From beautiful parks to a lively arts and culture scene, Rochester has everything you need for a scenic escape filled with diverse activities for visitors of all ages and interests. Home to two of New York State’s most notable museums—the Strong National Museum of Play (an ideal indoor activity for kids!) and the George Eastman Museum—Rochester is the ideal weekend getaway, no matter the season. Photo Credit: @jonspurrphotography on Instagram.
3 pm: Check Into Your Hotel
Want to stay in the Neighborhood of Play? Book a room at the new Hampton Inn and Suites, located in the heart of Downtown Rochester just steps from The Strong National Museum of Play. Guests will enjoy a whimsical indoor swimming pool, state of the art fitness center, and Lila’s Bar & Eatery prefect for a midday snack, evening cocktails, or nightcap. From luxury hotel suites to charming B&Bs and budget-friendly stays, explore the city’s many lodging options to suit your tastes and needs.
5 pm: Dig Into Bib-Worthy Bar-B-Que
Once you’re settled in it’s time to head over to Dinosaur Bar-B-Que. The Rochester outpost is located in the former Lehigh Valley Railroad Station overlooking the picturesque Genesee River so you can take in the sights as you chow down. Or if you prefer dinner with a view, head over to The Richardson Canal House, set on the scenic banks of the Erie Canal in Pittsford. Built in 1818, The Richardson has served as a public house for over 100 years—so you’ll soak in some history while you’re there, too!
7 pm: Enjoy a Night Out
Immersing yourself in the Rochester culture means becoming a Rochester sports fan for a day. Catch a Rochester Red Wings baseball game at Innovative Field or cheer on the Rochester Americans Hockey Club at Blue Cross Arena. If you prefer the stage to sports, check out Geva Theatre for a wide variety of performances ranging from musicals to dramas! Film lover? Head to The Little for an indie or foreign film in a boutique theater. Looking for something a little more scenic? Step aboard the Sam Patch (pictured) or the Colonial Belle for an evening cruise.
10 pm: Last Call
End your evening with a fresh poured beer at Genesee Brew House. Pair your pint with their famous Bavarian pretzel and head up to the rooftop, offering stunning views of the Rochester skyline and 95-foot High Falls.
9 am: Fuel Up at the Market
Start your morning at the Rochester Public Market, a community staple since 1905. Grab a breakfast sandwich, empanada, or handmade crepe while you soak in your surroundings perusing the stalls of hundreds of vendors.
10 am: Play All Day
Whether you’re traveling with kids, or are just a kid at heart, The Strong National Museum of Play is a play-lover’s paradise home to the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of historical materials related to play. Revisit the classics at the Toy Hall of Fame or beat the top score at the world's largest playable Donkey Kong arcade game. You can also take a cross-country journey on a kid-sized train, stroll through a tropical garden featuring hundreds of free-flying butterflies, and explore the Hasbro Game Park. A typical visit is around 2 to 5 hours, but you just may want to make a day of it, especially if there are special activities or themed programs being offered while you’re there.
1 pm: Grab a Quick Bite
Get your fill at DogTown, a local favorite where specialty hot dogs are named after dog breeds and are served on freshly baked French rolls, smothered with the toppings of your choice, like the Irish Setter that’s topped with corned beef, sauerkraut, Russian dressing and melted Swiss. Or indulge in homemade soups, home fries, burgers, and heaping “junkyard plates” — a twist on Rochester’s classic garbage plate.
2:30 pm: Get Wild
Lions and tigers and bears, oh yes! One of Rochester's most beloved gems is the Seneca Park Zoo. Situated along the Genesee River, the zoo proudly leads conservation efforts locally, regionally, and internationally. Animals from all walks of life reside here including polar bears, rhinos, elephants, penguins, pandas, and so many more.
6 pm: Dinner at Avvino
"Locally sourced, fiercely seasonal" is the motto at Avvino, a contemporary American restaurant serving high-end comfort cuisine with Italian and French inspiration, in a familiar space. Start with a ceviche, try the venison curry or braised rabbit with nutmeg cream and black truffle for dinner, and finish strong with doughnut bread pudding for dessert.
8 pm: Have a Ball
Credit: @radiosocial on Instagram
Eat, drink, and play at Radio Social, a bowling alley, restaurant, bar, music venue, and social club located in Rochester's historical Stromberg-Carlson warehouse. With 34 bowling lanes, a variety of indoor and outdoor games ranging from cornhole to giant Jenga, world class cocktails, and whiskey bar, you’re guaranteed a fun night out.
9 am: Dine in Style
Start your day with breakfast at Highland Park Diner, a classic railcar diner included in the Rochester Landmark Society’s list of architectural gems. It serves freshly prepared breakfast (all day!) and outrageous milkshakes, so be sure to leave room for a cold creamy treat!
11 am: Meander a Museum
Credit: @jbocianski on Instagram
Make a day out of museum-going! A National Historic Landmark, the George Eastman Museum tells the story of photography, motion pictures, and the fascinating tale of the founder of the Eastman Kodak Company, George Eastman. Explore the unparalleled collections and archives (the largest film collection in the country!) as well as the property’s mansion and gardens. If you stay until 3 pm, you just may catch a music recital in the mansion. Recommended length of visit is 2-3 hours or longer if you'd like to attend one of their excellent screenings.
2 pm: Recharge!
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Pop into Melo Coffee & Kitchen, in the heart of the Neighborhood of the Arts district, for a sandwich or some avocado toast and a tasty latte that comes in delightful flavors like salted caramel and coconut mocha.
3 pm: Explore Great Art
Credit: @nheigl_ on Instagram
End your trip at the Memorial Art Gallery, where you can journey through 5,000 years of human creativity exploring the works of Monet, Rembrandt, and O'Keeffe, as well as contemporaries such as Kehinde Wiley and Mickalene Thomas. Catch Yayoi Kusama’s mesmerizing and dazzling exhibition, Infinity Mirrored Room - Let’s Survive Forever (pictured), on display through May 5, 2024.
By plane: Frederick Douglass–Greater Rochester International Airport; 1200 Brooks Ave., Rochester, NY
From NYC: 5.5 hours
From Toronto: 3 hours
From Boston: 6 hours
From Buffalo: 1 hour 15 min.