Tell Us Your Best Rochester, NY Travel Tips

Corruption has entered the Hack Your City column. Rochester, New York might not be as major as Pittsburgh or Prague—it even has to share a name with Rochester, Minnesota—but it’s my home city. So when reader Chris Clemens (creator of New York travel blog Exploring Upstate) asked me for a Rochester installment of Hack Your…


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Corruption has entered the Hack Your City column. Rochester, New York might not be as major as Pittsburgh or Prague—it even has to share a name with Rochester, Minnesota—but it’s my home city. So when reader Chris Clemens (creator of New York travel blog Exploring Upstate) asked me for a Rochester installment of Hack Your City, I ate it up like a drunk Red Wings fan eating up a Garbage Plate. Rochesterians, I want your tips for visiting and living in Buffalo’s better half.

Each Monday on Hack Your City, we ask readers for your best tips on a city: driving tips, restaurant recs, things to do, and any other advice for visitors and locals. Then on Thursday, we present the best comments. We’re working our way around the U.S. and around the globe.

Rochester made its fortune as an inland port on the Erie Canal—one hell of a hack—and locals all know how the mills on the Genesee River gave Rochester its first nickname, the “Flour City.” Later the city birthed Xerox, Western Union, Bausch & Lomb, and Gannett. But all these companies moved away or declined, and in the last few decades the city had to find a new direction. (Thanks to Wegmans for only moving to the suburbs.) Tell this expat, how is Rochester doing?

What’s underrated? What places deserve a few more discerning visitors? What are the best alternatives to tourist traps and mediocre “town favorites”? What’s the weirdest thing you like there, the most acquired taste?

How should a visitor approach the city? What attitude should they adopt? What local traditions, behaviors, and laws should they be aware of? How can they get along with people? What problems is the city dealing with? When are the best times to visit, and what are the special events to attend?

What’s it like long-term? Residents, what do you love and hate about the city? What do you recommend to other residents? How do you hack your commute, and where do you people-watch? What mistakes do new residents make—any common misconceptions or mispronunciations? Where do you go when you want to get out of town for a day or a week?

Finally, how has Rochester’s vibe changed over the last few years? What should someone—maybe the editor of this column—know if they haven’t been back in a while?

Leave your tips in the comments below, and we’ll feature the best ones. (If you agree with someone else’s tip, add an extra detail, we love that!) Then come back Thursday for a new post with the highlights.

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