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—  City  —
A portion of Rochester's skyline, looking north-northeast along the Genesee River from the Ford Street Bridge.


Nickname(s): "The Flour City", "The Flower City", "The World's Image Centre"
Motto: Rochester: Made for Living
Location of Rochester in New York State
Coordinates: 43°9′56″N 77°36′41″W / 43.16556°N 77.61139°W / 43.16556; -77.61139
Country United States
State New York
County Monroe
Government [1]
 - Mayor Robert Duffy (D)
 - City 37.1 sq mi (96.1 km2)
 - Land 35.8 sq mi (92.8 km2)
 - Water 1.3 sq mi (3.3 km2)
Elevation 505 ft (154 m)
Population (2000 Census)
 - City 219,773
 Density 6,132.9/sq mi (2,368.3/km2)
 - Estimate (2007) 206,759
 Metro 1,098,201
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 146xx (14604=downtown)
Area code(s) 585
FIPS code 36-63000
GNIS feature ID 0962684

Rochester is a city in Monroe County, New York, south of Lake Ontario in the United States. The Rochester metropolitan area is the second largest economy in New York State, behind the New York City metropolitan area.[2] Known as The World's Image Centre,[3] it was also once known as The Flour City, and more recently as The Flower City. It is the county seat for Monroe County.

Rochester's population is approximately 219,773, making it New York's third most populous city after New York City and Buffalo. It is at the center of a larger Metropolitan Area which encompasses and extends beyond Monroe County and includes Genesee County, Livingston County, Ontario County, Orleans County and Wayne County. This area, which is part of the Western New York region, had a population of 1,037,831 people at the time of the 2000 Census. As of 1 July 2005, this population rose slightly, to 1,039,028.[4]

Rochester was ranked as the sixth 'most livable city' among 379 U.S. metropolitan areas in the 25th edition (2007) of the Places Rated Almanac.[5] The Rochester area also received the top ranking for overall quality of life among U.S. metros with populations of more than 1 million in a 2007 study by Expansion Management magazine.[6][7] In the same study, Expansion Management rated the area's public schools as sixth best nationwide.[8]

The current mayor of Rochester is Robert Duffy, who was previously the city's police chief.

Founding and early history

An aerial view of downtown Rochester from 1938

On November 8, 1803, a 100 acre (ca. 40 ha) tract in Western New York along the Genesee River was purchased by Col. Nathaniel Rochester, Maj. Charles Carroll, and Col. William Fitzhugh, Jr. (1761-1839), all of Hagerstown, Maryland. The site was chosen because of three cataracts on the Genesee, offering great potential for water power. Beginning in 1811, and with a population of 15, the three founders surveyed the land and laid out streets and tracts. In 1817, the Brown brothers and other landowners joined their lands with the Hundred Acre Tract to form the village of Rochesterville.

Aqueduct of the Erie Canal as it was built in 1842, replacing the original construction from 1823. In the 1920s, the Broad Street Bridge was erected on top of it.

By 1821, Rochesterville was the seat of Monroe County. In 1823, Rochesterville consisted of 1,012 acres (4 km2) and 2,500 residents, and the Village of Rochesterville became known as Rochester. Also in 1823, the Erie Canal aqueduct over the Genesee River was completed, and the Erie Canal east to the Hudson River was opened. In the early 20th century, after the advent of railroads, the presence of the canal in the center city became bothersome, and it was re-routed south of Rochester. By 1830, Rochester's population was 9,200 and in 1834, it was re-chartered as a city.

Rochester was first known as "The Young Lion of the West", and then as the "Flour City". By 1838, Rochester was the largest flour-producing city in the United States. Having doubled its population in only ten years, Rochester became America's first "boomtown." By the mid-nineteenth century, as the center of the wheat-processing industry moved west, the city became home to a booming nursery business, giving rise to the city's second nickname, the "Flower City." Large and small nurseries ringed the city, the most famous of which was the one started by German immigrant George Ellwanger and Irish immigrant Patrick Barry in 1840.[9]

In 1847, Frederick Douglass founded the abolitionist newspaper The North Star in Rochester. Douglass, a former slave and an antislavery speaker and writer, gained a circulation of over 4,000 readers in the United States, Europe and the Caribbean. The North Star served as a forum for abolitionist views. The Douglass home burnt down in 1872,[10] but a marker for it can be found in Highland Park off South Avenue. The city was also home to abolitionist and women's rights leader Susan B. Anthony. Anarchist Emma Goldman also lived and worked in Rochester for several years, championing the cause of labor in Rochester sweatshops.

Rochester experienced another period of renewed industrial activity in the post-Civil War years. It is in these years that companies like Eastman Kodak and Bausch & Lomb were founded in the city. This boom continued into the early twentieth century, when Rochester became a center of the garment industry, particularly men's fashions. It was home of enterprises such as Bond Clothing Stores, Fashion Park Clothes, Hickey Freeman, and Stein-Bloch & Co.. It was home to the pioneer automobile company Cunningham, produced by carriage maker James Cunningham and Sons.[11]

The population reached 62,386 in 1870, 162,608 in 1900, and 295,750 in 1920. By 1950, population had reached a high of 332,488. It declined to 219,773 by 2000.

Geography and climate

Urban Rochester as seen from the air

Rochester is at 43°9′56″N 77°36′41″W / 43.16556°N 77.61139°W / 43.16556; -77.61139 (43.165496, -77.611504).[12] The city is east of Buffalo, west of Syracuse and sits on the southern shore of Lake Ontario. The Genesee River bisects the city.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 37.1 square miles (96.1 km2), of which, 35.8 square miles (92.7 km2) of it is land and 1.3 square miles (3.4 km2) of it (3.42%) is water.

Rochester's geography comes from the ice sheets during the Pleistocene epoch. The retreating ice sheets reached a standstill at what is now the southern border of the city, melting at the same rate as they were advancing, depositing sediment along the southern edge of the ice mass. This created a line of hills, including (from west to east) Mt. Hope, the hills of Highland Park, Pinnacle Hill, and Cobb's Hill. Because the sediment of these hills was deposited into a proglacial lake they are stratified and classified as a "kame delta." A brief retreat and readvance of the ice sheet onto the delta piled unstratified (moraine) material there, creating a rare hybrid structure called a "kame moraine."

The ice sheets also left behind Lake Ontario (one of the five fresh-water Great Lakes), the Genesee River with its waterfalls and gorges, Irondequoit Bay, Sodus Bay, Braddock Bay, Mendon Ponds, numerous local streams and ponds, the Ridge, and the nearby Finger Lakes.

According to the City of Rochester, the city has 537 miles (864 km) of public streets, 585 miles (941 km) of water mains, 44 vehicular and eight pedestrian bridges, 11 public libraries, two police stations (one for the east side, one for the west), and 15 firehouses. The principal source of water is Hemlock Lake, which, with its watershed, is owned by the city. Other water sources are Canadice Lake and Lake Ontario. The 30-year annual average snowfall is 95.0 inches (241 cm)[13] The mean July temperature is 71.3 ℉ (21.8 ℃), and the mean February temperature is 23.6 ℉ (−4.7 ℃).

Rochester lies in the Humid continental climate zone, and has four distinct seasons, with often cold and snowy winters. Autumn features brilliant foliage colors, and summer sees comfortable temperatures that usually stay in the low to mid 80s (upper 20s Celsius) and it can be quite humid and heatwaves are not uncommon during a typical summer. Precipitation is plentiful year round.

Climate data for Rochester
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 74
Average high °F (°C) 31
Average low °F (°C) 17
Record low °F (°C) -17
Precipitation inches (mm) 2.34
Snowfall inches (mm) 22.7
Source: The Weather Channel [14]
Source #2: [15] February 2010


Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1840 20,191
1850 36,403 80.3%
1860 48,204 32.4%
1870 62,386 29.4%
1880 89,366 43.2%
1890 133,896 49.8%
1900 162,608 21.4%
1910 218,149 34.2%
1920 295,750 35.6%
1930 328,132 10.9%
1940 324,975 −1.0%
1950 332,488 2.3%
1960 318,611 −4.2%
1970 296,233 −7.0%
1980 241,741 −18.4%
1990 231,636 −4.2%
2000 219,773 −5.1%
Est. 2008 206,886 −5.9%
Population source:[16][17]

According to the 2005-2007 American Community Survey 3-Year Estimates, the city's population was 50.3% White (41.0% non-Hispanic White alone), 43.2% Black or African American (39.9% non-Hispanic Black or African American alone), 0.9% American Indian and Alaska Native, 3.3% Asian, 0.1% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, 5.4% from some other race and 3.0% from two or more races. 13.6% of the total population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.[18]

In the census[19] of 2000, there were 219,773 people (206,759 estimated as of 2007),[20] 88,999 households, and 47,169 families residing in the city. The population density was 6,132.9 people per square mile (2,368.3/km²). There were 99,789 housing units at an average density of 2,784.7/sq mi (1,075.3/km²). The racial makeup was 48.30% White, 38.55% African American, 0.47% Native American, 2.25% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 6.58% from other races, and 3.81% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 12.75% of the population. Ancestries include: German (10.9%), Italian (10.0%), Irish (9.6%), English (5.8%), and Polish (2.7%).[21]

Rochester has the largest per capita deaf population in the United States.[22] Rochester is home to internationally recognized programs for the deaf at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (part of the Rochester Institute of Technology) and at the University of Rochester.

There were 88,999 households of which 30.0% had children under 18 living with them, 25.1% were married couples living together, 23.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 47.0% were non-families. 37.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.2% had someone living alone 65 or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 3.19.

Web site ePodunk estimates that Rochester has approximately 60% more gay males and lesbians per capita than the national average.[23]

The city population was 28.1% under 18, 11.6% from 18 to 24, 32.2% from 25 to 44, 18.1% from 45 to 64, and 10.0% who were 65 or older. The median age was 31. For every 100 females there were 91.6 males. For every 100 females 18 and over, there were 87.3 males.

The median income for a city household was $27,123, and the median family income was $31,257. Males had a median income of $30,521, versus $25,139 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,588. About 23.4% of families and 25.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 37.5% of those under age 18 and 15.4% of those age 65 or over.


The Rochester area is home to a number of international businesses, including Fortune 1000 companies Eastman Kodak, Constellation Brands, and Paychex, as well as several national and regional companies. Xerox was founded in Rochester in 1906 as The Haloid Company,[24] and retains a significant presence in Rochester, although its headquarters are now located in Norwalk, Connecticut. The Gannett newspaper company and Western Union were both founded in the Rochester area by Frank Gannett and Hiram Sibley respectively.

Because of the high prevalence of imaging and optical science among the industry and the universities, Rochester is known as the world capital of imaging. The Institute of Optics of the University of Rochester is ranked number two in the country[citation needed], and the Rochester Institute of Technology has one of the best imaging science departments in the country[citation needed]. In 2006, the University of Rochester became the largest employer in the Rochester area, surpassing Kodak.[25]

Food and beverage

One food product that Rochester calls its own is the "white hot," a variant of the hot dog made by the local Zweigle's company. Another local specialty is the "garbage plate," first served at Nick Tahou Hots. Rochester was home to French's Mustard, whose address was 1 Mustard Street.

Rochester is also home to Wet Planet Beverages, producer of Jolt Cola and other beverages. Genesee Brewing Company, maker of the Genesee beers and JW Dundee's brand (Honey Brown) also calls Rochester home. Arbor Mist wines are produced in nearby Canandaigua, NY by owner Constellation Brands.

National frozen food manufacturer Birds Eye is headquartered in suburban Rochester. The Ragú brand of pasta sauce was originally produced in Rochester, and the Francesco Rinaldi pasta sauce is manufactured in Rochester. Barilla and Kraft Foods have food manufacturing plants in nearby Livingston County, in the Village of Avon. Heluva Good Cheeses are in nearby Wayne County and Seneca Foods are in nearby Marion, Wayne County and Mount Morris, Livingston County,.

Other local franchises include: Bill Gray's (a hamburger/hot dog joint that lays claim to having "The World's Greatest Cheeseburger"), Country Sweet (known for their chicken wings and BBQ sauce), Boss Sauce, described as a "tantalizing sweet, spicy-hot gourmet after-sauce," was born from the restaurant Eddie's Chicken Coop, Tom Wahl's, Dibella's, Great Northern Pizza Kitchen, John's Tex-Mex, Zebb's, Don's Original, and Abbott's Frozen Custard. Dinosaur Bar-b-que, which originated in Syracuse, also operates their second franchise downtown in the former Lehigh Valley Railroad station on the Genesee River.

The Rochester area is the birthplace of the Wegmans Grocery store chain, which has locations throughout the Northeast and Northern Virginia. In 2005, Wegmans was ranked the best company in America to work for by Fortune magazine; it has been ranked the best grocery store in America by Consumer Reports and Food Network.

Major shopping centers

Former shopping centers

  • Lake Ridge Centre (formerly known as Irondequoit Mall, then Medley Centre ) (Irondequoit, New York) (Closed as of February 2009, though anchor stores Macy's and Sears remain open, along with outparcels Target, IHOP, and Holiday Inn Express)
  • Midtown Plaza (Closed as of July 29, 2008)

Tallest structures

As of February, 2008 the top ten tallest buildings in the city are:[26]

Building name Height
ft m
Xerox Tower 443 135
Bausch & Lomb Place 401 122
Chase Tower 392 119
Kodak Tower 360 110
First Federal Plaza 309 94
One HSBC Plaza 284 87
Hyatt Regency Hotel 271 83
Times Square Building 260 79
Midtown Tower 251 77
St. Michael's Church 246 75

According to the April 4, 2008, issue of The Democrat and Chronicle, PAETEC Holding Corp.'s CEO Arunas Chesonis stated that the new tower to be built as the company's headquarters will rise slightly taller than the Xerox Tower.[27]

More recently, however, the height of the proposed Paetec building has shrunk to approximately 8-12 stories, reflecting the realities of the real estate market for leaseable office space in downtown Rochester.

Top private employers

As of 2009, the top ten private employers in Greater Rochester are:[28]


The Bausch & Lomb Tower and the Xerox Tower in downtown Rochester
Wegmans Food Markets are headquartered in Rochester

Several companies have corporate headquarters in the Greater Rochester area.

Locally founded corporations that have since moved their headquarters to other locations include French's, Gannett, Western Union, Champion and Xerox.

Many other large companies have a significant presence in Rochester.


Rochester is governed by a mayor and city council consisting of 4 district members and 5 at-large members[29]. The city's police department is the Rochester Police Department.

Neighborhood Empowerment Team

Enforcement of property code violations in Rochester is currently handled by the Neighborhood Empowerment Team, or NET. Rather than utilizing a centralized code enforcement office as most cities do, each neighborhood in Rochester is assigned its own NET office, leading to considerable discrepancies in the manner and severity of enforcement. On July 16, 2008, it was announced that two of the NET offices would be closed, and another one relocated, due to the high cost and low value of operating the decentralized network.[30]


Principal suburbs

Suburbs of the city include:Brighton, Brockport, Chili, Churchville, East Rochester, Fairport, Gates, Greece, Hamlin, Henrietta, Hilton, Irondequoit, Mendon, Ogden, Penfield, Pittsford, Riga, Rush, Scottsville, Spencerport, Webster, and Wheatland


Rochester has a number of neighborhoods, as well as popular communities in the inner ring suburbs, Brighton, Irondequoit and Greece and Pittsford. 10th ward, 19th Ward[3], 14621 Community[4], Barnard, Beechwood[5], Browncroft[6], Cascade District, Cobbs Hill, Charlotte, Corn Hill[7], Dewey, Dutchtown, Edgerton, Ellwanger-Barry, German Village, Grove Place[8], High Falls District, Highland park[9],Lyell-Otis, Dutchtown Maplewood[10], Marketview Heights[11], Mt. Read, Northern edge[12],Otis-Lyell[13],Park Avenue, Plymouth-Exchange, Southwest, East End, South Wedge, Swillburg[14], Susan B. Anthony[15],University-Atlantic, Upper Monroe[16], and more are all recognized communities.

Joseph Avenue

Extending across much of the north-central cityscape of Rochester, now including parts of the old Hudson Avenue and North Clinton neighborhoods, is the Joseph Avenue community. Also known as Polish Town or simply Avenue D and today almost entirely African American, this community suffered being the center of the 1964 riots.[31][32] The riots did produce some benefits in the long run: the north-central area has been the site of ongoing urban renewal projects since the late 1960s, and, as noted by "JULY ’64" filmmakers Carvin Eison and Chris Christopher, inspired the developent of such important African American organizations as The Urban League of Rochester as well as Rochester’s first anti-poverty organization (Action for a Better Community), and black community activist organization Freedom, Integration, Honor, God, Today (F.I.G.H.T.). However, the neighborhood is still considered the most dangerous part of Rochester and is blighted by crime, drugs and gang activity.[33]

Lyell Avenue

Once an Italian-American neighborhood, now a rainbow of many ethnicities[citation needed], there have been recent efforts by community organizations to improve the quality of life in this neighborhood. It is known largely for its crime rate, especially instances of prostitution.

