48 hours in Rochester, NY

Whether Rochester is a stop on your tour of Upstate New York or you find yourself in the city on a whim, it helps to know where to go. The city of Rochester is located on Lake Ontario and is home to the estate of the Kodak founder, museums, and a wide variety of superb restaurants. Two full days in the city is just enough time to experience its culture and visit the many attractions.

Rochester, New York State

- © Andrew Zarivny / Shutterstock

Day 1

The Rochester Memorial Art Gallery is located on University Avenue and has gained a reputation for being a sort of "mini met" as it boasts a collection of more than 12,000 objects. This permanent collection has been deemed the most well balanced in the state outside of New York City's iconic museum. The general admission is $20 but there are reduced admission prices for students and they have half-price admission on Thursdays after 5 pm.

TheNational Susan B. Anthony Museum & House should not be missed. It was the home of the famous American civil rights activist and a wonderful place to learn about the history of Rochester and about the road that Anthony paved for civil rights. The house and museum are open Tuesday through Sunday and the general admission is $15. We advise booking their 45 minute tour which is available only through their online website.

The Strong National Museum of Play is entirely dedicated to play for children of all ages, perfect for a family outing! Inside you will find everything from a child-sized fully equipped supermarket to pirate ships and a butterfly exhibit. There is even an area fully dedicated to Sesame Street. The museum is open Friday through Saturday and general admission to the museum and the Butterfly Garden starts at $24.

After a pancake breakfast (or brunch) at The Highland Diner, you can walk over to the Highland Park which is also known as the Highland Botanical Park. This 150 acre park is home to over 1,200 lilac shrubs and other beautiful plants. It also frequently hosts fun activities and events throughout the year.

Winter sunrise at the Highland Botanical Park

- © George Raymond Gibbs / Shutterstock

The Rochester Public Market which is open on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, is a city run market which happens to be the best place for you to find vendors from all over New York. There are a variety of vendors selling fresh produce, baked goods, coffee, cheeses and flowers.

Be sure to stop by the High Falls District of Rochester to get a good look at the iconic Kodak Tower. It is part of the Eastman Kodak Headquarters and has been an integral part of Rochester’s history since 1914.

Day 2

Newcomers to Rochester should pay a visit the George Eastman House, the world’s oldest museum dedicated to photography. Though the museum is home to an instalment of permanent exhibits, there are at least three temporary exhibitions on photography and cinema that change every few months. You can even make time to see a film screening at the Dreyden theatre which is attached to the museum. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday and general admission starts at $20.

The George Eastman House

- © Wangkun Jia / Shutterstock

Make your way to Artisan Works on Blossom Road. This not-for-profit space is located in a renovated factory with around 500,000 different pieces of different kinds of art. You can tour the space to see just how unique it really is.

Located inside of an old packaging centre, The Genesee Brewery is New York’s oldest brewing company. The location in Rochester is one of the largest, and continuously operating in the US. They offer tours and tastings which are available by appointment.

During your stay, keep an eye out for the statue of Frederick Douglass which is now the centrepiece of the new Frederick Douglass Memorial Plaza. It honours Douglass as an African-American civil rights activist.

Where to eat?


The Highland Diner: This excellent diner is one of the only surviving of its style from the 1940s. They serve generous portions of delicious, homestyle classics like eggs, bacon, french toast, and pancakes. They are also open for lunch.


The Red Fern: This 100% vegan restaurant and bakery makes all of their food from scratch using locally sourced products. Even those who are not vegan are always impressed by the variety of their menu and how flavourful all of their sandwiches and other plates are. Call ahead to reserve a table if you can, as they fill up quickly. Nick Tahou's: When in Rochester, one must try the locally famous Garbage Plate, which is a specialty of Rochester, NY! An attempt for a description would be a mash-up of fries, meats, macaroni salad, and sauces. However, you will have to try it for yourself to truly understand, some people are amazed while others are less than delighted.


Dinosaur Bar-B-Que: A delicious barbecue restaurant that serves Southern-style meals in an entirely retro setting. TRATA: The Restaurant at the Armoury is a high end yet casual, contemporary American restaurant and bar. Their indoor dining atmosphere features rustic brickwork with modern elements but you can also opt for drinks or dinner on the rooftop.

Where to stay?

The Strathallan Rochester Hotel & Spa is a premier boutique hotel situated in downtown Rochester. It is centrally located and provides the utmost comfort in a luxurious and contemporary setting.

The Strathallan - a DoubleTree by Hilton New York

The Strathallan - a DoubleTree by Hilton

A perfect place to stay in Rochester
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