Due to COVID-19 reasons, I unfortunately cannot hang out with my friends in their dorm rooms. So we’ve been hanging out in parks. There are a lot of great parks around here. Here are a few of my favorites:

Mount Hope Cemetery

Ooh that’s cool: 11/10

Picnicability: 5/10

I like ~exercise~: 8/10

Okay. So the first one isn’t technically a park. But cemeteries are basically parks, and this one is one of the best cemeteries I’ve ever been to. Which is saying something, because I’ve been to a lot of cemeteries. Not in a weird way though. I just think they’re cool.

In all seriousness, Mount Hope is a beautiful cemetery with an incredible amount of history. It’s a great place for an afternoon walk. The paths are also more than well maintained enough to go for a run, though be aware that some parts of the cemetery are very hilly. I recommend driving into the cemetery and parking in the older part, where it’s more heavily forested. For some it feels a little morbid, but I love to imagine what the people who are buried there were like, especially the ones who lived over a century ago. You may also find some familiar names like Frederick Douglass, Susan B. Anthony, Benjamin Rush Rhees (of library fame), and others. This park (cemetery) is one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen, and we have the great privilege of living next door to it. I highly recommend checking it out.

Highland Park

The Trees at Highland Park, Courtesy Vanessa Wish

Ooh that’s cool: 6/10

Picnicability: 8/10

I like ~exercise~: 7/10

Highland Park is a very nice park. It’s definitely worth a visit, and it’s just across Mount Hope Ave. from the cemetery, so it is close. The reservoir there is a nice place to sit, and there are great paths for walks and runs. It’s also much more open with a few fields where running around, tossing a frisbee, or having a picnic feels more comfortable than in the cemetery. There are plenty of interesting things to do, but they’re mostly the normal things you might expect in a park. Delightful, but less unique and exciting than some others.

Genesee Valley Park

Ooh that’s cool: 6/10

Picnicability: 10/10

I like ~exercise~: 9/10

GVP is a lot like Highland Park in that it is simply a park. There are great fields and baseball diamonds for sports lovers. Golf is there for golfers (whatever you call someone who plays golf). There are pavilions and picnic tables all over the park, which makes it one of the best nearby parks to eat at. You can catch a good view of the river as well! If you are a UR student and haven’t been here yet, I don’t really know what you’re doing. It’s right there! But there are still more interesting parks around.

Cobbs Hill Reservoir and Washington Grove

Graffiti at Cobbs Hill. Ethan Busch, Humor editor

Ooh that’s cool: 9/10

Picnicability: 10/10

I like ~exercise~: 7/10

Cobbs Hill Reservoir is a wonderful spot. There’s a nice water feature in the middle, with a great walking path. There are also some fun hills for children to roll down! The main event in this part of the park, however, is the small clearing in the trees that overlooks the city. It’s a beautiful view for a picnic, or just to sit and watch. Be warned: On nicer days, and close to sunset, this part of the park can be a bit busy, but never concerningly so. The larger park also has fantastic hiking trails, including a short one which leads up to two old water towers. These abandoned concrete cylinders act as canvasses for some beautiful graffiti; definitely worth checking out!

Ontario Beach Park

The beach at Ontario State Park. Ethan Busch, Humor editor

Ooh that’s cool: 9/10

Picnicability: 11/10

I like ~exercise~: 7/10

This is not the only beach not far from school — which is a crazy cool thing to say — but it’s a good one. Like GVP, this park has some great fields and pavilions where you can eat, but it also has a beach! It’s not the ocean, but the lake is beautiful, especially at sunset. There’s lots of activity here in normal years, but it’s a bit quieter due to COVID-19. That said, it’s still definitely populated. There’s a pier if you want to get a better view of the water, and you can even swim during the summer (if you want to swim in the lake). It’s the beach! If I need to convince you that going to the beach is nice then I don’t think we should be friends anymore.

Letchworth State Park

Taken by Vanessa Wish

Famous Bridge at Letchworth. Ethan Busch, Humor editor

Ooh that’s cool: 15/10

Picnicability: 9/10

I like ~exercise~: 9/10

So, this one isn’t a Rochester park. But I’m including it because I just went and it’s breathtakingly beautiful. The park features three waterfalls in a massive gorge that drops down hundreds of feet below you. There’s a $10 fee for parking, but after that you’re free to explore some fanatics’ short and medium length hikes, and admire the incomparable view. I’m hilariously afraid of heights and it was still far beyond fantastic. I struggle to find the words that can aptly describe how beautiful the view is here. The park is about an hour away, but if you have access to a car, it’s more than worth a trip. Like some others on this list, when the weather is nice it can be a bit busy, but it’s definitely worth the drive a hundred times over. 

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