19th Ward

The 19th Ward is a southwest neighborhood bordered by Genesee Street, West Avenue, the Erie Canal, and is across the river from the University of Rochester.[34] Now known by its slogan "Urban by Choice," in the early 1800s the area was known as Castletown and by 1930 was a booming residential area for doctors, lawyers, and skilled workers; it includes the once-prestigious Sibley Tract development. Homes in the neighborhood typically have gumwood trim, leaded glass, fireplaces, hardwood floors, and open porches. The 19th Ward has had an active community association since 1965, and is known for its cultural diversity. The current "Brooks Landing" development is an attempt to bring new economic development to the community.[35]


The Browncroft neighborhood is a hidden gem. Built on the former nursery grounds of the Elwanger and Barry nursery, these homes are grand and well preserved. The business district situated on Winton Rd has an eclectic mix of restaurants and shops. Homes found on Dorchester, Gramercy Park, Corwin, and Windemere have beautiful architecture.


Charlotte (shar-LOT) is a lake front community in Rochester bordering Lake Ontario. It is home to Ontario Beach Park, commonly known as Charlotte Beach, which is a popular summer destination for Rochesterians. A new terminal was built in 2004 for the Rochester-to-Toronto ferry service and was later sold after the ferry ceased operations in 2005. The terminal still exists, housing a burger joint, sushi restaurant, and ice cream parlor.

Corn Hill

The Corn Hill neighborhood near downtown is one of the nation's best preserved Victorian neighborhoods and a center for art. It is also home to Corn Hill Landing, a shopping and housing strip located on the Genesee River. The annual Corn Hill Art Festival, a two day event held the weekend after the 4th of July, is one of the city's most popular gatherings for art display.

Upper Monroe

Located less than one and one-half miles from downtown, Upper Monroe encompasses 17 streets with 1400 households and approximately 3300 residents. Cobbs Hill Park, with its beautiful reservoir, tennis courts and athletic fields, forms the southeastern boundary of this neighborhood. Highland Park, world renown for its annual Lilac Festival, also is within walking distance.[36] The Upper Monroe Neighborhood Association (UMNA) is a not-for-profit advocacy group representing the residents and property owners of the Upper Monroe neighborhood. Their goals are to ascertain the needs and concerns of the neighborhood and take positive action to address those needs and concerns.[37] The neighborhood is also home to a number of small, local businesses including: Hardpact, Huey's Hair Company, Monty's Krown, Jeremiah's Tavern, and Park Ave. Pets.[38]

East End

The East End is a residential neighborhood in Downtown Rochester but also the main nightlife district. The Eastman Theatre and the Eastman School of Music are in the East End, along with the Little Theatre, an independent film theatre and many clubs, bars and high-end restaurants.


A portion of the skyline of Rochester from a northeast perspective along the Genesee River.

Maplewood is a northwest neighborhood located south of Eastman Business Park and between the Genesee River and Dewey Avenue. Much of the area's charm comes from the use of parkways as well as parks and greenspace bordering the river. These features are the result of plans designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. The Maplewood Rose Garden is the second largest Rose Test Garden in the United States.

Park Avenue and the Neighborhood of the Arts

Lining the streets of Park Avenue are cafes, shops, pubs and restaurants. In a broader view, the total area surrounding University Avenue—known as the Neighborhood of the Arts—is one of the most culture and art-rich sections of the city. Located here are the Village Gate, Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester Museum and Science Center, Rochester Public Market, ARTWalk, George Eastman House, and high-end residential streets such as Granger Drive, East Boulevard, Douglas Road, Westminster Road, and Berkeley Street.


Also known by the abbreviation PLEX, the Plymouth-Exchange neighborhood provides affordable housing for lower income families. Also home to many University of Rochester students, both grad and undergrad, it has a richly knit community and an active neighborhood association.

South Wedge

The South Wedge neighborhood dates back to 1827, prior to the incorporation of Rochester as a city.[39] The area is bordered by Byron street in the north, South Clinton avenue and Interstate 490 on its east, Highland Park on its south, and The Genesee River on the west. Construction of the Erie Canal (the old canal bed which went by the neighborhood is now used by Interstate 490) brought workers to the area, who set up camps for the months that it took to complete this section of the canal.[40] This racially integrated[citation needed] neighborhood is one of the neighborhoods in Rochester currently undergoing the process of gentrification, partially due to a recent increase in homeownership in the area.[41][42] A lot of young people live in this area.[citation needed]

Susan B. Anthony Neighborhood

This neighborhood is a Preservation District on the National Register of Historic Places. It encompasses a three-and-one-half block area within walking distance from downtown Rochester, and comprises residential, commercial and industrial buildings. The center of the residential area is Susan B. Anthony Square, a .84 acre park shown on city maps from 1839, which was designed by the famous Olmstead Brothers. Also within the neighborhood is the Susan B. Anthony House, which was the suffragist’s residence for the last decades of her life, now a museum, as well as the Cunningham Carriage factory built in 1848 on Canal Street. James Cunningham Son & Co. sold more carriages in the United States in the 1880’s than all other manufacturers combined. The Canal Street property, which still stands, remained Cunningham's headquarters for more than 100 years.


This pie-shaped piece of the city is bordered by S. Clinton Avenue, Field St, and Interstate 490.[43] The neighborhood received its moniker when a 19th century Rochester pig farmer utilized the area to collect swill for his swine. The neighborhood association humorously honors its roots by using street signs featuring the Swillburg Pig. The area has one of the highest rates of homeownership in the city and is currently undergoing gentrification as well.[citation needed]

Marketview Heights

Running east from Union Street just north of Main Street, Marketview Heights is best known as the location of the Public Market, which offers a variety of groceries and other goods from marketeers from farms and shops from surrounding areas, primarily on the week-ends.

Homestead Heights

Homestead Heights is located in north-east Rochester. It is bordered on the west by Goodman Street, on the north by Clifford Avenue, on the south by Bay Street, and on the east by Culver Road, which is also the border between the city and the town of Irondequoit. The neighborhood is a mix of residential and commercial. Real estate values are higher on the eastern end of the neighborhood near the Irondequoit border. The neighborhood is approximately 2-2 1/4 miles west of the Irondequoit Bay.


The City of Rochester is served by the Rochester City School District which encompasses all public primary and secondary education. The district is governed by a popularly elected seven-member Board of Education. There are also parochial and private primary and secondary schools located within the city. Rochester City Schools consistently post below-average results when compared to the rest of New York State. [44]

Colleges and Universities

Education is one of Rochester's primary economic areas[citation needed]. The city and its suburbs are home to a number of colleges and universities:

Together with Alfred University, Alfred State College, Empire State College, Finger Lakes Community College, SUNY Geneseo, and Hobart and William Smith Colleges, all within 90 miles of Rochester, these institutions comprise the Rochester Area Colleges consortium.

River Campus of the University of Rochester

University of Rochester

The University of Rochester (U of R), ranked as the 35th best university in the nation by U.S. News & World Report[45] and was deemed "one of the new Ivies."[46] The nursing school has received many awards and honors[47] and the Simon School of Business is also ranked in the top 30 in many categories.[48]

The University of Rochester's Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE) is home to the highest power laser in the world, the OMEGA EP laser.[49]

The university is also home to the Eastman School of Music, which in 2004 was ranked the number one music school in America.[50]

Rochester Institute of Technology

The Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) was founded in 1829 and is the tenth largest private university in the country in terms of full-time students. It is internationally known for its science, computer, engineering, and art programs, as well as for the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, a leading deaf-education institution.

RIT is among the top colleges and universities in the nation for programs in the fine arts, placing in the top 10 for many of the college's programs, including Photography (3rd), Glass art (2nd), Industrial design (8th), and others.[51] RIT's undergraduate programs have been featured as one of nation's best in the Princeton Review, and its undergraduate engineering programs have been ranked in the top 70 in the country by the U.S. News & World Report.[52]

Monroe Community College

Monroe Community College, the largest community college in Upstate New York, has had the top ranking community college athletic program two years in a row and was rated as the tenth best associates degree producing two year college by Community College Week.[53] MCC has four campuses: the Damon City Campus, the main Brighton Campus which houses the Mercer Gallery, the Applied Technologies Center, and the Public Safety Training Facility.[54]

Roberts Wesleyan College

Roberts Wesleyan was ranked the third-best value private college in the U.S. by the Princeton Review in 2007—the only school in New York State ranked in the top 10.[citation needed] It is also Rochester's only college affiliated with the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.[citation needed]

Culture and recreation

The Little Theatre on East Avenue
Rochester Contemporary Art Center

The city of Rochester is home to numerous cultural institutions. These include the world-renowned Garth Fagan Dance, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, George Eastman House, Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester Contemporary Art Center, Rochester Museum & Science Center, Strong National Museum of Play, the Strasenburgh Planetarium, and numerous arts organizations. Geva Theatre Center is the city's largest professional theatre.


Rochester's East End, within downtown, is well known throughout the area for being a center of late-night activity. It gets its name for being the stopping point for East Avenue, and both East and the surrounding streets are crowded with bars, nightclubs, coffee shops and high-end restaurants. The Eastman School of Music, one of the top musical institutes in the nation, is also located within the neighborhood along with its auditorium. The Eastman Theatre now plays host to the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and other musical/drama events. Scattered around the city are also pockets of restaurants, bars and nightclubs. Notable areas include the South Wedge, St. Paul Quarter and Monroe Avenue. The Village Gate is a well known multiuse building/plaza near University Avenue, within which several restaurants and bars are located. There are venues where music can be heard scattered all around the city. Live music is important to the nightlife.

Park lands

Lamberton Conservatory from 1911 in the Highland Park

The city's Victorian era Mt. Hope Cemetery includes the final resting place of Susan B. Anthony, Frederick Douglass, and George B. Selden. Other scenic cemeteries are Holy Sepulchre and its neighbor the Riverside Cemetery. Rochester is also known for its parks, including Highland Park, Cobb's Hill Park, Durand-Eastman Park, Genesee Valley Park, Maplewood Park, Edgerton Park, Seneca Park, and Ontario Beach Park; four of these were designed by famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted.[citation needed]

The city has 13 full-time recreation centers, 19 swimming programs, 3 artificial ice rinks, 66 softball/baseball fields, 47 tennis courts, 5 football fields, 7 soccer fields, and 43 outdoor basketball courts. As a legacy of its time as "The Flower City", Rochester hosts a Lilac Festival for ten days every May, when nearly 400 varieties of lilacs bloom, and 100,000 visitors arrive.

Near Rochester

Twenty miles southwest of Rochester, the Genesee Country Village and Museum[55] in Mumford, a hamlet in the town of Wheatland, contains a model historic village preserving local architecture, a nature center, model gardens, and sporting, art and carriage museums; 35 miles (56 km) South of Rochester [56] the "Grand Canyon of the East" 14,350 acre.[57] Letchworth State Park has cliffs up to 600 feet (180 m) high and waterfalls up to 107 feet (33 m) high. South and Southeast of Rochester, the glacially formed, 9,000-square-mile (23,000 km2) Finger Lakes Region[58] has a wine industry and many lakes and waterfalls spread across 14 counties: Cayuga, Chemung, Cortland, Livingston, Monroe, Onondaga, Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Tioga, Tompkins, Waynes, and Yates.


Rochester has many festivals in late spring and summer, including the Rochester International Jazz Festival established in 2002, the Corn Hill Festival[59] (arts, crafts, and food in this Third Ward neighborhood), the Rochester-High Falls International Film Festival held at the George Eastman House's Dryden Theatre and the Little Theatre downtown), ImageOut, The Rochester Lesbian & Gay Film & Video Festival held at the Little Theatre, Clothesline Art Festival (artists from the region display their works on the grounds of the Memorial Art Gallery), Park Avenue Merchants Festival, Lilac Festival at Highland Park, St. Patrick's Day parade (March), Rose Festival at Maplewood Park, Irish festival (September), two Greek festivals - one on East Avenue (in June) and one on South Avenue (in September), Gay Pride Festival (July), Puerto Rican Festival(August), Rochester Music Festival, and the Cold Rush Winter Celebration (celebrating winter sports in the Rochester area). In the summer, especially on the Fourth of July, downtown after dark is lit with fireworks and a laser show at the High Falls venue. The most popular of these is undoubtably the Lilac festival, which attracts many from areas outside of Rochester and draws on average 500,000 people every year.


The Democrat and Chronicle is Rochester's main daily newspaper. The Daily Record, a legal, real estate and business daily, has published Monday through Friday since 1908. Insider magazine (owned by the Democrat and Chronicle), "City" newspaper and the "Freetime" entertainment magazine are free, weekly publications. Rochester Business Journal is the weekly business paper of record. "The Good Life Magazine" is a free bi-monthly publication. There is also a grassroots, democratically-run, Independent Media Center called Rochester Indymedia. Media addressing the needs of Rochester's large African American population include "About... time",[60] and "Minority Report",[61] which has an associated news journal for the area's Latin American population, "La Voz".[62]

Rochester has eight broadcast television stations:

Rochester has multiple AM and FM radio stations including WXXI (Public Radio), WCMF (Rock and Roll), WBEE (Country) WDKX (Urban Contemporary Radio), and WHAM (News and Talk Radio).

Time Warner Cable provides Rochester's cable, cable television, and R News, a 24-hour local news channel.

Points of interest

High Falls during the summer
The George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film, the World's oldest photography museum
Strasenburgh Planetarium, Rochester Museum & Science Center


Rochester was named the top minor league sports market in the country by Street & Smith's Sports Business Journal in July 2005, the number 10 "best golf city" in America by Golf Magazine in 2007,[63] and the fifth-best "sports town" in the country by Scarborough Research in September 2008.[64]

Professional sports

Although Rochester is home territory of the Buffalo Bills and the Buffalo Sabres, and the Sabres are further tied to Rochester through their owner, Rochester billionaire Tom Golisano, Rochester has several professional sports teams of its own:[65]

Club Sport Began play League Venue League championships Championship years
Rochester Red Wings Baseball 1899 International League Frontier Field 20 1899, 1901, 1909, 1910, 1911, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1939, 1940, 1952, 1955, 1956, 1964, 1971, 1974, 1988, 1990, 1997
Rochester Americans Ice hockey 1956 AHL Blue Cross Arena 6 1964-65, 1965-66, 1967-68, 1982-83, 1986-87, 1995-96
Rochester Knighthawks Indoor lacrosse 1995 NLL Blue Cross Arena 2 1997, 2007
Rochester Rhinos Soccer 1996 USL First Division Marina Auto Stadium 3 1998, 2000, 2001
Rochester Razorsharks Basketball 2005 PBL Blue Cross Arena 3 2005-06, 2008, 2009
Rochester Raiders Indoor football 2006 IFL Dome Arena (Henrietta) 2 2007, 2008
Rochester Greywolves Box lacrosse 2008 CanAm Genesee Valley Ice Rink 0 -

Among cities in North America with at least seven current professional teams, Rochester was determined in 2007 to be the only one whose teams all had cumulative winning regular season records.[66]

The Rochester Red Wings baseball club, the AAA affiliate of the Minnesota Twins, play in the International League. The Rochester Americans ice hockey team, the AHL affiliate for the NHL Florida Panthers, are known as the "Amerks". The Rochester Rhinos soccer club play in the USL First Division, which is the second-highest level American soccer league.

Frontier Field, including the Rochester skyline to the southeast.

Lacrosse has seen some popularity in Rochester. The Rochester Knighthawks play box lacrosse in the National Lacrosse League during winter and spring. In outdoor lacrosse, the Rochester Rattlers were a charter member of Major League Lacrosse, but the franchise was transferred to the new Toronto Nationals (MLL) in 2009. Also during the summer months, the Rochester Greywolves, comprising mostly local talent, play box lacrosse in the semi-pro CanAm Lacrosse League.

Two newer but very successful teams are the Rochester Razorsharks (of the Premier Basketball League) and Rochester Raiders (Indoor Football League); both have dominated their competition, despite some instability in their leagues, and both have championship trophies already.

In women's sports, Rochester is home to the Empire State Roar, a semi-pro team in the league known as the Women's Professional Football League. The fully professional Western New York FC Pride were to begin play in 2009 in soccer's W-League, replacing the amateur Rochester Rhinos Women, but instead they will be the amateur Rochester Ravens, as they once were. The Filarets was a notable women's basketball team that played in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s.

Professional golf regularly comes to Rochester. The PGA Championship and the US Open have been held at Oak Hill Country Club, as was the 1995 Ryder Cup. The Xerox Classic Tournament on the Nationwide Tour comes every August. The Wegmans LPGA tournament is yearly in June at Locust Hill Country Club.

The 2010 LPGA Championship will be played at Locust Hill.[67]

The city also has two independent pro-wrestling leagues: Next Era Wrestling and NWA Upstate.

USA Cycling has an annual tour stop in Rochester; the Rochester Omnium is newly expanded to a three-day professional cycling event featuring the Rochester Twilight Criterium.

