15 Things You Need To Know Before Going to Rochester, New York

Lilac Festival in Rochester New York

What to Expect in Upstate New York

Welcome to Rochester, New York, a city with weather that can be as quirky as it gets! If you’re here in May, get ready for some wild surprises. One day, you might find yourself waking up to a picturesque snow-covered landscape, and the next day, you could be basking in summer-like temperatures of 80 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s a true rollercoaster of weather, where you can experience multiple seasons within a matter of days. So, packing a versatile wardrobe and an adventurous spirit is a must if you plan to explore all that Rochester has to offer during this unpredictable yet exhilarating time of the year.

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pexels-photo-12093260 15 Things You Need To Know Before Going to Rochester, New York
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Rochester is Nothing Like New York City

There are two definitive New Yorks: Downstate, which is basically New York City , and Long Island, and Upstate, which is everywhere else. Everyone agrees on one thing: New York City has nothing to do with the rest of the state and Rochester prefers to keep it that way. Many people from NYC call the suburbs north of the city upstate. Rochesterarians often refer to our region as Western New York.

There Are Do or Die Bills Fans

In the continuing saga of New York state versus New York City, the sports wars rage on. If you’re in Rochester, you’ll be among Buffalo Bills fans.

We Don’t Have Ax-cents

If you want to sound like a local in Rochester, all you have to do is hold your nose and say, “Rah-chester, N’York.” It’s a little on the nasal side, but they don’t hear it. Always remember, you’re the one with the accent, not them. The vernacular takes a little getting used to, as well. For example, if you’re talking with two people, you would refer to them as “yous twos.” Say it with me, “Yous twos should come to Rah-chester this weekend for some white hots.”

It May Snow in May

Snow days? Not so much. Rochester sees an average snowfall of 95 inches annually. So you better know how to drive in it because it would literally take an avalanche for anything in the city to close. Rochester drivers plow through the streets in their SUVs despite the foot of snow around them, because that’s life in WNY, so get used to it or get out of the way.

We Eat Garbage

Rochester’s favorite delicacy is anything but delicate. The Garbage Plate, made famous by Nick Tahou’s, starts with baked beans or macaroni salad and home fries or French fries, topped with your choice of hamburger, cheeseburger, red hots or white hots, Italian sausage, haddock, fried ham, grilled cheese or egg.

Rochester Is Family-Friendly

Rochester landed the number 3 spot on Forbes’ 2010 list of Best Places To Raise A Family in the U.S.

You Say Soda, We Say Pop

Hot dogs are taken very seriously in Rochester, and you’re going to need to know how to order one if you don’t want to look ridiculous. A “red hot” is a beef hot dog and a “white-hot” is pork. So, when you’re craving a Zweigle’s (which was born right here, by the way), order a “white-hot” and your server will know exactly what you mean.

Wegmans Is Much More Than Just A Grocery Store

It’s a way of life in Rochester. Wegman’s has branched out in select areas around the Northeast in recent years, but it was born in Rochester. When locals leave and end up in a place that doesn’t have their favorite grocer, it’s a truly unnerving experience. No other grocery store on the face of planet Earth could ever compare to the heaven that is a Wegman’s. Craft Beer and Delicious Wine is Everywhere Rochester’s drinking water comes directly from The Finger Lakes, which are a favorite destination for New Yorkers and a huge tourist attraction.

The Weather is Unpredictable

You’re going to need them here. It’s not uncommon for locals to wear shorts with a coat, or to hear that someone ended up with frostbite and sunburn in the same week. That’s because at any given time the Rochester weather can go from 70 degrees to below freezing, and locals often switch from heat to air conditioning in the same day.

You’ll Love the Frozen Custard

You can keep your Breyer’s, Ben and Jerry’s, and Kohrs Brothers because Rochester has the only ice cream you’ll need Abbott’s Frozen Custard. Founded in Rochester in 1902, Abbott’s has been the most popular spot for everyone’s favorite summer treat. Locals wait in lines throughout the city to get a cup of pistachio pineapple or coffee Oreo.

It’s The World’s Image Center

Photography lovers will feel right at home in Rochester. The city is considered the birthplace of amateur photography, and the founder of Kodak was a local. The Kodak corporation is still headquartered in Rochester, as well as the photocopying giant Xerox company. It’s still abig draw for employees to the region as well.

There’s Always A Festival On The Horizon

There’s always something to do out in the streets in Rochester. The festivals alone can fill up your calendar pretty fast. The Rochester International Film Festival, Innovation and Creativity Festival, Lilac Festival, ROC City Rib Fest, International Jazz Festival, Monroe County Fair, Festival of Food, Big Rib BBQ Blues Fest, Nazareth College Arts Center Dance Festival, Oktoberfest, and Corn Hill Arts Festival are just a few, among many more.

You’ll Pocket a Lot of Canadian And Susan B. Anthony Coins

Surprisingly, Canada is closer to Rochester than Manhattan. As a result, many people from Rochester frequently cross the border, returning with a pocketful of Canadian currency. Additionally, Susan B. Anthony’s house is situated in Rochester, adding to the city’s historical significance. Don’t forget to have a change bowl handy, as you’ll likely accumulate Canadian coins during your visits across the border.

We Have a Lovely Man-made Beach

Ontario Beach Park sometimes referred to as Charlotte Beach, is located on the northern edge of the city, on the southern shore of Lake Ontario. This popular spot offers numerous recreational opportunities, making it a favorite among both locals and tourists.

The park spans 39 acres and features a wide sandy beach where swimming is permitted when lifeguards are on duty, usually during summer. It’s also home to a boardwalk, a pier, picnic areas, and several sports facilities. Additionally, there’s an early 20th-century Dentzel Menagerie Carousel, a designated landmark that has been restored and is still operational.

Visitors to Ontario Beach Park can get a tan, picnic, fish, play volleyball, and more. The park is also adjacent to the Port of Rochester, which has restaurants and boating facilities. It’s a great place to enjoy the area’s natural beauty and engage in outdoor activities.

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