Things to do in Rochester, NY for Summer

genesee high falls in rochester ny

Every summer, Rochester comes to life thanks to its mix of energetic cityscape and natural attractions! The local food scene is no joke either. Rochester’s festival circuit is a great way to discover new music (and fond classics!) while sampling trendy food trucks and cocktails!

Check out our master list of things to do in Rochester, NY:

  • Explore the Vibrant Parks and Gardens
  • Enjoy Waterfront Adventures and Activities
  • Indulge in Rochester’s Local Cuisine and Cocktail Bars
  • Upcoming Events in Rochester, NY
  • Explore Rochester, NY in the Summer

Find out what it is like to live in Rochester, NY and explore our spacious floor plans!

Explore the Vibrant Parks and Gardens

Some of Rochester’s best attractions are its parks and gardens. Many places are open year-round. And there are several great parks to break a sweat on an athletic field, rent lodging for events, or simply enjoy the outdoors with your loved ones.

If you’re looking for cool day trips from Rochester this summer, check out our pick of top parks and gardens: 

Highland Park

Highland Park is a 150-acre garden that’s most known for its memorials, event spaces, and the Lamberton Conservatory. The Lamberton Conservatory is home to several beautiful plants and is a popular site for wedding ceremonies.

Sunken Garden

Near Highland Park, you’ll find the Sunken Garden at Warner Castle. This 1854 Gothic-style castle features a picturesque garden on the estate, built by the Landmark Society of Western New York in 1930.

Cobb’s Hill

Cobb’s Hill Park boasts the best view of the city, with several scenic walking trails. If sports are more your pace, then take advantage of the park’s recreational fields and tennis courts!

Corbett’s Glen Nature Park

Located in the Town of Brighton, Corbett’s Glen is a collection of two-mile walking trails. Start your journey with a dramatic entrance through the park’s iconic stone tunnels.

Enjoy Waterfront Adventures and Activities

Day trips from Rochester should always include a visit to the waterfront! Rochester sits on Lake Ontario’s southern shore and is divided by the Genesee River. Close proximity to Niagara Falls means there are plenty of waterfront adventures to explore!


Located in the Town of Irondequoit, Seabreeze is a must-see waterpark bursting with family-friendly activities. Purchase a ticket and grab your friends for a full day of unlimited rides!

Ontario Beach park

Ontario Beach Park (locally known as Charlotte Beach) is a natural sand beach on Lake Ontario. Enjoy free summer events in Rochester, NY each Wednesday, like concerts sponsored by the Ontario Beach Park Program Committee and Wegmans!

BayCreek Paddling Center

Prefer exploring Rochester’s waters in style? BayCreek Paddling Center is a full-service canoe, kayak, and paddle board shop for all your lake-related summer activities in Rochester, NY!

Durand Eastman Beach

Durand Eastman Beach sits on Lake Ontario, featuring wooded slopes and valleys. This natural waterfront is home to several flowering trees and wildlife.

Letchworth, Niagara Falls, Watkins Glen

If you don’t mind a bit of driving, Letchworth, Niagara Falls, and Watkins Glenn are all scenic waterfronts—each with their own charm! Letchworth and Niagara are known for their dramatic waterfalls, while Watkins Glenn offers a serene view of Seneca Lake. All of these destinations are fun day trips from Rochester, and you’re sure to make lasting memories!

Indulge in Rochester’s Local Cuisine and Cocktail Bars

Many of the fun things to do in Rochester, NY revolve around its local cuisine and cocktail bars. While this section could be an article all on its own (keep an eye out!), we’ve picked the top summer spots to try out!


Sinbad’s is a local Mediterranean restaurant serving pasta, kabobs, and “pitzas” (pita pizzas). To really kick back and relax, outdoor seating is the way to go!

Native Eatery & Bar

Native Eatery & Bar is an upscale, New-Age American restaurant that prides itself on elevating locally-sourced ingredients. Their outdoor patio and drinks make them a popular spot for happy hours after work.

Branca Midtown

Hungry for Italian? Branca Midtown is a “love letter to Italy” nestled in the heart of Downtown Rochester. From bar parties to private dining experiences, Branca is sure to have something for everyone!


Roux is a women-owned eatery specializing in casual French food, natural wine, and cocktails. Their exceptional food is only matched by their cozy and energetic atmosphere.

Public Market

Prefer to eat in? The Public Market is a large-scale market where local farmers and vendors sell produce, products, and treats! Several eateries also service the area in case you get hungry while shopping.

Upcoming Events in Rochester, NY

What’s that? You’ve gone through the entire list and want more? Summer events in Rochester are full of live music and food round-ups! Concerts are also a great way to discover Rochester’s bustling local music scene. Check out these upcoming fun things to do in Rochester, NY:

CGI Jazz Fest

The CGI Jazz Fest spans June 23–July 1 and offers a mix of ticketed and free music events. This year’s headliners include:

  • Pat Metheny Side-Eye
  • Keb’ Mo’
  • Omara P 
  • Bonnie Raitt

Visit their site to see the full artist lineup!

Public Market Food Truck and Music

Locally known as the Food Truck Rodeo, the Public Market hosts food truck round-ups to showcase the community’s gastro-creativity! Bring a lawn chair and pig out on good food and live music! Rodeos are on the last Wednesday of each month between April–September.

Darien Lake Concerts

Are you a hardcore music-head? Get season tickets to Darien Lake Amphitheater’s concerts! Their music lineup includes a dynamic mix of nationally-known stars and local bands. It’s a bit of a drive (about 50 minutes to Corfu, NY), but there’s no better place to experience live music.

Red Wings Games

Nothing says summer like baseball! Cheer on the Rochester Red Wings at Frontier Stadium as they bat their way to the top! Or enjoy the sun and eat ballpark food—we won’t judge!

Corn Hill Arts Festival

See the Corn Hill Arts Festival between July 8–9 to discover hundreds of artists and musicians from across the country. If you’re an artist yourself, join the art community to showcase your work.

Pride Parade and Festival

You don’t want to miss the Rochester Pride Parade and Festival at 1 pm on July 15! The parade route will go through Park Ave. Continue the party at the Festival on Cobb’s Hill!

4th of July Downtown Fireworks

You can’t celebrate July 4th without fireworks! Downtown Rochester offers the best view of the city’s fireworks display. Claim your spot on the Broad St Bridge or Court St Bridge for an iconic scene!

Party in the Park

Party in the Park is a series of events that transforms Downtown Rochester into a music mecca for six weeks. Starting on July 13, the City of Rochester is hosting musical talents from a wide range of genres every Thursday evening. Check out the lineup for tickets!

Rochester Fringe Festival

The Rochester Fringe Fest is one of the largest fringe festivals in the U.S. From September 12–23, this event draws an international audience eager to attend over 500 performances across 30 venues. Enjoy comedy shows, dance exhibitions, even acrobatic acts, all in Rochester, NY!

Explore Rochester, NY in the Summer

Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast looking for beautiful hiking trails, a foodie hungry for local delights, or an avid music fan looking for a thriving concert circuit, you’ll never want for things to do in Rochester, NY.

Thinking of moving to Rochester? Living in Rochester’s surrounding suburbs is a great way to access the city’s attractions.

Browse through the spacious floor plans at Doud Apartments to find your next home! Our luxury apartments feature top-of-the-line modern amenities, including an in-unit washer and dryer, dishwasher, refrigerator, and more. 

Rochester-curious? Talk to a Doud Apartment rep to get started!

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