walking winter
Turning Point Park

14. Wonderful Winter Walks

These ideas for winter walks should motivate you to step outside for some fresh air and, with any luck, sunshine.

Wiscoy Creek Falls roadside
Wiscoy Creek Falls

15. Roadside Waterfalls

Our 30+ roadside waterfalls near Rochester are spectacular, and for some, you do not need to get out of your car. Impressive waterfalls are not all buried in dark ravines accessible only by challenging trails.

Places to Go Around Rochester - Robert H Treman State Park
Robert H Treman

16. Natural Swimming Areas

On a hot day, you can sit under a waterfall, swim in a lake, or jump in a creek at one of 35+ refreshing natural swimming areas.

Sunken Garden
Sunken Garden

17. The Sunken Garden

When you stroll around the back of Warner Castle and down the lawn, you’ll discover the Sunken Garden. It’s a peaceful retreat and beautiful any time of the year.

Places to Go Around Rochester - Rochester Hidden Secret Sidewalk
Hidden Sidewalk along Lake Ontario

18. Rochester’s Hidden Sidewalk

To find Rochester’s hidden sidewalk, start at Ontario Beach Park & head west on Beach Ave. Across from Clematis St. & Cloverdale St. are the two main entrances.

Corbetts Glen September waterfall
Corbett’s Glen

19. Corbett’s Glen Nature Park

Corbett’s Glen is a hidden green space in a suburban jungle, nestled between an expressway and two highly trafficked roads near the Penfield/Brighton Town border.

Places to Go Around Rochester - Grimes Glen first waterfall
Grimes Glen, Second Waterfall

20. Grimes Glen

There are few experiences like Grimes Glen around Rochester. The glen is open to the public free of charge, and you are encouraged to walk in the water. Most people look forward to wading the creek to the first and second falls–both 60′ cascades.

Channing H Philbrick July
Channing H. Philbrick

21. Channing H. Philbrick Park

Irondequoit Creek passes through Channing H Philbrick (Linear) Park in Penfield, dropping 90 feet over one mile, giving us the cascades that make this park so unique.

Places to Go Around Rochester - Canadice Lake kayak launch
Canadice Lake

22. Water Trails

Depending on your definition, water trails are either formally marked routes along a navigable waterway or simply any waterway suitable for canoes, kayaks, and small motorized watercraft. Find 58 places to put in and paddle.

Webster Arboretum
Webster Arboretum

23. Public Gardens Around Rochester

Enjoy a peaceful afternoon at one of these 40+ arboretums, labyrinths, estate gardens, or botanical gardens, all within a two-hour drive of Rochester.

Turning Point Park
Turning Point Park

24. Turning Point Park

Turning Point Park’s most striking feature is a 3,572 ft-long bridge over the Genesee River Turning Basin, part of the Genesee Riverway Trail.

Erie Canal Holley Canal Falls

25. Holley Canal Falls

Located in the heart of the Village of Holley, the water that flows over Holley Canal Falls and into the glen is from the Erie Canal.

Griffis Sculpture Park bathers
Griffis Sculpture Park

26. Griffis Sculpture Park

Integrated into Griffis Sculpture Park’s expansive landscape, find more than 250 whimsical, fantastical, and delightful sculptures.

Caledonia Bellissimo Boutique
Bellissimo Boutique

27. 100+ Places to Shop Local

You don’t have to wait for Small Business Saturday to shop local. We have incredibly talented individuals throughout the Rochester area operating their own boutiques, confectioneries, novelty, and hand-crafted gift shops.

As you’re out exploring the city and surrounding villages, stop by these unique businesses.

Places to Go Around Rochester - Caledonia Village Inn
Caledonia Village Inn

28. Highly Recommended Restaurants

Some of these 350+ food destinations are well-established, while others quickly become favorites as Rochester’s culinary scene explodes.

Share your time & talent

29. Rochester-Area Volunteer Experiences

I can’t think of a better day trip than one that helps others. Make time to volunteer your time and talent with one of these 25 amazing Rochester-area organizations.

Places to Go Around Rochester - ARTISANworks retro room

30. 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.

Snow Shoe Rentals
Cumming Nature Center

31. Rent Snowshoes

If you’re looking to spend more time outdoors, try snowshoeing. There are a few places around Rochester to rent snowshoes and learn how to use them.

