All About Rochester

Rochester New York
Rochester History
Rochester Recreation
Rochester NY Housing

All About Rochester, NY

The Greater Rochester Area is one of America’s top-rated places to live, work and play. Nestled between Lake Ontario and the Finger Lakes wine region in Upstate New York, Rochester is a well-kept secret. We have the arts, culture, sports and nightlife of a much larger city, but the easiness of a small town. The Finger Lakes region is world-renowned for its production of award-winning wines. This natural wonderland offers one of the most visually stunning and peaceful places to live or own vacation property.

Rochester is the third largest urban area in New York State, and, in 1990 we were one of ten communities in the nation to receive the All-American-City award as a great place to live. From amusement parks to sports – there’s a little bit of everything for all!

The following is information that will help you pinpoint where you want to Live in Rochester & what to do when you get here! Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions.

Thank you again for your interest in Living in Rochester, NY

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Rochester's History

Over its 200 year history, Rochester has learned two great lessons of success; innovation and adaptability. The city has had the chance to test these lessons many times over the years.

When the first white settler built a sawmill on the Genesee Falls in 1789, he discovered the first reason to build a community here. The Genesee Falls provided ample power to run sawmills, flour mills, triphammer mills, and any other kind of industrial activity needing a means to run machinery.

In the early and middle 1800’s Rochester became the greatest flour producer in the world. Wheat grew abundantly in the fertile Genesee Valley. in 1835, there were 21 flour mills with 96 run of stones in Rochester. These mills were largely automated. Production phenomenal. The Erie Canal provided inexpensive transportation to markets in the East and in Europe. Therefore, Rochester became America’s first boomtown.

But of course times change. Settlement moved westward and wheat production with. Electric power replaced water power. And railroads moved flour as inexpensively as canal boats.

Rochester started to practice the principles of innovation and adaptability. In the 1840’s the nursing industry began to flourish in Rochester. Rich glacial soil and the climate-mollifying influence of Lake Ontario made plant cultivation ideal. James Vick had an extensive operation where the mansions of East Avenue now stand. The Browncroft area also was important nursery land. But it was the partnership of George Ellwanger and Patrick Barry that created Rochester’s revised appleation: The Flower City.

Their 650-acre nursery in the Mount Hope Avenue area became the world’s larges. The nursery once filled an order form the Japanese government for 2,000 trees in 200 different varieties and the order was packed and shipped with hardly a dent in their vast nursery stock.

The pattern had been established. Innovation and adaptability. Rochester proceeded to excel in other industrial areas as well. The city became a clothing-manufacturing center. Stein-Block and Micheals-Stern are just tow of several important names that once dominated the industry from Rochester.

The American machine-tool industry received its forward thrust in Rochester in flour-milling days when the tools to construct flour barrels were designed and produced on Brown’s Race. The city remains today a national center for the machine tool industry.

Rochester has a history of invention. The gasoline automobile was invented here. As well as, the machine gun, the voting machine, the lawn mower, and the fishing reel. Western Union started here and Bausch & Lomb, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.

Generation of inventive industry in Rochester gradually produced a more and more highly skilled work force to match the produce innovations. From the early flour-milling days, Rochester has been a big exporter of its products. Rochester flour was exhibited at the Crystal Palace Exhibition in 1851, and Queen Victoria expressed a preference for our flour. Today, Rochester is one of the top ten exporting cities in the U.S. Our city alone accounts for over 40 percent of New York State’s total exports.

High-technology industry and highly skilled work force justify Rochester’s title of The World’s Image Centre. Rochester has a larger percentage of highly skilled people in it work force than almost any other metropolitan area in the country.

Helping to provide these skilled workers are nine colleges and universities located here. The largest local university, Rochester Institute of Technology, offers the only doctoral program in imaging science in the nation, as well as the only bachelor of science degree in microelectronic engineering. At the the University of Rochester, which is one of the leading private research universities in the northeast, the Laboratory for Laser Energetics has single and multi-beam glass laser systems that rank among the most powerful in the world. Also, the Center for Advanced Optical Technology in New York State was established recently a the University of Rochester.

