Hey, smarty pants! Welcome to college. And if you came from outside the area, welcome to Rochester. Chances are you'll be spending the next four years here while you pursue your degree. You could spend the next 1400-some-odd days in the (metaphorically) warm embrace of your campus. Or you could venture outside the bubble and get to know a city that's rich in culture and history. You got into college. You're bright. This should be a pretty easy decision to make.
Millennials apparently like to gamify everything. So we've put together a kind-of scavenger hunt of 25 notable places in Rochester. They range from great outdoor spaces to shopping centers to artistic venues and everything in between. Take a break from your studies and try to hit each one of them. What kind of prize will you win? Well, a general knowledge of your current surroundings, for one. And beyond that, City Newspaper will offer a limited number of ginchy Student Survival buttons if you send us photographic proof that you were in front of all of them. Tweet us @roccitynews with your pics and see if you win one.
ART: This Blossoming art venue grabs attention with its bright blue exterior and rainbow flags flapping from the roof. Inside you'll find an eclectic mix of art and items in settings that range from Japanese tea rooms to a faux firehouse to a Frank Lloyd Wright-style loft space. If you're an artisan, it works.
THEATER: Broadway comes to Rochester at this palatial, redundantly named theater. It's located on a Main thoroughfare and is packed with performance spaces, churches, and offices for organizations (including one particularly happy one). For the 2013-14 season it will be visited by a ghost, a war horse, the Grinch, and the Phantom.
THEATER: The name might evoke jolly old England, but this local theater is located right in Rochester's Neighborhood of the Arts (in a former bus-washing garage, of all things). For the 2013-14 season it will be home to Norma Desmond, Bette Davis, and Crumpet the Christmas Elf.
MUSIC: Located at the base of a bridge downtown, this arena does healthy business with Rochester's patriotically named hockey team and other sports teams. But it also hosts some of the biggest touring acts to come through the area, including a particularly jam-covered fish this fall.
FUN: Get your mind into the gutter. There are lots of awesome alleys in Rochester, but this particular venue has special nights just for college kids, and goes cosmic on Friday and Saturday nights for a balls-out rave. Fun fact: Thomas Jefferson was a huge fan of disco bowling...
SHOPPING: This mall to the East is in View of the New York Thruway. Be a Victor-ious shopper by hitting up some of the only local outposts for the Apple Store and the Lego Store.
FUN: Gather your nuts and take flight for this community center in a historic neighborhood that provided the kernel for modern Rochester city life. Here you can get involved in pressing political and social causes, check out a variety show with direction, watch important films, and even learn circus arts. Let Clarissa explain it all.
THEATER: You'll find this local theater on a street named for a famous local collector and philanthropist, and across from a park named for a founding father. It used to be an armory, but now it hosts some of the best live theater in the Genesee Valley year-round. It's actually home to two stages, including a smaller one dedicated to showcasing what's next.
OUTDOORS: This natural feature was once the hub of Rochester's industrial development. Now its surrounding area is in transition, home to upscale condos, businesses, and even a nest for Red Wings. Check out the "gorges" view from a particular "pont," which may someday soon become a hanging garden.
OUTDOORS: This local landmark was designed by a man with a Central point of view. Put aside your reservoir-ations and check out its winding trails, surrounded by a staggering variety of flora. People flock here every May to celebrate a particularly flagrant bloom, but it is open year-round. Make sure to "conserve" your time and check out the indoor action for a practically tropical reprieve during the harsh Rochester winters.
ART: Satiate yourself with this artist collective on Rochester's Main drag. This building is home to a variety of artist and artisan workspaces, and is especially bustling on the first Friday of every month. It recently became one of the few places in the city where DC and Marvel fans can find some comic relief.
MUSIC: The company that shares a name with this grand venue might be struggling currently, but this hall remains as glamorous as ever. If you attend the music school that is also associated with Rochester's favorite son you'll likely spend quite a bit of time here. But if not, make sure to orchestrate a pilgrimage to the East End to see what's on the Fringe.
MUSIC: Formerly a repository for weapons and ammunition, this building is now a home to rock, rap, and jam-band acts rolling through Rochester. It's a Main attraction that will bring some "Clarity" this fall, and has been doing brisk business with the college crowd with shows featuring glow-in-the-dark paint and foam.
SHOPPING: If you're in need of new threads, take your little piggies to this sprawling mall in Henrietta. Here you'll find big-name national department stores — every Ton, Dick, and Penney — a food court, and a variety of smaller service shops.
ART: The grounds of this museum, which is technically part of the University of Rochester, are currently undergoing a massive facelift. Find a Good Man and head to the Neighborhood the Arts where you'll find sculptures and gardens popping up all over the place. Inside you'll find exhibits, an antique organ, and even a place for you to work on your creativity.
OUTDOORS: Not far from University of Rochester you'll find this home to some of Rochester's most notable residents. It's a great place to go for a walk or a run, but slow down and take a tour. You'll be amazed at what you can learn about Rochester's history when you study the stones.
THEATER: This little gem in the Neighborhood of the Arts has a funky name to go with its quirky mission. At this converted church you'll find Shakespeare, absurdist theater, improv comedy, and for one week in August, even cats doing acrobatics. Find this one on the Atlantic coast.
OUTDOORS: Head north to the edge of a big body of water to find this park with a sandy shore. In addition to a boardwalk, volleyball courts, a nearby marina, and a playground, you'll also find a house filled with hundred-year-old galloping horses. Make sure to grab a cone at frozen custard shop Abbott's. (There are two nearby.)
SHOPPING: If you can't stand the big-box mentality, this outdoor market in the city is stocked with a variety of farmers, artisan foods, and small vendors. Here you'll be able to find fresh produce and baked goods on the cheap, as well as hard-to-find ingredients and yummy ready-made foods. Open to the Public on Thursdays, Saturdays, and select Sundays, it's a Union of Rochester's hipsters and conscious consumers. Oh, and food trucks!
ART: This East End art center focuses on presenting of-the-moment art. It presents a variety of exhibits throughout the year, organizes the monthly First Friday art crawl that takes place around Rochester, and as anyone who has ever attended its annual summer art fundraiser knows, it's hip to be square.
SHOPPING: Take a stroll through this quaint outdoor shopping district located along a historic Canal — it's definitely not the Pitts. Head east of the city and keep one jump ahead of hunger at Aladdin's, or take a cruise along a Patch of the waterway. Schoen 'nuff, you'll have a good time.
FUN: Is it written in the stars? Find out by visiting this spiral-shaped outpost of a local science museum. Get the big picture, go on a galaxy quest, or rock out to its laser shows on the weekends, which are set to modern pop-rock classics. Remember, the Sun rises in the East...
FUN: Get in touch with your inner kid and take Manhattan with this local children's museum. Inside you'll find famous toys, a beloved address stocked with furry friends, a garden filled with butterflies, and even a working coin-operated video-game arcade. While it may be geared toward tots, there's plenty for grown-ups, too. Check it out after classes on a Friday night or on the weekends.
SHOPPING: It really does take a village to raise a child, and it takes this particular Village to raise some of the best-fed adults living in Rochester. An indoor shopping center in the Neighborhood of the Arts, this spot has become increasingly known for its wide variety of restaurants in recent year. You might say that it's raising the bar. Of the Gate. (We're terrible.)
MUSIC: Put your dowsing rod to work and find this happening music venue near the St. Paul district. Actually two clubs in one, it hosts shows nearly every night of the week, ranging from mid-sized alt-rock acts to smaller singer-songwriters.