Insiders Guide to Winter in Rochester

Rochester, NY is a friendly sized city on the shores of Lake Ontario. With a population of around 220,000, Rochester has a big-city spirit with a small-city charm; it just feels personal. Although a city rich in urban arts and culture, it is also unashamedly part of the United States Snow Belt, and the wider region boasts some of the heaviest snowfalls in the east. The local Rochesterians know how to make the best of winter and indulge heavily in adventure sports, outdoor activities and winter festivals.

Mountains encircle the wider region and are dotted with fabulous winter resorts that are reachable within a two-hour drive. The ski season runs from November to April and many resorts around the region boast newly modified facilities, fabulous terrain parks, and features that cater to all interests and abilities. One of which is Bristol Mountain Resort.

Bristol Mountain Resort

Bristol Mountain Resort is less than an hours drive from Rochester, NY and is becoming an increasingly popular winter destination for native New Yorkers. With 138 acres of ski-able terrain, 6 lifts, 34 slopes ranging from beginner to expert, two terrain parks, a 450-foot-long half pipe and a mini pipe, there’s more than enough fun to be had for the whole family at Bristol Mountain. For a hotel close to the action try the Holiday Inn Express & Suites on Main street, or the Acorn Inn Bed & Breakfast.

A Winter Wine Festival In Rochester, NY

February has become a time to celebrate the harvest of New York’s ice wines and the season that makes it all possible. The Rochester Winter Wine Festival showcases award winning wines from all of New Yorks wine regions and provides the opportunity to taste, share and purchase these divine wines all in one location.

Saturday City Snowshoe Hikes and Ice Skating

Once the winter is in full swing and the ground is coated with that beautiful white stuff, Rochester city puts on weekly Snowshoe hikes to learn the basics of the sport and provides and opportunity to join others in a new activity. This takes place on a Saturday, is open to the whole family, and includes your snowshoes and a guided hike for around $3 – perfect for those travelling on a budget. Outdoor Ice Skating is also available week-round in the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park.

Lakeside Winter Celebration at Ontario Beach Park

If you fancy a winter dip then join the Lakeside Winter Celebrations at Ontario Beach Park. This chilly festival boasts an annual Polar Plunge where 1000 brave winter enthusiasts dive into the ice waters in order to raise funds for the New York Special Olympics. This celebration also features a snow sculpture contest, sailboat racing, and accommodation is available on site at the Beach Park.

Getting to Rochester

Greater Rochester International Airport is located south of the central city and is serviced by most major domestic carriers in the United States. Best Western’s ‘The Inn’ is literally across the street from the airport and offers complimentary shuttle services after 4am.

Well known as New York’s ideal winter destination, Rochester is a fabulous place to visit this winter.

Rochester Winter

[This post was commissioned as part of the #HipmunkCityLove project but the winter inspiration was my own. Feel free to check out more of my work for Hipmunk here.] 

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