Innovation and adaptability persavere in Rochester. Our residents are granted patents three times more often per capita than the rest of the U.S. Rochester generates new high technology business start ups occur at the rate of one or two a month. Many of these new ventures in optics and imaging. Private funding sources, combined with public and academic programs, fuel many of the new ventures. A non-profit organization, High technology of Rochester, Inc., has been created by industry, government, and academia to foster the areas high tech industry. The organization conducts forums and seminars on starting new busniesses.

Rochester’s high tech future continues to be molded today, and the city is prepared with many business inducements including a number of attractive dedicated development sites.

Public Resources information is available for both start up and expanding companies. You can reach out to the Great Rochester Metro Chamber of Commerce at (585) 454-6965 or the Monroe County Economic Development Department at (585) 428-5469.

Rochester is aptly called the The World’s Image. Over 90 optic and imaging firms, as well as imaging-related divisions of large firms, are located in the Rochester area.

Four world class image and opte orient companies had their start in Rochester: Eastman Kodak, Xerox, Bausch & Lomb and Gannet Newspapers.

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Rochester Recreation

There are always reasons in every season to visit Rochester.

"Who Knew?!" exclaimed a USA Today article on Rochester that went on to call us a "serendipitous and surprising getaway". We think once you VisitRochester, you'll be delighted at your discoveries as well. Its people and places live up to our top rankings for friendliness, family fun and memorable getaways. Famous sites blend with charming neighborhoods and historic canal towns to create a mosaic of attractions to visit. Cruise, bike or hike, on the original Erie Canal path while visiting great restaurants, shops and quaint villages along the way. You'll soon discover why we think Rochester is made for Living...for a weekend or a life time."

Museums and Galleries

Conceived by local Rochester New York residents, ARTWalk is a permanent urban art trail, connecting the arts centers and public spaces within the Neighborhood Of The Arts (NOTA). ARTWalk is an interactive outdoor museum, located on University Avenue between the Memorial Art Gallery and the George Eastman House. Along ARTWalk you can find vari­ous pieces of public art, be it visual works, or practical things such as park benches or bus stops which are artfully de­signed. Art is even imprinted in the sidewalk!

Center at High Falls
The Center at High Falls is Rochester’s Visitor Center and a New York State Heritage Area. We offer self-guided neigh­borhood tours which include three scenic overlooks of our 96-foot waterfall. Our introductory Museum offers overviews of area history, geography, commerce, and culture. The Center at High Falls Fine Art Gallery celebrates contemporary cul­ture through the work of local artists. The gallery offers year-round opportunities for exhibition, and continues Rochester’s legacy of creativity and invention. Our lobby souvenir and gift shop provides amenities for travelers, including hot and cold drinks, and happy memories of your visit. We are delighted to welcome all to this historic place of innovation and creativity, a gateway for learning about Rochester’s resources and attractions.

George Eastman House
As the world’s preeminent museum of photography, Eastman House cares for and interprets hundreds of thousands of photographs encompassing the full history of this medium. We are constantly working to increase online accessibility to our collections through this website. Eastman House is also one of the oldest film archives in the United States and is now considered to be among the top cinematic collections worldwide. Our motion picture archives hold more than 25,000 film titles produced between 1894 and the present. Be sure to use this website to check our schedule of motion picture screenings. And be sure to explore the mansion that was once home to George Eastman, founder of the Eastman Kodak Company. The house and its exquisite gardens have been restored and offer visitors access to what was once a privi­leged view.

Genesee Country Museum
Take your place in history, just 20 miles from Rochester, N.Y. This living history museum is the largest in New York and one of the largest in the nation. The Genesee Country Nature Center, which includes 175 acres featuring five miles of hik­ing trails through woodlands, wetlands and meadows, is open year round.

Medina Railroad Museum
Located in the old New York Central freight depot in Medina, NY, the Medina Railroad Museum is the largest freight depot museum in the country. The building itself was built in 1905, and is one of the largest (301ft. by 34ft.), last surviving wooden freight depots in the United States. Featuring the largest collection of artifacts and memorabilia known to exist under one roof. Also see the longest HO scale layout and diorama all on one floor, an immense 14ft. by 204ft, currently under construction. You can also browse our lovely gift shop. Enjoy a 2 hour train ride along the Erie Canal.

