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Discovering Rochester: A Premier Sports Destination

The Rochester skyline at golden hour
© Jonathan Spurr

Big-City Amenities, Small-Town Hospitality

Rochester, New York welcomes visitors with a vibrant sports scene and an array of attractions catering to athletes and spectators alike. The city of Rochester and the quaint surrounding towns of Monroe County are only rising the ranks as a top-tier destination for sports events, thanks to the city’s unique offerings and unparalleled hospitality. 

About Visit Rochester

Visit Rochester serves as a cornerstone for hosting sports events of all sizes in the region, bringing to light the city’s unique blend of big-city amenities and small-town hospitality. With a robust network of 500 community members, including facilities, attractions, and restaurants, Visit Rochester leverages its connections to ensure that every group feels embraced by the community upon arrival. The organization customizes its services to meet the specific needs of each event, offering promotional design, concierge services, and local publicity to maximize exposure. By prioritizing the needs of student athletes and coaches, Visit Rochester embodies its commitment to creating unforgettable experiences for all visitors to the city.

Source: Bare Antolos

“I think our service is what sets us apart. We have a menu of services, but that is not where it stops. We really like to see what each organization needs. We help with event enhancements to create a unique experience for the family and athletes. We act as a community connector, often connecting people to the right people to make their event successful, whether it’s through local government officials, restaurants, hotels or other visitor services for events.”

Rich Mackey, Sports Sales Manager, Visit Rochester

“A lot of what we do we really customize to each event organization. We’re always trying to see what student athletes are carrying. What do student athletes want when they’re coming in? What do coaches need? Whether it be a coach’s gift or student athlete takeaways, those small touches go a long way and just show that we appreciate these visitors in our community. We want to make sure that everyone who comes through Rochester feels like they’re welcomed.”

Libby Craig, Sports Sales Manager, Visit Rochester

The Sports Scene

Rochester is home to a diverse range of athletic opportunities for enthusiasts of all ages. With Minor league sports teams like the Rochester Red Wings, Triple-A Affiliate of the Washington Nationals and the Rochester Americans AHL Affiliate of the Buffalo Sabres, the city thrives with professional-level competition. Additionally, Rochester hosts some of the largest youth tournaments in North America, attracting teams from the US and Canada to compete in various sports. From minor league matchups to youth tournaments and collegiate athletics, Rochester offers something for every sports fan to enjoy. Discover more about the sports experience in Rochester below!

Places to Play 

Tim Hortons Iceplex 

Tim Hortons Iceplex stands as one of North America’s foremost hockey venues, boasting 176,000 square feet of space on the Monroe Community College campus. Throughout the year, this venue plays host to a multitude of hockey events drawing teams from across the United States and Canada alike.

Webster Aquatic Center

Nestled within the grounds of Webster Schroeder High School, the Webster Aquatic Center serves as the venue of choice for numerous swimming and diving championships year-round. Boasting convenient proximity to restaurants and hotels, the cutting-edge facility offers an ideal setting for hosting events. With a proven track record of successfully hosting local, regional, and national aquatic competitions, the facility is fully equipped to accommodate events of all sizes.

Lakefront Park

Lakefront Soccer Club stands as one of New York’s largest soccer organizations in New York, with its very own expansive outdoor multi-field complex. Situated minutes from downtown Rochester, this facility offers unparalleled convenience with easy access to major highways, hotels, restaurants, and shopping centers.

Range of Events 

2023 PGA Championship

From May 15-21, 2023, Rochester successfully hosted the PGA Championship at the historic Oak Hill Country Club. The course was recently restored and perfect to host the best of golf. This was the fourth time Oak Hill Country Club hosted the PGA Championship, and is a true testament to the high caliber events Rochester is equipped to host.

2023 D3 Outdoor Track and Field Championships 

Just four days after the PGA Championship wrapped up, Visit Rochester set the stage to host the DIII Track and Field Championships at St. John Fisher University. The event was the largest DIII collegiate event in the country, bringing in 1,000 athletes, coaches, staff and parents to Monroe County.

