Rochester was America's first boom town, propelled to early economic success by the thriving trade on the Erie Canal. Later came George Eastman, who set up Kodak here (and whose influence remains in the Eastman School of Music, Eastman Theatre and historic George Eastman House). Later still...well, suffice to say Rochester is no longer the boom town it was. But it is a friendly and lively midsize city full of interesting historic architecture, well-kept parks and beautiful urban scenery along the shores of Lake Ontario. The residents of the place appreciate what they have and seem happy to share with visitors, demonstrating a generosity and charm that makes any stay a memorable one.
The Strong National Museum of Play is the only museum in the world dedicated to the subject of play (play as in fun, not play as in theater). It's a wonderland place for kids, with its many things to see and do, including toys, dolls, games, a butterfly garden and Sesame Street. Other great places to take young travelers are the Rochester Museum and Science Center, the Seneca Park Zoo (with its popular polar bears) and the Strasenburgh Planetarium. For interesting local history, check out the Susan B. Anthony House and the Frederick Douglass Resource Center. You might also want to take a drive down East Avenue and marvel at the stately mansions. If you're an art lover, don't miss the vibrant Neighborhood of the Arts along University Avenue -- it's the perfect site to explore public art and admire old Victorian houses.
Rochester is home to the famous "garbage plate," an invention of landmark local eatery Nick Tahou Hots. It's actually quite good, as is most of the cuisine in the city. From pizza to chicken wings, you'll find a lot of bargain bites along University Avenue, which retains a sort of collegiate atmosphere, even though the university campus has moved. The upscale Corn Hill Landing development and Grove Place downtown are other districts where good food can be found. Lovely lunch and dinner cruises are available on the Harbor Town Belle, an 80-foot paddlewheeler, or the Mary Jemison river boat. For a sub (the sandwich) try the Market Cafe at Wegman's Supermarket.
Rochester has a number of malls, as well as more distinctive retail-oriented neighborhoods around town. The shopping centers include Eastview Mall, Marketplace Mall, Pittsford Plaza and the Mall at Greece Ridge. There are high-end stores, boutiques and galleries at Corn Hill Landing. Village Gate Square is also worth checking out for its variety of independent shops.
1 Morrie Silver Way