Top 10 Rochester New York

Top 10 Rochester New York

Rochester, New York sits on Lake Ontario an hour between east of Buffalo, west of Syracuse and south of the Canadian border. And very far from NYC. Ultimately, Rochester is also well-known for its historical contributions. It was a haven along the Underground Railroad into Canada. In addition, it was headquarters for the suffrage movement. Top 10 Rochester shares delicious food and drink, hiking trails, and family-friendly activities. As a result, the location offers some scenic, as well as, historic activities you won’t find anywhere else. Here is my Top 10 Rochester.

Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
nathan-dumlao-480726-unsplash-1024x683 Top 10 Rochester New York

Top 10 Rochester New York

1. Finger Lakes

Rochester is the perfect base for exploring the Finger Lakes wine country which produces some of the tastiest wines in the U.S. and Canada. The Finger Lakes are eleven long, narrow, finger-like lakes in central New York. The lake’s depth creates a lake effect that protects the grapes from the worst winters in Upstate New York. As a result, more than 100 wineries cropped up in the region.

Spectacular Chardonnays, Rieslings, and pinot noirs attract wine lovers from all over the world. And New York State is now one of the largest wine trails in the country. In addition, three well-organized wine trails help visitors see up to 35 wineries. Also, the trails often include wine and food pairing, barbecues, and festivals. In addition, wine country also offers great restaurants, markets, breweries, and distilleries. All the above put the Finger Lakes on the list of Top 10 Rochester.

Susan-B-Anthony-grave-Mt-Hope-Rochester-1024x768 Top 10 Rochester New York

2. Mount Hope Cemetery

Mount Hope Cemetery provides the residents with another way to pay tribute to its founders. Looking for something to do in Rochester? I highly recommend the guided walking tours. It’s a walk through the cemetery’s history. Self-guided tours are open to the public as the gates are open to visitors every single day of the year.

Founded in 1838, Mt. Hope is the first Victorian municipal cemetery in America. It is the permanent home of many pioneers and revolutionaries. Nathaniel Rochester, Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglas fighting on the American front lines for equality and freedom.

Top-10-Rochester-New-York-683x1024 Top 10 Rochester New York


Activities & Walking Tours

There are 14 miles of winding roads around the beautiful rolling hills. Centuries-old majestic trees, marble statuary, and fountains cover the grounds. Did you know? Rochester has about 210,000 living residents. Conversely, more than 375,000 people reside in Mt. Hope… welcoming more than 600 new residents every year.

But there are many themed walking tours are offered by the Friends of Mt. Hope from May – October. btw… support your local municipal cemeteries.


3. Geva Theater

No list of the Top 10 Rochester is complete without Geva. Geva is known as one of the country’s leading not-for-profit theaters. Hence, Geva Theatre Center is also Rochester’s flagship theatre company.  It is the most attended regional theatre in New York State. Founded in 1972, Geva serves up to 160,000 patrons annually, including more than 16,000 students. Productions are created and rehearsed in and for Rochester. The theater’s renown draws upon the talents of the country’s top actors, directors, designers, and writers.

Furthermore, the Geva Theatre Center operates two venues in downtown Rochester. The 552-seat Elaine P. Wilson Stage is home to Geva’s six-play subscription series featuring a wide variety of performances, from musicals to American and world classics.

75 Woodbury Boulevard, Rochester, New York 14607.

4. Cobbs Hill Park

With over 109 acres of gorgeous scenic trails, Cobbs Hill Park is perfect for recreational activities. There are many things to do. The park is located in the southeast area and features walking trails that provide some of the best views of the city. So bringing along a camera is a must. The park is another popular destination for hikers. In addition, it’s home to a large collection of lilacs as well as century-old oak trees.

The park has tennis and basketball courts, a playground, a reservoir, and other activities like fishing and cross-country skiing. Local softball leagues use the park for their games during summer nights. Many gather to sunbathe throughout the park during hot sunny days. In addition, there are also two cabins that the public can rent for personal use.

Culver Rd and Norris Drive, Rochester, NY 14610, 585-428-6770.

Susan-B-Anthony-Park-and-Heritage-Trail-1024x768 Top 10 Rochester New York


5. Susan B. Anthony’s House

The National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House is the home of the legendary American civil rights leader. As a result, it is also the site of her famous arrest in 1872. Her crime? Voting. Her home was the

National American Woman Suffrage Association’s headquarters.

Also, check out the Heritage Trail, a 1.25-mile-long walking path that leads visitors to 15 points of historical significance. This self-guided tour follows an 8” wide line of either granite or blue paint on city sidewalks, along the way visitors will find historical markers, plaques, and interpretive signs telling some of the stories that make up Rochester’s rich history.

The Route

Currently, the trail runs between Susan B. Anthony House (17 Madison Street) to the second Erie Canal Aqueduct Bridge (50 West Broad Street). A future extension of the trail will lead to the Rundel Memorial Library located at 115 South Avenue

17 Madison Street, Rochester NY 14608. 585-235-6124.

6. Niagara Falls State Park Visitor Center

While technically not in Rochester, it is a great day trip from the city. It’s known for Niagara Falls, which straddles the borders of the United States and Canada. You can visit the Observation Tower at Prospect Point which juts out over Niagara Gorge. All 3 waterfalls can be seen.