While Rochester currently has no teams at the top level of the major American sports, the city does host training camp for the NFL's Buffalo Bills each summer since 2000 at St. John Fisher College in the suburban of Pittsford. The absence of a major pro sports team has not always been the case. From 1920–1925, Rochester was home to the Rochester Jeffersons, a charter member of the National Football League. From 1948–1957, the Rochester Royals played in the National Basketball Association, winning the NBA championship in 1951. In soccer, the Rochester Lancers played from 1970–1980 in the top-level North American Soccer League.

Since 1877, 29 teams in eight professional sports have represented Rochester, according to The Rochester Sports Project by local sports historian Douglas Brei. In spring 2006, Brei showed that Rochester's professional sports teams were collectively approaching 25,000 games played. That game was played on June 16, 2006, when Red Wings hosted the Indianapolis Indians at Frontier Field. He also reports that only six active franchises in the history of North American professional sports have played in the same city and same league continuously and uninterrupted since the 1800s: Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals, and Rochester Red Wings.

College sports

Almost all area college sports are played at the NCAA Division III level. The exception is the RIT men's ice hockey team, which moved up to the Division I level in 2005. Hobart College, an hour away from Rochester in Geneva, has a Division I men's lacrosse team.

Among junior colleges, MCC is dominant in NJCAA Division II sports. They are also a D-III golf powerhouse. Through the 2009 season, the "Tribunes" have won over 45 regular tournament titles, 5 conference championships, 4 NJCAA Region III Championships and won the 2006 and 2009 NJCAA Division III National Championship. Players have also won the 2009, 2006 NJCAA Individual Championship. as well as having a totla of 10 National All-Americans as well as two Academic All-Americans. The "Tribunes" are currently coached by PGA Profesional John Graham[17]who was voted Coach of the Year for 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009.

Rochester is the largest Metropolitan Statistical Area in the U.S. which does not include at least one college or university participating at the NCAA Division 1 level in all sports.

Club Sports

Rochester is home to two men's rugby teams, the Rochester Aardvarks and the Rochester Colonials. Both have long histories, with the Aardvarks celebrating their 40th anniversary in 2006, and the Rochester Colonials celebrating 30 years upcoming in 2010. The Aardvarks are one of the few rugby teams in the country to own its own pitch: Aardvark Park in Henrietta, New York. The Aardvarks and the Colonials both have hosted local and state-wide tournaments and the Rochester Colonials hosted the 2007 USA Rugby National Collegiate All-Star Championships, Rochester's first national tournament, as well as the 2009 NYS Rugby Upstates Tournament and the 2009 New York State High School Rugby Championships. Both teams participate in the annual Saranac CAN-AM rugby tournament in Saranac NY in early August. Rochester also has a Women's Rugby club, the Rochester Renegades, who celebrated their 20th anniversary in 2008. The Renegades started the New York State Rugby Women's Division.[citation needed][68]

The Rochester Bicycling Club is a social and fitness bicycling club.[69]

Rochester is also home to Rochester Rhythm the three time champions of the American Extreme Paintball League or AXBL.[citation needed]

The Rochester, NY Region EWGA chapter, homepage [18], organizes leagues, golf training, and golf events and networking for the area's amateur women golfers.


Barges on the Genesee River

Maritime transport

There is marine freight service at the Port of Rochester on Lake Ontario, which is connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Saint Lawrence Seaway.

A short-lived, high-speed passenger/vehicle ferry Spirit of Ontario I, nicknamed The Breeze or The Fast Ferry, linked Rochester to Toronto, Ontario across Lake Ontario. It operated between June 17, 2004, and December 12, 2005, and cost the city $42.5 million. It was sold to Förde Reederei Seetouristik, a German company, for $30 million.

Air transport

Rochester is served by the Greater Rochester International Airport. Daily scheduled air service is provided by Air Canada, AirTran, American, Continental, Delta, JetBlue, United, and US Airways. Many of these airlines do not operate mainline service to Rochester; rather, they contract regional airlines to operate flights on their own, smaller aircraft.

Mass transit

Amtrak (passenger) and freight lines provide rail service to Rochester. Rochester has intercity and transcontinental bus service via Greyhound and Trailways.

Local bus service in Rochester and its county suburbs is provided by the Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority (RGRTA) via its Regional Transit Service (RTS) subsidiary. RTS also provides suburban service outside the immediate Rochester area and runs smaller transportation systems in outlying counties, such as WATS (Wayne Area Transportation System).

From 1927 to 1957, Rochester had a light rail underground transit system called the Rochester Subway. It was the smallest city in the world to have one. There are proposals to put in a new system, possibly using some of the old tunnels. One includes converting the Broad Street bridge tunnel—the former canal aqueduct—into an underground pedestrian walkway, which would also include a Rochester Transportation Museum, and a tram system.

The Broad Street Aqueduct was used as a subway tunnel

The former canal and subway tunnels have become a source of controversy. Many city homeless use the tunnels for shelter, and a few areas near tunnel entrances have gained the reputation as being dangerous. The city has considered multiple solutions for the space including recreating a canal way, putting the subway system back in or filling the tunnels entirely. The plan to fill the tunnels in has generated criticism as the cost of filling would be comparable to restoring the subway.[citation needed]

The Broad Street bridge over the Genesee that the subway used still retains the lower track level.

Main Street looking east

Major highways and roads that serve the Greater Rochester Area

There are three exits off the New York State Thruway (Interstate 90) that serve Rochester. Rochester has an extensive freeway (expressway) system which connects all parts of the city and the city with the Thruway. During the Thruway's construction, a disagreement between the governor of New York and mayor of Rochester resulted in a bypass of downtown Rochester, leaving the city struggling for growth.[citation needed]

Rochester's expressway system, conceived in the 1950s, was designed as two concentric circles with feeder expressways from the west, south and east. The system allows for quick travel within the metropolitan area and a lack of the traffic gridlock typically found in cities of comparable size; in part this is because the system was designed to accommodate an anticipated year-2000 metro population of 5 million, whereas the present-day population is just over one million.

The Outer Loop circles just outside the city limits while the Inner Loop circles around the immediate downtown area within the city proper. From the west are Lake Ontario State Parkway, NY-531 and I-490; Interstate 390 feeds from the south; and NY-104, NY-441, and I-490 approach from the east.

Four Interstate Highways run through the Greater Rochester area:

I-90.svg Interstate 90 (New York State Thruway)

  • I-90 runs from Seattle to Boston. I-90 connects to I-390 and I-490 to serve the Greater Rochester Area.

I-390.svg Interstate 390 (Genesee Expressway)

I-490.svg Interstate 490 (Western/Eastern Expressway)

I-590.svg Interstate 590

  • I-590 runs south-north through Rochester's eastern suburbs. Its southern end is at I-390, while the northern end is at I-490; the highway continues north to the shore of Lake Ontario as NY-590.
  • In decreasing usage is the term "Can of Worms", referring to the previously dangerous at-grade intersection of Interstate 490 and expressway NY-590 on the eastern edge of the Rochester city limits, bordering the suburb of Brighton. In the 1980s, a multimillion dollar project created a system of overpasses and ramps that reduced the danger but resulted in the loss of certain exits.

New York State Route Expressways:

NY-104.svg New York State Route 104 (Irondequoit-Wayne County Expressway, West Ridge Road)

  • NY 104 - Just east of the NY 590 interchange, NY 104 becomes the Irondequoit-Wayne County Expressway and crosses the Irondequoit Bay Bridge. On the other side of the Bay Bridge, in the town of Webster, NY 104 has exits before returning to an at-grade highway at Basket Road.

NY-390.svg New York State Route 390

  • NY 390 is an extension of Interstate 390 from the I-390/I-490 interchange in Gates. The northern terminus is at the Lake Ontario State Parkway in Greece, less than a mile from the Lake Ontario shoreline.

NY-531.svg New York State Route 531 (Spencerport Expressway)

  • NY 531 serves as a connector between the northwestern suburbs of Rochester and Interstate 490.

NY-590.svg New York State Route 590

  • NY 590 is a limited-access extension of Interstate 590 at runs from an interchange between Interstate 490 and I-590 on the Brighton/Rochester border. The northern terminus is at Culver Road in Irondequoit, near Sea Breeze (the western shore of Irondequoit Bay at Lake Ontario).

New York State Parkways:

Lake Ontario State Parkway.svg Lake Ontario State Parkway

  • Lake Ontario State Parkway travels from Lakeside Beach State Park in Carlton, Orleans County. The eastern end is at Lake Avenue in the city of Rochester in Monroe County.


In 2006 Rochester had 1259.6 reported violent crimes per 100,000 residents, compared to a national rate of 553.5.[70] For 2006, Rochester had 827 personal crime incidents per 100,000 and 7,173 property crime incidents per 100,000.

With 100 being the national average, Rochester scores the following:

Personal Crime Risk - 170 Property Crime Risk - 134[71]

Notable citizens

See List of people from Rochester, New York

Sister cities

Rochester has eleven sister cities,[72] as designated by Sister Cities International. They are all dedicated by a branched concrete walkway over the Genesee River, dubbed the Sister Cities Bridge (known as the Frank and Janet Lamb Bridge since October 2006):[73]

Country City County / District / Region / State Date
France France Rennes Brittany Brittany 1958[74]
Germany Germany Wappen von Wuerzburg.svg Würzburg Bavaria Bavaria 1964[74]
Italy Italy Caltanissetta-Stemma.png Caltanissetta Flag of Sicily (revised).svg Sicily 1965[74]
Israel Israel Rehovot COA.png Rehovot Center District 1972[74]
Poland Poland Flag of Krakow.svg Kraków POL województwo małopolskie 1 flag.svg Małopolskie 1973[74]
Country City County / District / Region / State Date
Mali Mali Bamako Capital District 1975[74]
Republic of Ireland Ireland Waterfordcrest.png Waterford County Waterford 1983[74]
Russia Russia Flag of Veliky Novgorod.png Novgorod Flag of Novgorod oblast.png Novgorod Oblast 1990[74]
Japan Japan Flag of Hamamatsu, Shizuoka.png Hamamatsu PrefSymbol-Shizuoka.png Shizuoka Prefecture 1996[74]
Dominican Republic Dominican Republic Ciudad de San Felipe de Puerto Plata.JPG Puerto Plata Flag of the Province of Puerto Plata.JPG Puerto Plata Province 1997[74]
People's Republic of China China Xianyang Shaanxi 2008[75]


  1. ^ "Mayor Robert Duffy". City of Rochester, N.Y.. Retrieved 2007-08-01. 
  2. ^ Daneman, Matthew, "Our manufacturing roots sprout jobs", Democrat and Chronicle (March 2, 2008) (archived copy)
  3. ^ Greater Rochester Visitors Association
  4. ^ "City-data". 
  5. ^ Savageau, David (2007). Places Rated Almanac (25th Anniversary Edition ed.). Places Rated Books LLC. ISBN 0979319900. 
  6. ^ 2007 QUALITY OF LIFE QUOTIENT: What Really Matters Is Not the Salary, But What That Salary Will Buy, Expansion Management
  7. ^ Overall Quality of Life: Metros With Population Over 1 Million, Expansion Management
  8. ^ Best Metrowide Public Schools, Expansion Management
  9. ^ Blake McKelvey, "The Germans of Rochester: Their Traditions and Contributions", Rochester History, Vol. 20, No. 1 (January 1958), 7-8.
  10. ^
  11. ^ Like many early companies, its production was small, about 400 a year including hearses, designed by Volney Lacey. Georgano, G. N. Cars: Early and Vintage, 1886-1930. (London: Grange-Universal, 1985)
  12. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  13. ^ "National Weather Service records for 1961 through 1990". 
  14. ^ "Average Weather for Rochester, NY - Temperature and Precipitation". Retrieved 2008-07-29. 
  15. ^ "Historical Weather for Rochester, New York, United States". 
  16. ^ Gibson, Campbell (June 1998). "Population of the 100 largest cities and other urban places in the United States 1790 to 1990". Population Division, U.S. Bureau of the Census. Retrieved 2007-08-01. 
  17. ^ "Rochester city, New York - Population Finder". Population Division, U.S. Bureau of the Census. Retrieved 2009-07-22. 
  18. ^ [1]
  19. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  20. ^ "Rochester city, New York - Population Finder - American FactFinder". Retrieved 2009-03-23. 
  21. ^ [2]
  22. ^ "Making History: A Black Man's Hands Speak Eloquently". The New York Times. 2003-05-24. Retrieved 2008-01-03. 
  23. ^
  24. ^ Xerox Corporation Fact Book: Company facts, history, information
  25. ^ Economic Development, University of Rochester "Connections" website
  26. ^ Emporis. "Buildings of Rochester, 2008". 
  27. ^ PAETEC headquarters to tower over city, Democrat and Chronicle - 4 April 2008
  28. ^ "Top 50 Private Sector Employers, excluding Government, in Greater Rochester, 2009" (PDF). 
  29. ^
  30. ^ City Begins NET Consolidation, WXXI - 17 June 2008
  31. ^
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^
  37. ^
  38. ^
  39. ^ "South Wedge History and Maps". Retrieved 2008-05-24. 
  40. ^ Rose O'Keefe, Rochester's South Wedge. Charleston, Arcadia, 2005.
  41. ^ South Wedge Gay Neighbors
  42. ^ Diana Louise Carter, "Signs of Progress: Residents restore a faded South Wedge to Glory,” Democrat and Chronicle, October 10, 2004.
  43. ^
  44. ^
  45. ^ America's Best Colleges 2008
  46. ^ "America's 25 New Elite 'Ivies', August 21, 2008". Newsweek. 2007-08-30. Retrieved 2007-08-30. 
  47. ^ Rankings, Achievements & Honors - School of Nursing
  48. ^ Rankings : Simon Graduate School of Business
  49. ^ OMEGA EP Laser System Complete and Ready for Operation University of Rochester's Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE)
  50. ^ University of Rochester Rises in U.S. News Rankings University of Rochester Press Releases
  51. ^ "US News rankings". 
  52. ^ "RIT rankings 2008". 
  53. ^ SUNY's Impact on New York's Congressional District 29
  54. ^ MCC College Directory
  55. ^ Genesee Country Village and Museum
  56. ^ Letchworth State Park
  57. ^ Letchworth State Park
  58. ^ Finger Lakes
  59. ^ Corn Hill Festival overview
  60. ^
  61. ^
  62. ^
  63. ^ "Rochester makes 10-best golf cities list (November 27, 2007)". Rochester Democrat & Chronicle. Retrieved 2007-11-27. 
  64. ^
  65. ^ ""Rochester Sports"". Retrieved 2008-01-13. 
  66. ^ "Bob Matthews Sports Column, July 21, 2007". Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. 2007-07-21. Retrieved 2007-07-21. 
  67. ^ "Rochester to Host LPGA Championship For One Year". WROC-TV. 2009-11-18. 
  68. ^
  69. ^
  70. ^ "Rochester NY Crime Statistics (2006 Crime Data)". areaConnect. Retrieved 2009-03-23. 
  71. ^
  72. ^ International Sister Cities of Rochester
  73. ^ City of Rochester, New York (2006-10-11). "SISTER CITIES BRIDGE RENAMED "FRANK AND JANET LAMB SISTER CITIES BRIDGE"". Press release. Retrieved 2007-06-10. "Mayor Robert J. Duffy conducted a ceremony today on the Sister Cities Bridge, officially renaming it the Frank and Janet Lamb Sister Cities Bridge." 
  74. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "International Sister Cities of Rochester". City of Rochester. Retrieved 2008-12-24. 
  75. ^ "Rochester Has New Sister City". R News. 2008-01-19. Retrieved 2008-12-24. 

External links

Coordinates: 43°9′56″N 77°36′41″W / 43.16556°N 77.61139°W / 43.16556; -77.61139

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Rochester (New York) article)

From Wikitravel

Big-city culture and small-city charm combine in Rochester [1], a mid-sized city on the shores of Lake Ontario. The birthplace of amateur photography, Rochester has long been known as Kodak Town, but its fame was established well before George Eastman came on the scene. Today, its historical treasures complement modern attractions that rival those found in much larger communities.

In Rochester, you can find the only museum in the world dedicated to play; award-winning music and dance ensembles; a dense festival calendar covering nearly every weekend of the year; minor-league sports of the highest caliber; and a trio of majestic waterfalls right in the middle of the city. The gateway to the scenic and culinary delights of New York's Finger Lakes region, Rochester is the perfect place to begin your exploration of Western New York.


Rochester, known as The Flower City and The World's Image Centre, is the third-largest city in the state of New York, after New York City and Buffalo. Lake Ontario lies to its north, with the Genesee River flowing northward through the city and over a set of three waterfalls. The historic Erie Canal also runs along the city's borders.

But Rochester is much more than just its waterways. The city loves to celebrate its long history of industry and invention, taking pride in the many innovators and social reformers that have made their marks here. It also looks to the future, to the new places to which today's innovations will lead. And when it's time to relax, few cities of its size can compare in the variety and quality of cultural and recreational events available here.

