Hotels in Rochester, USA
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Rochester offers a distinct culture and diverse history
The city of Rochester is the third largest of the state of New York and is situated on Lake Ontario along the northern border of the United States. A former industrial giant, these days Rochester is a museum heavy city which has a busy summer calendar full of specialist events and festivals. Its proximity to various nature-based attractions also ensures it maintains a reasonable number of tourists passing through. However, Rochester has a distinct local feel to it and there are many residential neighbourhoods to discover with an array of hidden cultural gems, largely thanks to the diversity the city possesses.
A city shaped by water
Rochester, NY is defined by water, both geographically and industrially throughout its history, thus navigating the city is best understood through these bodies of water. The Genesee River flows north through the centre of Rochester, before reaching Lake Ontario at the north edge of the city limits. To the south, the Genesee links up with the Erie Canal, the catalyst for the rise and growth of the city which enabled trade links with Buffalo and Albany. Downtown Rochester remains largely focused around the Genesee River, with the clear central point being the High Falls. This twenty-nine-metre waterfall in the heart of the city is a somewhat a unique sight, moreover, the surrounding neighbourhood is the oldest district of the city and still retains much of its charm. It contains a variety of cultural heritage buildings such as old water mills, factories and warehouses which used to be an integral part of the city. Nowadays however, much of the commercial core and many of the Rochester hotels are found to the south of the High Falls district, on both sides of the Genesee.
Museums and festivals in Rochester
Over the past two centuries, Rochester’s industry and economy switched focus multiple times leaving the city with a diverse past. Originally a flour producing city, the mid nineteenth century saw a rise in nurseries and gardens, before the twentieth century saw the founding of Kodak cameras and a new industrial focus. All of these industries have left their mark on Rochester and provide a large part of the city’s culture, there are dozens of museums, festivals and events, which themselves form much of the city’s tourist appeal. The Lilac Festival which takes place each May is the pinnacle event on the Rochester calendar, whilst the Rochester International Jazz Festival is another very popular annual event. Notable museums include the Rochester Museum and Science Center, the National Museum of Play and the Strasenburgh Planetarium, all of which provide a family-focus and are within walking distance of most hotels in Rochester NY. With many industrial cities, there are strong links to working-class movements and a distinct cultural identity amongst the locals, Rochester is no exception. The Susan B. Anthony Museum is a must-visit for many visitors, highlighting the influence and resistance Anthony gave during the late nineteenth century.
Explore Rochester’s diverse neighbourhoods
Amongst the dozens of museums and older buildings of Rochester, the city also has a busy downtown with an array of restaurants, bars and shopping opportunities. As with most larger American cities, there is a wide variety of cuisine available and all of the large chain restaurants and stores are present. However, some of the peripheral districts of Rochester contain an assortment of independent establishments with an increased individuality. The residential neighbourhood of South Wedge is home to a diverse mix of cultures and the cuisine reflects this; some of the finest Mexican and Italian restaurants are found in this area for instance. To the east of the centre, the district of East Avenue houses many of the mansions and historic architecture from Rochester’s past. This includes the George Eastman House and Museum, dedicated to the founder of Kodak Cameras and the history of photography. Across the river lies Frontier Field Baseball Stadium, home to the Rochester Red Wings. The Red Wings compete in minor league baseball and are one of many junior and college sports teams in the city. Football and ice-hockey are also popular sports in Rochester. Attending a game of any discipline is a popular activity amongst locals.
Park areas and natural points of interest
Rochester is renowned for its long and cold winters with vast snowfall, but once the spring finally arrives the locals are eager to enjoy a variety of outdoor activities. The city’s array of festivals and outdoor events reflect this, as does the multiple city parks and variety of surrounding nature. Genesee Valley Park is one of the most sizeable within the city limits situated where the river and Erie Canal meet, in the southern suburbs. Further east of the city centre is Highland Park, home of the annual Lilac Festival plus multiple events staged on its outdoor amphitheatre. One final park of note in the city limits is Seneca Park, home to the Seneca Park Zoo. This entire area is very popular with families, with the zoo itself containing many rare species including an exhibit dedicated to winter and polar animals. Moving further afield, many visitors staying at a hotel in Rochester NY head to the well-known Finger Lakes further south in the state, or to the natural areas along Lake Ontario. In every direction, away from Rochester there are wonders of nature, often overlooked by visitors but fully worth exploring.