Living in Rochester, NY: Everything You Need to Know

Tired of big-city living but can’t say no to big-city amenities? Sounds like living in Rochester, NY might be the sweet spot for you!

Thanks to its distinct mix of natural beauty, exceptional universities, and reasonable housing rates, Rochester remains an ideal city for renters. 

Locals also enjoy a robust recreational scene, ranging from diverse food and music festivals to historical sites.

Whatever your interests, you’re sure to find something that speaks to you in Rochester!

Explore Rochester, NY: A Guide to Living in Monroe County’s Largest City

Read on to learn more about: 


Where is Rochester, NY?

Rochester, NY sits on the edge of Lake Ontario and the Erie Canal, with the Genesee River bisecting the city. As of 2021, Rochester boasts a population of about 210,000, making it one of the largest cities in New York and the largest city in Monroe County. 

The city also has several neighborhoods and surrounding suburbs, each with its own personality. Some of the more popular suburbs are only about a 10-minute drive from Rochester: 

  • Gates
  • Greece
  • Penfield
  • Pittsford
  • Henrietta
  • Webster

Strong urban planning has helped minimize city traffic while reducing local commute times. 

Additionally, Rochester’s prime location in Western New York gives residents easy access to other destinations, including: 

  • Niagara Falls
  • The Finger Lakes
  • The Adirondack Mountains

If you’re looking to visit other major cities, New York City, Boston, and Toronto are all within a day’s drive. This makes weekend getaways easy to include in your rotation!

History of Rochester, NY

Rochester was originally founded in 1788 before eventually incorporating as a city in 1834. The fertile land in the Genesee River Valley helped establish the city as one of the first US boomtowns. 

The city initially grew thanks to the rise in flour mills before transitioning into a manufacturing center. Rochester has since become known for several iconic enterprises, such as: 

  • Eastman Kodak
  • Xerox
  • Bausch and Lomb

Explore the city, and you’ll find the Susan B. Anthony House, where the famed women suffrage figurehead lived for 40 years. She was arrested in her parlor after voting in the 1872 Presidential Election. After her death, Anthony was buried in the historic Mount Hope cemetery (the first municipal cemetery in the US). 

There, you’ll also find the abolitionist Frederick Douglass’ resting place. Douglass lived in Rochester for 25 years, where he published his abolitionist newspaper, the North Star. Throughout his time in Rochester, Douglass continued to fight for African American rights and universal suffrage.

Needless to say, Rochester is the perfect place for history buffs interested in fast-growing cities and civil rights!

Rochester, NY Jobs & Schools

As one of the first US boomtowns, Rochester has seen its fair share of industrial growth. Kodak, Xerox, and Bausch and Lomb rose to prominence in Rochester—each setting a standard of innovation in their respective fields.

Nowadays, Wegmans and Paychex have taken the helm as Rochester enterprises with more businesses up and coming!

The highly educated workforce is driven by local universities and colleges, including the University of Rochester and the Rochester Institute of Technology. Both institutions produce crucial research in technology, imaging, optics, and photonics. 

As a result, the White House made Rochester the home of the new Integrated Photonics Institute for Manufacturing Innovation (operating as the “American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics” or “AIM Integrated Photonics”).

Recently, Amazon announced that it will open a new Amazon warehouse in Gates, NY. With construction complete, hiring is well underway with an estimated need for at least 1,000 employees. This is expected to increase during the holiday season.

Rochester’s growing professional industries and bustling recreational scene also make it an ideal place for those looking to pursue their careers in a new home!

Rochester, NY Real Estate

Rochester’s diverse population consists of young professionals, families, and retirees who want small-town accessibility and community combined with modern, big-city amenities and reasonable living costs.

The cost of living in Rochester, NY is about 24% lower than the national average as of 2023. Housing rates are about 5% lower. 

When looking at the housing rate, the median home value in Rochester is about $200,000. For students and young professionals looking to rent, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is about $1,300, and $1,700 for a two-bedroom apartment.

These prices will fluctuate depending on your location and needs.

For example, in a suburb like Gates, the median home value is closer to $180,000. The Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is just under $1,200. Even with luxury amenities and modern facilities, the average rent is only slightly higher. This makes the area surrounding Rochester the place to be!

Things to Do in Rochester, NY

Rochester’s proximity to natural attractions means there’s no end to outdoor recreational activities! From boating along the Finger Lakes to hiking the Cumming Nature Center trails, it’s easy to connect with nature!

There are also over 140 annual festivals in the Finger Lakes Region, with Rochester hosting:

  • The Rochester Lilac Festival
  • The Rochester International Jazz Festival
  • The Rochester Fringe Festival

These must-see festivals showcase Rochester, NY at its best! Each event celebrates Rochester’s thriving music scene, passionate food culture, and love for the performing arts!

If you prefer more intimate settings, Rochester offers several museums and historic sites to tour. Or, treat yourself to a moving performance at the Geva Theatre or the Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. Afterward, eat your way through Rochester’s many chic restaurants!

Living at the Doud Apartment Homes in Rochester, NY

Rochester, NY is a remarkable city that balances a community mindset with metropolitan amenities. With its range of recreational activities and affordable cost of living, Rochester is an ideal spot for young professionals and families looking to grow their roots.

Itching to experience Rochester for yourself? 

Doud Apartment Homes is located in Gates, NY, a Rochester suburb. Settled on the Erie Canal, renters can enjoy gorgeous, modern apartments with a canal view. Each unit includes a custom-designed kitchen with stainless steel appliances and an in-unit washer and dryer.

Check out our apartments to find your next home!

doud apartment homes rochester ny

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