Rochester, New York is one of the most pleasant and enjoyable cities in upstate New York. It might not be as popular as the state capital but it still has plenty to offer.
Primarily known for its music culture, you’ll be surprised by just how many amazing tourist attractions there are in Rochester.
Aside from being an incredibly beautiful city, Rochester is jam-packed with entertaining attractions, unique tourist spots, historic locations, and lush scenery.
In fact, there’s so much to do in Rochester that most people find it quite overwhelming to narrow the list of options down when it comes to choosing the best things to do. Today, we want to make your life easier.
In this guide, we’ve compiled a list of the best attractions in Rochester, New York. Our list consists of all the attractions you don’t want to miss during your visit to the city.
If you’re looking for some vacation inspiration, stick around!
We’ll kick start this list with the George Eastham Museum. If you’re keen to take in some local history during your visit to Rochester, this attraction needs to be near the top of your itinerary.
The George Eastham Museum sits inside a stunning mansion. This mansion once belonged to engineer and photographer George Eastham.
Today, the museum serves as a local hub for modern photography. It’s actually the oldest museum of its kind.
Inside the museum, you’ll find an astonishing range of incredible photographs, films, and antiques. The various exhibitions will give you a greater insight into the history of Rochester and open your eyes to new forms of photography.
One of the most famous tourist attractions in Rochester is Highland Park. Well-known for its impressive natural beauty, arboretum, and wide collection of flora, this is a location both locals and tourists visit to enjoy the great outdoors.
Offering a peaceful, relaxed escape from the city, this scenic park spans over 150 acres of open green space. It is a great place to visit if you’re looking for scenic views or if you simply want to enjoy a walk and a picnic.
As you walk around the park, you’ll be greeted with stunning lilac shrubs, barberries, Japanese Maples, dwarf evergreens, exotic trees, and so much more.
Next up, we have the Strong National Museum of Play. This museum is arguably the most popular tourist attraction in Rochester. It is also one of the best places you can visit with children.
As the museum’s name would suggest, this museum focuses heavily on play. Aiming to educate both adults and children through play, the museum has a huge variety of interactive exhibits, toys, games, and entertainment.
There’s a key focus on the history of Rochester and America, but there are also exhibits that include entertaining shows from famous characters like Big Bird from Sesame Street. Everything about this museum is interesting and fun so make sure you stop by.
Those of you that take a keen interest in the night sky will love RMSC Strasenburgh Planetarium. This planetarium is awesome.
Wonderful shows are put on by the planetarium every day, giving visitors the chance to learn more about the night sky and the solar system.
One of the most popular shows is a solar system tour that takes you on a journey around our solar system. You’ll learn a great deal from the shows here, and you’ll also love how impressive the projector is.
The feeling of amazement the show creates will leave you in awe. You’ll also love the vibrant showcases the planetarium holds too. There are plenty of interactive exhibits to enjoy too.
The Seabreeze Amusement Park is one of the oldest of its kind in New York (You might also want to check out Tourist Attractions In Buffalo, New York). This old-fashioned park aims to replicate the type of arcade parks your parents would have enjoyed when they were children.
For many visitors, this park will be a throwback, whilst others will find it extremely interesting and fun. The park is actually a museum. Don’t let that put you off though, as it is completely fully functional.
You can ride old roller-coasters, enjoy water rides, and go around the carousel. Rides here aren’t the most exhilarating but they are very entertaining.
The next Rochester tourist attraction on our list is Seneca Park Zoo. This zoo is excellent. The perfect location for families and wildlife lovers, most people only put Seneca Park Zoo second to Brooklyn Zoo in New York.
It has an enormous collection of animals from all over the world. Amazingly, Seneca Park Zoo even has polar bears. This is something you won’t find in most zoos. Super easy to navigate, spending a full day at this zoo is a must.
Not only will you be able to observe the impressive wildlife, but you’ll also have the chance to learn more about the animal kingdom and conservation too.
One of the best places in Rochester you can visit if you want to take in local culture and history is the Memorial Art Gallery. First opened in 1913, this gallery holds more than 12,000 different items.
One of the most amazing things about the Memorial Art Gallery is that its collection dates back to 5,000 years ago. Better still, the large collection of items within the museum comes from around the world.
You’ll find ancient drums from Borneo, mummies from Egypt, 17th-century paintings, and much more.
Spread across two floors, the museum has both permanent and temporary exhibits.
Including a cemetery on a list of tourist attractions may seem a little strange but Mount Hope Cemetery is actually one of the biggest attractions in the city, especially for history buffs.
Mount Hope Cemetery is where a lot of famous Americans were put to rest. This includes famous artists, abolitionists, and American pioneers. Thousands upon thousands of people come to the cemetery every year to take a look around.
In fact, the cemetery is so popular that tours of the area are held daily. The tours are a great way to learn more about the people in the cemetery and the rich history of Rochester.
9. High Falls
If you want to find the best views of Rochester, you have to visit High Falls. Thanks to the city’s close proximity to the Genesee River, Rochester is blessed with an amazing natural landscape, the most impressive of which can be found downtown.
Here, you can find a stunning 95 feet waterfall. Found right in the heart of the city, this waterfall offers epic views of the city and its surrounding natural beauty.
The best views of the falls can be found at High Falls Terrace Park. From here, you can see most of the city and of course the falls. This really isn’t a view you want to miss.
10. Frontier Field
The final Rochester tourist attraction we have for you is Frontier Field. This is a great place to visit if you love sports, in particular baseball.
Frontier Field is one of the most iconic baseball stadiums in the world. Before the stadium was renovated, this location was actually home to one of the oldest baseball stadiums in America, the Silver Stadium.
If you time your visit right, you could take in a Minor League Baseball game, soccer match, or even a lacrosse match. If not, don’t panic, the stadium offers daily tours that give visitors the chance to explore behind the scenes too.
There you have it, 10 tourist attractions you don’t want to miss during your visit to Rochester. As you can see from our list, Rochester is a city that has a lot to offer.
Whether you want to learn more about the city’s history, take in some of the best views, enjoy the city’s natural landscape, take in some local sports, or more, there’s something in Rochester for everyone.
All you have to do now is use our list to decide what you want to do first!
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