Moving to Rochester, NY? Here’s Your Go to Guide

Rochester, New York: the Flower City. Or is it the Flour City? Actually, it’s both.

During the 18th and 19th centuries, Rochester’s Genesee Falls provided enough energy to run several types of mills. Wheat became a booming crop.

In 1835, Rochester had 21 – count ‘em, 21 – separate flourmills. By the mid-1800s, the city was the greatest flour producer worldwide. As luck would have it, the Erie Canal was handy, and flour was shipped to other parts of the eastern U.S., as well as to Europe.

Rochester was proud of its flour. One miller sent some to Queen Victoria in 1847. Other millers exhibited their flour at the Crystal Palace at London’s World’s Fair in 1851.

Things change. Dry spells cut wheat production and slowed milling. Other cities surpassed Rochester’s production. Then insects attacked. By the time the Civil War was over, Rochester was a flour city… with a lower case “f.”

But as Flour City was declining, Flower City was coming alive. Rochester’s nursery and seed businesses became popular far and wide. Skip forward 150 years, and the city’s logo is a combination of a water wheel and lilac. Now it’s flower power!

You know some of Rochester’s history, but you’re moving to the city now. We can help, because we know as much about Rochester today as we know about its past. (Honestly, maybe more.) That’s why our Rochester moving company put together this comprehensive guide to give you a solid start as a new Rochesterian.

Chapter 1

The Most Important Things to Know About Living in Rochester, NY

So you’re new to Rochester, NY! Situation in Monroe County, it’s the third largest city in the state. Rochester has been named in several publications — including Forbes and Kiplinger – as being one of the best places to live and raise a family.

Though it’s an urban area with many business, educational and cultural opportunities, many parts of Rochester still retain a small-town feel. Go to an independent one-screen theatre or a giant multiplex. Shop at a funky downtown store or one of the local malls. Walk along the river or through a lilac-filled park. Whatever you’re looking for, it’s probably in Rochester.

Let’s start with a basic overview. The following websites give you a taste of the city.

Things to know about living in Rochester, NY

Things to know about living in Rochester, NY

Chapter 2

What’s The Weather Like in Rochester, NY

If you don’t like the weather in Rochester, wait a minute. Then the sun will come out, or it’ll go behind a cloud, or it’ll snow, or rain….

Rochester has a typical temperate climate: very warm in the summer, cool in spring and autumn, and cold during the winter. It’s cloudy about half the time. The area typically gets its share of snow (and then some), but winter activities are very popular.

Downtown, Manhattan Square Park has an outdoor ice skating rink. Lots of local parks are great for sledding. Bristol Mountain Resort, Holiday Valley, and Swain Resort are close enough for day ski or snowboard trip.

Investigate these sites so you’ll be prepared for whatever the four winds bring:

What's Rochester's Weather LIke

What’s Rochester’s Weather Like

Chapter 3

What Type of Food is Popular

If you like to eat, you’ve come to the right place. Rochester has food, food, and more food. Where to start?

The Public Market is a Rochester classic. Open three days a week from early morning to early afternoon, the market offers something for everyone: fresh produce, baked goods, food stands, cafes, ethnic specialties, general merchandise, and more.

Two other homegrown favorites are Wegmans Food Markets and Stever’s. Wegmans’ started as a local fruit and vegetable market in the early 20th century. By the 21th century, the chain has superstores throughout the area and in other states. Stever’s has been making homemade candy – especially chocolate! — in Rochester since 1946.

The restaurant scene is diverse and extensive. What do you feel like eating? Chances are you can find it in Rochester. Salads to steaks, naan to noodles, ice cream to Irish coffee… vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free choices: there’s something for everyone. You might even want to sample a traditional “garbage plate.” (It’s better than it sounds!)

Hungry? Start clicking on sites:

How's the food in Rochester, NY

How’s the food in Rochester, NY

Chapter 4

Employment and The Economy in Rochester, NY

As of February 2016, Rochester’s unemployment rate was about 5 percent. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Rochester’s biggest employer is the University of Rochester and its medical center. In fact, health care systems and educational institutions provide many, many jobs in the area. Technology-centered businesses are also on the rise. Photonics is a growing industry in the city, with more jobs anticipated over the next several years.

In addition to large companies, Rochester is full of small local businesses. The area also has a strong agricultural component. Try the regional wines and New York State apples.

Read about the area’s employment opportunities:

Employment Opportunities in Rochester, NY

Employment Opportunities in Rochester, NY

Chapter 5

Driving and Transportation in Rochester

For drivers, the Rochester area has pretty much every type of road: tiny one-way streets, busy intersections, three interstate highways, an the New York State Thruway.

Need alternative transportation? Rochester has train and bus stations, as well as an international airport. If you want some exercise on your commute, the area has extensive bike paths, such as along the Erie Canal.

Look through these websites to find transportation info:

How's the driving in Rochester

How’s the driving in Rochester

Chapter 6

How to Uncover The Best Places to Live in Rochester

Rochester has more than 30 (!) distinct neighborhoods. Where are you headed? In the Corn Hill section, condos and townhouses mingle with restored 19th century houses. The Neighborhood of the Arts has museums, theaters and cultural institutions.

During the 19th century, Swillburg was home to pig farms. Now it contains everything from small family dwellings to huge Victorian homes. Charlotte runs north ‘til it hits Lake Ontario. Turn-of-the-century houses mix with modern developments.

That’s just a small sample of the interesting and varied neighborhoods in the city. These sites can tell you more about where you’re headed… but you can also learn about other neighborhoods to visit.

Best Areas to Live

Best Areas to Live in Rochester

Chapter 7

How to Fit In With The Locals

The average Rochester resident tends to be better educated than the state or national average. That’s not a big surprise, because there are several higher education institutions in the area, including the University of Rochester, Nazareth College, St. John Fisher College, Rochester Institute of Technology, and Roberts Wesleyan College.

What else do you want to know about your new neighbors? We’ve got census results for you. You can also see a profile of the student population in the Rochester City School District.

And, just for fun, check out sites that tell about famous people who came from Rochester… and which ones are buried there now.

Fitting in with the locals

Fitting in with the locals

Chapter 8

Things to Do in Rochester, NY

Museums. Theaters. Sports. Parks. Activities for kids, adults, and entire families. You can keep really busy in Rochester.

The National Museum of Play is fun for kids of all ages, with hands-on exhibits, a toy hall of fame, and a live butterfly garden. If you’re calm, quiet, and patient, a butterfly might just land on your shoulder.

Rochester also has a major art museum and science museum. Like history? Check out spots like Susan B. Anthony’s or George Eastman’s house.

Want to be outdoors? Monroe County has more than 20 parks in and around Rochester. While you’re there, maybe visit the zoo or play a round of golf.

You won’t be bored in Rochester. Hit these sites to see what else there is to do:

Things to do in Rochester

Things to do in Rochester

Chapter 9

Required Reading

Rochester has one daily paper, the Democrat and Chronicle. City Newspaper comes out weekly. Both have a web presence.

Rochester is lucky to be part of the extensive Monroe Public Library System. Member shave access to materials at more than 30 locations.

Rochester has an official website, with information about local government, city services, offices and departments, and education. Similar information is on sites for nearby suburban villages and towns: Brighton, Chili, East Rochester, Fairport, Gates, Greece, Henrietta, Irondequoit, Penfield, Pittsford, Victor, and Webster.

Read on for more information:

More Reading for Living in Rochester, New York

More Reading for Living in Rochester, New York