Summers at RIT can be a nice change of pace. For me, going home was more annoying than staying at school since I live a 7-hour drive away. I decided to stay at school for a summer, and there’s a TON of stuff to do. Many students choose to stay at RIT for the summer because of research, classes, or just convenience. If you do choose to stay, it can be a really fun time, especially if you have friends here too. It’s very hard to find a week during the semester where there ISN’T a festival going on somewhere in or around Rochester.
Here’s a bunch of things you can do to make your summer’s enjoyable or productive, or both!
1. The Lilac Festival happens near the beginning of May, right when finals get out. This is a really great way to start the summer off and is even good for people who are not staying at RIT for the whole summer but haven’t gone home yet after finals. This is an art, music, and food festival with a huge number of lilac bushes spread around Highland Park. This is a must for anyone staying over the summer! There are always cheap concerts downtown throughout the summer! While I was in Rochester the Original Wailers played (some members of the band that used to play with Bob Marley) and it was only 5 bucks for a ticket!The Sunflower Festival also takes place towards the end of the summer at Wickham Farms (which has a bunch of things going on year-round). This is a festival of fun with games, food, a corn maze, and as you can guess, a ton of sunflowers.
2. The Rochester Public Market is a great place for so many reasons during the summer. It’s open throughout the year, but it’s packed during the summer with local farmers selling fruits, veggies, meat, beer and wine, and baked goods. The produce here is super cheap, and you get to support the local farmers! They also have food truck festivals here once a month with over 20 different food trucks and live music. They also have a bakery, coffee, olive oil, and cheese shop inside, and there are a ton of restaurants right next door. My favorite is Boxcar, which has really good fried chicken, donuts, and Korean fried cauliflower. You can also volunteer here at Flower City Pickers to help sort unwanted food from the farmers!
3. Darien Lake is a great spot, and it’s only about an hour away. This is an amusement park with rides, a water park, and concerts. The park has a ton of rides, and usually the lines are not long at all, especially if you go on weekdays. When I went, I went on each ride at least 3 times there were so little people there. The stage in the park also has big concerts all the time too!
4. You can also be productive! Many people use their free time to take classes over the summer. This makes your semesters a little easier if you get that class out of the way. A lot of students choose to do research on campus too over the summer. Sometimes this is paid, and many people will write papers, publish something about their research, or end up presenting what they worked on too. I worked on campus during my summer, so that also helped me save up some money while still being able to enjoy my friends and all the fun things Rochester has to offer.
5. Toronto is also 3 hours away, and while it’s not IN Rochester, it’s an awesome city if you’re willing to drive there. The people are super nice, the food is diverse and delicious, and there a ton of things to do there as well. This is a perfect place to go during the summer when you have free time.
Rochester has a ton of stuff to do over the summer, so if you’re here you’ll definitely have a great time!