Memorial Art Gallery
A visit to the Memorial Art Gallery is a journey through more than 5,000 years of art history. From the relics of antiquity to works in the vanguard of contemporary movements, the Gallery offers a panorama of the world’s art. The Gallery’s permanent collection of more than 12,000 objects has been called the best balanced in the state outside of metropolitan New York City. In addition to its collection, the Gallery offers a year-round schedule of temporary exhibitions, lectures, concerts, tours and family activities.

Strong Museum of Play
Recognized as one of the nation’s top museums for families and children, Strong National Museum of Play® is home to the National Toy Hall of Fame® and the world’s largest collection of toys, dolls, games and other items that celebrate play. It’s unlike anything you’ve experienced anywhere! Explore exciting exhibits and amenities including the Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden, the Elaine Wilson Carousel, the Strong Express Train. “Make It” here and “Take It” home. No matter what your age, Strong National Museum of Play provides educational, entertaining, unforgettable intergenerational fun!

Susan B. Anthony House
The Susan B. Anthony House shares the story of Susan B. Anthony’s lifelong struggle to gain voting rights for women and equal rights for all. We keep her vision and struggle alive by owning and protecting Anthony’s National Historic Landmark home; collecting artifacts and research materials directly related to her life and work; and making these resources avail­able to the public through tours, publications, the Internet and interpretive programs.

Valentown Museum
Valentown is a intriguing Historical Museum located in Victor, New York. It contains thousands of artifacts, objects and heirlooms that represent the local 19th century history of the Victor and Rochester, New York area. Valentown was origi­nally built in 1879 as a shopping plaza and community center by Levi Valentine. Today it stands as a monument to his inspiration for building a town on top of his own family farm land. Levi Valentine had built Valentown next to land where a railroad was supposed to arrive. Unfortunately, the company that was building the railroad ran out of funds and tracks before they could reach Valentown. Eventually Valentown was vacated and left untouched. In 1940 historian J. Sheldon Fisher and later turned Valentown into a Historical Museum.

Rochester Museum & Science Center
The Rochester Museum & Science Center offers three floors of hands-on exhibitions exploring science and technology, natural science, and our region’s cultural heritage. In addition to ongoing favorites such as Expedition Earth, several new traveling exhibits each year make the RMSC a popular destination for families.

Cummings Nature Center
The RMSC Cumming Nature Center is a 900-acre preserve located 40 minutes south of Rochester, New York in the Fin­ger Lakes region near the village of Naples. The Center is open to the public on weekends only, January through Octo­ber, with groomed trails for hiking in spring, summer, and fall, and for snowshoeing and classic cross-country skiing in the winter months.

Tinker Nature Park-Hansen Nature Center
The land for Tinker Nature Park was donated by the Aldridge family in 1991 and made public in 1994. The well designed park has become a year-round favorite for people of all ages. It consists of woods, wetland, ponds, and fields which together create a living museum of natural history. Within the park is the Hansen Nature Center, offering classes in cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, photography, etc.

The New York Museum Of Transportation
The New York Museum of Transportation houses eleven full size trolley cars, a caboose, steam locomotive, antique road vehicles, and the various associated items that illuminate our transportation history. An 11’ x 21’ HO-gauge model rail­road operates five trains and two trolleys at one time. Pump-type handcars, track inspection velocipede, signs, baggage carts, diesel engine cutaways, cap badges, track tools and lots of other artifacts complement the many photo exhibits and interpretive displays. The Gallery features a rare color film of the Rochester Subway. A big hit with visitors is the trolley car from the Spaghetti Warehouse Restaurant, recently reopened for display. The visitor Center contains a display of “O” gauge models of trolley cars that once served the area, and a diorama depicting a 1930’s gas station.

Music, Dance & Theaters

Blackfriars Theatre
Blackfriars is proud to invite you to our theater located in Rochester’s Cultural East End District. We are now in our 58th season of providing quality theatrical entertainment to the Greater Monroe County and Finger Lakes region. Blackfriars Theatre is a mid-sized professional theatre that has entertained audiences for more than 50 years in downtown Roches­ter, New York. Our mission has been to provide the best possible showcase for actors and actresses, theater artists and technicians who have chosen to make Rochester their home. Many of our family have moved on to acting and technical roles in regional theatre, Broadway, movies and television – a testament to the training Blackfriars provides.