Taughannock Falls State Park bridge
Taughannock Falls

32. Taughannock Falls State Park

Taughannock Falls is one of the most accessible waterfalls in our state park system. The path is a combination of tree-lined canopy and wide-open gorge walls.

Taughannock Falls is one of the only gorge trails in the New York State Park System open in winter.

Durand Eastman spring
Durand Eastman in May

33. Monroe County Parks

Our 22 Monroe County parks are free, so take advantage of 12,000 acres of natural, zoological, horticultural, historical, and geological experiences.

The Dog Eared Book
The Dog Eared Book

34. Bookstores

When reading books, the destination is the journey. Here are a few bookstores around Rochester to begin an adventure with new and used books. Plus, check out our Little Free Libraries.

basket of blueberries
Blueberry Season

35. Locally Grown Produce

Your guide to Rochester’s harvest seasons! Find out which locally grown produce (fruits, vegetables, plants) are at their peak each month, and enjoy Rochester-area harvest festivals.

corning museum of glass
Corning Museum of Glass

36. Other Museums Around Rochester

It’s time to explore 100+ lesser-known, off-the-beaten-path, and odd-collection museums around Rochester.

Historic Inns Around Rochester Avon Inn
Avon Inn

37. Historic Inns & Hotels Around Rochester

These 21 historic inns around Rochester offer unique dining experiences. Unlike bed & breakfasts, their dining rooms are open to the public. Unlike restaurants, they offer lodging. And their food is as extraordinary as their stories.

Rochester NY Twilight Criterium
Twilight Criterium

38. Explore the Image City

Rochester evolved from Flour City to Flower City to Image City when George Eastman invented a way for the masses to capture everyday moments on film.

These “Quintessential Rochester” places are the ones we photograph and share. The places where Rochester’s historic foothold was established. The buildings that make up our skyline. The vistas that fill tourist must-see lists & “wish you were here” postcards.

Things to do around Rochester NY: Craft Beverage Tasting Rooms in Monroe County
Craft Brew

39. Craft Breweries in Monroe County

It can be overwhelming to consider the many craft beverage artisans who call the Finger Lakes and Western New York home. So, let’s focus on the ones we have right here in our backyard.

Letchworth Elder of Genesee Falls
Elder of Genesee Falls

40. Letchworth State Park

Letchworth State Park comprises 14,350 linear acres along the Genesee River. It takes 30 minutes to drive from the Mount Morris entrance to the Glen Iris.

Lamberton Conservatory Bird of Paradise
Lamberton Conservatory

41. Lamberton Conservatory

Tropical plants need tropical temperatures, so visiting Lamberton Conservatory in winter is a welcome escape from the cold. Don’t miss the Spring Show from late March through May and the Holiday Show in December.

Spencerport Lift Bridge Erie Canal
Union Street Lift Bridge

42. Explore the Erie Canal

The Erie Canal spans 100-miles between Lockport and Clyde, with Rochester located right in the middle, making it easy to get out there and explore. To enjoy every moment, choose just 15 miles on the Erie Canal to enjoy in a day.

Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls

43. Exceptional Waterfalls Near Rochester

Think of this as a starter-set of five impressive waterfalls near Rochester that you should visit if you haven’t already.

Eternal Flame Trail Chestnut Ridge Park Buffalo
Eternal Flame

44. Eternal Flame Hiking Trail

When you reach the Eternal Flame, sheltered in a tiny cave under a beautiful little waterfall, you’ll find it is a fascinating reward for all of your hard work.

Pinnacle Hill

45. The Pinnacle Range

Making up a portion of the City of Rochester’s southern border, the Pinnacle Range is a glacial moraine formed by the retreating Wisconsin Glacier 12,000 years ago.

Little Rock City in Rock City New York State Forest
Little Rock City

46. Little Rock City in Rock City State Forest

Little Rock City in Salamanca’s Rock City State Forest is free to explore. You could spend 20 minutes or two hours wandering through the boulders, some as large as houses.

Mount Hope Cemetery kettle
Mount Hope

47. Rochester’s Geologic History

These day trips into Rochester’s geologic history—filled with drumlins, fossils, house-sized boulders, and a meromictic lake—will leave you awe-struck.

Ice Skating at Churchville Park snow sports
Churchville Park

48. Outdoor and Indoor Ice Skating Rinks

When looking for ice skating rinks around Rochester, NY, there are several options. It first depends on whether you own skates or need to rent.

