7 Best Neighborhoods in Rochester, NY

7 Best Places to Live in Rochester, NY

Are you moving to Rochester? Learn all that you need to know about the nicest neighborhoods in Rochester, NY, and local favorites! 

Located on Lake Ontario, the city of Rochester in New York State is a large city that is the fourth most populous in the state. Only a five-and-a-half-hour drive away from New York City, Rochester is an old industrial area that is prized for its location and desirability. Known for its affordable cost of living and top-rated schools, Rochester is considered to be one of the best places to live in New York State

Best Neighborhoods in Rochester, NY - Here are the Best Places to Live in Rochester

While Rochester may have a high crime rate, the abundance of nice neighborhoods and safe places to live are what attract many families and college students to the area. If you are moving to Rochester, and are looking for the top neighborhoods in the city then you have come to the right place. Even though moving to a new area is often exciting, finding a neighborhood that best fits your lifestyle can be stressful. Luckily, with the help of this neighborhood guide, you will be able to stay away from any of the bad areas in Rochester and will find only the best places to call home.

Without further ado, read on to learn more about the 7 Best Neighborhoods in Rochester, NY!

1. Cobbs Hill

Cobbs Hill is a dense suburban neighborhood that has been named as the top place to live in all of Rochester. Not only is it a fantastic place to raise a family, but Cobbs Hill has a low crime rate, lots of economic diversity, and plenty of new opportunities for young professionals. Since 30% of all residents are families with children, the schools in the area are highly-rated and there are many family-friendly activities and recreational opportunities available. 

For those moving with school-aged children, some of the top schools in the neighborhood include Brighton High School, Twelve Corners Middle School, and French Road Elementary School. Not only is this one of the quietest and safest neighborhoods in Rochester, but Cobbs Hill has beautiful architecture, amazing views of the city skyline, and acres of recreational green space.

Local Favorites:

  • Cobb’s Hill Park: This 109-acre park and reservoir include multiple sports fields, walking trails, and some of the best views of the city skyline. A popular spot for runners and walkers, there is even an outdoor fitness court that encourages residents to stay active. 

  • George Eastman Museum: Known as the world’s oldest museum that is dedicated to photography and film archives. Open since 1949, this museum is located in the estate of entrepreneur George Eastman and has been named a National Historic Landmark. 

  • Rochester Museum and Science Center:  Not only is this a great place to bring the kids, but adults of all ages will love learning about science, technology, and the history of Rochester at this museum. There are over 1.2 million artifacts on display and many fun exhibits to explore. 

  • The Strong National Museum of Play: Open since 1982, this museum near downtown Rochester features art collections, interactive exhibits, and even a fun arcade full of classic games such as pinball.

Downtown Rochester with sunset

2. Park Avenue

As one of the best-known neighborhoods in Rochester, Park Avenue is located east of downtown and is considered one of the most walkable and lively places to live. Providing residents with the perfect mixture of urban and suburban living, this neighborhood is the go-to place for young professionals and college students. With a population of almost 10,000 people, Park Avenue is best known for its bustling streets, popular retail shops, cozy cafes, top-of-the-line restaurants, and an abundance of commercial properties. 

Mixing both historic and modern architectural styles, this neighborhood can be described as both unique and charming. Known to be both family and pedestrian-friendly, Park Avenue is always encouraging its residents to shop local and spend time outdoors at one of the many neighborhood parks and outdoor spaces. A quiet and friendly place to live, Park Avenue has been the center of attention for residents that are looking for a laid-back place to live. Plus, with its many highly-rated schools, this is a great place to raise a family. Some of the best schools in the neighborhood include Rochester Early College International High School and East Upper High School. 

Local Favorites:

  • Park Avenue Summer Art Festival: This free annual event occurs the first weekend of August and is a great way to support local businesses while bringing the community together. Featuring a judged art show, live performances, and over 40 food trucks. 

  • Apogee Wine Bar: Featuring art exhibits, great music, and a fantastic selection of wine. This is the perfect spot to bring a date or to catch up with friends. 

  • Baker Street Bakery: The best spot in town for homemade bread, pastries, cakes, pies, cookies, and other baked goods. This bakery is also family-owned and operated. 

  • Blu Wolf Bistro: Named the number one gastropub in all of Rochester, this spot is famous for its live music, happy hour, and wide selection of burgers, pizzas, and milkshakes.

Rochester, NY in the fall time

3. Highland Park 

Located in what is described as the finest and healthiest part of the city, the neighborhood of Highland Park is surrounded by picturesque hills and valleys. Known as a vibrant place to live, Highland Park is also culturally diverse and is home to people of all ages and backgrounds. Once known as the Ellwanger and Barry neighborhood, Highland Park was designed by one of the architects that designed Central Park in New York City which can be seen through its beautiful landscaping and layout. Known as a tight-knit community, this neighborhood is often the location of annual festivals and events throughout the year as well as year-round recreational activities. Providing its residents with a sparse suburban atmosphere, many young professionals and families are moving to the area for its many things to do and copious amounts of economic opportunities.

Local Favorites: 

  • Highland Park: This botanical garden and arboretum is a beautiful place to visit in the spring for its magnificent flowers and plants. If visiting in the fall, the beautiful foliage is not something you want to miss. 

  • Rochester Lilac Festival: This springtime event in Rochester is the largest of its kind and is a fantastic way to bring the whole community together. Featuring wine tasting, art, food, entertainment, and even the Lilac run, this festival was created to enjoy and admire the beautiful lilacs in bloom at Highland Park. 

