If you’re a freshman, you may hear during your first year at UR that there’s “nothing to do in Rochester.” To those of you who were looking forward to some off-campus life, that may come as a disappointment.
However, the following list (as well as the photos plastered all over the walls of Danforth Dining Hall) aims help debunk this falsehood, as well as show you the many things you can do in the City of Rochester.
One of the reasons I came to UR in the first place was because I wanted the chance to explore an American city with a beautiful, historical chip on its shoulder. Here’s a list of 10 things to hit up before the end of your first semester that may show you a bit more of the polish this rusty city has to offer.
1. Monroe Avenue: For starters, check out Archimage (books, knick-knacks, jewelry, greeting cards) and Dogtown (hot dogs, garbage plates, vegetarian options).
Directions: Take the Orange Line and get off at Monroe Avenue and Goodman Street.
2. The Little Theater: This independent movie theater has homemade baked goods and live music almost every night. Along with major blockbusters, they showcase foreign films and live screenings of performances at the National Theater in London.
Directions: Take the Red Line to Eastman and walk down East Avenue toward Spot Coffee.
3. Magnolia’s Deli & Cafe: It was a big deal when President Obama ate there in 2013, but a true Rochesterian knows Magnolia’s was cool long before then. Stop by Lakeshore Record Exchange next door when you’re done.
Directions: Take the Orange Line to Park Avenue and Culver Road.
4. Bike the Erie Canal Path: The Students Association’s City Cycles program lets you rent a bike for free from the athletic center when the weather is nice, and believe me, you’ll want to take advantage of that while you can.
Directions: Take Intercampus Drive past Southside to reach the Erie Canal.
5. Greenwood Books: A charming and cheap, hole-in-the-wall used bookstore that is easy to explore far beyond what you’d expect from its size.
Directions: Take the Red Line, walk past Eastman, and turn left onto East Avenue. It’s across the street from the Victoire Pub.
6. The Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County: Aside from being a beautiful library, there is a city historian on the second floor. And apparently it’s haunted, so there’s that. Look around and then head to Dinosaur BBQ next door for a great lunch.
Directions: Just take the Red Line to Eastman. It’s only a 15-minute walk.
7. George Eastman House: Go see the home of the man whose statue you’ll be walking by every day. Also within the house are a renowned museum of photography and the Dryden Theater, which screens art films and a versatile collection of motion pictures.
Directions: Take the Orange Line to East Avenue and Barrington Street.
8. Visit the Mount Hope Cemetery: This peaceful and sprawling cemetery is located directly adjacent to the River Campus. See if you can find famous graves: Susan B. Anthony, Frederick Douglass, and Nathaniel Rochester are all buried here.
Directions: The closest entrance is on Elmwood Avenue, east of campus.
9. Highland Park: Home of the annual Lilac Festival, this is also where you can experience the view from the highest point in Rochester.
Directions: It’s within walking distance of campus. Just walk past Phase (Hill Court) to Mt. Hope Avenue.
10. Strong Museum of Play: A good place to remember your not-so-far-gone childhood, it also houses a butterfly garden and arcade.
Directions: Just take the Red Line to Eastman. It’s only a 10-minute walk.
This only scratches the surface of the fine cuisine and culture that make Rochester the under-appreciated gem that it is, but it’s a good place to get started.
McAdams is a member of the class of 2017.