Ontario County Park Gannett Hill Jump Off Trail view from platform
Jump Off Trail

49. Breathtaking Fall Foliage Views

These destinations offer colorful fall foliage and varied landscapes so that you can appreciate them each in their unique way.

Things to do around Rochester NY Paranormal Activities
Haunted house?

50. Paranormal Activities: Our Favorite Haunts

There is something about October that piques our interest in paranormal activities. These day trips encourage you to explore the other side of Rochester.

Lily Dale Assembly
Lily Dale

51. Lily Dale Assembly

Lily Dale is a lake-side hamlet of Victorian homes and cottages. It is both quirky and peaceful, a spiritual community unlike nowhere else on Earth.

Wild Wings
Wild Wings at Mendon Ponds Park

52. Nature Centers & Preserves

Our nature centers, wildlife preserves, management areas, etc., all serve to protect and sustain life while making nature accessible to people to enjoy and learn.

Oatka Creek in LeRoy
Oatka Creek through LeRoy

53. Incredible Creeks

These 26 creeks around Rochester, NY, impact us in such subtle ways that sometimes disappear into life’s background.

Our beautiful tributaries enhance the gathering places in our small towns. They provide us with opportunities for recreation, relaxation, and fresh water.

I have found these particular creeks to be exceptional and worth the effort to seek them out.

Things to do around Rochester NY: Chimney Bluffs State Park
Chimney Bluffs

54. Chimney Bluffs State Park

The bluffs, rising 175 feet above Lake Ontario, are fragile drumlins, like all of the truncated drumlins along this section of shoreline.

County State Fairs
County Fair

55. New York State & County Fairs

Our state and county fairs offer their unique blend of agriculture, amusement, and entertainment: parades, demolition derbies, contests, food, tractor shows and pulls, midway rides, vendors, livestock exhibits, and live music.

Things to do around Rochester NY: High School Musical Phantom of the Opera
Churchville High School Musical

56. Performing Arts Venues Around Rochester

Rochester has a robust performing arts scene. Find plays and musicals by high school and college students, local professionals, and touring companies.

Greater Rochester Region - Oak Orchard Point Pleasant Lighthouse
Oak Orchard at Point Pleasant

57. Lighthouses Along Lake Ontario

These nine New York lighthouses are all within a two-hour drive of Rochester. And where there is a lighthouse, there is a sweeping Lake Ontario view.

Bergen Swamp
Bergen Swamp

58. National Natural Landmarks

Recognized for their outstanding biological and geological resources, these 11 National Natural Landmarks are all within a two-hour drive of Rochester.

guided walk Genesee River Alliance gateway
Genesee River Alliance

59. Take a Guided Walk

These guided walks are led by people who highlight the rich history, geology, ecology, and community of the greater Rochester region.

Diner-car diners Swan Street Diner interior
Swan Street Diner

60. Authentic Dining-Car Diners

Designed to resemble a train’s fine-dining car, diners were manufactured off-site and moved by rail to the final location. These six diners are extraordinary examples of that era.

Watkins Glen Rainbow Falls
Rainbow Falls

61. Watkins Glen State Park

Glen Creek descends 400 feet along its 2-mile course through Watkins Glen State Park. Follow the 806-step Gorge Trail and wind your way over and under 19 breathtaking waterfalls.

Moss Lake
Moss Lake

62. Other Great Lakes Near Rochester

Rochester is well-known for its 11 Finger Lakes and two beautiful Great Lakes—Ontario and Erie. But as you drive around the countryside, you can see a landscape freckled with blue bodies of fresh water where locals are boating, fishing, swimming, and relaxing.

Record Archive
Record Archive

63. Rochester’s Fun Facts

I’ve been gathering Rochester’s fun facts for several years and am so excited to collect them all together here. Let these inspire your next day’s trip!

Honeoye Lake from Harriet Hollister
Honeoye Lake from Harriet Hollister

64. Harriet Hollister

Harriet Hollister Spencer State Recreation Area is a New York State Park located in the hills six miles south of Honeoye Lake.

Here you will find one of the most majestic scenic views in the Finger Lakes region.

Hit the Trail Passport

65. “Hit the Trail” Passport

Pick up your “Hit the Trail Passport” booklet at Wegmans, or print your own. You’ll have everything you need to start your hiking adventure.

