The Rochester area has a lot to offer. The city's local tourism website VisitRochester has much more information. Approximate driving times are given in the descriptions below.
International Jazz Festival
Rochester's 20th annual International Jazz Festival is July 30 - August 7, 2021. Described as "one of the most popular and most respected jazz festivals in the country," the festival includes free outdoor concerts and ticketed big name shows that will be held this year at the Rochester Institute of Technology to facilitate social distancing.
Information on campus dining is here and is offered without comment.
Pellegrino's & Elmwood Inn (20 min walk from UR) - deli cafe & restaurant/bar, respectively. (next to Tim Horton's/Cam's Pizza). On Mt. Hope Ave north of Elmwood Ave.
Distillery (20 min walk from dorm) - sports bar and restaurant on Mt. Hope Ave between Elmwood Inn and Pellegrino's.
College Town (15 min walk from campus) is at Mt. Hope Ave south and Elmwood Avenue. Cam's Pizza and Tim Horton's on one corner, Barnes and Noble Bookstore on another and Dollar Tree on another. At the south end of Collegetown is a large CVS pharmacy that also has some grocery and household items. There are the usual coffee shops and college fare Chipotle, Moe's Southwest grill (like Chipotle), India House Express, Mamasan's Thai food, Bunga Burger, Subway, Tai Chi Bubble Tea, Starbucks, McDonald's, Dunkin Donuts. The Beer Market (bar) and Texas de Brazil steakhouse. A bit further down Mt. Hope Avenue is the OTR Woodfire Tavern - a bar with wood fired pizza. It is just past the Mt. Hope Diner that is great for standard fare at good prices and is especially popular for breakfast on the weekends. Just past that is the Mt. Hope plaza with the Abyssinia Ethiopian restaurant. Something different!
Alice's Market (1477 South Avenue) is one block east of the Distillery and is a great corner grocery store with inexpensive deli sandwiches and prepared meals; they are open 7:30 am to 7:30 pm Monday-Friday; 9-6 on Saturday.
Corn Hill Landing complex (30 min walk/5 min drive from UR, downtown) - restaurants along the Genesee River include wood-fired pizza, noodle house, and wine bar.
John's Tex Mex (30 min walk/5 min drive from UR, 426 South Ave) has, as the name would suggest, lots of Tex Mex food. Great vegetarian options.
Tap and Mallet (40 min walk/5 min drive from UR) - Great for craft beers and pub food.
The Old Toad (10 min drive from UR) - English pub and restaurant with large selection of local and international beers, and an atmosphere conducive to good conversation.
Dinosaur BBQ (10 min drive from UR, downtown) - BBQ with live blues.
Phillips European Arguably the best desserts in town.
For more Upscale Dining in or near downtown, ask for suggestions.
George Eastman House
Visit Eastman's Victorian mansion and learn about his life and his contributions to photography. A variety of traveling and temporary photography exhibits keep the gallery aspect of the Eastman House fresh. Learn more here (10 min from UR). There may be concerts on the lawn in the summer of 2021, check their website.
Canoe and Kayak Rentals
Canoes and kayaks are available to rent each weekend and on weekdays by appointment at the Genesee Waterways Center located at Genesee Valley Park on the west side of the river from campus on the south side of Elmwood Avenue. There are also canoe and kayak rentals at Bay Creek Paddling Center on the south end of Irondequoit Bay (about a 25 min drive from UR).
Strong National Museum of Play
Not just for kids - the museum has toys from every decade and hands-on exhibits, including one on the history of video games with dozens of classic arcade terminals. Learn more here (10 min from UR).
Ontario Beach Park
Ontario Beach Park has a sandy beachfront with swimming and volleyball nets, a lighthouse museum, and a historic carousel. (25 min drive from UR)
Rochester Museum and Science Center
A science and natural history museum that includes hands-on exhibits, a recently renovated and upgraded planetarium, artifacts from local Native American cultures, and information on Rochester's contribution to the Underground Railroad. Learn more here (10 min drive from UR).
Memorial Art Gallery
The University of Rochester's Memorial Art Gallery is home to an Italian baroque organ, works by Monet, an Egyptian sarcophagus, and thousands more pieces. Admission is free with UR ID. Learn more here (10 min drive from UR).
Eastman School of Music & Eastman Theatre
There is always good music affiliated with the University of Rochester's Eastman School of Music downtown campus (10 min drive from UR). There are often live-streamed concerts; check their online schedule.
The Little Theatre
This independent movie theatre is in downtown Rochester. Enjoy a foreign, classic or independent film, or live music and local art in the cafe. See what's playing here (10 min drive from UR).
Explore the canal by foot, canoe, bike or boat. Quaint villages (Pittsford, Fairport) are scattered along the Canal with shops, restaurants and historic buildings. Canoe rental is 2 min walk from UR.
Looking for a nice place to go for a run? Right next to UR campus are Genesee Valley Park (long flat paths along the Genesee River and Erie Canal - signage and maps are in the park) and Mount Hope Cemetery (short steep glacially-formed hills among historic graves).
Ganondagan State Historic Site
A living history museum dedicated to preserving Native American culture. See cultural demonstrations and artifacts and learn how the Iroquois Confederacy influenced early America. Learn more here (30 min drive southeast of UR).
Letchworth State Park
The nearby Finger Lakes region is home to wine tours, boating, museums, hiking and more.