100 Days of Rochester


The winter of 2015 was, in meteorological terms, “fucking miserable,” and has left me feeling slightly like a prisoner finally starting to emerge from a severe case of Stockholm Syndrome. (I took the snowbrush out of my car last Sunday. Baby steps!) But now, seemingly overnight, the trees have exploded into being. My friends have (mostly) stopped threatening to move to California. I have to start shaving my legs again. We’re almost upon the most glorious time of year in Rochester: festival food season summer!

After the awful winter we had, I have a feeling it’s going to be a great summer. The city really comes alive when the weather is nice, and I think most of us are going to spend as much time as possible enjoying the summer weather and events. So in that spirit, I came up with a list of 100 things to do in Rochester:


  • Lilac Festival
  • Canal Days
  • East End Music Festival
  • Corn Hill Arts Festival
  • Park Avenue Summer Art Festival
  • Clothesline Festival
  • Fringe Festival
  • Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival
  • Sterling Renaissance Festival
  • Rochester Real Beer Week
  • Casa Larga Purple Foot Festival
  • New York State Festival of Balloons

Food and Drink

  • Get a plate at the original Nick Tahou’s
  • Compare BBQ at Sticky Lips and Dinosaur Bar-B-Que
  • Public Market Food Truck Rodeo
  • Tour the Genesee Brewery, then grab a meal at the Genesee Brew House
  • Get Abbott’s at the original location on Ontario Beach
  • Have a pint and some chips at The Old Toad
  • Try the Cuban sandwiches at Georgie’s Cafe
  • Tour and tasting at Black Button Distilling
  • Grab a coffee at Java’s
  • Eat at Jay’s Diner…but only if it’s after midnight
  • Shop at Hart’s Grocers
  • Eat at Dogtown
  • Explore the South Wedge (I’ve been meaning to check out Butapub…)
  • Meatballs and cider at Skylark Lounge
  • Eat all you can eat at the Thali of India lunch buffet
  • Munch on Tapas at MAG
  • Enjoy the outdoor fire pits at Fairport Brewing Company
  • Have some gelato along the canal in Fairport
  • Take in the sunset and drinks at Hedges
  • Sip some wine at Flight Wine Bar
  • See if Lux really does have free pizza…
  • Even more coffee at Jembetat
  • Take in some art with dinner and drinks at Village Gate
  • Yet more coffee at Joe Bean
  • You can never get enough coffee at Pour Coffee
  • Eat every meal at a Wegmans location by eating off the breakfast hot foods bar, having lunch at the Burger Bar, and dinner at Next Door Bar and Grill
  • Get your Belgian beer buzz on at Victoire
  • Check out dollar oyster Tuesdays at Lento
  • Try the extremely strong margaritas at Maria’s
  • Dinner and/or drinks at The Revelry
  • Pretend to eat healthy at The Owl House
  • Have a beachy drink at Marge’s
  • Be an adult in a candy story at Stevers
  • Pretend you’re in college again at Insomnia Cookies

Rochester Art & History and Day Trips

  • Find Susan B. Anthony/Frederick Douglass’ graves in Mt. Hope Cemetery
  • Letchworth
  • Niagara Falls
  • Finger Lakes
  • High Falls
  • Genesee Valley Park
  • George Eastman House
  • Rochester Museum and Science Center
  • Strasenburgh Planetarium
  • Memorial Art Gallery
  • Strong Museum of Play
  • Susan B. Anthony House
  • Check out a book at the Rundel Library
  • ZooBrew at the Seneca Park Zoo
  • Genesee Country Village and Museum
  • Corning Museum of Glass
  • Stroll the ArtWALK in NOTA
  • See a movie at the Little
  • See a movie at the Dryden Theatre
  • See a concert at Eastman Theatre
  • Visit a Saturday Public Market
  • See a movie at The Cinema, then grab milkshakes at the Highland Park Diner
  • ARTISANworks
  • Rochester Contemporary Art Center’s 6×6 exhibition
  • Explore the on-campus art galleries at RIT
  • Explore the on-campus art galleries at UR
  • Sonnenburg Gardens
  • Take a cruise on the Sam Patch
  • Take a cruise on the Colonial belle
  • See a show at Geva Theatre
  • See an RPO show
  • Attend a Young Urban Preservationists/Landmark Society event
  • Visit a First Friday at the Hungerford or Anderson Alley
  • Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse
  • Explore Highland Park and the Lamberton Conservatory
  • Cobbs Hill Park
  • Get lost in the Pittsford Wegmans
  • Webster Park


  • Seabreeze
  • Darien Lake
  • Whispering Pines mini golf
  • Take a class at the Rochester Brainery
  • Jump at SkyZone
  • See some raptors at Wild Wings sanctuary in Mendon Ponds Park
  • Feed the fish and see the Mushroom House in Powder Mills Park
  • Play Frisbee Golf in Ellison park
  • Destroy your friends at go karts
  • Get destroyed by your friends at Laser Tag
  • Take a yoga class from a local studio
  • Go shopping along Park Avenue
  • Survive a rainy day at Eastview Mall
  • Go hiking in Fairport, a.k.a. Trail Town USA
  • Take a class at Rochester Parkour


  • Get your quiz on at bar trivia
  • See a Roc City Roller Derby show
  • See a movie at the drive-in
  • Party in the Park
  • Watch the city’s 4th of July fireworks
  • Check out some local talent at an open Mic night
  • Red Wings Game
  • Rhinos Game
  • Buffalo Bills Training Camp
  • Partake in some nightlife at East & Alexander

Now, this list is nowhere near exhaustive. It’s just a list of things that I think would be fun to do in Rochester to make the most of this summer (which is why the food and drink related section is the longest). But that’s just the thing: anyone can make a list of things to do in Rochester. You don’t even have to be in Rochester or know anything about us or even be accurate! *coughcoughMovoto.comcough* I could sit here right now and make a BuzzFeed list of “20 Forests You Absolutely Need to Fart in Before You Die,” but I’m still just sitting in front of my computer screen instead of seeing any of these breathtakingly smelly trees.

So this is not just a list. It is my Summer Manifesto. Between the Lilac Fest and the Fringe Fest, with the help of family and any friends who want to join in for the ride, I’ll be attempting to experience every single item on this list. If you took the time to count things up, you’ll notice there’s actually more than 100 things. If there’s anything life has taught me so far, it’s that shit happens. There may be an event I miss for some reason, but I still hope to complete at least 100 items from the list, if not more. I’ll be posting about my adventures here and on Instagram and Twitter @akachela, using the hashtag #100DaysOfRoc. I hope you’ll join me by following along, checking off a few items on the list yourself, or even trying to take on the challenge!


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