Finger Lakes Visitor Center in Geneva on Seneca Lake
Finger Lakes Visitor Center in Geneva on Seneca Lake

66. 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.

Tinker Park August 2020
Tinker Park

67. Tinker Nature Park

Tinker Nature Park comprises 68-acres in Henrietta with a 1.2-mile flat perimeter trail for jogging, biking, skiing, snowshoeing, or walking.

Seabreeze Amusement Park Jack Rabbit exit tunnel

68. Amusement Parks Near Rochester

Oh, how we miss our amusement parks in the winter. When May comes around, you find the ones with the dry-rides opening on the weekends, with the water parks opening closer to Father’s Day in mid-June.

Orion night sky early morning October
Orion in October

69. Find the Darkest Skies Near Rochester

Locations northeast of Rochester close to Lake Ontario or south of US-20 in the Finger Lakes will offer the darkest sky near Rochester.

Sonnenberg Gardens Japanese Tea Garden
Sonnenberg Gardens

70. Sonnenberg Gardens

Sonnenberg Gardens is an exceptional example of the lavish wealth and philanthropy of the Gilded Age.

Mendon Ponds Park Monroe County XC Skiing
Mendon Ponds

71. Downhill and Cross-Country Skiing

Skiing around Rochester is as much winter recreation as a social experience, competition, and a tradition. A few of these destinations also offer cross-country ski rentals.

Cobbs Hill Washington Grove water town autumn
Cobbs Hill Water Tower

72. Cobbs Hill and 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.

Sam Patch interior
Onboard the Sam Patch

73. Sam Patch Erie Canal Tours

Sam Patch Erie Canal Tours are a great way to experience the canal and locks and learn about its history along your narrated cruise.

Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse
Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse

74. Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse

You can climb the Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse’s 40-foot high tower and enjoy the view of Lake Ontario, the Genesee River, and Ontario Beach Park.

Mendon Ponds Park Hundred Acre Pond fall
Mendon Ponds Park

75. Mendon Ponds Park

Mendon Ponds Park is the largest Monroe County Park with 2,500 acres of woodlands, ponds, wetlands, and glacially created landforms.

Pittsford Village Spa Depot
Del Monte

76. Rochester Railfans: Trains, Depots, Rail-Trails, Models, & Clubs

Our innovative use of the railroad, trolley, subway, and the Erie Canal helped develop the Rochester area as a center of manufacturing and commerce.

Rochester railfans are incredibly lucky that passionate preservationists before us saw the value in retaining structures we can still appreciate today.

Ganondagan longhouse
Ganondagan Longhouse

77. Ganondagan State Historic Park

Ganondagan State Historic Site sits atop Boughton Hill in Victor. It is the original site of the most significant 17th century Seneca town—sometimes referred to as Gannagaro—which at its peak had 150 longhouses where only one replica stands today.

Allegany State Park Thunder Rocks autumn
Thunder Rocks

78. Four Rock Cities

Explore these cool, quiet, mossy rock cities near Rochester, with boulders the size of houses! You’ll love Panama Rocks, Rock City Park, Little Rock City, and Thunder Rocks in Allegany State Park.

MacKay Wildlife Preserve
MacKay Wildlife Preserve

79. MacKay Wildlife Preserve

There are fascinating geological wonders to discover at MacKay Wildlife Preserve in Caledonia, including a sea of round, moss-covered boulders.

Olcott Lakeview Village Shoppes
Lakeview Village Shoppes

80. The Lake Ontario Seaway Trail

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

Akron Falls Park
Akron Falls

81. Places to Immerse Yourself in Green

I find the color green soothing, especially when surrounded by it. Enjoy some of my favorite places to go green!

Things to Do Around Rochester: The Little Theater
Little Theatre

82. Historic Movie Theaters

There is something about a 100-year-old small movie theater that enhances your experience and transcends you through space and time. Enjoy these theaters we have around Rochester.

Helmer Nature Center bridge
Helmer Nature Center

83. Helmer Nature Center

The paths at Helmer Nature Center, made primarily of wood chip, boardwalk, and hard-pack gravel, are marked and easy to navigate. Sloped portions take you down to the valley floor, where the terrain around you is hilly and tree-covered, making it peacefully quiet.

