If you are planning a Rochester vacation or live in Rochester and are looking for family fun things to in the city this list is for you. We are sharing our family favorite things to do in Rochester, NY and hope this inspires you to explore this amazing and unique city.
We are doing our best to travel safely during this time. Please check the location website before visiting due to COVID-19 rules and regulations.
We have lived in Rochester for almost ten years now and have had an opportunity to enjoy many of the attractions Rochester has to offer.
It is a small city with a lot of big city fun. Living in Rochester with your family means never being bored on a weekend. From free things to do in Rochester to day trips around Rochester, there is always something to do!
Today I have rounded up our picks for the best things to do in Rochester for families. These are in no particular order but are places we love to visit and are part of why we enjoy living in this area.
Most of the places on the list are within Rochester but I have also included day trip places to visit.
Things to Do in Rochester, NY with Kids
1. The Strong Museum of Play
The Strong Museum of Play is seeing its largest expansion in history and is making this amazing Rochester attraction even better. We have always loved visiting the Strong for its focus on hands-on play and overall fun. Check out our post about the Strong where I share our favorite exhibits at the Strong and the best time to visit.
Learn more about the Strong Museum of Play.
2. Rochester and Genesee Valley Railroad Museum
When you visit you can walk through a few rail cars and seasonally they have train rides. We visited during the fall and did the pumpkin train ride. It was a lot of fun.
Learn more about the Rochester Genesee Valley Railroad Museum.
3. Rochester Museum and Science Center
Rochester Museum and Science Center is a fun hands-on science center that allows guests to learn more about the world around them. Be sure to watch the electricity show at the Electricity Theater!
Learn more about the Rochester Museum and Science Center.
4. Strasenburgh Planetarium
A visit through the Planetarium is included with your Rochester Museum and Science Center admission but I thought it deserved it’s own spot on the list because of the option to view the stars during a star show. They also offer laser shows. All shows are an extra fee to enjoy.
Learn more about the Strasenburgh Planetarium.
5. Seneca Park Zoo
The Seneca Park Zoo is always changing and we love visiting year round. Currently they have an amazing playground for kids to explore as well as the newest exhibit that allows guests to feed the giraffes. I wrote a post about my youngest and I visiting the Seneca Park Zoo often during his last year of preschool.
Learn more about the Seneca Park Zoo.
6. Stony Brook State Park
Stony Brook State Park offers gorge views and hiking trails. It is located in Dansville, NY and also has picnic areas and a playground.
Learn more about Stony Brook State Park.
7. Lazy Acre Alpaca Farm
The Lazy Acre Alpaca Farm offers tours starting April 1st and can be customized to your group. They also have an onsite shop.
Learn more about Lazy Acre Alpaca Farm.
8. Orbaker’s Drive-In Restaurant
Orbaker’s Drive-In is a classic hot dog and hamburger stand that we love to visit a few times a year. It has indoor and outdoor seating and we always end our meal with an ice cream! Orbaker’s is cash only and they have an ATM on-site.
Learn more about Orbaker’s Drive In Restaurant.
9. Mendon Pond Parks
Mendon Pond Parks is an excellent family friendly park to hike and explore outdoors. It is also the newest home to the Fairy Trails. The fairy trails are so fun to find and discover during your hike and we really love the addition to the park.
Learn more about Mendon Pond Parks.
Related Post: 12 Easy Family Hiking Near Rochester NY
10. George Eastman House
The George Eastman House is on the estate of George Eastman, the man who was instrumental in the history of film and photography. At first glance this may not seem great for kids but on our recent visit the kids loved exploring the home and were really interested in seeing how far photography has come.
Learn more about the George Eastman House.
11. Wild Wings, Inc
Wild Wings is located at Mendon Pond Parks. It is a bird sanctuary that you can walk through and learn more about the animals that inhabit our area. Wild Wings cares for injured birds that are unable to survive in the wild.
Learn more about Wild Wings.
12. Letchworth State Park
Letchworth is something everyone should see at least once. It is an often underestimated park but once you have visited you will keep coming back. The fall is one of the best times to visit but Letchworth is open year round.
Learn more about Letchworth State Park.
13. Hamlin State Park
Hamlin State Park is a little bit of a drive but worth it for it’s beautiful and quiet beaches. It is one of my favorite beaches near Rochester.
