The Niagara Falls State Park is on the American side. It has an excellent website with a map (shown here) and what to do. The Niagara Scenic Trolley is a best buy. All day fare for an adult is $2.00. You can get on and off at different stops as you wish and re-board at your convenience. If you plan to do everything, save 30% with the Passport to the Falls. Parking at the Discovery Center and on Goat Island is $8.00. I assume the same in the other lots.
Whether it be Monster Trucks or WWE wrestling or the Rochester Americans Hockey game or a special orchestra or rock concert or a Disney Show on Ice or the Harlem Globetrotters or any of another interesting events, you can bet they will be at the Blue Cross Arena (formerly known as the Rochester War Memorial).
Tickets are available at TicketMaster: http://www.ticketmaster.com/venue/161/?brand=bluecrossarena
but you need to get tickets for big events early or be prepared to be disappointed or severely scalped.
If your not picky about which building you go to, try the Top of the Rock! Its got amazing views and a lot less people!
The view is also fairly unobstructed as compared to the Empire State Bldg as well- Top of the Rock has tall glass panes vs. Empire State Bldg has big thick bars.
You can walk through a quite wooded area at the beginning and find yourself walking along Lake Ontario which will take you all the way to Charlotte. This was just developed last year. Walking through the wooded part you are bound to see deer or some type of woodland creature that still calls it home. You will also see joggers and people biking along the way.
With so many ponds and lakes in the area a favorite past time is to drive to the lake or pond and watch or feed the ducks and swans. Two favorite spots are Irondequoit Bay and Durand Lake across from Lake Ontario. Bring a bag of bread crumbs.
The Rochester art gallery has several permanent collections of paintings, photos, glass works and sculptures and exhibits that change with season or popularity of the artist or art form.
The building is comfortable in both winter and summer (many of the art forms are hurt more by temperature variations than humans are). There are large arcades and high ceiling rooms that echo and make you talk in soft voices. There are smaller rooms with benches and seats to rest or view the art from a new angle. The lighting is subdued for the most part to preserve the integrity of the paintings; special high-lighting effects are in a few of the rooms of glass work and sculptures.
The gallery is generally open to the public from 11am to 5pm and is closed for general maintenance and special shows and auctions on Monday and Tuesday.
Entrance fee is $5 (cheaper if you are not an adult or are a student).
In Highland Park there is a fine memorial for veterans of Viet Nam war who have died (in battle or in captivity or MIA). It is not much advertised and there are no neon signs in the park pointing to it. But if you get one of the Rochester brochures that has the park layout at the visitor center, then you can easily find the memorial in Highland. It has a winding path with name plates along it and a memorial with flags at the crest of a hill.
Take a few moments to locate it when you are in Highland Park and take a few pictures.
The Erie Canal runs through Rochester and through Rochester's history.
A non-profit organization, Corn Hill Navigation, provides guided tours on boats on the Erie Canal and Genesee River.
On the tour, you will hear about the significance of the waterways in making Rochester the metropolis it is today. You will see where the canal and river still meet with Rochester buildings. The tours are endorsed by the Rochester Historians Office and the Museum and Science Center. So take a tour, have fun and learn something, all at the same time!
The company provides group rates, special event tours (for weddings and anniversaries) and has special theme cruises on holidays.
Rates are about $15 or less per person and the excursion lasts about 2 hours. Some of the tours provide meals at added cost.
Susan B. Anthony was the ultimate original women's libber. The place where she lived during her politically active life has been dedicated to her memory. Tours by local historians are given daily and start at the visitor's center, go into the memorabilia room and then through the house and finally out into the gift shop.
from the press release:
"It is a learning center where Miss Anthony’s life and work, championing the cause of women’s rights, is shared and interpreted with thousands of visitors each year. Its programs inspire and challenge individuals to effect positive change in their lives and communities."
So if you are into Women's history you are going to love this place and if you are not into that then take a walk around downtown Rochester instead.
RMSC is 95 years old (2007). Its has influenced many minds over those years with its science exhibits, demonstrations of geology and anthropology, reminding the next generation what the great advances were in the previous generations.
Three stories of glass enclosed dioramas, antique mechanical and artsy objects, memorabilia of important historical significance to Monroe County, dinosaurs, beadwork from Native Americans, mechanical gadgets that show how things work.
This is not as much fun for the younger kids as the National Museum of Play (Strong Museum) but adults and older kids will have an hour or two of interesting things to see and do.
Entrance fee is a hefty $10 but most of that goes back into a fund for new exhibits for the museum.
A week of music for $130 per person.
100 individual concerts, some indoors and some at outdoor stages.
500 artists, singers and band members.
All this for your entertainment; that is if you like JAZZ!
If you can't afford the week pass price or don't have a week of time to spend, then maybe $25 for a one-day attendance will suit you better. In any case, you will be happy with your visit to the Rochester International Jazz Festive, which occurs every year in mid-June.
see the website below for all the details on times/dates, schedules and costs.
The Memorial Art Gallery displays some of the best of its local talent in a two-day presentation known as the Clotheline Festival. Over 500 artists display their works indoors and outdoors (in tents). The crowds will also be entertained by live bands and dance groups. Food vendors abound to help keep the people feed and watered.
Bring the kids too; special activities (face painting, Japanese caligraphy, sand doodling) are planned to keep the kids busy while the parents browse.
see the website for dates, times and parking arrangements.
The most memorable of Rochester's parks must be Highland Park. It is promoted every year for the Lilac Festival of the Flower City. But every day from spring to fall the park is a place to go for natural beauty and peace and quiet and lovely architecture.
There are at least five garden areas in the park and each one has some memorial theme around which the plantings are centered (Vietnam Memorial, Aids Memorial, Wedding Arches, Lamberton Conservatory, Victims Rights Memorial, Poets Garden). The area is a favorite spot for wedding party portraits as well as joggers and pleasure walkers of all ages.
The gardens have different blooms for each season: lilacs, roses, azaleas, rhododendruns, pansies, magnolias. The air is filled with scent and the eyes are filled with color.
Come and spend a few restful hours browsing nature here at Highland.
This Park is on the northern end of the city, along the east side of the Genesee River. Parts of the park overlook the Genesee Gorge and there are even some walking trails (with caution signs galore) along the precipice.
The park is a thin band of greenery with a single entrance/exit road. Inside the park are picnic areas, swimming pool and water-spray areas, a large pond, a zoo, and plenty of hiking and birding paths.
The hilly nature of the park and the cool air among the trees and by the pond, make it a favorite place for joggers.
The zoo is the last one left in Rochester. See information about it at:
The pond has some stock goldfish and small bait fish. It is fished mostly by children.
The picnic areas have picnic tables and restrooms and rentable pavilions. There are grill-stands for cooking and areas where you can play horseshoes, volleyball or badminton.
In general, the park is a nice place for city folks to come and relax or cool off on a hot summer day. The park is NOT a good place to be very late at night and the entry-road "closes" at 8pm.
Other than the late-night issue, the park is very safe for a family outing.
Recently the Strong Museum has expanded its venue to become the National Museum of Play.
This is a great place to take the kids if they are with you on vacation. They can be kept busy and happily occupied for hours at very little cost (and they might even learn something).
The museum is room after room of hands-on exhibits about science, math and industry but presented so that they look like toys and games and play to the kids.
There are always special events and presentations that change with season and interests.
In the museum complex is a nice gift shop where you can get momentos of your visit or an erector kit or chemistry set. There restrooms conveniently placed in the building and a snack shop to get something to drink and some finger foods.
see the website below for times and dates and entrance fees.
the website also has a great virtual tour of the whole museum.