Paleontological Research Institution and its Museum of the Earth in Ithaca NY
Museum of the Earth

84. Museum of the Earth

Museum of the Earth focuses primarily on life in New York State, beginning in the Cambrian Period, covering roughly 635 million years of the geologic record.

Rochester-Area Day Trip: Mendon Ponds Park Monroe County Sledding
Sledding at Mendon Ponds Park

85. Sledding Hills Around Rochester

Monroe County Parks have the best sledding hills around Rochester. The great thing about sledding is that there are no barriers to entry.

Highland Park in June
Highland Park Lilacs

86. Highland Park

Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted to be enjoyed year-round, every pathway, tree, vista, and relationship between the land and water through Highland Park is intentional.

Paved path pier cover
Charlotte Pier

87. Paved, Gravel or Boardwalk Pathways for Easy Strolls

These pathways and boardwalks are ideal for folks using strollers, walkers, wheelchairs, or managing other mobility challenges.

High Falls
High Falls

88. High Falls

There’s plenty of parking on both sides of the river to begin exploring High Falls—the future home of Rochester High Falls State Park.

Martin Luther King Jr Park mural
Martin Luther King Jr Park

89. Martin Luther King Jr Memorial Park at Manhattan Square

Martin Luther King Jr Memorial Park at Manhattan Square is in the heart of Rochester, right next to the Strong National Museum of Play.

Rochester-Area Chocolatiers: Stevers on Park Ave

90. Rochester-Area Chocolatiers

Any one of our 18 fine Rochester-area chocolatiers makes for a delicious day trip detour or destination. Crafted by 3rd- and 4th-generation descendants, many chocolates are made using traditional family recipes with modern twists.

Braddock Bay Marina Trail
Braddock Bay marina trail

91. Braddock Bay

The Braddock Bay Fish and Wildlife Management Area complex includes the bay and the surrounding wetlands.

Buttermilk Falls State Park swimming
Buttermilk Falls

92. Buttermilk Falls State Park

In Buttermilk Falls State Park, stairs are the primary walkway along Buttermilk Creek, like most Finger Lakes gorge parks. It’s a challenging hike and worth it.

Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge
Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge

93. Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge

At 10,828 acres, Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge is the largest wildlife refuge in New York State, not including the surrounding Oak Orchard and Tonawanda Wildlife Management Areas. Together, the Alabama Swaps amass a 19,000-acre complex designated for wildlife.

Located on Knowlesville Road, the 1.3-mile Swallow Hollow Nature loop trail offers ramps, gravel pathways, and boardwalks, making it accessible for all to enjoy this unique ecosystem.

Scenic Keuka Lake Views Rooster Hill Vineyards
Rooster Hill Vineyards

94. Wineries with Scenic Keuka Lake Views

There are sophisticated publications dedicated to the intricacies of wineries, vineyards, cellars, and tasting rooms in the Finger Lakes Region. Our priority is simply to show you which ones have the most spectacular scenic Keuka Lake views.

Canandaigua Lake: Jump Off Trail on Gannet Hill in Ontario County Park
Jump Off Trail

95. The Jump Off Trail

The Jump Off Trail on Gannet Hill in Ontario County Park is accessible and affords one of the most beautiful scenic views in the Finger Lakes Region.

Winter break: Seneca Park Zoo
Seneca Park Zoo

96. Seneca Park & Zoo

The Seneca Park Zoo is a small part of the 297-acre Seneca Park, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted in 1893.

Water Trails: Conesus Lake
Conesus Lake

97. Conesus Lake

Conesus Lake is the westernmost Finger Lake and the closest to Rochester. You can drive around the entire lake in 30 minutes.

Webster Arboretum
Webster Arboretum

98. Webster Arboretum at Kent Park

Follow the pathways that meander around Webster Arboretum’s 40 acres of open spaces, flower & herb gardens, water elements, and a wide variety of trees.

Ellison Park Sycamore bridge
Ellison Park

99. Ellison Park

Established in 1926, it is our first official Monroe County Park. Irondequoit Creek meanders through Ellison Park on its way to Irondequoit Bay and Lake Ontario, offering visitors year-round fishing and non-motorized boating opportunities.

Many folks with their kayaks and canoes launch them here and paddle to the bay through Lucien Moren and Tryon parks.