Above all, the city's primary trait may be perseverance. Epitomized by the yearly collective slog through another snowy winter, this perseverance also manifests itself in the way Rochester has reinvented itself over the years. Even today, as the city tries to chart its course through the 21st century, its people plunge forward with that same determination, carrying with them not just the hope, but the certainty that springtime will arrive and with it, growth.


Rochester has always been defined by water. It was born in the early nineteenth century as a small village on the Genesee River, a few miles south of Lake Ontario. The village was constructed around flour mills that took advantage of the three waterfalls on the river for power. When the Erie Canal was built a few years later, it was routed through Rochester, and the small village became America's first boomtown, a major trade center for grain being shipped east and goods being shipped west. It soon garnered the nickname "The Flour City", and its products were known as far away as England.

As time went on, and farmland opened up in the Great Plains, Rochester's flour industry faded, to be replaced by a variety of others, including clothing, shoes, boats, and horticulture. By the middle of the nineteenth century, Rochester's nurseries and gardens had led to a new nickname: "The Flower City", celebrated each year with the famous Lilac Festival each May. Rochester also became a center for social progressivism. The great abolitionist orator Frederick Douglass made his home here for many years, and suffragist Susan B. Anthony was a life-long resident.

In the early 1900s, the modern city began to take shape, molded in large part by the philanthropy of George Eastman, whose Eastman Kodak camera company became the area's largest employer. The Eastman School of Music, the Eastman Theatre, the George Eastman House, and numerous other buildings and institutions remain today as testaments to his influence and generosity.

Since World War II, Rochester has seen a decline in population but has also seen periods of urban renewal funded by industry. In the 60s and 70s, the city became known as the leading jazz town in upstate New York, a legacy recalled today by the annual Rochester International Jazz Festival in June. Since the turn of the century, Rochester has called itself "The World's Image Centre", based on the local prominence of imaging giants Kodak and Xerox and optics company Bausch & Lomb.

Rochester's recent industrial decline has been painful, but it has been countered by a rise in world-class historical and cultural attractions.

Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Daily highs (°F) 31 33 43 55 68 77 81 79 71 60 47 36
Nightly lows (°F) 17 17 25 35 46 55 60 59 51 41 33 23
Precipitation (in) 2.3 2.0 2.6 2.8 2.8 3.4 2.9 3.5 3.5 2.6 2.8 2.7
Daylight (hrs/day) 9 11 12 13 15 15 15 14 12 11 10 9
Water (°F) 38 36 36 38 44 56 67 70 66 56 48 41

Check Rochester's 7 day forecast at NOAA

Rochester is unashamedly part of the Snow Belt of the United States, competing every year with its upstate neighbors for the "coveted" Golden Snowball Award (for most snowfall). Snowfalls in Rochester were once legendary, although lately the lake-effect snow has favored Syracuse and Rochester has started to fall behind.

Visitors are often surprised by the amount of snow Rochesterians will put up with. It takes multiple feet of snow or biting cold frostbite-in-ten-minutes temperatures to close schools; anything less and you just put another layer on and grab the shovel. And forget about work or college being canceled; unless the governor has declared a state of emergency, you'll find commuters dutifully plunging forth across barely-plowed roads and highways. And sometimes, even then...

Simply stated, snow is a daily fact of life in Rochester winters, and the traveler must be prepared to deal with it as the locals do: with a hearty grumble of resignation, the assertion that "at least we don't have earthquakes, tornadoes, or hurricanes", and the knowledge that better days lie ahead.

An illustrative anecdote

Rochester astronomer Lewis Swift (1820-1913) once attended a conference in California. Invited to gaze through the telescope there, he expressed amazement.

"What do you see?" he was asked.


"Well what did you expect to see?"


Fortunately, those "better days" are truly gems, and few cities appreciate them more when they arrive. "The weather is beautiful" headlines can often be found in the news media when a wave of pleasant weather hits. July and August can be very humid at times, but relief is rarely more than a few days away. May, June, late August, September, and early October have the most comfortable temperatures. Outside of those months, partly sunny days alternate with overcast conditions and heavy precipitation, ranging from light fluffy snow to heavy wet glop to cold damp drizzle.

But all this emphasis on winter should not overshadow Rochester's short but beautiful springs, mild summers, and very colorful autumns. Rochesterians make the best of winter, but they really take advantage of every nice day the rest of the year—and so should you.

  • VisitRochester, +1 800 677-7282 (, fax: +1 585 232-4822), [2]. The official visitor's association for the Greater Rochester area. They have information centers in the following locations:  edit
    • Center City Visitor Information Center, 45 East Ave (near East Main). M-F 8:30AM-5PM; Sa 9AM-2PM. This is the main office for VisitRochester.  edit
    • Visitor Information Booth, Greater Rochester International Airport (lower level). M-F 8AM-8PM; Sa 10AM-6PM; Su 11AM-5PM.  edit
    • Seneca Thruway Visitor Information Center, (at the Seneca service area near Thruway exit 45 (westbound)). M-Th 10AM-3PM; F 10AM-5PM; Sa Su 8AM-4PM.  edit
    • Tourist Information Center, (at the Scottsville service area near Thruway exit 46 (eastbound)). May-Oct.  edit
  • Downtown Information Center, 120 E Main St (corner of St Paul), ''+1 585'' 232-3420 (fax: ''+1 585'' 232-8365), [3]. M–F 8:30AM-5:30PM. Focuses on downtown information. Keep an eye out for red-shirted Downtown Safety Services team members on bike or on foot; they roam downtown and can help you with any problems you have.  edit
  • The Center at High Falls Visitor Center, 60 Browns Race, ''+1 585'' 325-2030 (fax: ''+1 585'' 325-2414), [4]. W-F 10AM-5PM; Sa noon-6PM; Su 1PM-5PM. This visitor's center focuses on High Falls but has information on the whole city as well. Also features a small museum, a gift shop, and walking tours of the High Falls area (call ahead). See also the activity listing below.  edit


Rochester is part of the "Inland North" dialect region of the United States, with only a few minor local variations. There is, though, one language issue that separates Rochester from the rest of the Finger Lakes region: American Sign Language. Rochester has one of the highest populations of deaf people (per capita) in the United States, and as such sign language is not an uncommon sight around the city. It's not a given that you'll see ASL being used if you visit Rochester—unless you drop by the Rochester School for the Deaf, or the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at Rochester Institute of Technology—but you never know. Most businesses, especially in Henrietta and Brighton, are accustomed to working with deaf customers and often have teletype machines and dedicated TTY phone numbers.

If you encounter a deaf person but don't know sign language, do not shout. You can raise your voice slightly, but it's most important to speak clearly and directly, being careful not to hide your mouth with your hand. If all else fails, find a piece of paper and write back and forth. If an interpreter is available, be sure to address the deaf person, not the interpreter. The deaf person will watch the interpreter, but you should be looking at the deaf person and listening to the interpreter.

Greater Rochester International Airport and vicinity.
Greater Rochester International Airport and vicinity.

The Greater Rochester International Airport, 1200 Brooks Ave (I-390 to Exit 18B or I-490 to Exit 6; follow signs) [5], is located just southwest of the city proper. It is a very nice medium-sized airport, newly remodeled in 2008, with three runways and two concourses. The airline with the most passengers is US Airways, but most of the major domestic carriers (Southwest is an exception) and low-cost airlines JetBlue and AirTran have multiple daily scheduled flights to and from their hubs. Flights are also available to and from fellow upstate cities Buffalo, Syracuse, and Albany, as well as seasonal direct flights to and from Orlando. AirCanada offers daily flights to and from Toronto.

Depending on the day of the week, JetBlue can have very good deals flying in from JFK in New York City.

From the airport, you'll probably use either a taxi or a rental car to take you to your destination. All of the common car rental agencies have a presence here, and this is the only place in the city you can reliably find a taxi to hire. Bus service on RTS is available, but not convenient unless you're headed downtown. The other option is a hotel shuttle; many of the hotels on the west side of the city offer complimentary airport shuttles.

By car

Because of Rochester's location close to Lake Ontario, the New York State Thruway, Interstate 90, passes a few miles to the south, through the southern suburbs. It still provides the quickest route into the area from the east and west, though. Whichever way you're coming, you'll take I-490 to get into the city proper; it leaves the Thruway eastbound at Exit 47, passes through downtown Rochester, then rejoins the Thruway at Exit 45.

Exit 46, between them, is for I-390, the primary route into Rochester from points south. I-390's south end is at I-86, and it also connects with U.S. Route 15 out of Pennsylvania.

From the northeast, if you don't want to head south to the Thruway, most drivers will take State Route 104, a former federal route that constitutes the main rural drag through the northern part of Western New York. From the northwest—northern Orleans and Niagara Counties—104 is still an option. There's also the Lake Ontario State Parkway, which starts 35 miles northwest of downtown and follows the lake shore to the Rochester harbor.

The Amtrak station, Greyhound/Trailways station, and vicinity
The Amtrak station, Greyhound/Trailways station, and vicinity

The Amtrak station, 320 Central Ave (Inner Loop to N Clinton Ave, quick right onto Central), [6], has daily scheduled service on three lines. The Empire Service heads east to Syracuse, Albany, and New York City (with some stops along the way), and west to Buffalo and Niagara Falls. The Maple Leaf is the same but keeps going past Niagara Falls across the Canadian border to Toronto. The Lake Shore Limited from Chicago to Boston or New York also stops in Rochester.

The station is not in the "best" part of town, so don't try to walk there at night. The station itself, and its parking lot, are well lit and quite safe, though. Be prepared for delays—this is Amtrak after all—and be aware there's really nothing to do to kill time in or around the station.

A few taxis will often be waiting at the station around the scheduled arrival times, or you may want to arrange for a rental agency to pick you up.

  • Greyhound [7] and Trailways [8] share a bus station just across the street from the train station, at 186 Cumberland St. It is some distance north of the RTS hub, although several routes stop nearby.

By boat

With the Erie Canal, Genesee River, Lake Ontario, and Irondequoit Bay, waterways are a rare but not unheard-of method of getting to Rochester. Your best bets for mooring are at the mouth of the Genesee (the Rochester harbor) and in Irondequoit Bay, but those only work if you're coming from Lake Ontario. If you're on the Erie Canal coming from points east or west, you can often moor in one of the villages along the way, including Pittsford, Fairport, and Brockport, although these are all a few miles outside of Rochester. You could also take the canal to the river, then north almost to downtown, mooring at Brooks Landing or Corn Hill Landing.

Downtown Rochester and surrounding areas.
Downtown Rochester and surrounding areas.

Get around

Most people will tell you that a car is a virtual necessity for getting around Rochester. Although largely true, especially taking into account the suburbs, the adventurous can manage to see a lot of attractions on foot or bicycle, and the patient can take advantage of the municipal bus system to traverse the entire county.

Of course, in winter all bets are off. Driving becomes potentially hazardous, biking becomes impossible, and walking is very much hit-or-miss.

Rush hours in Rochester are approximately 7-9 AM and 5-6 PM on weekdays.

By car

Six major rental agencies have desks at the Greater Rochester International Airport: Alamo, Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Hertz, and National. Most also have locations scattered throughout the city and surrounding towns, and they will usually come pick you up if you're coming in from, say, the Amtrak station. Contact your preferred agency for details and locations.

Those who balk at needing a car to get anywhere in the Rochester area can at least take heart that it is a very drivable city. A common local maxim is that the travel time between any two points in or around the city is twenty minutes. The expressway system was designed in the 50s, when Rochester's population was booming; this growth slowed to a stop soon afterward, leaving a network of high-capacity roads that rarely see congestion. You'll encounter some mild rush-hour slowdowns, especially on Interstates 390, 490, and 590, but visitors from more populous areas will scoff at what Rochesterians call "traffic".

Construction and severe winter weather can disrupt Rochester's normally placid roads, however. In winter, pay close attention to traffic advisories, and if they say "no unnecessary travel"—they mean it. Most of the time, though, drive slowly and carefully and you'll be fine. It takes locals a snowfall or two to remember this every November, so be extra-cautious early in the season.


The highway system is designed as two loops, the unofficial "Outer Loop" and the official "Inner Loop", with feeders coming in from the west, east, and south. (North is Lake Ontario—no highways there!) The Inner Loop is an urban expressway, weaving both above and below the surface roads of downtown. It circumscribes the nominal downtown area, although some "downtown" attractions—Frontier Field, High Falls, and most of the museums, for example—lie outside the Inner Loop. Because it's a loop, you can get turned around if you're not familiar with the area; visitors should probably stick to surface streets.

The Inner Loop begins and ends at I-490, which runs east-west straight through the middle of the city and forms the bottom portion of the actual loop. I-490 is the feeder expressway that connects the Outer and Inner Loops on both the east and west sides of the city, eventually connecting up with Interstate 90, the New York State Thruway, on both ends (several miles out).

The Outer Loop runs very close to the official city limits. I-390 comes up from the south (where it connects with the Thruway), then turns sharply west at a junction with I-590, which heads east. The two spurs curve out and up to the north to form the bottom part of the loop, until they each reach I-490 on either side of the city. Their Interstate designations end there, but the highways each continue north as State Routes 390 and 590. 390 passes State Route 104 and continues north as an expressway to the Lake Ontario State Parkway, just west of the Rochester harbor. 590 also passes Route 104, but soon becomes a surface road for the rest of its run to the lake, at Seabreeze near Irondequoit Bay.

New York State Route 104 is a major east-west route and forms the northern part of the Outer Loop, although it's only an expressway on one side, from the river east. It's also the main feeder route from the northeast and northwest.

Surface roads

While driving downtown, keep an eye out for these directional signs; they're color-coded by quadrant and provide directions to parking and attractions.
While driving downtown, keep an eye out for these directional signs; they're color-coded by quadrant and provide directions to parking and attractions.

The expressways will get you close to your destination, but navigating the surface streets is necessary as well. Rochester's early founding as a milling village means that its major avenues were laid out to facilitate traffic to outlying and neighboring settlements—namely, in a radiating pattern. In general, "avenues" radiate outward from downtown and "streets" connect the avenues, but this is not set in stone and there are almost as many exceptions as there are examples.

On the east side, St. Paul Street follows the river north to Irondequoit. North Clinton Avenue, Hudson Avenue, Portland Avenue, North Street, and Goodman Street all head north to Irondequoit as well. East Main Street and Atlantic Avenue head east towards Penfield. East Avenue (State Route 96) and Monroe Avenue (State Route 31) head southeast for Pittsford. South Clinton Avenue, South Avenue, and Mount Hope Avenue (State Route 15) venture southward toward Brighton and Henrietta.

On the west side, Exchange Boulevard (State Route 383) and Plymouth Avenue head southwest toward the airport. West Main Street (State Route 33) heads for Chili, West Broad Street (State Route 31) for Gates, and Lyell Avenue for Greece. State Street follows the river north toward Lake Ontario and the harbor.

The only place it's really tricky to drive is downtown. There is a small selection of one-way streets, just few enough to confuse you when you encounter one. There are also some turning restrictions on weekdays, especially for turning onto Main Street; watch the signs carefully.

By bus

The area bus system is the Regional Transit Service (RTS), run by the Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority (RGRTA) [10]. While the buses are clean, efficient, comfortable, and cheap, the service has often been criticized as inconvenient.

The bus routes are designed as a hub-spoke system, optimized for travelers headed to and from downtown. The hub is downtown, so travelers trying to get from one suburb to another often have to ride one bus all the way into the city, then another all the way back out. The system works great for getting to the center of downtown, but the typical rider will be faced with a walk or another bus ride to get the rest of the way to his or her destination.

If the bus routes are convenient for you, though, RTS service is hard to beat, especially when the roads get slushy in winter. Every RTS bus has a bicycle rack on front, which can provide some flexibility if you're willing to bike to a bus stop. Fares are $1.00 per ride, or $3.00 for an all-day pass. $14.00 gets you a 5-day pass and $56.00 allows you to ride freely for a full month. Discounted fares are available for children and seniors (although you'll need a Medicare or RTS low-fare card for the senior discount).

Bus schedules are available online [11] and throughout the city, especially at transit hubs and information centers.

By foot

Downtown Rochester is very walkable, at least for eight months out of the year. Traffic is light outside of rush hours, and crosswalks are plentiful. The Rochester Skyway is a system of enclosed elevated walkways and underground tunnels that connect numerous buildings downtown, including hotels, office buildings, and parking garages. It's especially useful in the winter, but the network only covers the east side of the river, and its continuity was severely disrupted by the recent closing of Midtown Plaza. Still, it provides a relatively warm, traffic-free route around the area. Look for the blue Skyway logo to find your way.

On the surface streets downtown, most areas are relatively safe, but be careful in the northeastern area (bounded by E. Main Street, East Avenue, the Inner Loop, and N. Clinton Avenue), especially at night.

Outside of downtown, the city is not very walkable, except in isolated areas. Safety and navigation become issues the farther out you get from tourist attractions and recreation areas. Especially at night, you'll want vehicular transportation available.