Downstairs Cabaret Theatre
The Downstairs Cabaret Theatre is a live, professional, not-for-profit (501-c-3) theatre; producing musicals, comedies, dramas, new works, and cabaret artists in a year-round, repertory schedule. Since its inception in 1983, the Downstairs Cabaret has made its mark in the Rochester community by producing a diverse offering of musicals and plays. Mostly known locally and nationally for developing Nunsense and producing the world premiere of Forever Plaid, the DCT has always been an important player in the development of new works.

Eastman Theatre-Films
The Dryden Theatre is the Museum’s sole exhibition space for showcasing its unparalleled collection of motion pictures, as well as fine selections from the world’s other great archives, and premieres of new foreign and independent cinema. The Dryden Theatre, opened in 1951, is the largest archival screening facility in the U.S., with a capacity of 535. It also is one of only four facilities in North America approved for the screening of nitrate film. As the screening facility showcasing Eastman House’s film collection and preservation activities, the Dryden Theatre is a critical component of the Museum’s mission to interpret and provide access to its motion picture collection.

Finger Lakes CMAC
The Constellation Brands-Marvin Sands Performing Arts Center (CMAC) is located 30 minutes south of Rochester, NY, on the campus of the Finger Lakes Community College in Canandaigua. A not-for-profit organization, CMAC plays host to the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra numerous times each summer, and features a variety of national touring acts, as well. CMAC can host up to 15,000 patrons, including 10,000 lawn seats overlooking beautiful Canandaigua Lake. The amphi­theatre’s pavilion includes covered seating, state-of-the-art acoustics, and an enhanced concession plaza.

Garth Fagan Dance
The Fagan company has been cited for its excellence and originality with a New York Governor’s Arts Award. Their distinc­tive movement quality comes from years of training in Fagan Technique, the teaching method Garth Fagan, company founder and artistic director, developed hand-in-hand with his own dance vocabulary when he started the ensemble in 1970. The company has had five winners of “Bessie” Awards.

GEVA Theatre
Geva Theatre Center is Rochester’s leading professional theatre and the most attended regional theatre in New York State. Mainstage offers a wide variety of shows, from musicals to reinvigorated American and world classics. Nextstage, features fresh contemporary theatre and is home to Geva’s newest endeavor, Geva Comedy Improv. Big Theatre for Little People series, has exciting, original theatre for audiences in grades K-8. Geva Theatre Center also offers a wide variety of educational, outreach and literary programs.

Little Theatres
The Little Theatre Film Society provides a unique environment for the presentation of American independent and foreign films, visual arts and music for the greater Rochester community. The Little serves as a multi-cultural gathering place for affordable and accessible entertainment, screening more than 100 films per year, as well as hosting several annual com­munity film festivals. The Little provides local artists a place to share their visions with a diverse audience and to discuss their work through educational talkbacks.

Rochester Broadway Theater League
RBTL’s mission is to provide opportunities for all people to experience, understand and enjoy the best in arts and perfor­mance through its education programs, events and activities Built in 1928, the Auditorium has become the greater Roch­ester area’s home for large-scale Broadway musicals such as The Phantom of the Opera, Miss Saigon, The Producers, Disney’s THE LION KING and Wicked. In addition, The Aud Rochester hosts a variety of rock, classical, R&B, dance, and children’s shows. The Theatre is owned and operated by the RBTL.

Rochester City Ballet
Rochester City Ballet’s repertoire mixes award-winning contemporary works and classic story ballets, to create a unique and unmistakable quality of art. Its dancers are sought after by the very best ballet companies in the world. The fact that they choose to stay here and dance with RCB is a testament to the quality of the company, its Directors, and its diverse and challenging repertoire.

Rochester Opera Factory
Mercury Opera Rochester is the area’s newest cultural organization, and Western New York’s only professional opera company. Incorporated in 2004 and now in its third season, the company has earned enthusiastic support from the com­munity. The mission of Mercury Opera Rochester is to produce a varied repertoire of professional opera for a growing, appreciative audience.

Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra
Since its founding by George Eastman in 1922, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra has been committed to enrich­ing and inspiring our community through the art of music. For more than 80 years, the RPO has been known for its high standard of artistic excellence, unique tradition of musical versatility and deep commitment to education and community engagement.

A Magical Journey Thru Stages
A non-profit community theater group using local talent to help non-profit organizations. A Magical Journey Thru Stages is a non-profit theater company dedicated to making this community a better place to live. We exist to perform high-quality plays and musicals that delight audiences, raise money for charity and foster personal and professional growth. Previous shows include Pippi Longstocking, Grease, Smokey Joe’s Cafe, Disney’s High School Musical, A Christmas Carol and Into the Woods. Stages performs an annual Broadway musical revue for charity.

TYKES Theatre
At TYKES, we promise you the most spectacular children’s theatre in town, a warm and child-friendly atmosphere, and great convenience too. Our breathtaking costumes and sets, superbly professional actors and incredible scripts will transport you to faraway lands, fantastical places and exciting new experiences. Let us entertain and inspire your whole family with best-loved fairy tales, favorite bedtime stories and children’s books… all seen through the magic of live theatre. Please come join us!

JCC CenterStage

Rochester Community Players

Bristol Valley Theatre

Pittsford Musicals

Outdoor Activities

Fishing in the Rochester/Lake Ontario Area
Promotes recreational and charter fishing on Lake Ontario from Rochester, New York to Pt. Breeze, New York providing Rochester Area fishing reports, lodging and travel information and species and seasonal information on Salmon, Steel­head, Brown Trout and Lake Trout. The Rochester basin attracts early warm water for good spring fishing. Summer fishing includes good catches of Salmon, Steelheads, and Lake Trout. Browns can be caught closer to shore. Fall brings the legendary runs of King Salmon and Cohos.
Also see here

Canoeing and Kayaking
Headquartered in Genesee Valley Park*, the Genesee Waterways Center (GWC) is the gateway to outdoor activities on or near the water in Western New York. Here you can experience kayaking, rowing, sculling, canoeing, and whitewater kayaking, as well as hiking and biking—we have programs for everyone! Our recreational facilities and year-round classes are available to all ages and ability levels, from youth to adults and novice to competitive!
Also see here

Ice Skating
The popular Manhattan Square Park Ice Rink reopened to the public on February 8 and will remain open tentatively through March 29 (weather permitting). Patrons will be greeted by an expanded warming shelter that features a heated floor and fireplace, new rental skates, a new sound and lighting system and a kidney-shaped rink surface that is 30 per­cent larger than the original rink. In the summer, the rink will double as a reflecting pool. Heavy snowfall may cancel or delay sessions. Call to confirm times.

Winter Activities
Skiing, Skating, Hiking, Sledding and maybe build a Snowman!
Also see Bristol Mountain

Parks,Trails and Waterways
Hand-feed chickadees, walk on a floating boardwalk over wetlands, swim on a guarded beach, visit exotic animals, visit a botanical garden, cast a fishing line, visit a working farm, ride a menagerie carousel, have a picnic, get married, watch a movie outside at night, play a round of golf, enjoy a Shakespeare performance, listen to an outdoor concert, fly a kite, take a hike, horseback ride, fly a model airplane, play bocce—all in our county parks! You can enjoy all of these and many more activities in our 21 Monroe County Parks’ nearly 12,000 acres of land. Located throughout the county, our parks provide residents and visitors with a variety of leisure activities.

Canandaigua Lake
Boating, sailing, water skiing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, scuba… the list goes on and on, and it’s all available at the city’s southern boundary in the pure, glistening waters of Canandaigua Lake.

Many of the local gyms, recreational centers and even some local community colleges offer tennis lessons. You’ll find a variety of different opportunities like this including those that offer the ability to benefit from their local, public facilities.

Hiking & Biking Trails

Boating and Fishing

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Rochester NY Housing Trends

Rochester & Surrounding Areas Real Estate Sales Data 9/2011

Average Listing Price (last 12 months)

Average List Price in August
Single Family Homes: $141,917
Condos/ Townhome: $137,875
Multi-family: $94,929