Ontario Beach Park trees september
Ontario Beach Park

100. Ontario Beach Park

Lake Ontario Beach Park is located at the northernmost tip of the city of Rochester and is bordered on the East by the mouth of the Genesee River.

Rochester-area parks: Durand Eastman Park boardwalk
Durand Eastman

101. Durand Eastman Park

Durand Eastman Park encompasses 977 acres of land, including Durand Lake, Eastman Lake, and a swimming beach on Lake Ontario.

Inspired by Frederick Law Olmsted’s work roughly 20 years earlier for Highland, Maplewood, Seneca, and Genesee Valley Parks, Bernard Slavin’s landscape design includes rolling terrain, and scenic vistas integrated natural water elements.

Rochester Public Market
City of Rochester Public Market

102. Rochester Public Market

Surrounded by shops, restaurants, cafes, and craft beverage manufacturers, the Public Market offers fruit, veggies, seafood, beef, cheese, bread, flowers, and spices while also being an excellent day trip destination.

Suppose you can think of a visit to the Public Market as a day trip rather than a utility. In that case, you’ll have fun exploring the ins and outs of each building, go with the flow of people, and appreciate the wall art while enjoying delicious food and craft beverages.

Seneca Park pedestrian bridge autumn
Seneca Park

103. Fabulous Fall Hikes

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

Stony Brook State Park early morning waterfall
Stony Brook State Park

104. Stony Brook State Park

Stony Brook State Park is stunning anytime, but my favorite time to visit is on a mild November day, once the crowds and heat of summer have slipped away.

Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls

105. Niagara Falls, USA

Niagara Falls is beautiful year-round, and I highly recommend going at different times throughout the year to witness the uniqueness of each season.

Mount Hope Cemetery October Weary Pilgram
Mount Hope

106. Mount Hope Cemetery

Fun fact: more people are dead in Mount Hope Cemetery (~350,000) than alive in the City of Rochester (~208,000).

perfect picnic spot letchworth eddies overlook

107. Perfect Picnic Spots

When searching for the perfect picnic spots, I look for a picnic table, scenery, and proximity to water, shade, and relative privacy.

Rochester Museum and Science Center mastodon
Rochester Museum Science Center

108. Rochester Museum & Science Center

In a single day, experience the vastness of the universe, the confinement of hiding along the Underground Railroad, an ice age, and an era of electricity.

The new technology inside Strasenburgh Planetarium allows you to explore the solar system and the entire visible universe from any perspective. The quality of the images and near-real-time data is extraordinary.

On Saturday nights during the warmer months, when the sky over Rochester is clear, you can climb the winding 60-steps to the Planetarium Observation Tower & look through the telescopes at planets, nebula, and other stellar objects for FREE.

Vintage Drive-In Avon sign
Avon Vintage Drive-In

109. Vintage Drive-Ins

Yes, there are still drive-in theaters near Rochester! Avon’s Vintage Drive-In is the closest, with five others within a 90-minute drive.c

Things to Do Around Rochester - Montezuma NWR
Montezuma NWR

110. Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge

Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge is a 7,000-acre (28 km2) preserve located on the north end of Cayuga Lake, under one of the most active flight lanes in the Atlantic Flyway.

Strong National Museum of Play new exterior cover
Strong National Museum of Play

111. Strong National Museum of Play

The Museum of Play has a wealth of interaction for toddlers, school-aged children, and adults, including play-shopping at Wegmans and the only year-round indoor butterfly garden in Upstate New York.

Things to Do Around Rochester - Powder Mills Park Daffodil Meadow Trail
Powder Mills Park Daffodil Meadow Trail May 1

112. Powder Mills Park

Powder Mills Park favorites include the fish hatchery, Daffodil Trail, and the Mushroom House, which is technically private property but still draws a crowd.

Water Trails Around Rochester NY Genesee River through Genesee Valley Park
Genesee Valley Park

113. Genesee Valley Park

Genesee Valley Park is a Frederick Law Olmsted-designed park located at the intersection of the Erie Canal, Red Creek, and Genesee River.

Genesee Country Village Munger
Genesee Country Village

114. Genesee Country Village & Museum

Genesee Country Village & Museum is the largest and most comprehensive living history museum in New York State and the third-largest in the United States.

The campus includes the historic village (mansions & homesteads, merchants & services, churches & schools, taverns & town halls), the John L. Wehle Gallery, green spaces, a ball field, and an expansive nature center with miles of walking trails.

