Moving to Rochester

Welcome to your comprehensive guide to relocating to Rochester, NY! Get ready to discover a city overflowing with rich history, stunning natural beauty, and a fiercely independent spirit. Colors burst to life in Rochester, whether you're exploring its iconic lilac gardens, chasing waterfalls at the city's many parks, or sampling world-class wines from the famed Finger Lakes vineyards. Just prepare to be charmed by its small-town feel, along with a dash of urban flair. Buckle up as we journey together through all you need to know to make Rochester, NY, your next home.

Moving to Rochester, NY landscape image

What to Know Before Moving to Rochester

1. The Climate Brings Four Distinct Seasons

If you're packing for Rochester, remember your bikinis, rain boots, sweaters, and your snow gear. This city delivers a proper taste of all four seasons. Summers are comfortable, spring comes with a rain, fall is charmingly colorful with the foliage, yet winter - it's snowy. Lots of snow. So much, the city ranks as one of the snowiest in the nation. But don't worry about it. Rocesterians know how to handle their winters with style. Ice skating, sledding, snowmen building, and warm indoor activities abound.

2. A Food Heaven for the Culinary Adventurous

If you thought Rochester was all about snow and cold, wait until you get a taste--literally!--of their unique food culture. Aside from the nationwide-known Wegmans, Rochester is also the birthplace of the ''Garbage Plate'. Be ready to loosen your belts when you move here!

3. You'll See A Whole New Side of Kodak

Yep, the same Kodak company that produced film and captured your childhood memories. Rochester is home to Eastman Kodak and offers an intriguing look into the history of photography at the George Eastman Museum. George Eastman, the founder of Kodak, called Rochester home. His legacy has left an indelible mark on the city, and the museum, housed in his vintage mansion, is a must-visit for history and photography buffs.

4. Rochester's a Paradise for Nature Lovers

Even though Rochester is New York's third-largest metropolitan area, the city is surprisingly green. The area is full of parks, with the Highland, Durand-Eastman and Genesee Valley parks being among the locals' favorites. Nearby hiking destinations like the Finger Lakes trails are a massive hit. The city is also close to the majestic Niagara Falls, making weekend trips a regular feature!

5. Yes, There's A Sewer System... an Old One

One little-known fact about the city is its vast network of ancient sewer tunnels. Known as the Rundel Library catacombs, this underground maze was part of a 19th-century aqueduct system. Today, it's largely forgotten and off-limits - unless you're on a sanctioned tour. It's an odd piece of extraordinary engineering and history hidden right beneath your feet. Let's just hope it's never a part of your daily commute!

6. Rochester is Home to Two Unique Public Markets

Public markets are not a novelty, but the Rochester Public Market has operated at its current site since 1905 and is a hub of activity, with up to 300 vendors coming in on busy days. But that's not all - the city also hosts the Windy Acre Farm Market. After all, who doesn't want to buy their vegetables under the watchful gaze of a massive pig?

Packed with history, culture, food, and entertainment, Rochester, NY, invites you to experience its unique way of life. It might be known for its snowy winters, but its warm and welcoming community, delectable food scene, rich history, and green spaces makes it a place worth considering as your new home.

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Pros and Cons of Living in Rochester

Pros of Living in Rochester

Underrated city with a strong sense of community

Rochester has a strong community spirit and is known for its friendly residents. Despite being a city, it has a small-town feel with numerous community events and celebrations that bring people together.

Affordable living

Despite having all the amenities of a city, Rochester is known for its affordable living conditions. The cost of living is lower than the national average, making it a great place for families and individuals looking for a city lifestyle without high costs.

Rich history and culture

Rochester is also rich in history and culture. It is home to several theaters, museums, and a downtown arts district. This offers a myriad of opportunities for exploration and makes it a culturally diverse city.

Outdoors and recreational activities

This city, located near the Finger Lakes region, provides residents with numerous outdoor recreational activities. From kayaking on the Genesee River to hiking and bird-watching at Durand Eastman Park, Rochester is a haven for nature lovers.

Educational opportunities

Rochester boasts multiple reputable colleges and universities, including the University of Rochester and Rochester Institute of Technology. The presence of these institutions provides various educational opportunities for both students and adults desiring continuing education.

