Visit one of the many museums in Rochester
There are a lot of museums in Rochester, my top two must-sees being the Memorial Art Gallery (MAG, free for UR Students!) and the Rochester Museum and Science Center (RMSC). However, despite what you may have seen on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, there is NOT a thermometer museum. I don’t know how the writers managed to get so much wrong when Google is free.
Third place goes to the Strong Museum of Play. I recently went for the nostalgia of shopping in the fake mini Wegmans and trying out their new ropes course. It’s definitely more fun if you are a young child or really interested in the history of toys in America. Their butterfly garden was smaller than I remembered. If you’re looking for something nature-related to explore, I’d suggest the Lamberton Conservatory in Highland Park instead. While it doesn’t have butterflies, it’s much bigger, has more biomes (rainforest/tropical and desert), and has more diversity in fauna, including quails and tortoises (and sometimes ducks!). If you read all the bench dedications, you should notice a familiar last name on one, as my late aunt loved to visit there. There are a lot of them, so it’s a great place to bring some reading or create some art of the beautiful plants.
Honorable mentions include the George Eastman House, the world’s oldest photography museum (and, outside of winter, has an amazing garden) and the Stone-Tolan Historic Site, otherwise known as the oldest building in Monroe County. However, as a result, I would only recommend the latter if you happen to be into 200-year-old buildings. I’ve never been to the Susan B. Anthony House, but I’d imagine that’s a little more interesting since a famous historical figure used to live there.
You can use the Orange Line to get to within walking distance of the George Eastman House, RMSC, the MAG, and Strong.
The Beyond Van Gogh exhibit, which has rave reviews, is in Rochester from Feb. 4 through Mar. 20 and is located at the Dome Arena in Henrietta. Also in Rochester, but not technically a museum, is ARTISANworks. It’s an art-filled event space that is supposed to be pretty fun to walk through and is on my list of places to visit in 2022. Another not-really a museum is the Seneca Park Zoo. I’ve never been in the winter (or recently at all), so I can’t speak to how fun this may be.
Attend a show or concert
Over at Kodak Hall at the Eastman campus, the Rochester Philharmonic hosts shows. Check out their calendar for more information. As a UR student, you can watch all the Eastman School of Music shows, which will hopefully resume later this semester, over at their campus for free .
You can also catch plays at Geva Theatre or musicals (and occasionally other types of shows) at the Rochester Broadway Theatre League (RBTL). In addition, the Little Theatre has been a Rochester icon since 1929, and shows mainly indie and foreign films.
Go to an Amerks Game
The Rochester Americans (or “Amerks”) are Rochester’s minor league hockey team and they host home games over at Blue Cross Arena. They always appear to have some promotion running for home games, whether it’s a $2 beer happy hour beforehand, college student discounts, or a “321 Weekend” with $3 beer, $2 hotdogs, and $1 popcorn. I can’t promise you’ll see good hockey, but you should still hopefully have a fun time with some friends.
The Orange Line stop at Innovation Square will get you within a 10 minute walk to the arena.
Have a night out at Radio Social
Radio Social is arguably the nicest bowling alley in all of Rochester (not that that’s very hard to beat) and has plenty of food and a good bar. They also host Twisted Trivia every other Wednesday with Game Night Rochester. Game Night Rochester also hosts game nights at Radio Social every other Wednesday and at a restaurant and bar called Lucky’s every Tuesday night. Check out the event calendar for more details.
I went to a Twisted Trivia night over the summer with a friend where we tied for last place, while the largest group won a gift card to Record Archive. It was honestly a little humiliating as someone who considers themselves good at Jeopardy, but it was fun with the “twisted” element added to the game where anyone who answers incorrectly has to complete a little challenge to try to save some of their points. As you can guess, I had to compete in a lot of these challenges. Learn from me: Bring more friends and brush up on your young millennial pop culture knowledge, as I felt slightly too young to know a lot of the answers.
I hope this list inspires you to go out and do something fun in Rochester this winter!