Chili Public Library
Chili Library fireplace

115. Monroe County Libraries

Signing up for a free library card gives you access to all 32 Monroe County libraries. The Monroe Country Library System comprises town & village locations, Rochester Public Library branch locations, and the Central Library.

Things to Do Around Rochester - Seneca Park pedestrian bridge autumn
Lower Falls

116. 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.

Lower Falls Maplewood
Lower Falls

117. Maplewood Park

Maplewood Park is a linear park that follows the river from the Lower Falls to the Rose Garden and Kelsey’s Landing, ending just north of Route 104 at the pedestrian bridge over the Genesee near King’s & Hanford’s Landing.

Things to Do Around Rochester - Hamlin Beach State Park
Hamlin Beach

118. Hamlin Beach State Park

Hamlin Beach State Park has 7 miles of beautiful biking and walking trails, including a mile-long self-guided tour of a CCC/POW camp.

More day trips within 30 minutes: George Eastman Museum
George Eastman Mansion

119. George Eastman Museum

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

Corbetts Glen South Allens Creek
Corbett’s Glen

120. Our Five Favorite Town Parks

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

Things to Do Around Rochester - Rochester experiences: Farm Sanctuary Watkins Glen
Farm Sanctuary

121. Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen

Farm Sanctuary sits on 175 acres in Watkins Glen, just west of Sugar Hill State Forest, and is home to more than 500 rescued farm animals.

New York Museum of Transportation trolley
Trolley Rides at the New York Museum of Transportation

122. New York Museum of Transportation

The New York Museum of Transportation houses fourteen full-size trolley cars, a caboose, a steam locomotive, antique highway and horse-drawn vehicles, and the various associated smaller items that illuminate our transportation history.

Your half-hour excursion on the only trolley ride in New York State is aboard one of the museum’s 87-year-old trolley cars.

Things to Do Around Rochester - Discover Niagara Shuttle
Discover Niagara Shuttle

123. Discover Niagara Shuttle

The round-trip on the Discover Niagara Shuttle takes two hours if you’d simply like to enjoy the ride. Otherwise, you can hop on and off at any stop.

Groge Trails Cascadilla Creek Ithaca
Cascadilla Gorge

124. Cascadilla Gorge

Cascadilla Creek produces eight waterfalls as it descends 400 feet through Cascadilla Gorge. The trail consists of stone steps, pathways, and bridges.

Things to Do Around Rochester - Sandy Bottom Park Nature Trail boardwalk swamp
Sandy Bottom

125. Beautiful Boardwalks

These boardwalks are incorporated into larger trail systems to help people meander through wetlands or to help preserve wildlife.

Black Creek Park pond autumn
Black Creek Park

126. Black Creek Park

At 1,505-acres, Black Creek Park is one of the largest of Monroe County’s 21 parks, second only to Mendon.

Memorial Art Gallery
Memorial Art Gallery

127. 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.

Paranormal activities: cobblestone museum
Cobblestone Trail

128. Self-Guided Tours

These 11 self-guided tours around Rochester are like a regional scavenger hunt. Learn the stories behind some of the things you see along our roadways.

Things to Do Around Rochester - Susan B Anthony House typewriter
Susan B Anthony’s home

129. Susan B Anthony House & Museum

Susan B Anthony’s passion for securing women’s right to vote started with her work as an agent of the anti-slavery movement.

Panama Rocks

130. Panama Rocks

Watch your footing, know your limits, and use common sense when it comes to climbing on the boulders at Panama Rocks Scenic Park.

Things to Do Around Rochester - Oatka Creek Park goldenrod birch trees
Oatka Creek Park

131. Oatka Creek Park

Oatka Creek Park in Wheatland has one of the more strollable trails in the Monroe County Park system, with little change in elevation along the 3.3-mile loop trail.

SUNY Geneseo
SUNY Geneseo

132. Explore Livingston County

Take a drive through the Livingston County countryside to explore charming village Main Streets, historic districts, nature trails and lakes.

How many of these things to do around Rochester have you checked off your list? How many have you added?

Please share your thoughts and stories with us in the comments. Your insight and experience are invaluable!

Debi Bower, Day Trips Around Rochester NY

Author Debi Bower is the Founder and Creative Director for Day Trips Around Rochester, NY.


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