One exception to the general lack of walkability is the Genesee Riverway Trail [12], an almost-completed walking and biking route along the river. Once completed, this trail will take you from the Erie Canal on the south edge of the city all the way to Lake Ontario at the harbor. It also connects with other trails, especially the Genesee Valley Greenway south of the city.

Outside of the city, the inner suburbs are similarly hard to walk in, but there are pockets of village-like atmospheres where walking can be pleasant, such as Twelve Corners in Brighton and the Titus-Hudson area of Irondequoit.

By bicycle

Much of the advice above for pedestrians applies to bikers as well, although bikers won't be able to make use of the Skyway. The Genesee Riverway Trail is fully accessible for bicycles, and they're a common sight all over the area in the summer, especially on the Erie Canal towpath. The low traffic in Rochester is a boon for cyclists, allowing brave ones to take to the highways (but stay off the expressways!). Also, as noted above, all RTS buses have bike racks mounted on the front, which can be a great convenience.

By taxi

You can hire a taxi, but you'll need to call ahead to have one pick you up unless you're at the airport or the Amtrak station. Prices are set by the city at $0.50 per 1/6 mile, plus $2.00 per additional passenger. $10.00 minimum to and from the airport. Local limousine companies can provide more luxurious transportation for a somewhat higher fee.

By boat

Boating in Rochester is usually done for recreation rather than transportation, but the latter is not unheard of.

The Genesee River is not navigable through downtown; you can go downstream from the south (Erie Canal) as far as the Court Street Dam, or upstream from the north (Lake Ontario) as far as the Lower Falls, but the three waterfalls and the downtown area are no-go. That still leaves some options, however. Mooring is available at the harbor near Lake Ontario and at Brooks Landing and Corn Hill Landing between the canal and downtown. The Erie Canal [13] passes along the southern city limts, providing access from points east and west to the upper river. It's doable, but be sure to plan for the additional transportation you'll need once your boat is docked.

Note that the Erie Canal is drained every November and not refilled until the end of April.


Rochester isn't the most popular place for sightseeing, although the Genesee River gorge and its waterfalls are certainly worth a trip. The city does has a number of cultural attractions, though, especially for a city of its size.


Famed landscaper Frederick Law Olmsted designed Rochester's first public parks, which today comprise Highland, Genesee Valley, Maplewood, and Seneca Parks. Each remains a popular destination for locals and visitors alike.

  • Genesee Valley Park, Moore Rd (take Elmwood Ave or E River Rd west from Mt Hope Ave). 7AM-11PM. Located at the confluence of the Genesee River and the Erie Canal, the park is a great place to step off onto the Genesee Riverway Trail, the Genesee Valley Greenway, and the Erie Canalway Trail (see below).  edit
  • Highland Park, Highland Ave at South Ave, +1 585 753-PARK, [14]. 7AM-11PM. Most famous for its hundreds of lilacs, Highland Park is the site of the annual Lilac Festival. Even when the lilacs aren't blooming, though, there are countless other examples of Rochester's horticultural tradition. There is a Sunken Garden behind the Warner Castle, and the Highland Park Bowl, a natural amphitheater, hosts concerts and films during the summer. The park also hosts the county's Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the AIDS Remembrance Garden.  edit
    • Lamberton Conservatory, 171 Reservoir Ave, +1 585 753-7270. 10AM-4PM. The conservatory holds a number of more exotic plants that wouldn't survive outside in Rochester, including desert and tropical species. Open year-round and a wonderful refuge from the stark winter landscapes. Adults $3, youths/seniors $2, under 6 free.  edit
  • Mount Hope Cemetery, 1133 Mt Hope Ave, [15]. Frederick Douglass, Susan B. Anthony and other historical figures are buried in this beautiful Victorian cemetery. Also a great place for running.  edit
  • Artisan Works, 565 Blossom Rd, [16]. F Sa 11AM-6PM; Su noon-5PM. A non-profit organization housed in a huge warehouse, Artisan Works comprises a labyrinth of hallways and levels where every square inch is covered with art in all media (but mostly painting and sculpture). Everything is for sale. The gallery provides studio space to dozens of artists, some of whom may be working when you visit, and all of whom are happy to chat about what they're making. Also within is the Triangle Theater, a 30-seat movie theater which features films by student and local filmmakers. Adults $12, students/seniors $8.  edit
  • Campbell-Whittlesey House Museum, 123 S Fitzhugh St, +1 585 546-7029 x14, [17]. Apr-Dec, Th F noon-3PM, group tours by appt. One of the best-preserved examples of residential Greek Revival architecture in America. Adults $3, children $1.  edit
  • Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse, 70 Lighthouse St (Lake Ave to Latta Rd, go SE 400 ft, turn left before river), +1 585 621-6179, [18]. through Nov 1, Sa Su 1PM-5PM. If, when you get to the lighthouse, you wonder where the shore is, it's half a mile northeast. That's how much land has been added to the northern shore of New York since the lighthouse was built in 1822. Museum on the first floor has a lot of displays on Rochester's harbor history. Free.  edit
  • Frederick Douglass Resource Center, 36 King St, (), [19]. Orator Frederick Douglass lived in Rochester during his most productive years as a speaker and abolitionist, publishing his famous newspaper North Star here, but efforts to create a memorial or museum have only recently come to fruition. This resource center is still working to fill its space, but for now offers a glimpse at Douglass' time in Rochester.  edit
  • George Eastman House (International Museum of Photography and Film), 900 East Ave, +1 585 271-3361 (fax: +1 585 271-3970), [20]. Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM, Th 10AM-8PM, Su 1PM-5PM. This mansion was built by the founder of Eastman Kodak and has been restored to appear much as it did when he was alive. It could be considered three museums in one: first, the building itself and its living areas, which illustrate the life of Rochester's elite in the early twentieth century; second, exhibits highlighting the history of photography and film; and third, the museum's enormous photograph and film archives, among the largest in the world. Films are often presented in the museum's Dryden Theatre (see below). Guided tours of the house and the exhibits are available. Adults $10, seniors $8, students $6, children 4-12 $4, under 4 free.  edit
  • Memorial Art Gallery, 500 University Ave, +1 585 276-8900, [21]. W-Su 11AM-5PM; Th 11AM-9PM. Adults $10, students/seniors/military $6, children $4, under 6 free. Th 5PM-9PM, $6.  edit
  • Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad Museum [22] & New York Museum of Transportation [23], 6393 East River Road, +1 585-533-1113, Sundays 11AM-5PM. Railroad- and transportation-themed exhibits, track car and trolley rides between museums, locomotive and caboose rides on selected dates (including some Saturdays).
  • Rochester Medical Museum and Archives, 333 Humboldt St, +1 585 922-1847 (), [24]. M-F 9AM-4PM.  edit
  • Rochester Museum and Science Center, 657 East Ave (+1 585 271-4320), [25]. M-Sa 9AM-5PM, Su 11AM-5PM. A science museum filled with hands-on exhibits and activities. Fantastic for kids, but a lot of it is fun for parents, too. Kids will love the Adventure Zone, full of active and creative play opportunities. Don't miss the enormous mastodon skeleton in Expedition Earth, which displays an overwhelming amount of information on the post-glacial history of western New York. Other permanent exhibits focus on the people of the Haudenosaunee, nineteenth-century Rochester, the Underground Railroad, and more. The Strasenburgh Planetarium is next door. Adults $10, seniors/students $9, children/teens $8, under 3 free. Admission plus a planetarium show: adults $15, students $11.  edit
  • Seneca Park Zoo, 2222 St Paul St (Rt 104 to Clinton Ave; follow signs for zoo), +1 585 336-7200, [26]. Apr-Oct daily 10AM-5PM; Nov-Mar daily 10AM-4PM. Rochester's zoo is nestled inside the Olmsted-designed Seneca Park. While small—the entire zoo can easily be enjoyed in an afternoon—a lot of value is packed into the small area. Genny C and Lilac are the only African elephants in the state; the zoo's three orangutans are also unique in New York. The Rocky Coasts exhibit, with polar bears, sea lions, and penguins, is a definite highlight. Apr-Oct: Adults $9, seniors $8, youths $6, under 3 free; $2 discount Nov-Mar.  edit
  • Strasenburgh Planetarium, 657 East Ave, +1 585 271-4320, [27]. The planetarium adjacent to the Rochester Museum and Science Center offers a variety of large-format films and weekly planetarium shows using their state-of-the-art star projector. Saturdays during the summer feature laser-light shows set to music. Show times and prices vary; tickets that include admission to the RMSC are available.  edit
  • Strong National Museum of Play, 1 Manhattan Sq, +1 585 263-2700, [28]. M-Th 10AM-5PM, F Sa 10AM-8PM, Su noon-5PM. This downtown children's museum, the only one with a specific focus on play, is the place to visit if you have kids from 1-12. This museum focuses on learning through play and features tons of interactive exhibits, including some focused on well-known themes like Sesame Street. One nice feature is that most exhibits have information for adults to read (such as on how fairy tales have changed with the times) while the kids do things like climb on a pirate ship. Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden is a new addition, but it costs $3 extra to get in. The museum also houses the National Toy Hall of Fame; the toy archives are less interactive but might bring back a lot of memories for older visitors. If you have kids you can easily spend a whole day here, or visit a couple of times to enjoy everything. Adults $10, seniors $9, children $8, under 2 free. Butterfly Garden $3.  edit
  • Susan B. Anthony House, 17 Madison St, +1 585 235-6124, [29]. Sep-May W-Su 11AM-4PM; Jun-Aug Tu-Su 11AM-5PM. This is the house where the women's rights activist lived for many years, and where she was arrested after voting illegally in 1872. The museum highlights Anthony's influences, the many reforms she worked for (suffrage, abolition, temperance, education, and a purse of her own among them), her friendship with Frederick Douglass, and her trial for voting. Adults $6, seniors $5, students/children $3.  edit
  • High Falls. Featuring a waterfall in the center of downtown, this is a nice area to walk around.
  • Park Ave. There are a lot of great trendy shops in this district, and it's serviced by the RTS service. However, it's definitely not an entire day activity, and things close relatively early.
  • The South Wedge. A triangular neighborhood bordered by the Genesee and Interstate 490. The South Wedge is what some may call an "up and coming" neighborhood. Many night life options and a growing number of shops and businesses. Located close to Alexander street as well as the University of Rochester and Mt. Hope Cemetery.
  • Grove Place. Small residential neighborhood in downtown Rochester. Full of beautiful 19th century townhouses. Several good restaurants are in the neighborhood and it is in easy walking distance to Eastman Theater and the Eastman School of Music as well as the Memorial Art Gallery.



Once May rolls around, snow becomes less likely, and Rochester's renowned festival season begins. Pretty much every weekend from May through October, there's at least one festival of some sort going on in Rochester or its suburbs. Rochester's festivals run the gamut, focusing on such diverse subjects as horticulture, music, crafts, and food—and admission is free for almost all of them!

Among the suburban festivals, be sure to check out Fairport Canal Days [30] in early June (6-7 Jun 2009). Of the many festivals centered on the Erie Canal, this may be the best, and it's held in the quintessential canal town.

The closest Renaissance Festival is in Sterling, Cayuga County. [31] It's about 45 minutes away, but it's worth the trip. It's open weekends from July through mid-August every year.


  • Imagine RIT, Lomb Memorial Dr, Henrietta (Jefferson Rd (Rt 252) to RIT campus), [32]. 1 May 2010 10AM-5PM. The newest addition to Rochester's festival calendar was established in 2008. Rochester Institute of Technology's innovation and creativity festival showcases what happens "when the left brain and right brain collide," featuring hundreds of student projects from every corner of the university. Robotics, music, sign language, virtual reality, ecology, and weird science are just a few of the many subject areas covered; in fact, most of the projects take elements from multiple disciplines and combine them in innovative ways. Plenty of food, hands-on exhibits, and kids' activities make for an unbeatable value for a day out. Free.  edit
  • Lilac Festival, Highland Park (Sa Su: Park at MCC, 1000 E Henrietta Rd, Brighton), (), [33]. 14-23 May 2010. For ten days every May, Rochester's flagship festival celebrates the community—and its flowers—in beautiful Highland Park, designed by renowned landscaper Frederick Law Olmsted. The park's world-famous lilac collection was started by horticulturist John Dunbar in 1892 with 20 varieties. Today, over 500 varieties of lilacs cover 22 of Highland Park's 155 acres. The usual summer festival staples are all here, such as kiddie rides and food vendors, but also tons of activities for kids, a parade, a craft show, a festival-sponsored 5K race, and a packed schedule of music and entertainment. You can even buy Highland Lilac perfume! [34] Free.  edit
  • 360 | 365 Film Festival (formerly Rochester High Falls International Film Festival), [35]. 5-10 May 2010. It may not be Cannes, or even Toronto, but Rochester's annual film festival has its own niche and charm. Appropriately for the home of both George Eastman and Susan B. Anthony, Rochester's film festival focuses on the achievements of female filmmakers and actresses and each year awards The Susan B. Anthony "Failure is Impossible" Award. The festival runs for six days in May, around the time of the Lilac Festival. Most of the films are shown at the historic Little Theatre on East Avenue, but other venues get into the act as well. Admission prices vary.  edit


  • Rochester International Jazz Festival, [36]. 12-20 Jun 2009. Founded in 2002, this is one of the largest and fastest-growing music festivals in North America. Held in 18 venues, all within walking distance of each other, the nine-day festival offers a mix of free and ticketed events for people of all ages. It attracts fans from the U.S. and around the world who come to hear one of the most multidimensional, international, and diverse artist lineups presented at a major music festival. Outdoor shows: free; club passes: $139; headliner concerts vary.  edit
  • Maplewood Rose Celebration, Driving Park Ave at Lake Ave, +1 585 428-5990, [37]. 20-21 Jun 2009. They may not be the lilacs of Highland Park, but Maplewood Park's rose garden is impressive in its own right. This is also a great opportunity to take a tour of the Genesee River gorge near the park.  edit
  • Rochester Harbor and Carousel Festival, Lake Ave at Beach Ave (Ontario Beach State Park), +1 585 865-3320. 25-27 Jun 2009. The 1905 Denztel Carousel is the centerpiece of this festival, but you can also check out a parade of boats, tour the historic Charlotte lighthouse, and of course visit the artisans and food vendors throughout the park. Free.  edit
  • Taste of Rochester, Main St Bridge, [38]. 26-28 Jun 2009. Sample the best of what Rochester's unique restaurants have to offer, right on the Main Street Bridge over the river. Free admission.  edit


  • Corn Hill Arts Festival, +1 585 262-3142, [39]. 11-12 Jul 2009. The Corn Hill neighborhood is just south of downtown along the river. This festival celebrates its long history with over 400 arts and crafts exhibitors, plus the standard live musicians and food vendors. Free.  edit
  • Monroe County Fair, Fair & Expo Center, 2695 E Henrietta Rd, Henrietta (Route 15A south to Calkins Rd., turn right), [40]. 15-19 Jul 2009. Rochester is a city well-connected with its rural outskirts, so agricultural exhibits remain the centerpiece of the fair. There are plenty of carnival rides, too, plus talent shows, hands-on activities, and live entertainment like demolition derbies. All of the surrounding counties have their own fairs, too, throughout late summer. Kids free; teens $3; adults $5; seniors $2; parking $3/car; rides extra (all-day ride pass $15); grandstand events extra.  edit
  • Main Game, W Main St, +1 585 428-5990. 25 Jul 2009 1PM-6PM. Main Street gets closed to vehicles for this event, which features recreational programs from around the city. Play a variety of street sports or watch dance and martial arts exhibitions. Free.  edit


  • Park Ave Summer Arts Fest, [41]. 1-2 Aug 2009. Park Avenue is already one of the most eclectic neighborhoods of the city, and this festival just cements that. Almost the entire length of the street will be packed with people browsing artisans' wares, eating great food, visiting the local stores and restaurants, and listening to some music. This one may be the most popular of the summer arts festivals. Free.  edit
  • Clarissa Street Reunion, Clarissa St (bet. Dr Samuel McCree Way & Troup St), +1 585 234-4177. 11:30AM-11PM 15 Aug 2009. Many years ago, Clarissa Street was known as "Rochester's Broadway", home to the best jazz clubs in the city. Urban renewal in the 60s and 70s left its unfortunate mark on this neighborhood, but every August people come back for one day to celebrate the place it used to be. Live music is the main draw, but you'll also find a parade and other typical festival fare. Free.  edit


  • Zoo Brew, Seneca Park Zoo, 2222 St Paul St (Rt 104 to Clinton Ave; follow signs for zoo), +1 585 336-7200, [42]. 6PM-9PM 11 Sep 2009. Enjoy live music, drink beer and wine, socialize, and enjoy other activities among the animals of the zoo. Ages 21 and up only. $5.  edit
  • Clothesline Festival, Memorial Art Gallery, 500 University Ave, +1 585 276-8900, [43]. 12-13 Sep 2009. This is the most "artsy" of the summer festivals, focused on paintings and other artwork moreso than the crafts of other festivals. You can also take this opportunity to browse the gallery itself. $5; kids free; includes gallery admission.  edit
  • Irondequoit Oktoberfest, Camp Eastman, 1301 Lake Shore Blvd, Irondequoit (Culver Rd north to Durand-Eastman Park), +1 585 336-6070, [44]. 12-14 Sep & 19-21 Sep 2009. Rochester has a number of ethnic festivals throughout the year, but this one, celebrating German culture, is certainly the biggest. The music presented here might be the best you'll find at any other local festival outside of the Jazz Festival. And if you like bratwurst and sauerkraut—or a good German lager—you can't beat Oktoberfest. $8; kids free.  edit


  • Rochester River Romance, +1 585 428-5990. 9-11 Oct 2009. Rochester celebrates the Genesee River with this full weekend of events taking place all along the river. The Rochester Invitational Regatta, a two-day series of rowing races on the upper river near the canal, could be considered the centerpiece, but there are plenty other family-friendly things to see and do. Most events free.  edit
  • ImageOut (The Rochester Lesbian & Gay Film and Video Festival), +1 585 271-2640, [45]. 9-18 Oct 2009. Films and videos of all types, but all having something to do with gender and sexuality, are on tap for these ten days in October at multiple venues around the city.  edit


  • Coldrush, [46]. Jan-Mar. This isn't a single festival so much as a brand name, used to gather all of Rochester's many winter activities under one banner and advertising campaign. There's really a surprising number of events going on all winter. If you're in Rochester during these months, the Coldrush campaign is your central clearinghouse for whenever you're looking for something to do.  edit

A true hometown team

The Red Wings used to be owned by the St. Louis Cardinals—that's how they got their name, in fact. But in 1956, the Cards decided not to continue that relationship. Rochester businessman Morrie Silver organized a drive in which 8,222 shareholders each purchased a share of the team, saving it from relocation or folding. Rochester Community Baseball owns the team to this day.