  • Swiftwater Brewing Company: Open since 2015, get your fix of great craft beer and delicious made from scratch food. Located in an industrial space, this taproom is a cool place to hang out. 

  • Susan B. Anthony Museum and House: Susan B. Anthony was a national figure of the women’s rights movement and lived in this home for forty years. Now a National Historic Landmark, memorial, and museum, this home features daily tours. 

Rochester bridge with beautiful river underneath

4. The Neighborhoods of the Arts.

The Neighborhood of the Arts is one of the most diverse and popular spots in Rochester. Consisting of 15 city blocks, this urban neighborhood is a hot spot for artists and young professionals. Located down the street from the neighborhood of Park Avenue, this area is a unique cultural experience that is home to the cities greatest art museums, galleries, and creative talent. Attracting many visitors and locals to the area for its turn of the century single-family homes, and prairie and colonial-style architecture, The Neighborhood of the Arts features plenty of loft-style apartments, chic restaurants, and cozy office spaces. In our opinion - The Neighborhood of the Arts is one of the best neighborhoods in Rochester.

Local Favorites:

  • Rochester ARTwalk: From showcases downtown to public local art installations along walking and biking trails, this community program is free and open to the public. 

  • Village Gate Square: This infamous square in the neighborhood is the location of multiple popular museums and art galleries including The George Eastman House, The Memorial Art Gallery, and The International Museum of Photography. 

  • Anderson Alley Artists Studios: Located off of Goodman Street in Rochester, this art studio is a way for local artists to showcase their work including drawings, paintings, sculptures, and photography. This community of artists also offers events and demonstrations for the public to enjoy. 

  • The Memorial Art Gallery: Founded in 1913, this museum is part of the University of Rochester and is a must-visit for families and students.

5. Pearl-Meigs-Monroe

Situated only several blocks away from Highland Park and Cobbs Hill, the neighborhood of Pearl-Meigs-Monroe is one of the best places to live in Rochester. Often referred to as “The Garden District,” this neighborhood has well-maintained landscaping, peaceful residential streets, and a popular commercial district. Providing its residents with a dense urban environment, almost 80% of all residents in this neighborhood rent their homes. Home to plenty of top-rated restaurants, coffee shops, specialty boutiques, sports bars, yoga studios, and even the Monroe Branch Public Library, residents will never run out of things to do. Rated as the number one best place to live in Rochester for young professionals, most residents are recent college graduates or young adults who are employed downtown. 

Local Favorites:

  • 140 Alex Bar and Grill: Serving pub food and good drinks at an affordable price. Stop by on the weekend to enjoy drag performances. 

  • Dogtown: Specializing in authentic German-style hotdogs, this restaurant is serving all things hotdogs, burgers, and sides. There is also a vegetarian plate available. 

  • Han Noodle Bar: Dine on authentic Asian dishes including soups, stir-fry, and noodles. Not only is everything fresh and made to order but the service is outstanding. 

  • Voula’s Greek Sweets: Serving Greek food and vegetarian dishes in a relaxed atmosphere. There is even a bakery with freshly made desserts and pastries. 

Rochester NY waterfall in the city area of downtown

6. Southwedge

With a population of just over 5,000 people, the neighborhood of Southwedge is a growing and sought-after place to live. Providing its residents with the perfect mixture of urban and suburban living, Southwedge is a safe place to call home. Known for its community activism, cultural and economic diversity, and busy streets, Southwedge is a fun place to live that closely resembles the neighborhoods in Brooklyn, New York. Since the residents love to have a sense of community pride, there are tons of local shops and local chain restaurants that are prized amenities.

Local Favorites:

  • John’s Tex Mex: This Tex Mex restaurant is serving large burritos, tacos, and vegetarian dishes at an affordable price. Make sure to visit on Mondays for their delicious vegan specials. 

  • La Casa Restaurant: Dine on authentic Mexican dishes that are full of flavor alongside amazing happy hour deals. Make sure to order a margarita! 

  • Napa Wood Fired Pizzaria and Bistro: Serving authentic wood-fired pizza and other Italian favorites in a nice atmosphere. 

  • Toasted Bear Tavern: Known for its great prices, friendly staff, and live music. The vegan wings are a must-try!

7. Swillburg

The 20 block community of Swillburg is an energetic neighborhood in Rochester. Full of popular restaurants, lively bars, laid-back coffee shops, and well-maintained parks, there is always something to do and see when living in Swillburg. Beloved for its historic single-family homes, community gardens, and fun neighborhood events, Swillburg is the place to be for young professionals, couples, families, retirees, and college students alike. Plus, known for its low crime rate, residents feel safe and comfortable in their homes and when walking alone at night. 

Local Favorites: 

The Best Neighborhoods in Rochester - The Bottom Line 

No matter where you decide to live in Rochester, there is certainly a place for you. Whether you are moving for work or simply want to check out what upstate New York has to offer, the neighborhoods in Rochester that are on this list are both safe and walkable. Once you have decided that Rochester is for you, make sure to reach out to our Realty Specialists to help you through the moving process. With the help of our team, finding a neighborhood that is best suited for your needs will be our top priority. Contact us today!

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Ryan Fitzgerald

Hi there! My name is Ryan Fitzgerald, and I am a REALTOR®. My goal is to help you learn more about real estate through our Real Estate Blog! Hopefully, you enjoyed the above blog post and it found a way to provide help or value to you. When you're ready to buy or sell a home of your own let us know here. Please feel free to join the conversation by dropping us a comment below.