RIT and the city of Rochester both have a ton of activities to keep you busy on the weekends. Throughout the year there are countless museums, parks, festivals (Imagine RIT, Freeze Fest, and Spring Fest on campus; Fringe Fest, Jazz Fest, and Lilac Fest in downtown Rochester), and enough concerts to keep any college student busy. CAB (College Activities Board) hosts events both on and off campus such as comedians, free movies on Thursday nights, and bus trips to local amusement parks. However, after almost four years at RIT, there are times I want to venture beyond Rochester to see what the surrounding area has to offer.
Within 120 miles, or about a two hour drive, there are countless places that make both a great day or weekend trip for those looking for some well deserved down time. Here are a few places I've visited over the last four years I've been here.
Finger Lakes (1 Hour)
One of the best sights in the entire northeast! Not only are the Finger Lakes a great location for a lake day, but the region is also known worldwide for its fantastic viniculture. Nothing is better than spending the day on a rented boat with friends. Last but not least, finish the day watching the sun set over the rolling hills of upstate New York.
Niagara Falls, Canada (1 Hour 40 Minutes)
While I have only been to the American side when I was much younger, I’m actually driving up to the Canadian (and arguably much better) side soon for a friend's birthday! With great restaurants, sights, and casinos, it's a great way to spend a weekend to get away from it all.
Bristol Mountain (50 Minutes)
My home away from home. When I came to RIT I initially thought the skiing was going to be top notch due to the amount of snow. Unfortunately the terrain isn't as similar to Vermont (still only a 6 hour ride for the diehards like myself) as I thought, but Bristol Mountain Ski/Snowboard resort is the next best thing. With over 30 trails and night skiing, it's the best place to get in a few runs after class or on the weekend with friends.
Buffalo Bills / Sabres Games (1 Hour 20 Min)
Hey, hey hey, hey, let's go Buffalo! Although I'm a NY Jets fan, driving out to Orchard Park to see Rex Ryan and the Buffalo Bills one cold Sunday morning this past winter was a great way to spend the day. If you like hockey, Buffalo is also home to the Sabres, who play downtown at the First Niagara Center.
Letchworth / Watkins Glen State Park (45 Min / 1 Hour 30 Min)
Last, but certainly not least are two state parks that are only a quick drive away. Watkins Glen was actually rated the number one state park in the entire country and it lives up to its name. At the base of the Finger Lakes, these natural waterfalls flow for miles and it's great to snap some photos and hike alongside them. Letchworth is a fair bit closer and showcases great landscapes and a dam built by the Army Corps of Engineers. Best to visit when the leaves are changing in the fall!