Cons of Living in Rochester

Variable weather

Rochester experiences a range of weather patterns, from hot, humid summers to cold and snow-filled winters. While some may enjoy the four distinct seasons, others might find the weather difficult to adjust to.

Economy heavily dependant on few industries

The economy of Rochester is heavily inclined towards education, healthcare, and imaging sciences. This can limit job opportunities for individuals not involved in these fields.

Certain areas of high crime rate

While certain parts of Rochester are safe and comfortable, others have higher crime rates. It's crucial to thoroughly research neighborhoods before settling down to ensure safety.

Potential for high property taxes

While the cost of living in Rochester is lower than many cities, the property taxes can be higher than the national average. This could potentially increase the overall cost of homeownership.

Public transportation could offer more

Rochester's public transportation system is decent but could offer more in terms of frequency and areas covered. Depending on their work or school location, residents might need a personal vehicle for daily transportation.

Modern day picture of Rochester, NY highlighting pros and cons of living in Rochester, NY

Is Rochester a Good Place to Live?

Rochester, NY is a great place to live because it offers a charming blend of city life and natural beauty, with the Genesee River and numerous parks adding to its scenic appeal. The city's fantastic arts scene, quality educational institutions like the University of Rochester and Rochester Institute of Technology, and its flourishing foodie culture, give Rochester an irresistible charm. Plus, with plenty of festivals like the Rochester Lilac Festival, there's never a dull day in this buzzing city.

What Is Rochester Famous For?

The Strong National Museum of Play

Rochester is home to the Strong National Museum of Play, the only collections-based museum in the world dedicated to the study and exploration of play. Housing the world's largest collection of toys, dolls, board games, video games, and other artifacts of play, the museum is a must-visit tourist attraction and an excellent choice for families with kids.

The George Eastman Museum

George Eastman, of Eastman Kodak fame, was one of Rochester's most prominent residents. Today, the George Eastman Museum housed in his grand, colonial mansion is the world's oldest photography museum and one of the oldest film archives, attracting historians, film and photo enthusiasts from around the globe.

Garbage Plate

If you're a foodie, the Garbage Plate might catch your attention. Invented at Nick Tahou Hots restaurant, this dish is Rochester's culinary claim to fame. It is essentially a plate piled with baked beans, macaroni salad, hot dogs or cheeseburgers and topped off with onions, mustard and spicy meat sauce. It might sound like a cholesterol nightmare, but locals will tell you it's a dream come true.

Rochester Lilac Festival

Rochester is also known for its annual Lilac Festival in Highland Park, designed by famous landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. The 10-day free festival in May offers attractions like art exhibits, concerts, a parade, and the chance to soak in the sight and fragrance of over 500 varieties of lilacs across 22 acres.

Capital building of Rochester, NY in artistic rendering

Overview of Tax Rates

Property Tax

As of 2023, Rochester, NY residents experience a property tax rate of around 3.46%, significantly higher than the US national average of approximately 1.07%. In fact, this rate is one of the highest in the nation.

Sales Tax

The 2023 sales tax rate for Rochester, NY is 8.00%, compared to the national mean of roughly 7.12%. This rate combines both the New York State sales tax rate (4%) and the Monroe County rate (4%), making it slightly high in comparison with other parts of the US.

Income Tax

Rochester, NY residents are subject to the New York State income tax rate of 6.21% in 2023, while the maximum marginal tax rate for the US average sits around 4.6%. This indicates that Rochester residents pay a higher income tax than many other US citizens.

Housing Market

The Rochester, NY housing market presents a comparatively lower cost scenario for both buyers and renters alike. Median home values are significantly lower than the national median, at around $81,300 compared to $217,500. For renters, median monthly rents average around $900, again lower than the US median of $1,012. Additionally, the market trend shows a healthy upswing compared to depressed markets across the country. Thus, for those seeking affordable yet appreciating assets, Rochester presents an excellent choice.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Rochester, NY is considerably lower compared to other cities in the U.S. Particularly, housing is quite affordable, with median home prices noticeably below the national average. Additionally, costs for utilities, healthcare, and groceries are below major cities like New York and San Francisco. This cost advantage gives residents room for more discretionary spending and savings. However, compared to other cities in the Upstate NY region, Rochester's cost of living is slightly higher. Thus, this city offers a balance between affordability and access to the amenities of urban living.

