The University of Rochester is located in the City of Rochester, which has a population of about 210,000. The Rochester metropolitan area includes the city and its surrounding five counties: Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, and Wayne. The total population of this area is just about 1.1 million.
The University’s Medical Center and River Campus (which is Warner’s home) are part of the Strong – Mount Hope Neighborhood, which boasts access to the Genesee Valley Park, Genesee River, Erie Canal, the historic Mount Hope Cemetery, and for your retail pleasure – the new College Town development.
The city of Rochester has many distinct neighborhoods, each with its own flavor and history. In this post, I will only discuss the student-friendly neighborhoods that I am familiar with. Please refer to this helpful website, Rochester City Living, to get a feel for all of Rochester’s neighborhoods.
The Park Avenue neighborhood is where I currently reside. When my husband and I moved to Rochester in 2012, I immediately fell in love with the seamless integration of local businesses that exist among the charming old homes that characterize this established neighborhood. The avenue is about 2 miles long and is dotted with shops and restaurants. In the warmer months, Park Avenue is bustling as restaurants roll out their outdoor seating and the sidewalk is full of pedestrians.
Housing options for students in this neighborhood are plentiful. There are good options for both single-family and multi-family housing, as well as apartment buildings. Median rental prices range from $500 – $800 monthly.
Park Avenue is a great neighborhood for those that like being out and about; however as a destination neighborhood for Rochesterians, it can be quite busy. The annual Park Avenue Summer Festival is a great example of the attraction of the neighborhood, but can also be overwhelming if you are a resident. However, if you like the hustle and bustle, the proximity to Wegmans and historic East Avenue as well as another commercial area – Monroe Avenue – make it a great place to live.
The South Wedge is closer to the University of Rochester than Park Avenue and more affordable, with median rents around $400 per month. This neighborhood also has some great retail and restaurant options on South Avenue, like Abode, The Little Blue Cheese Shop, and Butapub.
Its location next to the Highland neighborhood is ideal for springtime in Rochester, when Highland Park hosts the annual Lilac Festival and lilacs are at their peak. Highland Park is home to more than just lilacs though. In the winter there is a natural skating pond, and in the summer the Highland Bowl’s amphitheater projects free movies and performances of Shakespeare.
Downtown Rochester is experiencing a revitalization period. There are three large residential projects in the works, converting old offices to lofts and apartments to appeal to the increasing desire to live in urban, walkable areas. Last year, Harts Local Grocers opened to fill the niche of a grocery store in the area and there are new businesses that are popping up. Check out the Rochester Downtown Development Corporation for more development news in the area.
Downtown has a lot of offer students in terms of restaurants, retail, and cultural events. The Eastman School of Music’s presence downtown makes for a friendly atmosphere for students with coffee shops, restaurants, and bars. The annual Jazz Fest takes place downtown in June, and attracts visitors from all over the country and world. Amongst the concrete, downtown Rochester also has some natural beauty; High Falls, the 100-foot waterfall makes an appearance in the neighborhood that carries its name. Surrounding the Falls is the Genesee Brew House – a working brewery and restaurant.
Living in the City of Rochester would certainly help you to feel a part of the Rochester community and have access to the best of Rochester in terms of culture, food, and events. Living off campus can be daunting if you are new to Rochester, but the University has put together some great resources to help: http://www.rochester.edu/reslife/non/.