Being a Rochester native, I originally thought that I would go away for college. I had been to the University of Rochester campus several times throughout high school for field hockey tournaments and school events, but upon formally visiting the campus my junior year of high school, I was reminded of how fantastic the University was and how it had everything I was looking for in a college. It had an open curriculum, an admissions process that looked beyond GPA and SAT scores, and a diverse campus. While I am from a suburb of Rochester, the city has also been a major part of my upbringing. After arriving and getting settled into Rochester and college life, I have thought about everything that makes Rochester—both the city and the campus—home.
1. The village of Pittsford
Located in the center of my hometown, the village was the number one hang-out spot for me. It will forever be one of my favorite places with Hungry’s, which sells Rochester’s famous Garbage Plate as well as any other greasy food your heart desires. The village also has the Pittsford Dairy, which has the best homemade ice cream and chocolate milk. The Pittsford Community Library has some beautiful views of the Erie Canal and I always snag a window seat to get some reading done or to just relax and listen to music. Lastly, the Erie Canal runs through the center of the village and looks perfect on a fall night with a backdrop of lights from Schoen Place just across the canal. You can get to the village of Pittsford by taking the Green Line to Pittsford Plaza and then taking a short stroll down Monroe Avenue!
2. The Erie Canal
There’s nothing more quintessentially Upstate New York than the Erie Canal (and when I say Upstate, I mean basically anything that’s not New York City). The Erie Canal can take you anywhere throughout the city and the suburbs of Rochester. It’s a wonderful place to run, bike, roller-blade, or just decompress. The canal contributes to Rochester’s rich history and has been a place for me to unwind.
3. Auditorium Theater
I love to see a good show and I have been fortunate enough to see Wicked, The Phantom of the Opera, and Pippin at the Auditorium Theater with incredible touring casts. Musical theatre was a pretty big part of my middle school and high school years, and there’s nothing like an escape to the theatre for a couple of hours!
4. South Wedge
South Wedge is a nice bike ride away from campus and home to some of the best restaurants. Mise En Place is a cute little convenience store with a deli and a very home-like vibe. Butapub is a great find with its Asian-pub fusion inspired menu. Recently, I enjoyed a night of swing dancing at the Historic German House, which hosts swing dance nights every Wednesday from 8:45 to 11 pm. South Wedge is also home to Boulder Coffee, Cheesy Eddie’s, and a Farmer’s Market on Thursdays!
5. Starry Nites Café
Located in the Neighborhood of the Arts (NOTA), Starry Nites has become one of my favorite coffee spots. With its Rochester-inspired lattes and fun artwork on the walls, Starry Nites inspires creativity and good conversation.
6. Rush Rhees Library
Rush Rhees is iconic. It’s in almost every picture you will ever see of the University of Rochester and it’s at the center of campus. Rush Rhees also lights up each evening and serves as a beacon when walking back home at night. A place in which you’ll write and study and collaborate, Rush Rhees is the home to the betterment of self and mind. While my own personal journey as a college student has only just begun, I look forward to developing and becoming a more learned person here.
7. Fauver Stadium
I started playing field hockey in seventh grade and ever since, I have learned to love the power that sports have in uniting people. A night under the lights in late fall is also one of my favorite feelings and I look forward to going to many soccer games during this season.
8. Kodak Hall
Kodak Hall is one of the most famous halls at the Eastman School of Music and a truly enchanting place. I’ve had the chance to perform there and I am always struck by its beauty and incredible acoustics. Famous performers such as Renée Fleming and Tony Bennet have performed at Kodak Hall.
9. Park Avenue
This is another great area for college kids like South Wedge. Park Avenue is known for its Park Ave festival every summer, which celebrates local artists. You can grab some fried dough and check out the beautiful jewelry and knickknacks that artists from all over Upstate New York are making. Park Ave is also known for its restaurants such as Magnolia’s Market and Deli, Jine’s Restaurant, Pour Coffee Parlor, and The Frog Pond. Also shops like Parkleigh and Useless Objects contain some great finds!
10. The people
More than anything else, what makes Rochester home is the people. Home is not always a place, but the feeling you get from those you care about. I have been lucky to discover incredible people both on and off campus. By the end of my four years, I hope to listen to many more stories and discover all that makes Rochester wonderful!