Learn more about Hamlin State Park.
14. High Falls Historic Walking Tour
High Falls is a really cool area of Rochester. There is a walking tour that will guide you along the district and give you great views of the falls.
Learn more about the High Falls Historic Walking Tour.
15. Corning Museum of Glass
Corning Museum of Glass is a day trip drive away from Rochester. They offer classes as well as exhibits and shows that are great for families. Check out our Tips for Visiting Corning Museum of Glass with Kids for everything you need to know to plan your visit.
Learn more about Corning Museum of Glass.
16. Turning Point Park
Turning Point Park is a hidden gem of a park. I was so excited when we discovered this. Turning Point Park has a boardwalk that extends over the Genesee River and it an awesome walking or biking path.
Learn more about Turning Point Park.
17. Rockwell Museum
The Rockwell Museum is located in Corning, NY. It tells the history of America through art and also offers opportunities for hands-on learning for kids. Check out our weekend in Corning, NY to see what we loved about our visit.
Learn more about the Rockwell Museum.
18. Bristol Mountain (Winter)
Bristol Mountain is close enough to spend a day on the slopes and drive home in the evening. It offers children and first time offers to visitors.
Learn more about Bristol Mountain.
19. Sodus Bay Lighthouse Museum
Take a drive to Sodus Bay and enjoy a visit to the Sodus Bay Lighthouse Museum. This museum also allows visitors to climb to the top for panoramic views of Lake Ontario.
Learn more about Sodus Bay Lighthouse Museum.
More Rochester, NY Things to Do
20. Chimney Bluffs State Park
Chimney Bluffs state park is an amazing naturally carved landscape along Lake Ontario. Visitors can explore the park and enjoy the views of the lake. There are no rails on the cliffs and it may not be suitable for young children.
Learn more about Chimney Bluffs State Park.
Seabreeze opened its doors in 1879 and is one of the oldest amusement parks in the nation. Guests young and old love visiting this park set on Lake Ontario for its nostalgic attractions and family fun.
Learn more about Seabreeze.
22. Sticky Lips BBQ
Sticky Lips BBQ is a unique BBQ restaurant located in Henrietta, NY. It’s fun for families to check out all the memorabilia throughout the restaurant.
Learn more about Sticky Lips BBQ.
23. Blue Cross Arena
Rochester may be a small city but we see some big names at the Blue Cross Arena. The Arena’s size makes it easy to get close to the action and have a great seat.
Learn more about Blue Cross Arena.
24. RIT Hockey
We went to our first RIT Hockey game last year and it was so much fun. They often have kids night and special events for families.
Learn more about RIT Hockey.
25. Genesee Country Village & Museum
Genesee Country Village and Museum is the largest living history museum in New York State and is a great place to visit year round for families. They often have seasonal events on the weekends and there is always something exciting happening there.
Learn more about the Genessee Country Village & Museum.
26. Steve’s Diner
Steve’s Diner has the biggest and best pancakes. With options like fruit or candy the sky is the limit on these delicious pancakes. It is a family favorite. There are two locations and both see large crowds on the weekends.
Learn more about Steve’s Diner.
27. Ridge Donuts
Ridge Donuts has amazing donuts! They are one of two donut shops on my list. Take your family to both and decide for yourself what is best.
Learn more about Ridge Donuts.
28. Susan B. Anthony House
Teach your kids about women’s history at the Susan B. Anthony House. Here you will find the story of Susan B. Anthony and what she did for women’s rights in America.
Learn more about the Susan B. Anthony House.
29. Springdale Farm
Springdale Farm is an educational farm that allows guest to learn more about a working dairy farm. You’re kids will be intrigued by watching the laser milking machines.
Learn more about Springdale Farm.
30. Pop Roc
Pop Roc is a cereal bar located in downtown Rochester. Pick your favorites from a wider variety of cereals. This is a fun place for lunch or dessert! Pop Roc recently closed but there have been talks of it opening again. Stay tuned for updates!
Learn more about Pop Roc.
31. Rochester Red Wings Game
Take your family to a Rochester Red Wings Game and enjoy some summer baseball fun. Check out the website to find special family night offers.
Learn more about the Red Wings.