It may not be the first city people think of when it comes to sports, but few other cities have as wide a variety, or as long a winning tradition, as Rochester does. The city is consistently ranked among the best cities in the country for minor-league sports, which means you can see some very talented players in some great, intimate venues for a very reasonable price.

  • Rochester Red Wings (baseball), 1 Morrie Silver Way (Plymouth Ave just north of the Inner Loop), +1 585 454-1001 (TTY: +1 585 325-4245) (, fax: +1 585 454-1056), [47]. Apr-Sep. A Rochester tradition since 1899, the Red Wings are the AAA affiliate of the Minnesota Twins. Frontier Field is a beautiful ballpark situated downtown with convenient and cheap ($5) parking. On the 4th of July and certain other summer nights, there are free fireworks shows with admission. Your food options are a bit better than the average—there's the usual hot dogs and beer (white hots and Genny, since this is Rochester, after all), but maybe you'd like to try the roast beef sandwiches, barbecue platters, subs and wraps, or sweet and savory crepes. $6.50-$10.50.  edit
  • Rochester Americans (hockey), 1 War Memorial Sq (W Broad at Exchange Blvd), +1 585 454-5335 (fax: +1 585 454-3954), [48]. Oct-Apr. Known fondly as the "Amerks", Rochester's storied hockey team is the AHL affiliate of the Florida Panthers. The Blue Cross Arena at the Rochester War Memorial is an old building, but it was renovated in the 90s and is now a fine downtown hockey arena. One of the oldest and most successful teams in the league, the Amerks have overcome a recent dry spell and now are back on top in the AHL. $11-$19.  edit
  • Rochester Rhinos (soccer), 460 Oak St (W Broad St past Frontier Field), +1 585 454-5425, [49]. Apr-Oct. The Rhinos are in the new NASL, a second-tier soccer league in the U.S. They have a relatively new soccer-specific stadium less than a mile northwest of Frontier Field, and there's not a bad seat in the house. Food options, provided by national barbecue chain Famous Dave's, are improving, but still not quite as good as at the baseball stadium (barbecue excepted!). $9-$19.  edit
  • Rochester Knighthawks (lacrosse), 1 War Memorial Sq (W Broad at Exchange Blvd), +1 585 454-5335 (fax: +1 585 454-3954), [50]. Jan-May. The K-Hawks are a top-tier indoor lacrosse team, featuring some of the best talent in the world. If you've never seen an indoor lacrosse match, a K-Hawks game is a great introduction. The team has several future (and one current) Hall-of-Famers on the roster; you simply won't find better, more exciting lacrosse being played anywhere. (And if the opponent is Buffalo or Toronto, you're in for a real treat!) $16-$23.  edit
  • Rochester Razorsharks (basketball), 1 War Memorial Sq (W Broad at Exchange Blvd), +1 585 232-9190 (fax: +1 585 232-8086), [51]. Jan-Apr. The Razorsharks, in the Premier Basketball League, are the latest in a long line of successful basketball teams in Rochester. With three championships in just four seasons, they're one of the top minor-league teams in the country. $5-$25.  edit
  • Rochester Raiders (indoor football), 1 War Memorial Sq (W Broad at Exchange Blvd), +1 585 427-0020 x554 (), [52]. Mar-Jul. The newest pro team in Rochester, the Raiders have been almost as successful as the Razorsharks. Playing a fast-paced brand of indoor football, the team features a large contingent of local players. $13.75.  edit
  • RIT Tigers (hockey), 51 Lomb Memorial Dr, Henrietta (RIT campus on Rt 252), +1 585 475-4121, [53]. Oct-Mar. Who needs football? Rochester Institute of Technology has hockey! Rochester's only Division I college team plays a hard-hitting and very successful brand of hockey and has already made waves in just four years at the top level. The Frank Ritter Ice Arena is an intimate (okay, small) venue, but it lets the fans sit right on top of the action. The legendary Corner Crew cheering section harasses opposing goalies all night, every night. This classic college hockey atmosphere is worth experiencing. $10.  edit
  • LPGA Championship (golf), 2000 Jefferson Rd, Henrietta (Locust Hill Country Club: Rt 252 between Winton and Clover), +1 585 427-7100 (fax: +1 585 427-7029), [54]. 21-27 Jun 2010. Since 1977, the best women golfers in the world have come to Locust Hill Country Club in the southern suburbs for the annual Wegmans LPGA tournament. Rochester golf fans turn out in droves for this event, making it a favorite stop for the players. This strong support was rewarded when the LPGA decided to hold the 2010 LPGA Championship in Rochester, in lieu of the normal annual stop. Prices TBD.  edit


Outside of New York, L.A. and Chicago, Rochester is the best city for film buffs. There are festivals throughout the year. These include ImageOut (gay and lesbian)[55], Jewish [56], High Falls (women) [57], and even Polish [58]. The venues range from the internationally-known Eastman House to a lowly (but thrifty) second-run multiplex.

  • Dryden Theatre, 900 East Ave (at the George Eastman House), +1 585-271-3361, [59]. The Eastman House, a major not-for-profit film and photographic museum, houses the Dryden Theatre. The Dryden shows a wide variety of Hollywood classics, international and independent films -- literally something different every night of the week. The programming is thoughtful and cutting-edge, with frequent visits by directors and actors. Nearly all films begin at 8PM and are preceded by a brief film talk. Tickets $4-6, except during special events such as visiting filmmakers.
  • The Little Theatre, 240 East Ave, +1 585-232-3906, [60]. Run by a not-for-profit corporation, the legendary Little shows a wide variety of foreign, independent and classic films in five theatres. There is also a cafe bakery (serves a full dinner menu along with wine and beer), sometimes with live music. Tickets cost $7 most nights, except for the weekend matinées where costs drop to $5. Discounts are available for seniors and students.
  • UR Cinema Group. At the University of Rochester, Hoyt Hall, +1 585-275-5911, [61]. UoR's own student run movie group. Movies are shown on Fridays and Saturdays, as well as most Thursdays while Fall and Spring semesters are in session. All Thursday movies are free admission; for Fridays and Saturdays, tickets cost $3 for the general public, and $2 for UR students. All movies have multiple showings.
  • Cinema Theatre, 957 S. Clinton Ave, +1 585-271-1785, [62]. Rochester's oldest neighborhood movie theater. Always a double feature (both second-run, mix of foreign/indie and standard Hollywood fare), this theater also has a resident cat who sometimes will sit on your lap during the show.
  • Cinemark Movies 10, 2613 West Henrietta Road, +1 585-292-0303, [63]. Second-run theater showing mostly mainstream Hollywood films. But prices are low: a high of $2.25 Fri/Sat nights to a low of 50 cents on Mondays.
  • Geva Theatre, 75 Woodbury Blvd, +1 585-232-1366, [64]. A very nice theatre, offering a choice from two different plays at any given time. Discounts are available for students and seniors.
  • Water Street Music Hall, 204 N Water Street, +1 585-546-3887, [65]. A wide variety of live music several nights out of the week. There is also a reasonably priced bar inside.
  • Penny Arcade Rock Club, 4785 Lake Avenue, +1 585-621-ROCK, [66]. A rock club near Ontario Beach park and former Fast Ferry building. Mostly metal/hard rock bands.
  • BugJar, 219 Monroe Ave, +1 585-454-2966, [67]. The walls display various works of art created by local artists, and the stage area/dance floor has an entire roomful of furniture arranged on the ceiling. Drink specials and live entertainment are featured here nightly, presenting popular local and national musical artists.
  • Downstairs Cabaret Theatre, 20 Windsor St, +1 585-325-4370, [68]. A tiny theatre with seating just a few feet from the stage. It's best to call before hand to buy tickets and get directions.
  • The Eastman Theatre, East Main Street, see the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, the Rochester Ballet, the Rochester Opera Group, and a slew of other cultural activities in one of the most striking buildings in Rochester.
  • Blackfriars Theatre, 795 East Main St, "+1" 585-454-1260, [69] Blackfriars Theatre is a mid-sized professional theatre that has entertained audiences for almost 60 years, providing a local showcase for actors and actresses, theater artists and technicians who have chosen to make Rochester their home. They've just moved to a new space on East Main near the Auditorium Center and the Main Street Armory.
  • Seabreeze, [70]. At the junction of Irondequoit Bay and Lake Ontario, Seabreeze combines the features of an old-fashioned amusement park with the technology and thrills of a modern water park. Has an original 1920s carousel with hand-carved horses.
  • Bristol Mountain, [71], ski in the winter and hike in the summer. Normally the hill opens for skiing shortly after Thanksgiving, it all depends on the snow though. For more information see the official site. From Rochester take Interstate 390 south to exit 10 (Avon). Take US 20/NY 5 East to NY 64 south. Bristol Mountain will be 10 miles (16 km) on your right.
  • Cobb's Hill Reservoir Park. If you happen to be in the area, Cobb's Hill provides a great panoramic view of downtown. Located on the corner of Culver and Monroe, it is an easy walk from the cafes on Park Ave. Large duck pond, baseball diamond, tennis courts and a nice (although steep) trail to the top of the hill, where the reservoir is located.
  • Erie Canal Trail, [72]. Though the walking paths are open year round, the canal is drained, kept empty, and less scenic between November and May. During the winter time, however, the canal trail is virtually deserted, and provides an excellent place to snowshoe and cross-country ski. There is no admission fee, and free parking is available at Genesee park. The trail and facilities are open from 6AM-9PM daily.
  • Genesee Valley Greenway , [73]. Formerly a railroad bed, this mostly gravel trail is perfect for off road cycling/walking/running. It follows along the Genesee river, cutting through the rolling farmland south of Rochester. 50+ miles depending upon how far south they've developed the path.
  • The Hi Tor, [74]. A short drive from Rochester in the village of Naples lies this spur off of the Finger Lakes Trail system. The Hi Tor provides heavy duty steep grade hiking/mountain biking. Leads to a beautiful hill top view of Canandaigua Lake.
  • East Ave, One should not miss a drive down historic East Ave, with the mansions of Rochester's past barons still mostly in tact, you can really see a history lesson of the Rochester area. Another great place to see off of East Ave is the Sandringham/Ambassador Drive neighborhood, some of the greatest residential architecture in Rochester can be viewed here.
  • Rock Ventures, 1044 University Ave, +1 585 442-5462, [75]. M-Sa noon-9PM, Su noon-6PM. This is the country's largest indoor rock-climbing establishment, quite popular with the area's college students. Great exercise and fun, too. $15-$25.  edit
  • Rochester Institute of Technology [76] is a university focusing on engineering, art, and other subjects. It also has a college for the deaf.
  • University of Rochester [77]. A high-caliber research university, possessing both an excellent medical school and the world-class Eastman School of Music among other assets.


As mentioned above, Rochester is known for and is home to Eastman Kodak Company [78]. The largest employer in the city is now the University of Rochester [79], which includes Strong Memorial Hospital [80]. It is also the home of industrial giants Bausch & Lomb, Inc. [81] and Xerox Corporation [82]. Other major companies in the Rochester metro include Paychex [83], the High Falls Brewing Co. (formerly known as the Genesee Brewing Co.): brewer of Honey Brown beer; and Bird's Eye: producer of frozen and packaged foods. To learn more about its corporations visit:

  • Rochester Public Market, 280 North Union St, +1 585-428-6907, [84]. Established in 1905, the public market is full of stalls and vendors. Fun to walk around, it is also an excellent place to purchase cheap locally grown produce. Open Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturdays.
  • Thread, 654 South Avenue, +1 585-232-7110, [85][86]. Hip clothing and gift boutique in the South Wedge. Thread carries clothing brands such as Upper Playground, Heavy Rotation, Beautiful/Decay, Paul Frank, Gentle Fawn, Soundgirl, Poketo, American Apparel, Squidfire, Hey Unite, Burn This Forever, Moneyhunt, Uzi, WESC, Public Domain and Scrapbook.
  • Marketplace Mall, [87].
  • The Mall At Greece Ridge Center, [88].
  • Eastview Mall, [89] The premier mall in the Rochester metro area, this mall contains many of the stores the average American is looking for, as well as several upscale stores not found in many malls in Upstate New York. As of 2009 some stores and restaurants of note are Aldo, Ann Taylor, Apple, Arden B, Arhaus Furniture, Banana Republic, Biaggi's Italian Ristorante, Bonefish Grill, Clarks England, Coach, Coldwater Creek, Crabtree and Evelyn, Eddie Bauer, Godiva Chocolatier, Janie & Jack, J.Crew, J.Jill, Lindt Chocolatier, Lord & Taylor, Macy's, P.F. Chang's China Bistro, Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, Sephora, Solstice, Swarovski, The Walking Company, and White House/Black Market. Teavana and Yogen Fruz opened in 2008. In 2009, Aerie, Game Craze, Francesca's Collections,and Auto Direct open. Anthropologie will open a large store in mid-January 2010. L.L.Bean will open a new free-standing store in July 2010. The mall has announced future plans, "The Signature Experience", for yet more upscale stores to be added.
  • Archimage, 668 Monroe Avenue, 585 271 2789. 11AM-7PM. Great gift shop with a very unique selection. They sell children's toys, cards, jewelry, incense, stones, chimes, housewares, unconventional clothing items, and more...  edit

While the usual generic liquor stores abound, there are specialty shops that are worth a second look:

  • Beers of the World, 3450 Winton Plaza (same plaza as Comix Cafe), +1 585-427-2852. A huge selection of both macro and micro brews from all over the world and homebrew supplies. Also has a large display filled with good cigars. Word to the wise: the owners are quite stand-offish, especially to first time customers and some of the beers are not that fresh. Watch out for dust!
  • Wine Sense, 749 Park Ave, +1 585-271-0590. Located near numerous other small shops and cafes, this wine dealer has a very friendly staff and carries many quality wines from the Finger Lakes region.
  • Century Pittsford Wines,[90], 3349 Monroe Avenue, Pittsford , NY +1 585-248-0931 In the highly regarded Pittsford Plaza,(not far from The Cheesecake Factory) has the largest selection of wine & liquer in the U.S.,including vintage. Was recently honored in NYC by Market Watch Magazine. Receives tour buses from the nearby vineyard and winery laden Finger Lakes, which is the second largest wine producing area in the U.S. .

There are several bookstores on Monroe Ave and East Ave which sell new, used, and rare books. Naturally, there are also large chain stores such as Barnes and Noble and Borders in the city.

  • Greenwood Books, 123 East Ave (near the Little Theatre). A nice selection of new and used books, with some older items that one simply can't find in large chain bookstores. Of particular interest is the selection of books covering both historical and modern Rochester.
  • House of Guitars, 645 Titus Ave, +1 585-544-9928, has a huge selection of new and used records, CD's, and cassettes, most of which you won't be able to find anywhere else. The store is also a shrine to music and musicians, with an extensive collection of instruments for sale. Some of the biggest music groups in the world (Metallica, Ozzy, etc) go out of their way to come to this store, because the selection is so big.
  • Craft Company No 6, 785 University Ave, [91]. Probably one of the most unique stores you will ever go to. Everything is handmade and for sale. Very artsy and not mass marketed.
A white hot garbage plate—two local specialties in one!
A white hot garbage plate—two local specialties in one!

