Life in the ROC

When researching a college, chances are you will hear about its vibrant campus life. At the University of Rochester, going to class and studying will take up some of your time, but the rest of your day will be filled with activities made possible by nearly 275 student groups. This blog post isn’t about any of that.

One of the biggest concerns I hear from prospective students is that the City of Rochester is too small for there to be any substantial off-campus activities. They could not be more wrong—as the third most populous city in New York State and with a rich history in progressive women’s and civil rights movements, you will find more to do in Rochester than you ever have time for during your four years as a student!

Don’t believe me? Having been a full-time resident of Rochester for nearly five years now, let me share a small sampling of things I have done in just the past few months to keep myself busy:

city

Try new restaurants
No matter where in the world I travel, nothing brings people together like a quest for culinary delights. Rochester does not disappoint. Even if you are not a fan of our trademark garbage plates, you can eat your way around the world without leaving town. Try some Beijing street food or enjoy a more cozy family style Ethiopian meal. Craving an Indian buffet? Need your falafel fix? Want to eat like a president like when Obama visited Rochester? We have it all right here. If you are anti-restaurant, visit the hundred-year-old Public Market for fresh groceries at hundred-year-old prices.

Visit a museum
If you enjoy art and film, you will always find something to do in Rochester’s Neighborhood of the Arts (NOTA). You could visit the rotating exhibits at the University’s own Memorial Art Gallery, or watch a classic film pulled out of the archives at the George Eastman Museum‘s Dryden Theatre. Explore how the women’s suffrage movement unfolded at Susan B. Anthony’s house. For something a little more fun (literally, and for all ages), visit the Strong Museum of Play!

Music and theater performances
You almost cannot avoid going to a concert at some point when the Eastman School of Music is right downtown. If a classical music concert is not for you, check out a performance on one of the many historical organs located around Rochester. We also have a busy theater scene, so even though getting to Broadway is a hike, you can always wait for shows like Hamilton to come to you.


While my own tastes obviously lean toward the music and arts side of Rochester, you can explore the great outdoors of Upstate NY or wait for the festivals that happen throughout the city every summer.

There are also a couple perks inherent to Rochester as you try to explore everything on offer: low cost of living means you won’t blow your tight student budget, and you won’t have to sit through hours of traffic to get anywhere in the city. Still not sure if there is enough off campus for you to be interested in? We tried packing it all into one video for you. Happy exploring!

About the author

Isthier Chaudhury

I am the Associate Director of International Admissions in our office, recruiting primarily in China and parts of Long Island. I graduated from Rochester in 2011, majoring in both chemical engineering and Chinese. I hope to answer questions we get from students all around the world, while also sharing a few of my own travel adventures!

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