5 Reasons to Visit Rochester

Are you looking to escape the busyness of the city and enjoy a relaxing few days of learning and fun? Look no further than Rochester. This not so hidden gem is home to beautiful lakes and landscapes, rich history, and lots of activities for all.

brown skin girl overlooking lakes of rochester ny
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The city of Rochester is located in Monroe County on the southern shore of Lake Ontario in western New York. It is the third most popular city in New York state, after New York City and Buffalo. It is the “front door” to the Finger Lakes.

What to do in Rochester

Strong National Museum of Play: The Strong is the ultimate play destination for all ages! Explore upstate New York’s largest year-round cultural attraction and experience two floors—more than a city block long—of hands-on, dynamic, interactive exhibit spaces. Discover the world's largest collection of toys, dolls, and games. Play your way through video game and pinball history, leap into the world of American comic book superheroes, and move like a playing piece on a giant game board. Enjoy a 1918 carousel; indoor, tropical butterfly garden; food court; diner; and more.

The museum is home to National Toy Hall of Fame, World Video Game Hall of Fame, International Center for the History of Electronic Games, Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play and American Journal of Play.

Library at the The Strong Museum Rochester NY
growingbig | Life in Pumps Partnership with the Rochester Library Makes Reading Even better!
brown skin girl in front of Rochester public library with Cadillac XT5
growingbig | Life in Pumps Checking out the public library is a must for my bookworm.

Rochester Museum & Science Center: Through 200 hands-on exhibits, spectacular shows, and authentic collections, you’ll uncover the wonders of our region, our world, and beyond. Make family memories through themed programs that spark interest in science, technology, engineering, and math. Climb a wall, build robots, zap lasers, launch a catapult, and zoom through space — there’s so much to experience.

We kicked off Black History Month with a look at the Flight to Freedom: Rochester's Underground Railroad. It's an interactive exhibit that offers you a glimpse of the steps that Austin Steward, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, and Reverend Thomas James followed to escape to freedom. It is humbling and powerful.

brown girl examining Rochester Museum Underground Railroad artifacts
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Brown girl checking out crawl space used for underground railroad in Rochester
growingbig | Life in Pumps Crawl space used during the passage of the Underground Railroad

National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House: Home of the legendary American civil rights leader, and the site of her famous arrest for voting in 1872. This home was the headquarters of the National American Woman Suffrage Association when she was its president. This is also where she died in 1906 at age 86, following her “Failure is Impossible” speech in Baltimore. In 2020, they will celebrate 200 years of “women like her”

George Eastman Museum: The world's oldest photograph museum and one of the oldest film archives. Eastman was a pioneer of modern photography, a NY native and founder of Eastman Kodak. The museum holds unparalleled collections in the fields of photography, cinema, and photographic and cinematographic technology, and photographically illustrated books. The institution is also a longtime leader in film preservation and photographic conservation.

Rochester Knighthawks: Route for the home team or play a game of your own. This box lacrosse team is part of the National Lacrosse league east division and has won five championships. The players were very inviting. My son's team, Penn Lax, was able to experience what it was like to play at Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial.

brown boys of box lacrosse at Blue Cross arena in Rochester NY
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War Memorial at the Blue Cross arena Rochester NY
growingbig | Life in Pumps The War Memorial at Blue Cross Arena

Where to Eat in Rochester

If you love to eat then you will have no problem finding something you like. There are an impressive number of restaurants within the city and the options range from upscale to laid back to fill up when hungry. You find chain restaurants like Bone Fish Grill and P.F. Changs, to local spots like Pontillo's Pizza which was the perfect choice to fill up hungry teenagers and Dinosaur Barbecue that left us licking our fingers.

Cadillac XT5 Rochester NY Dinosaur BBQ
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brown girl reading dinosaur bbq menu in Rochester NY
growingbig | Life in Pumps So many options it was hard to decide

Where to Stay in Rochester

Hotels are plentiful but we opted for the Hilton Garden Inn Rochester/Pittsford. The location was 15 minutes from downtown, right off I-490 and easy to get to restaurants and other shopping. We dined in the onsite restaurant, The Garden Grille and Bar, and made great use of the indoor pool and fitness center. It was refreshing to sit outside and enjoy the crisp cool air.

My bookworm found solace in this lounge chair and didn't want to leave.


Our visit to Rochester was fun and we can't wait to do it again. Maybe next time I can enjoy the Finger Lakes Wine County! Have you experienced Rochester, NY?

Welcome to my home on the web... I’m Tomika, the thought leader behind Life in Pumps. I love all things fashion, fun & travel! I’m a wife and mother of two very active teenagers. I'm a social butterfly and passionate about advocating for breast cancer disparities and the benefits of organics. Follow along as I believe life is more fun when you actually live it!

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