Dining in Rochester is typical of most mid-sized American cities. The immediate suburbs are crawling with large chain restaurants, but you can find more original fare in the city proper, and in outlying areas away from the biggest commercial strips.

There is one mainstay of local cuisine that travelers with a large stomach and no fear of cholesterol should absolutely try: the famous Garbage Plate of Nick Tahou's Hots. For a few dollars, a "Plate" comes with your choice of meat served on top of macaroni salad, home fries, and onions, topped with "hot sauce" and ketchup and/or mustard. Most suburbs of Rochester have a local "Hots" (Penfield Hots, Empire Hots, etc.); each of them, not to mention several other burger joints around town, has its own variant on the "Plate"—but the original and most authentic is found at Tahou's. Steve T. Hots and Potatoes is the former second location of Nick Tahou's, and run by a different branch of the Tahou family; it's an acceptable second choice, mainly because the original is only open until 8PM these days. Late-night "plate runs"—a college tradition in Rochester—thus usually end up at Steve T.'s.

A "hot", by the way, is simply a hot dog, but they come in two varieties: red hots (traditional hot dogs) and white hots. Zweigle's is the local brand; don't even bother with any other brand if you're going to try a white hot. "Hot sauce", rather than the expected mouth-scalding pepper blend, is usually a mildly spicy meat sauce to put on hots, especially on garbage plates.

Buffalo-style chicken wings are almost as popular here as they are in Buffalo. Everyone has a favorite location for "wings", but Jeremiah's Tavern has some awards to back up their claim.

Moving up the dining scale a bit, a staple at local Greek- and Italian-American restaurants is Chicken French. It's a breaded chicken breast sauteéd in a lemon-wine sauce. It's so popular that veal and even artichokes can be found "Frenched" on local menus.

Restaurants of note include:

  • 2 Vine, 24 Winthrop Street. French and Italian food in a casual yet elegant bistro-type setting. Delicious vegetarian dishes, as well as a wide selection of fish, veal, etc. Moderately priced and near The Little Theatre.
  • Aja Noodle Co., 2602 Elmwood Ave, +1 585-244-1052. Serves lunch and dinner. Though located away from other travel attractions, the noodles are some of the best in Rochester. $7-$12 ($5 for all noodle bowls with a college ID).
  • California Rollin, 274 N Goodman St, +1 585-271-8990. If less traditional, more experimental/Western, sushi sounds interesting to you, pay a visit to this excellent sushi restaurant and bar. A special each day of the week; the best values for your buck are the Wednesday $20 all-you-can-eat and the Sunday 3-for-$12 deals. ( )
  • King and I, 1455 E Henrietta Rd, +1 585-427-8090. Located in Henrietta, a sprawling suburb that features mostly grimly terrible chain restaurants, this fantastic Thai spot features reasonable prices, lightning quick service (seriously, it's like they know what you're going to order before you get there) and food that always tastes uncannily fresh and yummy. The ambiance is not great, with a huge cavernous dining room and terrible, terrible art on the walls, but the food is consistently good and you can always get takeout. Make sure to try the Thai iced tea. No need to bother with reservations. Open for lunch and dinner.
  • Shiki, 1054 Clinton Ave S, +1 585-271-2090, [92]. Looks like nothing from the outside, an easily miss-able hole-in-the-wall place on South Clinton. But inside the tiny space is a little haven, authentically Japanese, with rice-paper screens and the most perfectly prepared sushi in Rochester. The only staff are the friendly Japanese owners who will offer lots of guidance if you ask.
  • Seoul Garden, 2805 W Henrietta Rd, +1 585-424-2220. Features extensive Korean menu -- Korean BBQ, scallion pancakes, spicy stews, etc. All meals come with lots of tasty extras, like fermented black beans and kimchee.
  • Abyssinia, 80 University Avenue, +1 585-262-3910. Tu-Su 12PM-9:30PM. The premier Ethiopian restaurant in Rochester and in the Grove Place district of town, Abyssinia has been open since 2000 and shows no signs of slowing down. Go for the combos, which are served injera (Ethiopian bread) or the clay pots of lamb or beef. (University of Rochester students get a 15% discount)
  • Dashen, 503 South Avenue, +1 585-232-2690. The other Ethiopian restaurant in Rochester, Dashen is located in the South Wedge. Most say it isn't as good as Abyssinia, but it is pretty cheap with hearty proportions. Every Saturday there is a DJ spinning African dance music. 11:30AM-10:30PM daily
  • The Little Bakery, 89 Charlotte Street, +1 585-232-4884 (fax: +1 585-232-8101), [93]. Located right behind the Little Theater and 2Vine, this fantastic bakery makes delicious breads and pastries. Check out their great to-go box lunches, all of which include a huge cookie. Lots of inventive and tasty choices for vegetarians.
  • Malek's, 1795 Monroe Ave., +1 585-461-1720. M-Th 6AM-6PM, Fri & Sun, 6AM-3PM. Located in the Twelve Corners area of Brighton, this Jewish (and Kosher) bakery makes European-style breads and pastries. They always have great challah, rye, pumpernickel, white and sour dough, and then each day of the week turn out specialty breads, like the not-to-be-missed chocolate babka (Thurs, Fri & Sun) and poppyseed danish (Thurs, Fri & Sun).
  • Philip's European, 26 Corporate Woods, +1 585-272-9910, [94]. The food is only ok, heavy, traditional French-- good for a business lunch or unadventurous out of town guests -- but the desserts are spectacular, with emphasis on pies, tortes, tarts, cakes and specialty cheesecakes. Examples include their Chocolate Tiramisu Torte and White Chocolate Carrot Cake. A full dessert menu is available in the restaurant, but the cakes can also be ordered whole and picked up. Lunch entrees $8-13, Dinner entrees $12-30. Desserts $6 or $55 for whole cakes.
  • Beale Street Cafe, 689 South Ave, +1 585 271-4650. Beale Street Cafe, while not Dino, is still a good place to grab a bite in the South Wedge if you are hungering for some BBQ. They serve New Orleans style food and is quite good. There is also usually a blues band playing on the weekend. In addition there is a good selection of beers at the front bar to go with the food.  edit
  • Dinosaur BarBQue, 99 Court St, +1 585 325-7090. Amazing Ribs, Chicken, and Black Beans and Rice among many other things. Expect to wait though! Average wait for a table is easily an hour, they don't take reservations, and unless your whole group is there you can't get on the list. They're a tad vigilant about it, but the place pushes so much business through they can afford to do so. The Dino is a must when in Rochester, if only for some of the sauce.  edit
  • Sticky Lips Pit BBQ, 625 Culver Rd (parking lot off Atlantic Ave), +1 585 288-1910, [95]. M Tu 11AM-9PM, W-Sa 11AM-10PM, Su noon-9PM. Again, it's not Dino, but Sticky Lips has its own vibe and charm. Its sauce bottles are decorated with 1940s-style pinups, and the decor features advertisements and periodicals from the same era. The food is good, too, with a very wide variety of options and combos, and five different sauces to choose from. Best part: they're never as crowded as Dinosaur. $6-$20.  edit
  • Uncle Ralph's Steakout & BBQ, (various locations). Don't go looking for a storefront proudly signed as "Uncle Ralph's"—Ralph takes his show on the road to different establishments around the city. On Wednesday and Sunday, he's at the Comedy Club in Webster; Monday he's at Paddy's Irish Pub in Greece, and Nathaniel's Pub in the city hosts the Steakout on Thursdays. (Locations subject to change.) Wherever he's at, and whatever the weather, Uncle Ralph cooks up a variety of meat-based entrees on his outdoor grills. $13-$24.  edit
  • Jay's Diner, 2612 W. Henrietta Road (across the street from the Movies 10 budget cinema), +1 585-424-3710. Open 24 hours, 7 days a week. A popular hangout with local college students, there's cheap food and it's always open. $5-$10 (10% discount with student ID).
  • Highland Park Diner, 960 South Clinton Avenue, +1 585-461-5040. Rochester's last classic diner. A 1948 Orleans diner restored in 1986 to an art deco style. Their motto is "real food, served real well at real prices". A neighborhood joint with very good food. Friendly, personal service (the owner himself often takes orders) and fantastic Sunday breakfast/brunch menu: berries & peaches stuffed French toast, tasty savory omelette's and a glorious eggs Benedict. Be sure to ask for "sweet cheese" on your waffles, pancakes & French toast.
  • Nick Tahou Hots, 2260 Lyell Ave, +1 585-429-6388. The original location on west main street is in a bad part of the city, but the Lyell Ave address of #2 is in a better area. Tahou's is the origin of Rochester's authentic cuisine, the garbage plate. For a few dollars, the plates come with your choice of meat, macaroni salad, home fries, onions and special sauce. The most common plate can be ordered by as quickly as possible saying "Cheeseburger plate, mac salad, home fries, everything!". For an authentic "Nick's" experience, visit the original at 320 W. Main St.
  • Mark's Texas Hots, 487 Monroe Avenue, +1 585-473-1563 This is where drunk college kids stumble off of Monroe Ave. to eat a garbage plate. The garbage plates from establishments that reside inside the city limits of Rochester have a decidedly more flavorful character than those in the suburbs. Mark's is the only diner I have ever been to with a bouncer. Go if only for the spectacle.
  • Vic & Irv's, 4880 Culver Road, +1 585-544-7680
  • Schaller's Drive-In, 559 Ridge Road East, +1 585-544-2097, 965 Edgemere Drive, +1 585-865-3319
  • Mykonos Cafe, 3423 Winton Place, +1 585-475-0040 (fax: +1 585-475-1487)
  • Mykonos Express, Mt. Hope Avenue south of Elmwood Ave.
  • Olive's Greek Taverna, Schoen Place, Pittsford, +1 585-381-3990. Mon-Sat 11AM-8PM. Located in Rochester's snootiest suburb, you wouldn't expect the best deal in Rochester, but this charming restaurant will give you the most bang for your buck. Authentic and carefully prepared, don't miss the huge mezede village platter (an appetizer that can be easily shared by two or more), gyros and well-spiced kebabs. Lots for vegetarians, and unbelievable sweet potato fries. Appetizers $5-10, sandwiches and entrees, $5-15. CASH ONLY Reservations only taken for 3 or more. On the weekends they're basically required, or you'll wait hours for a table.


Bars & clubs

There are several districts to party in around Rochester. They include the St. Paul Quarter, the East End (Area around Alexander St. and East Ave.), High Falls Entertainment district, and Monroe Ave. Even during the cold winter evenings, people can be seen on the street, hopping from one bar to the next.

Each district has an array of diverse bars, from trendy, to sports bars, to dive bars you can find a bar you will like in each area. Rochester is known for it wide selection of martinis and micro-brewed beers. Visit any mid-range to upscale bar/restaurant and they will probably have a great selection. Ask for their martini menu!

  • The Distillery, 1142 Mount Hope Avenue, +1 585-271-4105. Open M-Su. A sports bar and grill, this establishment is mostly notable for its specials. Before 10PM, there is a different draft beer on sale every day of the week. After 10PM, the beer sale ends, but all appetizers are half off. Naturally, the best time to arrive is 9:45PM. $3 draft/bottle beers, $6 well drinks.
  • The Old Toad [96], 277 Alexander St (next to several other bars), +1 585-232-2626 ( Open M-F 11:30AM-2AM, Sa 12PM-2AM, Su 5PM-2AM. Great English beer, poor English Food, friendly English staff. A unique atmosphere with reasonable prices, the Toad is an excellent place to get sloshed. $4 draft/bottle beers, $6 well drinks.
  • Lola, 630 Monroe Ave, Lola Bistro & Bar is a popular destination for happy hour and the pre-bar rush. Lola offers a full bar, a food-friendly wine selection, and an eclectic selection of appetizers, entrées, salads, soups, and sandwiches. [97]
  • Tapas 177, 177 St Paul St, [98]. Where the martinis are as big as the day is long.... so kick off your heels, and loosen your tie.
  • Table 7, 187 St Paul St, True lounge atmosphere with various music nightly.
  • Mex, 295 Alexander St, A Mexican restaurant and bar, known for its frozen drinks and Cinco de Mayo parties.
  • Venu, 151 St Paul St, [99]. Jazz lounge with an urban flair.
  • Pearl, Upper East End, East Ave. A retro contemporary lounge with nightly house music DJ's spinning.
  • Lux, 666 South Avenue, +1 585-232-9030. Lux is something of an alternative bar in Rochester and trades on being in the South Wedge to add cred to the atmosphere. Lots of tattoos and piercings and a good PBR special. The back yard is great. They have hammocks in the summer time and a huge wood burning stove for the winter. This place is something you would expect to find in Brooklyn not Rochester.
  • Monty's Corner, 360 East Ave, Rochester's "soccer friendly" sports bar. Large selection of single malt scotches and port wine, beer with an emphasis on Belgian drafts.
  • The Chocolate Bar/The Ale House, 355/359 East Ave, Two bars by the same owner with two different feels to them. One serves chocolate fondue, the other 12 beers on tap. College type bar for the 18-25 year old, usually always busy.
  • Soho/Daisy Dukes/Coyote Joe's/Bayou Billy's/Woody's/Cosmo Lounge/A-Pub Live/Vinyl, Upper East End, East Ave, [100]. 8 bars, all repetitive. College type bars with hints from the mid-west. All owned by the same owner. You will find the average fraternity guys, girls hoeing it up here. If you are aged 18-25 you will probably enjoy these bars, any older and you should probably avoid them.
  • Tilt Nightclub and Ultra Lounge, 444 Central Avenue, [101]. This place is the closest Rochester has to a NYC style club. Posh and dramatic the club spins dance/house music on one side with chill/down tempo beats on the other. The club is gay friendly, with Friday night being straight night.
  • Rohrbach Brewing Company, 3859 Buffalo Road, +1 585-594-9800. Although Rohrbach's is a bit out of the way their beer is worth the trip. Certainly the highlight is the Scotch Ale and if you don't want to travel all the way to the actual brewpub any number of establishments in the city will have it on tap including Frontier field. However, if there do try as many of the beers as possible as it is some of the best craft-brewing in upstate NY. You can get a sampler of 3 oz. glasses before you decide. The food is also quite good and leans toward German fare such as sauerbraten and bratwurst.
  • Starbucks, 680 Monroe Ave, 1930 Monroe Ave, 1380 Mount Hope Ave. Yes, we have a lot of them too. But some of you need their coffee, so this is where they are.
  • Spot Coffee, 200 East Ave (next to the Little Theatre). A trendy, popular hangout, people come here to relax and socialize while enjoying a cup or two of the brown brew. It's quite acceptable to spend hours here while only buying a single small cup of coffee; students do it all the time. The drinks cost about $2-$3, while light meals are available for around $5. Local art of various sorts is often marked for sale on the walls.
  • Java's Cafe, 16 Gibbs St (just down the street from Spot). Another downtown coffee shop, more popular with the art house crowd. Java's prices and products are similar to Spot. They also sell a variety of large homemade cookies in a variety of styles for about a dollar. At lunch time, an adjacent cafe-style restaurant serves for soup and sandwiches. Local art adorns the walls and local bands of questionable quality occasionally perform.
  • Boulder Coffee Company, 100 Alexander St. (intersection of Alexander and Clinton), +1 585-454-7140, [102]. An independently owned coffee shop with regular live music. Their webpage lists upcoming acts. Drinks and snacks are typical coffee shop prices. Free WiFi on the premises.
  • Starry Nites Cafe, 696 University Ave, +1 585-271-2630. A funky space named after Van Gogh's famous painting, located on University one block north of East, where all the museums are. Along with the required drinks, they make their own soup, salads and sandwiches. Free WiFi.
  • Equal=Grounds, 750 South Ave, (585) 242-7840‎. This coffee shop opened in May 5th 2006 and is fairly new to the South Wedge area. It has a great open minded atmosphere and has a GLBT gift shoppe. The coffee, smoothies, and pastries are temptations.  edit
  • Hyatt Regency Rochester, 125 East Main Street, +1 585 546 1234, [103]. Newly renovated. Twenty-five-story Downtown Hotel connected via enclosed walkway to Rochester Riverside Convention Center & Midtown shopping plaza.  edit
  • Comfort Suites of Rochester, Henrietta, +1 585 334-6620, [104]. 100% non-smoking studio suites. Indoor pool and spa, free Wi-Fi access, complimentary breakfast.  edit

Stay safe

Like any city, Rochester is generally very safe but there are areas that are more prone to crime than others. Potentially dangerous areas exist in some northeast and southwest city neighborhoods. However, there is nothing in these neighborhoods of any particular interest to non-residents so it is unlikely that the average visitor would encounter these areas. Use common sense and situational awareness and crime will not be a problem.

The suburban areas of Rochester generally enjoy a low crime rate.


Print media

The local daily newspaper is the Democrat and Chronicle [105]. 75 cents daily, $1.50 Sundays. On Thursdays, they publish a special section called Weekend with extensive entertainment listings for the next several days. The D&C also publishes a free weekly magazine, Insider, geared toward young adults.

The local alternative weekly is City Newspaper [106].

