It’s summertime in Rochester, better enjoy it while you can! If we’re lucky we’ll get about three months of decent weather, so here is a list of things to do before the snow starts to fly.
Concerts by the Shore. Head out to Ontario beach park (the locals just say “Charlotte” and that’s pronounced “Shar-lot”) every Wednesday from June through August for free music, food, and fun. Each week features a different musical group, ranging from the RPO (Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra) to Ruby Shooz, a 50’s/60’s rock cover band.
Rochester Red Wings games. Rochester’s Triple-A baseball team. Go see some future starts as well as some has-been’s.
Rochester Raging Rhinos. Rochester’s A-league soccer team. I’m not a soccer fan myself, but you always seem to get drawn into the passion while you’re there.
Abbott’s Ice Cream. You’ve got to cool down with some of Rochester’s best hometown custard (soft-serve).
Ontario Beach Park (Charlotte, see note above). No summer in Rochester is complete without heading up to Charlotte and taking a walk on the pier. Make sure you grab some Abbott’s ice cream while you’re there, and if your lucky a guy called “the Beatle” will be there to acoustically play all of your Beatle favorites; he’s a Rochester staple, everybody knows who he is.
Seneca Park Zoo. If you have kids, or even if you don’t, the Seneca park zoo is a great place to check out some cool creatures of the animal kingdom. I love the Meerkats and the Ocelot, now they have snow leopards too! A great place for the family!
Festivals. Rochester has a ton of festivals, from the Lilac festival, to Fairport and Spencerport canal days. There’s also the Corn Hill arts festival and multiple east end festivals. If you can think of it, there’s probably a festival for it here.
Wegmans. It’s not just a grocery store, it’s an experience. Grab some food at the market cafe, a gourmet coffee, some fresh donuts and bagels, do your shopping, and experience some great customer service. Alec Baldwin’s mother would not move to California because she wouldn’t leave Wegmans (she was a resident of nearby Syracuse, which also has stores); that’s how potent the experience is. Why is it listed as a summertime activity? Quite frankly, no matter what season it is, if you come to Rochester and don’t experience Wegmans, you didn’t come to Rochester.
Mendon Ponds Park. Mendon Ponds Park is the largest park in Monroe county containing woodlands, ponds, and wetlands. There are enclosed lodges where you can have parties and open air shelters with grills and picnic tables. It’s a beautiful and relaxing place with amazing natural beauty.
Bike Rides along the Erie Canal. You can technically ride the entire 400-mile path along the Erie canal, from Buffalo, NY to Albany, NY, but I’ll just stick to a day ride in the Rochester area. Start out in one of the “port” towns (Fairport, Spencerport) or Pittsford, enjoy some scenery and small shops in the various towns.
White Hots. No summer in Rochester is complete without a Zweigle’s White hot cooked outside on the grill. Grab a package of Zweigle’s Premium White Hots, fire up the propane, warm up some Coach Tony’s meat hot sauce and you’re good to go!
Garbage Plates. Not for the faint of heart, literally, it will clog your arteries. Your choice of 2 hot dogs or 2 cheeseburgers, with home-fries and mac salad, topped with ketchup, mustard and meat hot sauce, all piled on the same plate. No wonder Rochester has some of the best healthcare facilities in the country (Rochester General top 100 heart hospital, University of Rochester Med Center is a well known research facility)! Don’t forget to knock back a locally brewed Genesee beer (Genny Light, Genesee Cream Ale) along with your trash plate.