Weather & Natural Disasters

Rochester, New York experiences a humid continental climate, characterized by warm, verdant summers and harsh, snowy winters. July often sees the highest temperatures, with a median around 80degF, while the winter months can witness lows well below freezing. Rochester's location near the Great Lakes results in significant snowfall, averaging 99 inches per year, offering splendid snow-covered landscapes and winter recreation opportunities. However, this lake-effect snow also brings potential dangers, including blizzards and snowstorms. In addition to this, Rochester occasionally faces severe thunderstorms which can lead disastrous phenomena such as hailstorms, flash floods, and even rare tornadoes. Despite these challenges, Rochester's climate fosters a beautiful, ever-changing environment that spans from vibrant fall foliage to verdant spring blooms.

Typical weather in Rochester, NY

Economy & Job Market

* Health care and social assistance

* Education services

* Manufacturing

* Retail trade

* Professional, scientific, and technical services

Greetings to the realm of Rochester, NY, a city that poses as one of the old guards yet still fiercely in tune with the beat of modernization! This city, significant in photographic and imaging industry, was once the legendary playground of mammoth companies like Eastman Kodak and Xerox. Although these giants dwindled over time, Rochester embraced change and pivoted to a more diverse economy. Today, it stands proud with healthcare and social assistance as its heart, education services as its brain, and manufacturing as its muscles. Retail trade and professional, scientific, and technical services are like the lifeblood that keeps Rochester vibrant and colorful.

Adventurers planning to set sail towards Rochester for work, be prepared for a city with a lower employment rate compared to the national average, but fret not! The city is nurturing emerging and high-tech sectors like optical sciences and imaging that are promising hoards of opportunities. Keep your eyes peeled and hunting skills sharp, because the best places to unearth jobs are in areas such as downtown Rochester, Pittsford or Henrietta. In this diverse city, whether you're an educator, scientist, or an artist, there truly is a place for everyone to flourish. So, pack your bags and get ready for a fruitful journey into Rochester's dynamic job market!

Traffic and Transportation

Ready to cruise around Rochester, NY? First, let's talk traffic. Don't fret, the average commute time is about 20 minutes, quicker than most US cities. More of a public transportation guru? Rochester has you covered. Between the Regional Transit Service buses seemingly zipping all over town, and Amtrak providing an old-world charm with modern speed, getting around without a car is easy as pie. Oh, and did we mention air travel? Ease into your seat at Greater Rochester International Airport, perchance the friendliest airport around. Whether you're a local or a visitor, navigating transportation in Rochester is like a breezy Sunday afternoon drive (or bike ride, train trip, bus journey, or flight!).

What is the traffic like in Rochester, NY?

Best Neighborhoods in Rochester

1. Park Avenue

Just as its name implies, Park Avenue is a haven for park lovers and outdoors enthusiasts. It boasts many green outdoor spaces, a variety of beautiful architectural styles in its homes, and a vibrant arts scene. The neighborhood is walkable and features some charming boutiques, eclectic food venues, and coffee shops. Mr. Dominic's on Main is a popular diner loved by locals for its delicious breakfasts. With a convivial atmosphere and festive holiday events, Park Avenue exudes a unique charm and community spirit that make it one of the best places to live in Rochester.

2. East Avenue

East Avenue is an epicenter of culture and history in Rochester. It's where you'll find the famous George Eastman Museum that houses one of the world's oldest film archives. East Avenue is also home to lush, historic mansions and is dotted with grand, old-world architecture. The neighborhood is known for its high-end shopping and dining options and hosts popular festivals like the Rochester Lilac Festival. For those in pursuit of a cosmopolitan lifestyle mixed with old-world charm, East Avenue is as good as it gets!

3. Corn Hill

If you're looking for an area with rich history and a sense of tight-knit community, look no further than Corn Hill. Nestled next to the Genesee River, this neighborhood enjoys beautiful views and waterfront dining options. Corn Hill is also known for its annual Arts Festival, which draws artists and art-lovers from all over. The combination of quaint, historic homes, quiet streets, and friendly neighbors make Corn Hill one of Rochester's most beloved neighborhoods.

