Three months can feel like a dreary long time without work or classes; while some students prefer leaving for a vacation home, some still stay here 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!
The Rochester Lilac Festival (May 10-19, 2019)
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! 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.
The Rochester Public Market
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!
Darien Lake Theme Park
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!
The city of Toronto
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. You can also take a ferry directly from the city to enjoy the scenic beauty of Lake Ontario and get to your destination faster!
For art junkies who wish to explore exhibits from the Colonial times, Rochester has a lot of cool museums in store for you guys! The Strong Museum is the only collections-based museum anywhere devoted solely to the study of play, and although it is a history museum, it has the interactive characteristics of a children’s museum making it the second largest museum of that type in the United States.
The George Eastman Museum is world-renowned for its collections in the fields of photography and cinema, the museum is also a leader in film preservation and photograph conservation, educating archivists and conservators from around the world. Home to the 500-seat Dryden Theatre, the museum is located on the estate of entrepreneur and philanthropist George Eastman, the founder of Eastman Kodak Company.
Summer on Campus
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. Working on campus during the summer can also help you save up some money while still being able to enjoy with your friends and explore all the fun things Rochester has to offer.
Rochester has a ton of stuff to do over the summer, so if you’re here you’ll definitely have a great time!