Where to Enjoy Theatre & Concerts With Kids in Rochester

The Eastman Theatre in Rochester, NY.
The Eastman Theatre

Sometimes it’s good to switch up the day-to-day status quo with events out in the community! Rochester is chock full of various performing arts groups with theatre performances and concerts for all ages to appreciate. Embracing the local performing arts scene as a family can help to widen our kids’ minds and imagination about what is possible.

Whether they’re littles, middles, or bigs, Rochester has something to offer each age range and maturity level throughout the year! Check out these groups below to get started.

Note: Have a kiddo who tends toward artistic expression in song, dance, drama, or the like? Many of the below organizations also offer summer camps, focused lessons, and opportunities for kids to explore and grow in their craft!

Eastman Theatre

Built by George Eastman, this theatre includes several venues and recital halls for concerts, dance performances, silent films with orchestral and organ accompaniment, lectures, and other special events. In the recital rooms, Eastman students and professionals perform recitals during the week that are free and open to the public (including kids!) to enjoy.

26 Gibbs St, Rochester, NY 14604

Eastman Theatre is wheelchair accessible and provides assistive listening systems for those who need them. Patrons may request ASL interpreters and other accommodations in advance. Besides on-street parking, garages are located nearby.

Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO)

Often performing at Eastman Theatre, the RPO is a deep-seated experience in our community! Concerts throughout the year have families of young children in mind. Most popular are The Nutcracker collaboration with Rochester City Ballet, the Pops series, and kids’ movies scored live. The RPO’s Outdoors Series takes place in July every year. The orchestra performs all over the Rochester area, most being free and open to the public.

The OrKIDstra series is played at the Hochstein Performance Hall, taking on childhood stories, and includes free activities before the concert. Sensory-friendly concerts offer accommodations such as a quiet room, noise-reduction headphones, and a social narrative. The group promotes an atmosphere for movement and interaction so that all can feel comfortable to enjoy the performance.

Rochester City Ballet (RCB)

The most well-known production by RCB every year is The Nutcracker, partnering with the RPO at Eastman Theatre in November and December. However, this ballet company has so much more to offer throughout the year, and at other venues. In addition to their technical excellence in the art of dance, RCB also excels at inclusivity. They are “one of the first ballet companies in the nation to offer a sensory-friendly production.”

Geva Theatre

75 Woodbury Blvd, Rochester, NY 14609

Geva provides live theatre and multi-disciplinary experiences, collaborating with creatives on local, national, and international scales. Children aged five and up are permitted in the theatre with an accompanying adult. However, individual productions have varying age recommendations for patrons.

Geva offers select Prologue Performances, an hour before curtains for show insights and behind-the-scenes secrets. Additionally, Sunday Salons are an opportunity to chat with actors after some performances. There is a light food menu and full bar open two hours before performances, as well as some offered during intermission. Geva Theatre is accessible and inclusive in many ways for the varying needs of patrons. However, there is no on-site parking lot for visitors.

Louis S. Wolk JCC (Jewish Community Center)

1200 Edgewood Ave, Rochester, NY 14618

On top of the many family-friendly services provided at JCC, CenterStage Theatre is a great outing for families! They provide “quality theatre that is relevant to the Jewish experience and has universal appeal.” JCC offers musicals, shows, concerts, and other special events throughout the year. But perhaps the biggest draw for young families is their TYKEs (Theatre Young Kids Enjoy) program offering musicals and plays geared toward children.

Concessions include bottled water and candy. JCC has great accessibility services, including a Hearing Assistance System, live open-captioned shows at times, and is wheelchair accessible. This community center makes parking easy with a connected parking lot.

OFC Creations Theatre Center

3450 Winton Pl, Rochester, NY 14623

OFC is a multi-purpose performing arts center focused on youth theatre opportunities and education, including the largest theatre summer camp program in upstate New York. OFC also partners with many community arts organizations as a venue, stage, and rehearsal space. Professional plays and musicals are performed in an intimate auditorium setting. Though many productions at OFC are appropriate for all ages, pay special attention to the age recommendations for each production.

Concessions and bar options are on-site right outside the auditorium. For additional options, Old Farm Cafe is located next door, offering “handcrafted caffeinated drinks and unique barnyard beverages.” Located in Winton Place Plaza, there are plenty of parking spaces right in front of OFC.

Rochester Broadway Theatre League (RBTL)

885 East Main St, Rochester, NY 14605 (West Herr Auditorium Theatre)

RBTL hosts touring Broadway shows, the M&T Bank Broadway Season, live concerts, comedy, drama, and family events. Child booster seats are available. Unless attending a children’s show, RBTL states, “Our general guidelines for the appropriate age of a child is 6+ unless content is deemed appropriate for an older age group. Please be considerate of other patrons if your child is unable to sit still and quietly through a performance.”

Concessions and bar are available for purchase. Varying assistive technology (with some restrictions) is provided, such as FM listening devices, audio description, sign interpretation, open captioning, and accessible seating. RBTL operates four parking lots surrounding the West Herr Auditorium Theatre.

Kodak Center

200 West Ridge Rd, Rochester, NY 14615

This venue hosts concerts, comedy, and shows (including kid shows). Usually, tickets are required for any child ages two and up, and children below that age don’t need a ticket to sit on their adult’s lap. As the policy varies, check the specific event listing for age/maturity levels and ticket requirements.

Concessions and a bar are on-site. The building is wheelchair accessible and other accommodations are available with advanced arrangements. General parking lots are located across the street.

Nazareth University Arts Center

4245 East Ave, Rochester, NY 14618

At Nazareth University, many performing arts events are free and open to the public! For ticketed events, attendees over the age of one need a ticket.

Some accessibility services are offered. Free parking is available outside the Arts Center (Lot A) and in Lot J.

Additional Local Performance Groups

These are some unique performance groups based in Rochester. Keep an eye out for their performances as they pop up throughout the year!

  • Garth Fagan Dance: Contemporary dance company, acclaimed as “unfailingly original” by The New York Times. Garth Fagan is the groundbreaking choreographer of Broadway’s The Lion King.
  • Rochester Bronze Collective: Celebrating black art and theatre in the greater Rochester area, keep an eye on their Facebook page for notices of events, auditions, and relevant news.
  • PUSH Physical Theatre: Known for “intense athleticism, gravity-defying acrobatics, and soulful artistry,” this group performs physical storytelling that is awe-inspiring.
  • Sankofa African Dance & Drum Ensemble: A group organized through SUNY Brockport!
  • WADAIKO: A traditional Japanese drumming club through RIT!
Previous articleFive State Parks Near Rochester
Next articleGuide to Swimming Lessons in Rochester
Amanda G.
Amanda grew up on the west side of Rochester before getting married and moving to Charleston, SC. She and her husband adopted their two boys as toddlers from South Korea in 2017 and 2019. She loves adventuring, watching her boys try new things, and helping out at their schools. Amanda has a social work degree and a background in non-profit work. She is currently Managing Editor for Charleston Moms after being a contributing writer for several years. After a decade in the southern heat, her little family decided they would thrive more in the Rochester area, and found their home on the east side in 2022. Amanda is thrilled to now be contributing locally for Rochester Mom Collective! She is a quirky, creative soul who enjoys expressing through writing, art/decor, dance, drums, and singing (commonly incorrect lyrics).