And there are trails from the Niagara Gorge Discovery Center lead to other viewpoints. The Aquarium of Niagara is home to Humboldt penguins, seals, and sea lions. There’s no limit to the activities to do in Niagara Falls State Park! No passport required. And then there’s always Canada– passport is required.

332 Prospect St., Niagara Falls NY 14303.  716-278-1796.

9F554810-059A-4C5C-B1BF-C2418769C466-e1531359312748-768x1024 Top 10 Rochester New York


7. Casa Larga Winery

Casa Larga Vineyards is a beautiful LOCAL winery and vineyard on 32+ acres in Fairport New York, part of the Finger Lakes Wine Region with delicious wines.

There are three tastings: a standard and a reserve tasting with 5 wines ($5 each) and a chocolate pairing with 6 yummy wines for $8. And the prices are phenomenal.

The growing season is pretty short in New York averaging 90 shorter than Napa. For that reason, the reds aren’t a full body. It’s ok if you like a medium body wine as I do.

So what’s good?

As a matter of fact, quite a bit. But the Riesling Medium Dry, Meritage, Lilac Hill, and the Pallido went home with me. Active duty military gets FREE wine tastings and 20% off all purchases. The winery also hosts wine-related educational activities, events, and weddings.

Lilac-Festival-in-Rochester Top 10 Rochester New York


8. Lilac Festival

The Rochester and Finger Lakes region offers over 100 festivals throughout the year. One of the largest, the Lilac Festival, takes place in May. Tons of food, local music, and the sweet-smelling lilac penetrate the spring air around Highland Parks. Like the cherry blossoms, lilacs are fragile– a good rain or a stiff wind will bring their aromatic lives to a sweet end.

I bet you have a festival in your hometown. A festival is synonymous with the town’s history and culture. One that you look forward to attending every year. And even though there will be crowds and heavy traffic.

I hadn’t attended the Lilac Festival in several years, but I was able to spend a couple of hours on the closing day of this two-week-long celebration of the fragrant flower that blooms all over this upstate New York city with my beautiful mom and hubby.

Other Festivals

Some other notable festivals are Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival (June), Corn Hill Arts Festival (July) Park Avenue Festival (August), Clothesline Festival (September), KeyBank Fringe Festival (September) and ImageOut Film Festival (October).

Highland Park is located at 180 Reservoir Ave, Rochester, NY.

9. Genesse Brewhouse

Genesee Beer is the oldest brewery in New York State. And if there is one thing Rochesterarians are proud of, it’s Genny Beer. The brewery has more than 140 years of history in Rochester. And as of 2012, the brewhouse has been serving up delicious beer, wine, and food overlooking the High Falls. The large warehouse space has three floors. The first floor has a small museum. The second-floor restaurant has a big patio with amazing views of high falls. And the third floor is an open deck, also with great views of the falls and pedestrian walk across the Genesee River.

25 Cataract St. Rochester, NY, 14605 585-263-9200.

9CB47258-5D01-472F-A4C8-A67A2EC04D11-1024x768 Top 10 Rochester New York

10. High Falls Interpretive Center and Museum

You don’t have to travel to Canada for waterfalls. High Falls is located in the heart of the historic Brown’s Race neighborhood. High Falls & High Falls Interpretive Center and Museum offer something for everyone. It’s a Top 10 whether you’re visiting Rochester for the first time or are a long-time resident of the “Flower City.” The interactive Museum and Welcome Center provides an inviting place to learn something new about local history.

Beautifully refurbished, the 19th-century Waterworks Building houses is a living museum. Within its walls, you can watch the past unfold before your eyes. Visitors begin their journey in pre-historic Rochester at the base of a simulated glacier. The tour concludes in the 21st century. Check out Lower and Lower Falls if you love hiking and waterfalls.

74 Browns Race Rochester, NY 14614 (585) 442-2030.


Follow me on Facebook and make sure you Subscribe to the Duffelbagspouse Travels RSS feed and get updates delivered right into your inbox.


  1. Alan B.

    I grew up in Geneseo. Like you I couldn’t wait to get outta there. Also like you, I enjoy going back to visit my family. Turns out the city doesn’t change much, like wine and the garbage plate its us who change.

    1. duffelbagspouse

      My dad taught at SUNY Geneseo for a few years. Other than that, I don’t remember going there very much. But yes, its so true. Now that I am a little, pause for effect, I do appreciate the area around Rochester a lot more. But I do disagree a little bit. I think there are a lot of new reasons to love living there.

  2. Jeana

    This was a highly informative read! I have a feeling Rochester will be in my future thanks to your post! I also am glad you posted the addresses as sometimes it’s hard to find them.

  3. Moyo

    Suddenly I find myself looking forward to visiting Rochester again. Especially with a better half who hasn’t visited the state of New York before.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *