Guide To The Rochester Lilac Festival

Lilac flowers.

The Rochester Lilac Festival is happening May 10 – 19, 2024! Rochester is the lilac capital – hence our lilac and violet brand colors. This festival is free and one of the largest of its kind. Each year more than 500,000 people attend The Lilac Festival and this year it is the 126th festival. Here are our tips for moms attending the festival this year.

Here Are The Details

  • The festival is open 10:30am – 8:30pm each day, May 10 – 19.
  • No outside food or drink except one sealed bottle of water.
  • Bags will be checked at entry.

Rochester Mom Walks

Join us at The Rochester Lilac Festival for our first Rochester Mom Walk! Come wander among the Lilac gardens at Highland Park with us. Bring your little ones, bring a stroller, come solo! We will be meeting at The Lilac Adventure Zone playground on May 13, 15 and 17 at 11:00am. Join our newsletter to receive any last minute changes. In the event of rain, we will not be walking.

Rochester Mom Walks

Mom Walks are a great way for moms to hang out, get some sunshine, fresh air and get moving. Rochester Mom Collective will be regularly hosting Mom Walks and you…

Read More

Special Events

There are several special events during the festival. Make sure you don’t get caught in the parade or the Lilac Run!

Friday, May 10, 10:30am – Festival Opens
Saturday, May 11, 10:30am – The Lilac Parade
Saturday, May 11, 10:00am-6:00pm – Art In The Park
Sunday, May 12, 10:00am-5:00pm – Art In The Park
Wednesday, May 15 – Senior’s Day
Saturday, May 18, 10:00am-6:00pm – Art In The Park
Sunday, May 19, 8:00am-12:30pm – Lilac Run
Sunday, May 19, 10:00am-5:00pm – Art In The Park

More info about Special Events.

Plan Your Parking

To get to the Lilac Festival, put one of the parking lots into your GPS. While there is street parking, it will be difficult to find. Consider approaching the festival from a direction other than South Ave which will be congested.

Lot 1: Main Lot (best for main festival site)
Diagonally across the street from 1111 Elmwood Ave. Elmwood Avenue is south of the Lilac Festival site. Enter from direction of Elmwood Ave./Goodman St.

Lot 2: Goodman Street Lot (best for Pansy Bed & lilacs)
Located at 1065 Elmwood Avenue-along Goodman St. Enter from Elmwood Avenue or Goodman St.

Lot 3: Golisano Institute for Business & Entrepreneurship Lot 
Located at 150 Sawgrass Dr.
QUICK SHUTTLE to Festival Site
Click here for google map

The Parking Rates are:

Monday – Friday
$7 from 10am – 2:30pm
$10 after 2:30pm

Saturday – Sunday
$10 during all hours

The Layout Of The Festival

Knowing which parking lot to go to, might depend on what you want to do in the festival as it is spread all across Highland Park. If you do not care to walk through the crowds listening to the music or getting food, park on the northern side of the park or in Parking Lot 2 to have a more direct path to the north end of the park.

Kids’ Zone

The Kids’ Zone is open all 10 days with bounce houses, face painting, rides and games!


From the Music Stage, you will be able to enjoy a great lineup of music. You might want to bring a blanket to sit on or small chairs as permitted by the festival. There is usually a large crowd at the stage and along the paths around the stage.

Food Vendors

Get ready for some of the best festival food Rochester has to offer! Food Vendors are located throughout the paths near the Music Stage. The areas with food vendors are tightly packed. Pathways can be very crowded and are not stroller friendly.

Sensory Space

This year The Lilac Festival has teamed up with Autism Up to create a large tent and outdoor area that will act as the festival’s first Sensory Space. The tent space is being designed by AutismUp and will include soft lighting and activities and items that aid in regulation. AutismUp staff and volunteers will be on-hand during Festival hours to support visitors.

The Sensory Space outdoor area will be supported volunteers from Savers who will decorate the space to create a relaxing environment with various seating options for visitors looking for a quiet rest spot to recharge. 

Visitors to The Sensory Space who require supervision must have a parent, guardian, or responsible adult with them at all times. AutismUp will not be responsible for those utilizing the space.

Lilac Adventure Zone

The Lilac Adventure Zone is one of our Top 10 Playgrounds In Rochester. It is a large natural playground along Highland Ave with a parking lot and restrooms. During The Rochester Lilac Festival, the parking lot is not available as it is used for tent event space. The playground is great for kids to explore but is more appropriate for older kids.

The Lilac Gardens

The first lilac trees were planted in Highland Park in 1892. Today there are over 700 varieties of flowers in Highland Park. You can enjoy walking among the flowers on paved paths. Note that there are many hills on these paths.

More information about Highland Park.
More information about The Lilac Festival.