71 miles W of Niagara Falls; 45 miles W of Geneva; 105 miles NW of Corning; 330 miles NW of New York City
Rochester, at the southern edge of Lake Ontario, is where the Finger Lakes meet the Great Lakes. Though cities are perhaps not what most visitors associate with the Finger Lakes region, Rochester, one of the northern gateways to the lakes, is a surprisingly agreeable and historic city that's well worth a visit for its trio of excellent museums, fine restaurants, and enjoyable festivals. The third-largest city in New York State, Rochester was an early boomtown and industrial giant in the early 19th century when it ranked as the flour-milling epicenter of the U.S. and the Erie Canal permitted the large-scale shipping of grain and flour to New York City. The city today is perhaps best known for the modern corporate success stories that got their start here, including Eastman Kodak, Xerox, and Bausch & Lomb. An extremely livable, family-friendly, and attractive small city, which many locals and visitors contend feels more Midwestern than East Coast, Rochester has an enviable surfeit of gardens and parks, but is predominantly characterized by its residents' modesty and industry.