New York is a great place to visit for the holidays. While the hustle and bustle of Manhattan is exciting, you may want to escape to some upstate areas as well. Rochester is the ideal destination.
Rochester is a city that sits on Lake Ontario. It is home to the National Museum of Play, the George Eastman Museum and the Rochester Museum and Science Center. It’s also a snowy area during Christmas so you are likely to see a white holiday season when you arrive.
The city is simply magical when the spirit of the season kicks in. Here are some things you can see and do.
Holidays at the Market
Holidays at the Market takes place at the Rochester Public Market on select Saturdays in late November and December. The event is perfect for those looking for decorations, trees, wreaths, seasonal food and holiday gifts. The market will be decked out in lights and festive music will play. There are also several family friendly activities including a scavenger hunt.
Holiday Laser Shows
What better way to spend the night than by attending a holiday laser show at the RMSC Strasenburgh Planetarium? The facility’s state of the art laser system and Digistar 6 dome full visualization system combine to provide an immersive and colorful experience. Laser lights are choreographed to holiday music making for an event that brings the holiday cheer.
Holidays at the Eastman Museum
So named for the founder of Kodak, the George Eastman Museum is the world’s oldest museum dedicated to photography and one of the world’s oldest film archives. It opened in 1949.
During the holiday season, the museum goes all out with a Sweet Creations Display of gingerbread houses, a Wreath Display of several uniquely designed wreaths and a Tabletop Tree Display. The gingerbread houses will be judged, and a winner will be crowned.
Roc Holiday Village
The Roc Holiday Village is a free event that celebrates the season. Stop by to ice skate, participate in family friendly events, visit with Santa, go holiday shopping, take a turn around the ice-skating rink and more.
Yuletide in the Country
The Yuletide Open House takes place over the course of two weeks spanning early to mid-December at the Genesee Country Village and Museum. The 19th century historic country village features 68 historic buildings, including a one room schoolhouse where children can play old fashioned games. Costumed interpreters keep fires burning and heirloom gardens and livestock well-tended. There are also workshops that take place during the day.
During the holiday season, the village will be decked out in seasonal finery. Guests can attend as villagers bustle around to make Christmas preparations and wish warm holiday greetings. As a special treat, the Village will be open after dark on Saturday night so visitors can enjoy the candle lanterns and warm hearth fires.
German/American Christmas Market
The German/American Christmas Market happens at the Olde Country Store and More on weekends in December leading up to Christmas. There are tons of vendors selling authentic goods, so many in fact, that the top floor, Wetmore Hall, will be open to accommodate them all. Visits with Santa will be taking place on select dates.
Corning Museum of Glass
Corning is located just 20 minutes outside of Rochester and its Museum of Glass goes all out for the holiday season. It is fully of sparkly shiny things that make for the perfect photo opportunities. Be sure to take pics at holiday displays like the all-white Contemporary Art & Design Gallery and The Crystal City Gallery.
Other experiences include:
• Festive Hot Glass Demonstrations: Watch as the museum gaffers turn glass into beautiful holiday creations.
• Holidays at Home Ornament Project: You can purchase a Holidays at Home ornament kit at the front desk. Take it home to customize an ornament with the family.
• Themed Gallery Hunts: Use the clues provided to hunt for wintery items hidden throughout the galleries.
• Make Your Own Glass Experience: Try your hand at glassmaking at a seasonal discounted rate.
The museum kicks off the season in early December by offering 50% off admission and 20% off at all their shops. They also have a café that will be serving up seasonal treats.
The Winter Market happens at Powers Farm Market. It’s the perfect backdrop for picking up unique goods like Christmas trees and wreaths, ornaments, baked goods, hot drinks, gifts and more. Firepits will be blazing to keep guests warm.
The Big Bright Lights Show
The Big Bright Lights Show takes place in downtown Rochester. The buildings are lit up with over a million lights. Features are added every year and include carolers, an ice-skating family, nutcrackers, giant snowmen and a Santa train.
Lighting of the Liberty Pole
The Liberty Pole is a downtown landmark that gets lit up every holiday season. The lighting event kicks off with Santa, Rudolph and local team mascots greeting kids. Free coffee and hot chocolate will be served.
Next the mayor lights up the pole and a holiday parade, that goes from the Liberty Pole to MLK, Jr. Park begins.
Then the Christmas tree is lit kicking off the opening of the Christmas Village which includes:
• A magic indoor heated Santa Land
• Free ice skating
• Artisans selling unique gifts
• Food and drink
• A rotating bar and restaurant
• Free kid’s crafts
• Multiple photo opportunities
If you are thinking of getting out of town this holiday season, Rochester makes the perfect escape. Its big city meets small town vibe is perfect for filling you with the joys of Christmas. What will you be doing first when you visit?