Holiday Events in Rochester, NY

Holidays in Rochester

Snowflakes have filled the air, bright lights have adorned the trees and that holiday cheer is so undeniable it’s almost tangible. Ready or not, the holidays are upon us Rochester. As the weather becomes more frigid we tend to become less sociable, wouldn’t you agree? Ok it’s not Lilac Fest, but so what?! It’s the holiday season, so get on some layers, heat up the car and get into the holiday spirit! Rochester has more than enough entertaining events for all ages to keep that spirit alive. Here are a few of the holiday events you don’t want to miss before the end of 2015.

Gingerbread Houses at George Eastman Museum

The Sweet Creations Gingerbread House exhibit is celebrating its 20th holiday season this year. Come to the George Eastman Museum and prepare to be amazed by this Rochester tradition that showcases over 70 gingerbread creations crafted by professional and novice bakers alike. Make sure you don’t show up on an empty stomach though!

Garden Factory Holiday Music & Light Show

If you’re really in the holiday spirit, you won’t want to miss this fantastic light show. The Holiday Music & Light Show is home to over 100,000 LED lights that adorn trees, snowflakes and snowmen. Prepare your eyeballs as the unimaginable number of lights dance to the beats and rhythms of music both new and old. The show runs every weekend from now until Christmas, so load the family into the car and get going! Also, it should be noted: prepare for lights.

A Christmas Carol at GEVA Theatre Center

What’s the holiday season without a retelling of Charles Dickens’ classic tale A Christmas Carol? Presented by the GEVA Theatre, you have plenty of chances to see Scrooge’s curmudgeonly old heart melt from now until December 27. Who can say no to Tiny Tim?

Liberty Pole Lighting

Partake in another Rochester holiday tradition: the lighting of the Liberty Pole. On December 5, join in as Mayor Warren flips the switch and turns on the lights of the Liberty Pole outside of the Sibley Building. If you miss out on any of your holiday favorites like Santa Claus or Rudolph, make sure you stick around for the Holiday Parade from Liberty Pole to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park Ice Rink.

Lighting of the Menorah

Come and show your Jewish pride this Hanukkah season for the annual public menorah lighting. The celebration will take place on December 6 at Washington Square Park and December 8 at Twelve Corners Park. There will be music, doughnuts, latkes, dreidels, hot chocolate and prizes! L’chaim!

Holidays at the Market

Spend the Sundays leading up to Christmas at the Rochester Public Market for Holidays at the Market. Holidays at the Market is a perfect family outing with horse-drawn carriage rides, cookie decorating and plenty of food. If you’re looking to start your own holiday traditions or buy something for a loved one, there’s a plethora of holiday gifts and souvenirs available.

Granger Homestead Festival of Trees

The Granger Homestead and Carriage Museum hosts their annual Festival of Trees. Whether you’re competing in the contest, itching for decoration inspiration or just curious, the festival is a great holiday spectacle. The Festival itself runs from now until December 13, and also has a silent auction for trees, wreaths and other holiday decorations. Though it’s a little bit of a drive it’s certainly worth the trip.

Yuletide in the Country Tour

Travel to the historic Genesee Country Village and take in a little bit of New York holiday history. The Yuletide in the Country Tour provides a unique experience where you travel back to 1849 when New York declared Christmas, Independence Day and New Years Day as state holidays. It’s a blend of performance art and history that you won’t find at most other holiday celebrations. Just because the kids are on vacation doesn’t mean they couldn’t use a history lesson!  

New Year's Eve Family Celebration and Fireworks

New Year’s Eve can become an expensive endeavor if you’re an adult. So skip the cover charge at the bars and do something with the family instead. The Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center hosts a FREE New Years’ Eve celebration full of ice skating, bounce houses, music and a fireworks show at 10PM. And guess what else? There’s plenty of garages that will provide free parking.

Meet Santa

As a parent there are two ways of looking at a Breakfast with Santa: 1) a chance to get my child excited about Christmas; or 2) a chance to see my child get over his fear of Santa Claus – we’ve all been there. You won’t be surprised to see that there are plenty of opportunities for the little ones to meet with Kris Kringle. Some of the locations include: downtown Batavia, Holidays at the Market and Genesee County Village.

Ok, if you’re not in the holiday spirit by now then what is wrong with you Rochester? There is certainly no shortage of holiday happenings going on in our town to keep you wanting. These are perfect things to do with your family, friends or loved ones. If you don’t have a family, then you at least have SOME ideas for holiday date nights, right? Happy Holidays Rochester – stay warm, be merry and enjoy!


Further reading

  1. Freetime Magazine – Holiday Happenings
  2. Master Guide to December Holiday Fun in Greater Rochester, NY
  3. Rochester & Genesee Valley Parent – Upcoming Events


Holiday Events in Rochester, NY (1)

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