32. Schutt’s Apple Mill
Schutt’s Apple Mill is a working apple cider mill. You can watch the process inside the general store and browse unique finds. Be sure to try the fried cakes for a delicious snack.
Learn more about Schutt’s Apple Mill.
33. Powers Farm Market
Powers Farm Market is a great place to visit during the fall. They have a tepee room full of carved pumpkins as well as one of the best family fun haunted hayrides.
Learn more about Powers Farm Market.
34. Seneca Lake State Park
Seneca Lake State Park is a great park that has a playground and a splash pad set on Canadaigua Lake. This is a great place to spend the day and have a family picnic.
Learn more about Seneca Lake State Park.
35. Lilac Adventure Zone at Highland Park
This is a really fun playground especially for school age kids. Made from logs and encourages creative play and exploration, this park is great for families. The address for Lilac Adventure Zone at Highland Park is 249 Highland Avenue Rochester, New York 14620
Learn more about Lilac Adventure Zone.
36. Wickham Farms
Wickham Farms has a new location with all of the fun of the old one. The bouncing pillow is a favorite of the kids and they enjoyed exploring the new activities.
Learn more about Wickham Farms.
37. Radio Social
Radio Social is a great place for an afternoon of bowling with the family. The fun atmosphere and games makes Radio Social a fun before dinner family spot.
Learn more about Radio Social.
38. Stokoe Farms
Stokoe Farms is a great family fun place for during the fall and winter months. They have seasonal events that welcome guests to pick their own pumpkins, sunflowers and Christmas trees.
Learn more about Stokoe Farms.
39. Dinosaur BBQ
Dinsosaur BBQ was one of the first places we visited when we moved to Rochester. It has great BBQ choice for kids and adults and a fun atmosphere.
Learn more about Dinosaur BBQ.
Things to Do in Rochester This Weekend
40. Lamberton Conservatory
Lamberton Conservatory is located near Highland Park and is a great escape from the winter months. It is small in size but a fun choice for an afternoon out with your family. My favorite is walking through the cactus room on a cold winter day.
Learn more about Lamberton Conservatory.
41. TYKE’s Theater
With shows like Winnie the Pooh and The Emperor’s New Clothes for 2020 TYKE’s Theater is a great place to start exposing your family to on stage shows.
Learn more about TYKE’S Theater.
42. Bill’s Training Camp at St. John Fisher College
Typically Buffalo Bill’s Training camp starts at the end of July and is a great summer activity to enjoy with the kids. They have special events on the weekends that you need a ticket to attend but week visits are free. Due to COVID this was canceled for the 2020 season. Stay tuned for updates if it is coming back for 2021.
Learn more about Buffalo Bills Training Camp.
43. Rochester Garbage Plate
Trying a Rochester Garbage Plate is a rite of passage in Rochester…and I have never had one!!! My husband swears by them and maybe I will try one, for research purposes. You can find one at numerous locations throughout the city but Nick Tahoe Hots is where it all started.
Learn more about Nick Tahoe Hots.
44. First Responders Park in Webster
Fireman’s Park in Webster is one of our favorite playgrounds because it is a playground and splash park. They are next to each other and it allows the kids to go back and forth and play, and parents can keep an eye on them. We will pack a picnic and spend the morning at this Webster park.
Learn more about First Responder’s Park in Webster.
45. Sonnenburg Gardens
Our first visit to Sonnenburg Gardens was on Mother’s Day a few years ago and we have made it an annual tradition ever since. Sonnenburg Gardens is a great place to get outside and explore the garden grounds. I love the many different areas to explore and discover something new every time we visit.
Learn more about Sonnenburg Gardens.
46. Visit a Library
With over 30 libraries the Monroe County Library offers endless places to visit with your family. We like to find a new library to discover. Most libraries have a children’s area and offer different activities for families.
Learn more about the Monoroe County Libraries.
47. Rent Bicycle’s in Pittsford
Families can rent bicycle’s in Pittsford at Towpath Bike and ride along the Erie Canal. It is a really nice ride from Pittsford to Fairport and can be done in a day.
Learn more about Towpath Bike Rentals.
