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5 Great activities to fight the winter blues in Rochester

Rochester winters can seem pretty intimidating, with cold temperatures, limited daylight, and varying amounts of snow and slush. As a Rochester native, I’ve had to find ways to entertain myself and I’ve found there are still plenty of opportunities to have fun off-campus during the winter, both indoors and outdoors.

Outdoor Activities

Explore a park

There are many parks in Rochester that are fun to explore in the winter, especially when covered in a blanket of snow. You can even check out snowshoes from the Campus Information Center on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays! Nearby parks include Genesee Valley Park, Highland Park, Cobb’s Hill, and Turning Point Park. 

For a day trip, Niagara Falls is a very unique

A waterfall pours down onto ice covered rocks
Bridal Veil Falls on the American side in January 2021

experience in the winter, with the falls semi-frozen on the sides and the land covered in ice. Letchworth State Park is a great way to spend the afternoon, with three different waterfalls and no park entrance fees during the winter.

Go ice skating

There is an outdoor rink at Martin Luther King Jr. Square Park with open skate hours every day of the week. The Genesee Valley Park Sports Complex has an indoor rink with open skate hours multiple times a week and is a short walk from campus.

Indoor Activities

Visit a museum

Rochester has several museums worth visiting during your time here. While not really a museum, I love visiting the Lamberton Conservatory during the winter, which is a great way to escape the cold and enjoy a variety of tropical and desert plants and some tortoises wandering the property. 

Vintage film cameras on display.
Vintage film cameras on display at the George Eastman Museum.

The Memorial Art Gallery is owned by the University of Rochester and is free to all students, making it a great spot to spend a few hours browsing their extensive art collective. As a bonus, you can grab brunch at the Brown Hound Cafe, located in the same building. 

The Strong Museum of Play is popular among children and adults alike, along with the Rochester Museum and Science Center. For a more historical trip, the George Eastman Museum is the world’s oldest photography museum and includes the preserved former home of University of Rochester benefactor, George Eastman, the founder of Kodak. Famous suffragette Susan B. Anthony also has her former home in Rochester and it has been converted into a museum as well.   

Go to a hockey game

Given Rochester’s proximity to Canada, it’s not surprising that hockey is pretty popular around here. The Buffalo Sabres are the closest NHL team, but Rochester has its own minor league team called the Americans (or “Amerks” for short). They play at the Blue Cross Arena downtown.

Attend an Eastman School of Music event

Easily accessible to River Campus students via the Red Line, the Eastman School of Music hosts musical events throughout the year that students can attend. There’s also Eastman student recitals on the Italian baroque organ at the Memorial Art Gallery every Sunday

Use this list as a starting point for planning your winter adventures and follow accounts like @campusroc and @visitrochester for more ideas!

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