Broadcast media

When a blizzard arrives, or other significant news hits, Rochesterians turn en masse to radio station WHAM, 1180 AM. George Eastman himself came up with the catchy call letters for Rochester's 50,000-watt clear-channel station. It remains the local gold standard for school closings and other emergency information. In calmer times, WHAM runs a lineup of syndicated and local conservative talk programs, including Rush Limbaugh from 2PM-5PM.

For the morning drive-time, locals who want some strong radio with their coffee turn to WFXF, "The Fox", 95.1 FM, and listen to long-time radio personality Brother Wease, the outspoken morning host who doesn't shy away from the tough topics. Some of Wease's former colleagues from his many years at WCMF (96.5 FM) are still on their morning show, known as the Break Room. Those looking for less intense morning fare go with Beth and Chet on WHAM, or Tony Infantino on WRMM, Warm 101.3 FM.

WGMC, Jazz 90.1 FM, is one of the last remaining full-time jazz stations in the country, although on the weekends they mix in some ethnic flavor.

For specific genres of radio:

  • National Public Radio: WXXI 1370 AM
  • Classical: WXXI 91.5 FM
  • Jazz: WGMC 90.1 FM, WJZR 105.9 FM
  • Country: WBEE 92.5 FM
  • Easy listening: WRMM 101.3 FM
  • Oldies: WLGZ 102.7 FM
  • Classic rock: WFXF 95.1 FM, WCMF 96.5 FM
  • Modern rock: WZNE 94.1 FM
  • Top 40: WPXY 97.9 FM
  • Urban: WDKX 103.9 FM
  • College: WITR 89.7, WRUR 88.5 FM

Places of worship

If you're looking for a lively Protestant church in the heart of downtown, Bethel Community Fellowship on 321 East Avenue and Broad Street seats a good number. New Song Church, which meets in an auditorium at Monroe Community College because it lacks a building of its own, offers a very modern and youth-oriented service. Both of these churches are popular with college students.

A bit down the street from Bethel, you'll find a more traditional service at Asbury First United Methodist Church (1050 East Ave.), recognized for wonderful formal music.

Speaking of music, Pearce Memorial Church features many musicians from the Roberts Wesleyan College community. Take 490 way out west to the North Chili exit, and follow the signs right for Roberts Wesleyan.

Tucked almost in the heart of downtown, Lutheran Church of the Incarnate Word is a cozy place 597 East Avenue. Walk across the street afterward for lunch at the Spot.

Over a dozen synagogues are available within a few miles of downtown, and they're worth passing just for the architecture. If your hotel is in Henrietta, check out Temple Beth Am on 3249 E. Henrietta Rd.

Rochester has at least two Messianic Congregations: Petah Tikvah on Doncaster and Shema Yisrael. If you follow 590 North up to the Webster exit, turn right at the first street. Shema Yisrael is on 1326 North Winton, with a quaint store selling Judaica and related books.

A few miles west of downtown, visible from 490, is an exhuberant Spanish congregation: Iglesia La Luz Del Mundo, 200 Child Street.

A popular Catholic Church, St. Pius X, is located on 3000 Chili Avenue, which is the western continuation of Main street (take the expressway to avoid lights; it's between the airport exit and Chili Center).

Get out

A nice day trip, Niagara Falls is an hour and a half by car to the west. There are also several nearby parks; Letchworth State Park, often called "The Grand Canyon of the East", is popular and only an hour drive away. Near Letchworth is Hemlock Lake, which is considerably quieter and less known. The lake has the added bonus of being free of admission and parking fees. Stony Brook Park is about an hour and a half south of the city.

Starting just south of the city are the various towns along the Finger Lakes, such as beautiful Canandaigua.

For onward travel, New York City and the scenic Adirondack mountains are both a six hour car trip to the east. Toronto, Canada is also close by and can be reached by a three hour drive.

Routes through Rochester
BuffaloClarence ← Merges into  W noframe E  → Merges into SyracuseAlbany
END  N noframe S  → Junction GeneseoCorning
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

ROCHESTER, a city and the county-seat of Monroe (disambiguation)|Monroe county, New York, U.S.A., about 70 m. E.N.E. of Buffalo and about 230 m. W. of Albany, on the Genesee river, 7 m. above where it empties into Lake Ontario. Pop. (1880), 89,366; (1890), 133,896; (1900), 162,608, of whom 40,7 4 8 were foreign-born (including. 15,685 Germans; 7746 English-Canadians; 5599 Irish; 3909 English; 1777 Russians; and 1278 Italians) and 601 were negroes; (1910, census) 218,149. Rochester is served by the Erie, the Pennsylvania (two divisions), the Lehigh Valley, the West Shore, the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburg (two divisions), and the New York Central & Hudson River (five divisions) railways. The Genesee river, which cuts through the centre of the city in a deep gorge whose banks vary in height from 50 to zoo ft., is navigable for lake craft only for 22 m. from the mouth, to a point 41--. m. below the city; the Erie Canal runs through the heart of the city and is carried across the river on a stone viaduct of seven arches, 850 ft. long, and having a channel 45 ft. wide. Several lines of freight and passenger steamboats connect with Buffalo, Oswego and other lake ports, and there are daily passenger steamboats to Toronto, Canada, 70 m. distant across the lake. Electric railways connect with neighbouring cities and lake-side resorts on Lake Ontario (Ontario Beach) and Irondequoit Bay, an irregular arm of the lake 5 m. long 2 m. E. of the city limits. Rochester is on high plateaus on either side of the Genesee river at a general altitude of about Soo ft. above sea-level. It occupies an area of 20.3 sq. m. Within the city limits are the famous Falls of the Genesee,' three cataracts of 96, 26 and 83 ft. respectively, the banks above the first fall, which is in the heart of the city, rising to a height of fully 200 ft. above the river. From the city limits the river falls 263 ft. in its 7 m. course to the lake. Ten bridges, road and railway, connect the two sides of the river.

Rochester is an attractive city, with many fine avenues. East Avenue is perhaps the most beautiful street in the city, and Plymouth, West and Lake Avenues are other prominent residential streets. The park system of Rochester, planned by Frederick Law Olmsted, was 1264 acres in extent in 1908. The largest park is Eastman-Durand (512 acres), on the shore of Lake Ontario; Genesee Valley Park (443 acres) is on both sides of the river; Seneca Park (212 acres) includes a zoological garden; Highland Park (75 acres) and eleven other smaller parks. In Washington Park there is a soldiers' monument surmounted by a statue of Lincoln, and a statue (1898) by S. W. Edwards of Frederick Douglass, the negro orator and editor, who lived in Rochester in 1847-70, stands at the approach to the New York Central & Hudson River railway station. The principal cemeteries are the Mount Hope, the Holy Sepulchre, and Riverside. The Powers Building, a 7-storey stone and iron structure surmounted by a tower 204 ft. high, was one of the first office buildings in the United States to be equipped with elevator service. The Monroe County Court House (of New Hampshire granite) on West Main Street is in the Renaissance style, and contains a law library of about 25,000 volumes. The City Hall (of grey sandstone) has a tower 175 ft. high. Among the other prominent buildings are the Post Office, the Chamber of Commerce, the Lyceum Theatre, the Temple Theatre, the Masonic Building, the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburg office building, the Sibley building, the Duffy-Mclnnerney building, and the Young Men's Christian Association building. The following churches are architecturally noteworthy: the Central, the First and the Third Presbyterian, the Brick Presbyterian, St Patrick's Cathedral (Roman Catholic), the Cornhill and the Asbury (Methodist Episcopal), the First Baptist, St Paul's (Protestant Episcopal), and the First Unitarian. Rochester is the see of a Roman Catholic bishop. In Rochester are the Western New York Institution for Deaf Mutes, the Monroe County Penitentiary, a State Arsenal, a State Hospital for the Insane, the Protestant Episcopal Church Home, Rochester City Hospital (1864), and others, including the Rochester Municipal Hospital (1903) for contagious diseases and consumption.

Rochester is an important educational centre. Its bestknown institution is the University of Rochester (Baptist, 1850; co-educational since 1900), having in 1908-9 28 instructors, 352 students (231 men and 121 women), and a library of 49,000 volumes. It occupies a tract of 24 acres 1 From the top of the upper falls (96 ft. high), in the centre of the city, Sam Patch (1807-1829) jumped and was killed in November 1829; he had formerly made the same leap, had jumped half the depth of Niagara, and was planning to go to London and jump from London Bridge - he was to go by sailing packet to Liverpool and jump from the yard-arm every fair day.

on University Avenue in the eastern part of the city. With it is connected the Ward Museum, containing the valuable geological and zoological collections of Henry Augustus Ward (1834-1906), an American naturalist, professor of natural sciences here in 1860-75, who had in Rochester a laboratory for the manufacture of plaster-casts of fossils, and who prepared natural history cabinets for many museums. Much of the success of the university was due to Martin Brewer Anderson (1815-1890), president from 1853 to 1888, and David Jayne Hill (b. 1850), who was president from 1888 to 1896, and subsequently was assistant secretary of state in 1898-1903, and minister to Switzerland in 1903-5 and to the Netherlands from 1905 to 1907, when he became ambassador to Germany. Rochester Theological Seminary (1850) is also under the control of the Baptist Church, but has no organic connexion with the university of Rochester. Its library of 36,500 volumes includes the valuable collection (650o vols.) of the German church historian, Johann August Wilhelm Neander. Other educational institutions include St Bernard's Theological Seminary (Roman Catholic; 1893); Wagner Memorial Lutheran College (German); Academy of the Sacred Heart (Roman Catholic), &c. One of Rochester's most noteworthy institutions is the Athenaeum and Mechanics' Institute (an outgrowth of the Rochester Athenaeum, established in 1829); it was founded in 1885 by Henry Lomb, of the Bausch & Lomb Optical Co., and has a large building, the gift of George Eastman (b. 1854), of the Eastman Kodak Co. It has an endowment of $650,000, and more than 60 instructors, and in 1907-8 more than 5000 students were enrolled. Since 1907 public school buildings have been used as club-houses for community civic clubs with libraries and gymnasiums; and in 1909 a League of Civic Clubs was organized. Besides the law library and the libraries of the educational institutions mentioned above, Rochester has the Reynolds (Public) Library, containing more than 65,000 volumes in 1910.

The Falls of the Genesee provide a valuable water-power, early utilized by the flour-milling industry, of which, owing largely to the nearness of the fertile wheat-fields of the Genesee Valley and the transportation facilities furnished by the Erie Canal and Lake Ontario, as well as to the water-power, Rochester was for many years the most important centre in the country. Flour-milling is no longer so important an industry here, but Rochester ranks high among the great manufacturing cities of the country, holding third rank in this as in population in New York state, and is remarkable for the great size and output of several of its manufacturing plants, which are the largest of their sort in the United States or the world. In 1905 the value of the city's factory products was $ 82 ,747,37 0, an increase of 38.7% since 1900. In value of product and in number of wage-earners employed the manufacture of men's clothing stood first; the value of the product was $14,948,703, or more than 18% of the total value of all the city's manufactures; and 20% of the factory wage-earners in the city were employed in this industry. The second industry in 1905 was the making of boots and shoes, of which the value was $8,620,011, an increase of 24.3% since 1900. In the value of clothing and in the value of boots and shoes manufactured Rochester ranked seventh among the cities of the United States in 1905. In the manufacture of photographic apparatus and materials and optical goods Rochester easily holds first place in the world, and it has the largest establishment for the manufacture of cameras (the Eastman Kodak Co. at Kodak Park) and the largest manufactory of lenses, telescopes, opera and field glasses (Bausch & Lomb Optical Co.). The total value of the photographic apparatus in 1905 was $2,886,071, which represented 82.9% of the product value of photographic apparatus manufactured in the entire United States, and was 176.1% more than in 1900. Photographic materials amounted in value to $4,528,582, 47.4% of the total value of the product of the country. The value of the output of this industry was 2100% more in 1905 than in 1900. Another remarkable increase was shown in the value of electrical machinery and apparatus, which was only $15,000 in 1900, but in 1905 was $2,078,360. Flour and grist mill products in 1905 were valued at $3,222,257. In Rochester is an immense refinery of lubricating oil, and the oil product more than doubled in value between 1900 and 1905. Other important manufactures, with the value of their product in 1905, are as follows: foundry and machine-shop products, $2,874,142; furniture, $2,364,859; tobacco, cigars, snuff, &c., $2,234,531 malt liquors, $2,173,707; confectionery, $1,512,611; lumber and planing mill products, $1,495,229; carriages and wagons, $1,229,570; and stationery goods, $1,130,873. Rochester is also the nursery gardening centre of the United States. The first nursery, that of Ellwanger & Barry, now one of the largest in the world, was established here in 1840. There are now more than a score of large nurseries, representing an investment of several millions of dollars, and annually shipping seeds, bulbs and plants having an approximate value of $2,000,000. Rochester is the port of entry for the Genesee customs-district, importing Canadian lumber and wheat and exporting dairy, garden, farm and orchard products. In 1909 its imports were valued at $1,809,746 and its exports at $1,360,367.

The government of Rochester is that of cities of the first class (the state census of 1905 showed that it had more than the 175,000 inhabitants necessary for a city of the first class under the New York state law). The city owns its water supply system, the supply being obtained largely from Hemlock Lake, 30 m. S. of the city limits. The value of the plant is approximately $8,000,000. Rochester is famous for the purity of its milk supply, which is regulated under a strict system of supervision and inspection.

The region about Rochester, when first visited by Europeans, was the home of the Seneca Indians. The Jesuits, Peter Joseph Marie Chaumonot (1611-1693) and Jacques Fremin (d. 1691), worked among the Indians in the neighbourhood. In 1687 the marquis de Denonville fought a battle with the Iroquois near the falls. In 1710 there was a French post on Irondequoit Bay. The district was included in the PhelpsGorham Purchase in 1788. It was not until Ebenezer Allan (called "Indian Allan") built a saw and grist mill at the falls in 1790 that a small settlement began to grow up. In 1802 a large tract of land, which included the site of the present city, passed into the hands of three Maryland proprietors, Charles Carroll, William Fitzhugh, and Nathaniel Rochester (1752-1831). Rochester, from whom the city took its name, was a native of Virginia, had been a manufacturer at Hagerstown, Maryland, and after settling in Rochester in 1818 was a member in 1822 of the New York Assembly. He established a settlement, largely of New Englanders, at the falls in 1810-12, but its growth was slow as it was not on the direct road between Albany and Buffalo, and the region was malarial. It was known at first as "The Falls" or "Falls Town." In 1817 it was incorporated as the village of Rochesterville, the name being shortened to its present form two years later. In 1820 it had only 1502 inhabitants. In 1821 Monroe county was erected with Rochester as the county-seat. The real growth of the place began with the completion of the Rochester and Lockport section of the Erie Canal in 1823, and in two years the population had about doubled. Rochester was first chartered as a city in 1834, with 12,000 inhabitants. Rochester's first newspaper, the Gazette, was established in 1816, the Telegraph following in 1818. The first daily newspaper was the Daily Advertiser (1826). Between 1828 and 1830 Rochester was the centre of the anti-Masonic political movement, and here Thurlow Weed published his Anti-Masonic Enquirer. Subsequently it was a centre of the abolitionist movement in New York state; Myron Holley (1779-1841) began here the publication of his Freeman in 1839, and in 1847 Frederick Douglass established the North Star. For many years before the Civil War it was a busy station of the "Underground Railroad," by which fugitive slaves were assisted in escaping to Canada. In 1846 Miss Susan B. Anthony settled in Rochester, and the city has been a gathering-place for advocates of women's rights. Here lived the Fox sisters, Margaret (1836-1893)1893) and Katharine (b. 1839), whose spiritualistic demonstrations became notorious about 1850 as the "Rochester Rappings," and the city has been a gathering-place for American spiritualists also. The narrowness of the gorge through which the Genesee river runs has always rendered the city liable to disastrous floods. Several of these in its early history practically destroyed the manufacturing industries along the river, but the loss of property in the more recent ones has been relatively less; that of 1865 entailed a loss of more than $1,000,000, and in that of 1902 the damage exceeded $1,50o,000.

See William F. Peck, History of Rochester and Monroe County (2 vols., Chicago, 1908).

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Simple English

[[File:|thumb|Some of the buildings in Rochester.]] Rochester is the third-largest city in the U.S. state of New York. It has a little over 200,000 people living in it and over a million people living in the metropolitan area. It is located on the southern shore of Lake Ontario, and between the cities of Buffalo and Syracuse.


Rochester is on the shore of Lake Ontario, one of the Great Lakes. Also, the Genesee River flows through it. In the area near Rochester, there are many streams, large hills called drumlins, and lakes, such as the Finger Lakes. The weather in Rochester is warm in the summer and cold in the winter, with a lot of snow falling in the winter and early spring.

Economy and education

Rochester is the headquarters of Eastman Kodak, a company that makes cameras and camera film. Rochester is also the home to universities such as the University of Rochester and the Rochester Institute of Technology.

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