48. Sterling Renaissance Festival
The Sterling Renaissance Festival will be celebrating 44 years in 2020 and it is one of the largest festivals in the state. This is a fun day trip for families and an interesting experience. We visited on a day trip a few years ago and you can read about our time at the Sterling Renaissance Festival. Now that the kids are a bit older I think it would be fun to visit again this summer.
Learn more about Sterling Renaissance Festival.
49. Walk the Canal
In Rochester we are so lucky to live near the Erie Canal. There are many walking paths along the canal and often through villages like Pittsford or Fairport that have restaurants, shops, and ice cream stops.
Learn more about the Erie Canal.
50. Park Side Diner Whispering Pines Mini-Golf Course
The first time we visited this mini-golf my youngest was under 3 and it wasn’t super successful. This summer we are adding it to our list for a family night out. The diner is a great place for family meals followed by a round of mini-golf at the oldest mini-golf course in the United States.
Learn more about Park Side Diner and Whispering Pines Mini Golf.
51. Vintage Drive In
In the summer months nothing beats a visit to the drive-in. We try to do a night at the drive-in once a summer and it’s a fun family tradition. Vintage Drive-In is located in Avon and is under and hour drive from Rochester.
Learn more about Vintage Drive-In.
52. G & S Orchards
G & S Orchards has been a part of our family tradition since moving to Rochester 10 years ago. We love picking our own apples in the fall and have also picked blueberries there. They have a wide variety of you pick options for fruits and vegetables.
Learn more about G & S Orchards.
53. Rochester Ice Center
Rochester Ice Center in Fairport has public open skate and learn to skate options for families. Ice Skating can be a fun family activity during the winter or summer months.
Learn more at Rochester Ice Center.
54. Indoor Mini-Golf at Glo Golf
My family loves to mini-golf and having an option to do it during the winter months is awesome! Glo-Golf is located at a few locations throughout Rochester and is perfect for a family activity in Rochester.
55. Hidden Valley Animal Adventure
Hidden Valley Animal Adventure takes guests on a safari type ride to see the animals at the farm. This is a hidden gem in my opinion and we were really impressed with our visit. I shared our experience at Hidden Valley Animal Adventure and tips on how to plan your visit.
Learn more about Hidden Valley Animal Adventure.
56. Air Show at the National Warplane Museum
The National Warplane Museum is located in Geneseo, New York and displays planes of the past. They put on an airshow every summer and have a museum for visitors.
Learn more at National Warplane Museum.
57. Go Sledding
There are so many local places that offer free places to sled. Check out your local town website and find out where the best places are. Mendon Ponds and Black Creek park offer great hills for families.
58. The New York Museum of Transportation
The New York Museum of Transportation features antique trolleys, fire trucks, and other transportation vehicles. They are open seasonally starting in the spring.
Learn more about The New York Museum of Transportation.
59. Memorial Art Gallery
I love visiting art galleries with the kids. I think it is so much fun to see the art through their eyes and it gives me an all new perspective on things.
Learn more about the Memorial Art Gallery.
Activities in Rochester, New York
60. NOTA Walking Tour
NOTA is the Neighborhood of the Arts and you can do a self-guided walking tour to take pictures and explore this unique part of the city. We had a really great time walking this area and I am working on a post that shares our day so you can help plan your own. We parked anywhere near the Memorial Art Gallery and walked the block.
Learn more about Neighborhood of the Arts.
61. Medina Railroad Museum
The Medina Railroad Museum has an impressive mini train exhibit and families can take the seasonal themed train rides to meet Santa. There museum is open year round making this a great place to visit in the winter months.
Learn more about the Medina Railroad Museum.
62. Lilac Festival
The Lilac Festival is an annual festival in the city of Rochester during the early weeks of May. It celebrates the amazing lilacs at Highland park and has food and art vendors, musical acts, and a 5k. Check the website for 2021 updates!
Learn more about the Lilac Festival.
63. Donuts Delite
Donuts Delite offers a cannoli donut! Need I say more! This is the second donut shop on the list and I think it is worth it to try both as a family and decide what your favorites are.
Learn more at Donuts Delite.
64. Mount Morris Dam
We visited the Mount Morris Dam during a group tour but anyone can visit the visitors center and scenic overlook. The park also has a picnic area and playground.
Learn more about the Mount Morris Dam.