4. South Wedge

Visit the South Wedge, and you'll quickly understand why locals affectionately refer to it as "The Wedge". Known for its creative vibe, the South Wedge is home to a diverse population of artists, musicians, and young professionals. There are plenty of unique boutiques, restaurants, and craft breweries to explore, and it's impossible not to love the neighborhood's artsy, exciting atmosphere. If you're a fan of farmers' markets, the South Wedge Farmers Market is a popular weekly event you won't want to miss!

5. Neighborhood of the Arts (NOTA)

True to its name, the Neighborhood of the Arts is a magnet for artists and culture vultures. NOTA is home to the renowned Memorial Art Gallery, Village Gate, and Writers & Books. It offers a wide variety of art studios, galleries, museums, and live performance venues that make it a culturally rich place to live. The aesthetically-pleasing murals, a bustling public market, and some of the city's best coffee shops all contribute to NOTA's vibrant charm.

In conclusion, Rochester is a vibrant city with diverse neighborhoods each offering a unique lifestyle to its residents. From the historical charm of East Avenue and Corn Hill to the artistic vibrancy of South Wedge and NOTA, to the laid-back, community feel of Park Avenue, there's a perfect neighborhood for everyone. So pick the one that suits you best and start your exciting new journey in beautiful Rochester!

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Things to Do

So, you've decided to show some lovin' for Rochester, New York, and start a new chapter of your life here in this dynamic city! Full of life, culture and historical intrigue; Rochester is a city with a lot of surprises, even for those who have been living in it for years! Let's kick-start your adventure.

1. Check out the Strong National Museum of Play

Want to feel like a kid again? This one-of-a-kind interactive museum is the perfect place for that. With play areas designed to boost your imagination, this museum certainly stands out from the rest. And yes, that includes the iconic Indoor Butterfly Garden. So get ready to jump, bounce, and play away!

2. Explore High Falls

Step out of the concrete jungle and into the serene beauty of nature. High Falls offers a stellar view of the Genesee River - a sight that's truly a feast for the eyes. Hike around the area, or pack a picnic and unwind in the lap of this picturesque landscape.

3. Relax in the Lamberton Conservatory

Nothing soothes the senses quite like nature. And nestled up in Highland Park, you'll find an oasis that houses tropical plants and beautiful, exotic birds - Lamberton Conservatory. It's a paradise wrapped in a lush, green blanket all year round, providing the perfect escape.

4. Visit Artisan Works

Artisan Works is a lesser-known gem. This unique art space is home to over 500,000 pieces of art by both internationally famous & local artists. It's a maze of creativity that's guaranteed to delight the artist in you!

5. Watch a Movie at The Little Theatre

The Little is an independent, community-supported movie theatre that screens a variety of old classics, documentaries, foreign films, and modern hits. Moreover, its Art Deco architecture and history transports you to a different era. A definite must if you're a movie buff!

6. Experience the Rochester Public Market

This public food market dates back to 1905, and is a local favorite. It's a buzzing, vibrant place where you can find fresh food produce and flowers at cost-effective prices. Plus, the friendly atmosphere makes grocery shopping a real treat!

7. Participate in a Game of Trivia at The Playhouse

This might shock even long-term locals - but Rochester has a swanky bar where you can enjoy a game of trivia! The Playhouse was created to entertain, with arcade games, pinball, and weekly trivia nights. Gather your friends and show off your trivia prowess while having a fantastic time!

Phew! That's quite a list. From awe-inspiring waterfalls to a stirring art scene, and from a thriving food market to a play-all-day museum - Rochester embraces all things diverse and wonderful. So go ahead! Experience these delightful Rochester spots, and who knows? Soon, you might be recommending your own secret spots to newcomers!

Things to do in Rochester, NY?

Find Movers for Your Rochester Relocation

Undeniably, Rochester, NY is a charming expanse of this nation's landscape, rich in both history and potential. As you envision your new life in the Flour City, why not simplify the transition with Great Guys Moving? We bridge the gap between you and the top-tier moving companies in the industry. By simply providing us with the basics of your move, we link you with a selection of reliable, affordable, fully licensed, and insured movers. Why not take the next step in your journey? Let Great Guys Moving alleviate your moving stress. Get a free, no-obligation moving quote today.

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