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While Rochester was a city founded on booming industry like Kodak, it has morphed into a place that is a teeming with arts and culture of all kinds. Yet, for anyone who has roughed it through a long Rochester winter—or many—it’s easy to let the dreary weather inhibit you from getting out of the usual routine, especially in terms of your love life. Luckily, this list of romantic things to do in Rochester is sure to inspire!
Ready to get started? You can find out more about what makes each of these Rochester date ideas great below. Just remember, whatever you choose, happy dating!
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11 Romantic things to do in Rochester
1. Wow your date with a refined French meal at Roux
No doubt, Rochester is home to loads of amazing restaurants and culinary delights. Therefore, choosing a restaurant for a first date is a bit tricky because there are just so many options. Roux is an excellent choice for Rochester singles that love to explore the city’s gastronomy. Refined and cultured, yet warm and romantic, Roux has an exquisite selection of cocktails, wines, and supper offerings. The bistro style interior is clad in rich timber tones, creating a cozy environment that’s sure to bring the two of you closer together. Roux certainly ranks at the top of our list of romantic things to do in Rochester.
2. Explore Artisan Works together
Artisan Works is a place like no other. Indeed, it is one of the many local gems in our city. Find out more about each other’s tastes by perusing this menagerie of artworks and artifacts together. The enormous factory turned eclectic gallery space holds more than 500,000 pieces of art, so you two will have plenty to talk about. This is certainly one of the most intriguing venues on the Rochester dating scene. Finish the date by popping over to Starry Nights café for a coffee and the best chocolate croissants in town.
3. Catch a sports game, but first, grab a Genny
While the craft brew game in Rochester is only getting stronger, the locals will always hold a special place in their hearts for the Genesee Brewing Company. Overlooking High Falls, this is the ideal place to start your date by enjoying some good conversation over a flight. Then, head out to Frontier Field or the Blue Cross Arena—depending on the season to root for one of Rochester’s sports teams. If the game is scheduled for later at night, feel free to swap the pregame beer at the Genesee Brew Co. for outstanding ribs at Dinosaur BBQ. This slightly sloppy meal is sure to break the ice.
4. Go highbrow by spending an afternoon at the Memorial Art Gallery
The Rochester Memorial Art Gallery is a gorgeous space modeled after an Italian Cathedral. Its gothic inspired architecture are not the only thing that makes an afternoon at the memorial art gallery one of the more romantic things to do in Rochester. With exhibitions featuring the evocative works of artists like Georgia O’Keeffe and M.C. Escher, this is an excellent way to get acquainted with your date’s aesthetic passions. Another fun place to get to know your date’s artistic tastes is at the 6×6 collection at Roco. Support local artists and surprise your date by purchasing their favorite, as each goes for $20.
5. Get cerebral with a an evening of trivia at the Old Toad Pub
Sometimes the best way to pick your date’s brain is through a bit of trivial pursuit. Unite against the common cause of coming in first place against other couples and trivia enthusiasts in the homey surrounds of the Old Toad Pub on Monday nights. Preface the quiz by enjoying one-on-one time over some pints and shared plates of pub style comfort food. The atmosphere at the Old Toad is always intimate and cheerful, particularly during Rochester’s unrelenting, gray winters. This is one of our favorite spots to snuggle up with a sweetheart.
6. Enjoy an offbeat flick at the Dryden or the Little
With its multitude of festivals dedicated to the arts, quirky nightlife venues and galleries, Rochester is no stranger to the avant-garde. With a propensity for all things film—think Kodak—it only makes sense that there would be some pretty splendid indie theaters in town. Located in the former home of George Eastman himself, the Dryden and the Little Theatre located just down the road are known to show cinematic classics and curated selections of foreign films. For those with first date jitters, the thought provoking movie experience will give you plenty to talk about as you embark on a romantic stroll down the opulent East Ave to conclude the evening.
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7. Rise and shine with a morning at the Public Market
Let’s face it, not all of us are night owls. If you and your date are both feeling like early birds, there is no better way to enjoy the city than a Saturday morning at the famed Public Market. Take in this diverse and bustling event that unites the city, perhaps picking up some ingredients to cook lunch together later on. If you don’t have time for lunch later, share some cider donuts and coffee or indulge with Scott’s famed breakfast sandwich. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for the many stunning street murals that adorn the surrounding area, something that makes for a fun game of eye-spy in the midst of this vibrant setting.
8. Keep things casual with an evening at Schooners overlooking the water
Sometimes the most romantic thing to do in Rochester is to keep it casual. No doubt, this will help to take the pressure off and allow you both to be your most authentic selves. Bask in that glorious summer weather by hanging out at Schooners, a veteran restaurant on the Rochester foodie scene that is perched right on the Genesee to sip on some cocktails and groove to live music by local bands. The laidback vibes at this place make it a great afternoon or evening hangout.
9. Watch the sunset at Charlotte beach with a cone of Abbotts in hand
A classic way to enjoy Rochester’s beautiful lakeside vistas is by watching the sunset at Charlotte beach. Naturally, there is an Abbotts located within walking distance, so we suggest ordering a couple of cones and walking along the beach in the twilight. The soothing sound of the waves and the sweet sugar rush of the frozen custard will definitely help peel back the layers of your first date personas, allowing you to get to know each other better. This is a top pick for a second or third date.
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10. Savor the best of the Finger Lakes wine region with a wine tasting at Casa Larga
The lake isn’t the only thing that gives Rochester its natural beauty. Ride to Casa Larga Vineyards in Fairport for a tasting of the best wines that the Finger Lakes region has to offer. Testing out the different options and being open minded together is certain spur some fun memories. Let us recommend opting for the wine and chocolate pairing, featuring treats from the renowned Hedonist Chocolate. Don’t forget to tour the grounds afterwards. Who knows, maybe you’ll get a first glimpse of wedding inspo!
11. Eastman Theatre and Javas
We can’t talk about romantic things to do in Rochester without mentioning the Eastman Theatre. This gorgeous historic venue has undergone significant renovations in recent years, making it a true gem of the city. Sit beneath the stunning chandelier and bask in the sounds of the Rochester philharmonic, one of the most prestigious in the country. If classical music isn’t really your thing, the venue also hosts other concerts, ballets, and modern dance performances from time to time. In true Rochesterarian fashion, head to Javas Café next door after the show lets out.