65. Central Rock Gym
Central Rock Gym is an awesome place for families to get there energy out, especially during the long winters. There helpful staff can teach beginners how to climb and this is a great place to exercise as a family.
Learn more about Central Rock Gym.
66. Artisan Works
Artisan Works is a eclectic collection of art work. It is also used as an events venue and be be closed for special events. Check the website before you visit.
Learn more about Artisan Works.
67. Garden Factory
The Garden Factory is a green house that will have you enjoying the flowers while escaping the cold. The best time of year to visit is during the holidays when they have special seasonal events that include a holiday light show.
Learn more about the Garden Factory.
68. Rochester Public Market
We love visiting the Rochester Public Market for its fresh fruit and vegetables as well as speciality food items. During the summer months they have a food truck rodeo and its a fun family evening out.
Learn more about the Rochester Public Market.
69. Six Flags Darien Lake
Six Flags Darien Lake is an amusement park located a little over an hour from Rochester, NY. It has fun roller coasters and a great water park for families looking to cool off in the summer months.
70. Mount Hope Cementery
This spot may not be for everyone but I felt it was important to add it to the list. Mount Hope Cementer is the burial spot of Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglas, among many more. It is a beautiful cemetery that has self-guided tours. We visited on electron night of 2016 and it was a powerful moment.
Learn more about Mount Hope Cemetery.
71. Women’s Rights National Historical Park
Seneca Falls is home to the Women’s Rights National Historical Park that gives you a guide to all the important Women’s rights spots in the area. There is a visitors center with a film to get you started on your tour.
Learn more about Women’s Rights National Historical Park.
72. ROC Holiday Village
ROC Holiday Village is a seasonal holiday event in Rochester that has food vendors and free ice skating. We have made it a family tradition and you can read more about why we love ROC Holiday Village.
Learn more about ROC Holiday Village.
73. Greek Peak Mountain Resort
Greek Peak Mountain Resort is a sky resort that also has an indoor waterpark. This is the perfect spot for a winter weekend getaway in Rochester.
Learn more about Greek Peak Mountain Resort.
74. New York State Festival of Balloons
New York State Festival of Balloons is located in Dansville, NY and runs at the end of August. They have morning and evening events.
Learn more at New York State Festival of Balloons.
75. Taughannock Falls State Park
Taughannock Falls State Park is one of my favorite places to hike as a family. It is a one way hike that finishes with a view of the waterfall. There is also beach access and a playground making this a great place to spend a day. Check out our day trip to Ithaca!
Learn more about Taughannock Falls State Park.
76. Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden at The Strong
The Butterfly Garden is located inside The Strong Museum of Play. Guests must purchase tickets to the garden in addition to the museum admission. If your kids love to learn more about butterflies they will love this area.
Learn more about Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden.
77. Rent Kayaks along the Canal
Open from May-October families can rent kayaks and experience the Erie canal. This is great for families that want to get outdoors and may not have the equipment to try it out.
Learn more at Erie Canal Boat Company.
78. Aerial Adventure Park at Bristol Mountain
Bristol Mountain has an Aerial Adventure park that is awesome for school age kids. The course increases in difficulty as you become more confident in the course. This is a great outdoor activity for the entire family.
Learn more at Bristol Mountain Aerial Adventure.
79. Kershaw Park
Kershaw Park is a beach located in Canadaigua. There is an admission fee for residents and non-residents but this beach offers great views of the lake and a nice place to enjoy a summer day.
Learn more about Kershaw Park.
80. The Centennial Sculpture Park
The Centennial Sculpture park is a small area outside the Memorial Art Gallery but it is a fun place to explore with the kids.
Learn more about the Centennial Sculpture Park.
81. Cumming Nature Center
Cumming Nature Center is part of the Rochester Museum and Science Center. Located in Naples, NY you can find family fun year round. They have snow shoe and ski rentals available to guests.
Learn more about The Cumming Nature Center.
82. Stone-Tolan House
The Stone-Tolan house is a look back at what life was like in Rochester in the late 1700s. Self-guided tours allow guests to explore the estate and learn more about life in the 1700s.
Learn more about Stone-Tolan House.
83. Roseland Waterpark
Roseland waterpark is a great place for families to cool off during hot summer days. They offer family friendly water attractions, a splash area, and wave pool.
