Rochester is a city in the Finger Lakes region of New York state.
Rochester is known as the "Flour City" and the "Flower City." It began as a small township around a mill. When the Erie Canal was built through Rochester, the city became a major trade center for grain shipped from the Midwest to the East, as well as the supplies that were shipped back to the Midwest. Rochester's strategic location on the Genesee river allowed for the construction of numerous flour mills in the city.
Thanks to the philanthropy of George Eastman, the industrialist who lived in Rochester and founded several world-renowned institutions, Rochester is home to the Eastman Kodak Co., the Eastman School of Music, and the George Eastman House photography museum.
Rochester has a history of progressivism. Large numbers of freed slaves lived in the city and Frederick Douglass's paper, The North Star was printed there. Susan B. Anthony hailed from Rochester and her influence helped lead the University of Rochester to accept women in 1900.
Since World War II, Rochester saw a decline in population but has also seen periods of urban renewal funded by industry, such as Xerox. In the 60's and 70's, the city became known as the leading Jazz town in upstate New York. Today, the city holds its annual International Jazz Festival every June.
Rochester has a small international airport to which air fares are generally expensive. Some of the best deals can be found with JetBlue when flying from JFK Airport in New York City. There is a Greyhound bus station which is located in the heart of downtown. There is also a train station with four daily trains from New York City. Rochester is also on the route from Chicago and Toronto.
To see the city, a car is a virtual necessity. This is definitely a drivers' city. Either bring your own car or rent one on the arrival floor of the airport. Outside of downtown, the suburbs are not very walkable with sidewalks and pedestrian crossings placed sporadically. There are bus lines run by the Regional Transit System (RTS), fares are $1.25 for a single ride.
Susan B. Anthony House, 17 Madison St., +1 585-235-6124, . Winter Hours (Labor Day to Memorial Day) W-Su, 11AM-4PM; Summer Hours (Memorial Day to Labor Day), Tu-Su, 11AM-5PM. Highlights of life of the famous women's rights activist, including 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 after voting illegally in 1872. $3-6 admission.
Museums and galleries
George Eastman House: International Museum of Photography and Film, 900 East Ave, +1 585-271-3361 (fax: +1 585-271-3970), . Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM. Offers guided tours of the mansion and photographic exhibits. $8 admission.
Memorial Art Gallery, .
Rochester Museum and Science Center, . Exhibits for children and adults.
Strasenburgh Planetarium, .
Mount Hope Cemetery, Mt. Hope Ave. Frederick Douglass, Susan B. Anthony and other historical figures are buried in this beautiful old cemetery. Also a great place for running.
Susan B. Anthony House, 17 Madison St, .
Seneca Park Zoo, 2222 St. Paul St, . The entire zoo can easily be enjoyed in an afternoon.
Artisan Works, . A non-profit organization housed in a huge warehouse, Artisanworks contains 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. 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 contains the Triangle Theater, a 30-seat movie theater which features films by student and local filmmakers. $12/adults, $8/students & seniors.
Strong Museum of Play, . Children's Museum.
Rochester Rhinos Soccer, .
Rochester Redwings Baseball, . AAA team of the Minnesota Twins, the Redwings have 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. Food is a bit better than average -- standard stuff plus local microbrews, Starbucks coffee and crepes are available.
Rochester Americans Hockey, .
Rochester Knighthawks Lacrosse, .
Rochester Razorsharks Basketball, .
Rochester Rattlers Lacrosse, .
Rochester Raiders Arena Football
As shocking as this may sound, outside of New York, L.A. and Chicago, Rochester is probably the best city for film buffs. There are a ridiculous number of festivals throughout the year. These include ImageOut (gay and lesbian) , Jewish , High Falls (women) , and even Polish . 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, . 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.