15 Things Moms Should Know Before Moving To Rochester

A mom is packing boxes to move.
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Thinking about moving to Rochester, NY? Rochester has been known as one of the most affordable cities in the U.S. to live in and in a recent study by US News and World Report of the best places to live in New York, Rochester was ranked as #3. 

Moving to a new city is a lot to process. If you are not familiar with the area, it makes it even more difficult. Here are 15 Things Mom Should Know Before Moving To Rochester.


Rochester was founded in 1817 and built along the Erie Canal and Genesee River. Flour mills utilized the many waterfalls and Rochester earned the nickname The Flour City. Later, it became known as the Flower City when the first lilac shrubs were planted in Rochester’s Highland Park in 1892. Today, there are over 700 varieties of flowers that bloom each year in Highland Park.

Rochester was home to women’s-rights activist Susan B. Anthony and abolitionist Frederick Douglas. Both are buried in Mount Hope Cemetery. Today, you can visit the Susan B. Anthony Museum & House and cross the Genesee River on the Douglass-Anthony Bridge. Another Rochester resident, George Eastman, created the first photographic products and established Eastman Kodak in Rochester in 1892. You can visit the Eastman Museum in Rochester.

The Finger Lakes Region

You may have heard of The Finger Lakes. In Western New York, there are several long, narrow lakes that look like finger nail scratches on the map that are known as the Finger Lakes. These lakes span the area south of Rochester to south of Syracuse. The area is known for beautiful scenery, vacationing and wineries, all within a few hours from Rochester.


In Rochester, you have all four seasons and that includes snow. Rochester will get 100 inches of snow per year on average. That means plenty of powder for skiing, ice skating and snow-tubing. Warm summers allow families to make time at the beaches along Lake Ontario. In the fall, you can’t beat the changing colors of the trees of upstate New York.

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Partly because of the chance for heavy snowfall, public schools in the Rochester area have a Winter Break with President’s Week. This can sometime mean kids only have the week between Christmas and New Year’s off. Also school usually starts the day or two after Labor Day and ends in late June.

As moms, one of the first things we consider when moving to a new area are the school districts. US News and World Report has a helpful database of ranked schools. Also check out our Guide To Private Schools, Preschools & Child Care and our Guide To Homeschool Co-ops and Groups.

Guide To Private Schools, Preschools and Child Care In Rochester

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Rochester is home to two top universities. The Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) is located in Henrietta and The University of Rochester (UR) is in Southwest Rochester. In the East End of Rochester, you will also find The Eastman School of Music, one of the most prestigious schools of music in the country.

Health + Wellness

UR Medicine and Rochester Regional Health are the major medical providers in Rochester. UR’s hospital and emergency department, Strong Memorial Hospital, is located in Southwest Rochester. Rochester Regional Health’s hospital and emergency department, Rochester General Hospital, is located in Northeastern Rochester.

Rochester is also known as one of the top centers for Resources for Autism in the country and also has a large community to support families with Resources for Down syndrome.


One of the biggest decisions about moving to Rochester is which neighborhood to move to. There are many wonderful neighborhoods in Rochester as well as great towns and villages surrounding Rochester to consider.

Neighborhoods Surrounding Rochester, NY

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Playgrounds & Splash Pads

The Greater Rochester Area is full of great playgrounds and has more than a dozen free splash pads. If you have young children, living near one of these would be convenient.

Guide To Splash Pads In Rochester

Looking for a way to beat the heat? There are so many free (or almost free) splash pads in the Rochester area. We have collected all of them here for…

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Groceries & Shopping

Around Rochester, you will find Wegman’s, Aldi, Tops, Target and Walmart for grocery shopping. For fresh produce and food, you don’t have to go very far outside of the city to find a local farm. Your choice of mall-shopping is at The Mall At Greece Ridge in Greece and Eastview Mall in Victor. For bulk-shoppers, there is a Costco in Henrietta and BJs in Gates, Henrietta and Webster.


In Rochester, you can see a lions, elephants, giraffes, a polar bear, sea lions and more at the Seneca Park Zoo. Summers in Rochester are made for spending long days at Sea Breeze Amusement Park with the oldest, continuously running roller coaster in North America – The Jack Rabbit. Innovative Field in Rochester is also home to the Rochester Red Wings.


There are several amazing museums for families to enjoy in the Rochester area. The Strong National Museum of Play is one-of-a-kind museum, featuring the largest, most comprehensive collection of toys, dolls, games, and video games. The Rochester Museum & Science Center and Strasenburg Planetarium offer hands-on exhibits and live shows. Just outside of Rochester, the Genesee Country Village & Museum brings history to life in its historic village.

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There are several opportunities to catch a show in Rochester, whether that be with the Rochester Broadway Theatre League, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra at Eastman Theatre or The Rochester City Ballet – there is something for everyone!


The Monroe County Library System has more than 30 branch locations around Rochester. Many of these libraries have spectacular children’s sections and offer weekly story times and family activities. The Toy Library is a lot of fun. Children can check out, well, toys!

Guide to Library Storytimes In Rochester

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Annual Events

Throughout the year, you can count on having the chance to see some great events. Each year, more than 500,000 people come out for the ten days of The Lilac Festival in Highland Park, making it the largest festival of its kind in North America. In the summer, you can enjoy hundreds of performances at the Rochester International Jazz Festival. ROC Holiday Village turns Manhattan Square into a winter wonderland in December for all to enjoy.

Annual Events In Rochester

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Rochester has so much great food, but it is most famous for the Garbage Plate. Originally started at Nick Tahou Hots, the Garbage Plate is a deconstructed cheeseburger with your choice of home fries, macaroni salad, baked beans, topped with hamburger, meat sauce, onion, tomato, lettuce and pickles. Other restaurants offer their own plates. Also in Rochester, you should know White Hots and Red Hots are the Rochester hot dogs.

You don’t have to go far from Rochester to find a local farm for fresh produce or outdoor fun either!

Farms Around Rochester

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Day Trips

Rochester is a quick drive to so many great destinations like Niagara Falls, The Finger Lakes, Buffalo, Syracuse and Toronto – perfect for a day trip!

Day Trips From Rochester

Families have so much to do within a short drive from Rochester. Plan a Day Trip From Rochester with your family to see new sights. Day Trip To Olcott Beach…

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Jackie R.
Jackie is the Founder of Rochester Mom Collective. She grew up in Ohio and moved to California to work in film where she had lots of adventures on movie sets. She met her husband in Hollywood and they moved to the San Francisco Bay Area shortly after getting married. In San Francisco, Jackie found work at a medical clinic where she gathered parenting resources for new moms in need. After being on the West Coast for fifteen years, they moved with their three children to the Rochester area to be near family. Jackie has operated her own photography business, Jackie Rutan Photography, for ten years. Jackie enjoys her quality time with friends and family, fellowshipping at her church and drinking iced coffee.