The City

Rochester is a small city in the Northeast of the United States with about a million people. The city is geographically in the rust belt, but is very different from cities like Cleveland, Buffalo, or Detroit. We have long been dominated by technology, first optics companies like Kodak, Xerox, and Bausch and Lomb. Now our economy is split between small entrepreneurial spinoffs of these large companies and the university and health sciences centered in the University of Rochester.

The University

The University of Rochester is a major research institution that consists of the Undergraduate College, and is the 35th best university in the US (right after NYU and William and Mary, and ahead of UCSD). BCS is one of the best graduate programs in Cognitive Science or Psychology. We have one of the world's densest collections of NHP labs (n=13).


We have long mild summers, and cold winters (downhill skiing within an hour and cross country skiing around the corner). We have beautiful autumns with remarkable fall foliage.


We have fantastic scenery nearby. Some of the densest collection of waterfalls in the country. Lots of parks and lots of water. The Genessee River, Lake Ontario, Irondequoit Bay, the Erie Canal. Many people own canoes, kayaks, and wetsuits. Rochester is one of the best places in the country for runners. The Erie Canal trail is a 260 miles of relatively flat wide trail with few road crossings and plenty of scenery. It rarely gets too hot to run.

Restaurants and Culture

Due to the University, we have better restaurants than most equal sized cities. We have all the basics: Indian, Thai, Sushi, Ethiopian, lots of Italian, Mexican, and many sources for cupcakes.
There are several stage theaters, art movie houses, and because we have one of the best music schools in the world, we have one of the best (free) concert series in the world.


The market is one of the best in the country. Low prices, frequent turnover. My wife and I rent a beautiful house right on Lake Ontario for a very reasonable amount.


Rochester is a near-perfect city for people with kids. The schools are excellent, and finding very safe neighborhoods is easy and cheap.


Rochester is an easy city to navigate. People often say that no two points are further than 20 minutes away. I have found that to be true. The reason is that our population has shrunk slightly since 1950, and the infrastructure is designed for a denser city. Academics travel a lot. Fortunately, the airport is ridiculously close - about 5 minutes from the U of R. It's a small airport with short (often no) lines. Flights don't seem to be particularly expensive.

Day and Weekend Trips

Toronto. Wineries. Self-pick farms and orchards. The Grand Canyon of Upstate New York. Niagara Falls. Niagara on the Lake. The Adirondacks. New York City. Pittsburgh. The Bills. Sailing on Lake Ontario. Thousand Islands. Erie Canal boat trips. Quebec Ice Hotel. Maple syrup farms.


Bristol Mountain (skiing) - 45 min
Buffalo - 90 min
Niagara Falls (and Canada) - 2 hrs
Ithaca (Cornell) - just under 2 hrs
Toronto - 3 hrs
Pittsburgh - 4 hrs
The Adirondacks - 4 hrs
NYC - 6 hrs
Montreal - 6 hrs
Washington DC - 7 hrs

For more information, check out RocWiki

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© 2017 University of Rochester, Brain & Cognitive Sciences

Last modified March 2017