Learn more about Roseland Waterpark.
84. The Sam Patch
The Sam Patch is a 90 minute cruise down the Erie Canal. This cruise can be customized to your group needs and would be a fun summer adventure to do with friends.
Learn more about The Sam Patch.
85. Tinker Nature Park
Tinker Nature Park is a great hike for families. We like that you can walk through different habitats and environments through the easy walking paths. Be sure to check out the Hansen Nature center during your walk. Tinker Nature Park used to be home of the Fairy Trails before they were moved to Mendon Ponds Park, but the park still has a lot to offer and enjoy for a day outside.
Learn more about Tinker Nature Park.
86. Powder Mills Park Fish Hatchery
We like to visit Powder Mills Park to take a walk on the Daffodil Trails(best during spring) and see the fish hatchery. Families could explore the park in the morning and have a picnic lunch.
Learn more about Powder Mills Park.
87. Movies in the Park
Many towns offer Movies in the Park during the summer months. Check out your parks and recreation website for more information.
88. Lollypop Farm
Lollypop Farm is an animal humane society where you can adopt pets. If you are not ready for a pet you can visit the farm. There are dog, cats, and other pet animals as well as cows, and farm animals.
Learn more about Lollypop Farm.
89. Ganondagan Historic Site
This Seneca Art and Historical center teaches the kids what life was like for the first settlers of America. Kids will enjoy exploring a real long house.
Learn more about Ganondagan Historic Site.
90. Rochester Knighthawks Game
Rochester Knighthawks are the local lacrosse team. If you go see a game be ready for high energy and enthusiastic fans. This is a great family fun activity for sports fans.
Learn more about the Rochester Knighthawks.
91. Record Archive
We visited Record Archive for the first time this summer and I didn’t realize it was more than a record store. There are music archives, a stage and bar, and lots of unique gifts to purchase. The kids found it to be very fun and interesting.
Learn more about Record Archive.
92. Grimes Glen
Grimes Glen has a 1 mile trail that is perfect for families of all ages. Along the trail discover waterfalls and walk along the gorge trail.
Learn more about Grimes Glen.
93. The Webster Arboretum
The Webster Arboretum is an outdoor garden that is open to the public for exploring and enjoying a day out. The gardens offer seasonal flowers and sitting areas to enjoy an afternoon.
Learn more about The Webster Arboretum.
94. Roseland Wake Park
For the adventurous in your family check out Roseland Wake Park. They offer private lessons and options to learn how to wake board and paddleboard.
Learn more at Roseland Wake Park.
95. Bristol Mountain Fall Sky Rides
During the Fall you can take the ski lift up Bristol Mountain to see stunning fall foliage. This is great for families of all ages and a fun way to spend a fall day.
Learn more about Bristol Mountain Fall Sky Rides.
96. Perinton Aquatic Center
This indoor pool with waterslide is a great indoor activity for families to have fun and stay active in the winter. The center is open to all residents and nonresidents. Fees apply.
Learn more about the Perinton Aquatic Center.
97. Horizon Fun FX
Horizon Fun FX is an indoor entertainment complex that has bounce houses, roller skating, and laser tag. They also offer coupons on their website to make this a great options for families.
Learn more about Horizon Fun FX.
98. Colonial Belle Erie Canal Boat Ride
The Colonial Belle is a three hour historic boat ride that takes guests along the Erie Canal as well as through the Erie Canal Locks. Through the year they offer themed cruises like a pirate and murder mystery cruise.
Learn more about the Colonial Belle.
99. Glenn H. Curtis Museum
The Glenn H. Curtis Museum is a transportation museum where guests can explore antique cars, motorcycles, and aircraft. It honors Glenn H. Curtis and his contribution to aviation.
Learn more at Glenn H. Curtis Museum.
100. Aerial Arts of Rochester
Aerial Arts of Rochester is a place where families can learn trapeze as well as other aerial acrobats. Class schedules are available on the website and walk-ins are welcome.
Learn more about Aerial Arts of Rochester.
101. Breakout Escape Room
Escape rooms are a new way to have fun as a family and Breakout offers family friendly scenarios to make this a fun activity for families.
Learn more at Breakout.
This list has me excited to go out and explore all the things to do in Rochester, NY all over again!