6.0 out of 10


Ranked 44th best city in New York
43.1654502220074 -77.6074302979359
Great for
  • Internet Access
  • Parks & Recreation
  • Medical Facilities
  • Cost of Living
  • Childcare
Not great for
  • Parking
Who lives here?
  • Singles
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists


3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 5/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 5/5

"Rochester, the City of Snow and Lilacs"

On the southern shore of Lake Ontario is the City of Rochester, which is west of Syracuse, east of Buffalo, and bisected by the Genesee River. Originally an industrial town with flour mills and clothing factories, it was also where Mobil, Xerox, Bausch and Lomb, and Eastman Kodak began. Frederick Douglass, the former slave and anti-slavery speaker, lived here, as did women’s rights leader Susan B. Anthony, and labor rights activist Emma Goldman.

By the early 1900s Rochester was a thriving city filled with music and art, thanks in your part to George Eastman, who started Eastman Kodak, and who founded (among many institutions) the University of Rochester and the Eastman School of Music. But as industry declined, jobs were lost and the population fell, and Rochester seemed headed toward becoming yet another ragged Northern city clustered around a heavily polluted river. However, the city has worked hard to restore its river, and has re-emerged as a center for research, technological development, and higher education.

The biggest employers now are the University of Rochester (known for both academic and medical research) and Wegmans, a large grocery store with specialty items from all over the world. Since 1950 the population has become smaller but more ethnically diverse, from a high of 332,500, 97% white to its current 210,500, 43% white. It is the third largest city in New York, after New York City and Buffalo; there is a large LGBT community, and is home to the largest deaf population in the country.

In 2012, Rochester was rated by Kiplinger’s as the 5th best city for families, because of its good schools, low cost of living, and low joblessness. However, as far as cities go, the crime rate is fairly high. Rochester is the second snowiest city in the east, just behind Syracuse: cold winds move across Lake Ontario and pick up water vapor, which turns into copious amounts of snow. This means it’s a snow lover’s paradise, but it also means everyone has a car and there is a lot of traffic.

The city has a large Recreation Department and over 800 acres of parks, several of which were designed by the famous landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead. It has 14 Recreation/Community Centers, with skating rinks, baseball fields, basketball courts, tennis courts, playgrounds, pools, etc. (It even has two mobile recreation centers.) Its Youth Services provide opportunities for employment, education, sports, horticulture, environmental education, and anti-gang intervention. The city operates the Rochester Public Market, a huge farmers market which is open all year round.

If you’re looking for culture, you’ll have a lot from which to choose. There’s the Rochester Museum and Science Center, the Rochester Contemporary Art Center, the Strasenburgh Planetarium, the Eastman International Museum of Photography and Film, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, the Memorial Art Gallery, the Strong National Museum of Play, and the East End Theater, to name but a few.

Rochester has lots of nightlife, whether you’re looking for the new and trendy (the South Wedge district, popular with students), the older and established (the East End district, home to the more expensive restaurants and the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra), or the arty, clubby, theater-y eateries (scattered all over the city.)

Rochester is a determinedly active city, with fun festivals year-round. Even in the heart of the winter, you’ll find iceboating, snow sculpture contests, dog sled demos, polar plunges, snowshoe races, and the Annual Lake Ontario Ice Wine Festival. In May, the city bursts into bloom with its annual ten-day lilac festival, which showcases nearly 400 varieties of lilacs and draws nearly half a million people. Summer begins with the Rochester International Jazz Festival, which is now one of the biggest jazz festivals in America, and continues through the fall with film, art, crafts, and food fairs, as well as ethnic celebrations of many different groups.

Diverse, active, and innovative, Rochester is a city on the upswing.
  • diverse
  • lots to do
  • good schools & universities
  • traffic
  • lots and lots of snow
  • high crime areas
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • LGBT+
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish

"The Hipster Area of Rochester"

This is definitely the hipster area of Rochester, with bars like The Old Toad which cater to young people. Alexander Street also crosses Monroe Ave, Park Ave, East Ave, and University Ave, so it's connected to many of the major streets in the city. I don't think it's a great street for older people, or families, but for young people who want to be close to the nightlife, it's a good choice.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles

Travelling to Rochester?

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Best Neighborhoods in Rochester


Park Avenue

"Park Ave is the Party Place"
43.1462607818438 -77.5814220335599

South Wedge

"I love Alexander Street"
43.1446327386945 -77.6073723142731

Unranked Neighborhoods in Rochester

"Lots of Crime, Not a Good Street"
43.1760000062026 -77.5896910004145

19th Ward

"Nice looking neighborhood but very noisy"
43.1386025303535 -77.6428669361657


"Parsells ave not a very desirable place to live"
43.1667545448768 -77.5707163610592

Cobbs Hill

"Don't forget about the shopping on Monroe Ave!"
43.1403499172221 -77.5583336161103

East Avenue

"The Heart of Culture and Nightlife "
43.1501685381774 -77.5779555710933
"Dont visit Jefferson Ave"
43.139776608265 -77.633263624557


"a beautiful drive in the heart of U of R"
43.13259537289 -77.6175565208123


"Dewey is a home away from home. "
43.1967209163222 -77.6506129059388

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