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Parks

From the beautiful Seneca and Highland Parks, both designed by 19th-century landscape genius Frederick Law Olmsted, to Durand-Eastman Park, where you can feel the immensity of that Great Lake, here is just a partial list of some of our favorite parks in the Monroe County (256-4950, www.monroecounty.gov) and City of Rochester (428-6767 or 428-6755, www.cityofrochester.gov) systems.

Cobbs Hill Park Culver Road and Norris Drive

As the highest publicly accessible point in Rochester, this park offers one of the best views of the downtown skyline. Its circular access road also makes it a popular destination for runners and walkers.

Durand-Eastman Park Lakeshore Boulevard

There's an abundance of forest and wetlands to explore, and there's no better way to experience Rochester's LakeOntario coastline.

EllisonPark and Wetlands Blossom and Landing Roads, Brighton and Penfield

You'll hear people call this "the dog park." A pathed loop along the creek makes a nice stroll, but the park has a lot more depth than that.

GeneseeValleyPark (East) 200 Elmwood Avenue

Here, the GeneseeRiver intersects with the state BargeCanal (this is where they moved the Erie Canal after taking it out of downtown) and Red Creek. Meanwhile, the Genesee Valley Greenway meets a plethora of local trails, making this an ideal spot to start or end a journey by foot or paddle.

Highland Park450 Highland Avenue

Famous for its signature local lilacs and their eponymous festival each spring, there's something to offer year-round at this hilly Rochester arboretum. For an extra treat, track down the SunkenGarden.

Lehigh Valley Linear Trail Park East River, Quaker Meeting House, West Bloomfield, and Mile Square Roads, Rush and Mendon

This 15-mile long park is really a trail that wends its way through the towns of Rush and Mendon in the southern end of the county, perfect for walking, biking, or skiing.

Mendon Ponds Park Clover Street and Pittsford-Mendon Center Road, Pittsford and Mendon

It's been a National Natural Historic landmark for three and a half decades while boasting 30 acres of trails and half a dozen ponds, all set in a unique glacier-carved landscape.

OntarioBeachPark 4800 Lake and Beach Avenues

The crown of Charlotte, this park blends the energy of the city with the expansive presence of LakeOntario.

SenecaPark and Zoo St. Paul Street

Originally meant to bookend the city as the northern counterpart to GeneseeValleyPark, this gem perched on the edge of the GeneseeRiver gorge is now home to the county zoo and a few miles of wooded trails.

WebsterParkLake and Holt Roads, Webster

A popular destination for sledding and cross-country skiing, there's plenty to do year-round in this quintessential park.

Mt. Hope Cemetery Mt. Hope and Elmwood Avenues

OK, it's not a park, per se, but it's still definitely worth visiting. In addition to the final resting places of some of our greatest local luminaries, the cemetery contains steep hillsides, glacial eskers, and enough trees to be a forest.

Further afield, here are a couple of regional parks that are worth the drive. Find out more at www.nysparks.com.

HamlinBeachState ParkOne Camp Road, Hamlin

HamlinBeach makes for the perfect LakeOntario daytrip. There are 10 miles of trails for hiking, biking, skiing, or snowmobiling, plus launches for car-top boats and an environmental interpretative center in the Yanty Creek marsh.

Chimney Bluffs Garner and EastBay Roads, Sodus

When glaciers retreated from this part of the globe they left deposits of earth and rock. When these meet the shore of LakeOntario and begin to erode, the result is a cluster of unique and fanciful shapes in the cliff-like bluffs.

Letchworth State Park One Letchworth State Park, Castile

Billed as the "Grand Canyon of the East," this destination lives up to the name. At just over 50 miles from Rochester (about an hour's drive) there's no excuse not to visit.

Allegany State Park Allegany State Park Route 1, Salamanca

At 65,000 acres Allegany clocks in as the largest park in the state system (the Adirondacks and Catskills are preserves). It's hard to imagine a better playground for all your outdoor pursuits.

In This Guide...

    Take a closer look

    You could easily spend your life in Greater Rochester driving between work, home, and Wegmans. Many people do.

    Where's the party?

    Festivals
    Lakeside Winter Celebration Date: February

    Sculptures, butterflies, and giants,oh my!

    Daytrips
    Anyone who complains about the traffic in Rochester has never driven in Boston or New York or Cleveland or Pittsburgh. Granted, more traffic means more population and more opportunities for diversion within those metropolises.

    A town in the know

    Universities
    One of Rochester's most important assets is its academic community. There are over a dozen centers devoted to advanced education within the Rochester-Finger Lakes-Genesee Valley Region, and they add vibrancy to the area's employment, culture, and quality of life.

    Not above name dropping

    Legends
    Rochester can boast a fair number of interesting citizens who continue to walk among us, but many that have shuffled off this mortal coil remain the subject of endless fascination. These former Rochesterians may not be as well known as groundbreaking giants like abolitionist Frederick Douglass, activist Susan B. Anthony, and inventor George Eastman, but their place in history is nonetheless guaranteed.

    Sporting goods

    Sports
    Last year, Street & Smith's Sports Business Journal named Rochester the number one minor-league sports market in the country. The city boasts pro sports franchises that are both storied and cutting-edge, some steeped in tradition, others still growing out of their infancy.

    From getting lost to finding your Irish

    Recreation
    Wanna work off a few pounds? Gotta burn off some work-related frustration?

    The way the political land lays

    Politics
    Just like anyplace else, politics in Rochester are a complicated affair that, when you get right down to it, aren't really all that complicated after all. Take a bunch of ambitious, outgoing men and women, add the lust for power, sprinkle generously with cash, and voila... you've got a crazy, quirky kind of world only an American-style democracy could produce.

    Eight days a week

    Nightlife
    You've only got seven, but there's something to do eight days a week. Monday.

    Live and active culture

    Arts
    They say you shouldn't talk religion or politics at the dinner table. Sound advice.

    Are you there yet?

    Families
    Got kids? You've come to the right place!

    As American as pasta e fagiole

    Food
    You can eat apple pie and hamburgers for only so long. If you're seeking ingredients to build meals in honor of your (or someone else's) culture, here's a list of some independent ethnic grocery stores.

    Welcome to the 'burbs

    Suburbs
    Rochester owes much of its development and prosperity to the GeneseeRiver, which cuts a path right down the center of the city. In the early days, many of the neighborhoods in the city, as well as suburban villages, began as small settlements that depended on the river to receive and sell goods.

    The best parts are often hidden

    City neighborhoods
    "Cool" in Rochester is the youth-oriented Park Avenuearea, or the East End-Alexander area on a summer night, with crowds from clubs and bars spilling out onto the sidewalks. But there's lots to experience in the city.

    Your Rochester to-do list

    Try to see what's on TV on the ceiling of the Bug Jar. Board the Mary Jemison or the Sam Patch from Corn Hill Landing.

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