The Roc City Girls Fest

Premier Ice Prospects hosts the largest girls hockey tournament annually at partner venues across the county. The event brings in 170+ teams and 5,000+ athletes and attendees each year from across the US and Canada. With this event returning year after, hockey remains as a keystone sport in the area. This year’s Roc City Girls Fest will be held across two weekends from October 25 – 27 and November 1 – 3, 2024.

Things to Do 

Whether you’re a sports enthusiast, a tournament organizer, or a spectator looking for an unforgettable experience, Rochester offers something for everyone. With its scenic beauty, cultural attractions, thriving sports community, and unmatched hospitality, the Flower City invites you to discover the best of recreation in the heart of Upstate New York. 

The Waterways 

Fall foliage from the a pedestrian bridge in Maplewood Park
© Jonathan Spurr

Rochester boasts the historic Erie Canal, a 200-year-old waterway pivotal in shaping New York State and the surrounding region. This canal runs through various communities including Fairport, Pittsford, Bushnell’s Basin, Spencerport, and Brockport, which have thrived around its banks. Visitors can experience the canal’s charm through boat tours, waterfront walks, and exploring the quaint shops and restaurants in the surrounding villages.

“We really embrace our waterways and the importance of the Erie Canal in Rochester, New York State, and the building of America. Many of our main facilities are in different pockets of Rochester. Even if you aren’t downtown, the surrounding towns all have their own unique aspects, and you’re able to experience walking along the canal in several areas,” Craig shares. 

In downtown Rochester, enjoy a waterfront view like no other at High Falls, a 96-foot waterfall along the Genesee River. Insider’s tip: savor the best waterfall view and a craft beer at the Genesee Brew House rooftop! 

Rich History 

Rochester, NY is home to a rich history with pivotal figures such as Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass. Visitors can explore landmarks like the Susan B. Anthony House and Museum, as well as the final resting place of both Anthony and Douglass in Mount Hope Cemetery. These historical sites serve as reminders of Rochester’s significant role in the fight for equality throughout American history.

Rochester’s Hall of Fame Museums

Stop by one of the many fun-filled museums in Monroe County during your stay with the family! In downtown Rochester, the Strong National Museum of Play is an immersive look into the history of play, housing both the National Toy Hall of Fame and the World Video Game Hall of Fame. Kids and parents alike can enjoy an afternoon here and dive into fun across generations!

  • National Toy Hall of Fame 
    • Take a trip down memory lane and discover the most iconic toys from that have been inducted into the Hall of Fame over the years. The National Toy Hall of Fame is centrally located in the Strong Museum in downtown Rochester.
  • World Video Game Hall of Fame 
    • Calling all gamers! Also located within the Strong Museum, the World Video Game Hall of Fame showcases the most iconic video games of all time.

The Finger Lakes Region

The Rochester area is just outside the Finger Lakes Region, a picturesque tourist destination known for its natural beauty, water activities, and world-renowned wineries. The region is just a 90-minute drive from Rochester, making it a perfect day trip to explore during your trip. With over 100 picturesque wineries, waterfront views, and outdoor activities, the Finger Lakes Region is a must-see!

Planning your Trip 

© Jonathan Spurr

Rochester is extremely accessible by car, as the city is within a day’s drive of one-third of the United States population, and only a 3.5-hour drive from Toronto, Canada. For those flying in, the Frederick Douglass Greater Rochester International Airport is just a 15-minute drive from downtown Rochester and offers nonstop flights to 17 destinations through 8 airlines. Visit Rochester also has many hotel partners centrally located between downtown Rochester, their sports venues, and surrounding towns. To check out hotel options in Monroe County, click here.

“Our accessibility is huge. No matter where you are in the county, the airport is 15 minutes away, everything is within 15 minutes. We might have a couple of facilities that sports groups can use that are within 10-to-15-minute drive,” Craig shares. 

For more information on the Rochester area, or to plan your next event there, reach out to the Visit Rochester team today!

Visit Rochester on Playeasy |

Visit Rochester

Visit Rochester

Rochester, NY

Rich Mackey

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