About Rochester

This culturally and ethnically diverse city of 220,000 is the heart of a five-county region of more than a million people.  It was first settled by Europeans in the 1790s on the south shore of Lake Ontario at the western side of the Iroquois Confederacy.

Rochester has grown from a wilderness milling settlement at the High Falls of the Genesee River to become New York State’s third-largest city. It is the urban center of the metropolitan area that is currently the state’s second-largest economy.

Erie Canal shipping helped the Flour City of the 1830s become the Flower City of the 1850s, due to the  rise of a vast agricultural and ornamental-plant-seed industry. Abolitionists such as Frederick Douglass and suffragists like Susan B. Anthony brought Rochester early fame for its leadership in social movements.

International corporations such as Bausch & Lomb, Eastman Kodak, Xerox, and General Motors spurred further growth and established Rochester’s parks, colleges and universities, the Eastman School of Music and Hochstein Music School, research and technology centers. An international airport and interstate highways place Rochester within a few hours travel to 80% of the United States’ major industrial and population centers.

Today’s economy includes:

  • Tourism
  • Wines of the Finger Lakes
  • Orchards and row crops along the Lake Ontario shore and throughout the Genesee Valley
  • Research and production in medicine, biotechnology, optics and imaging, and telecommunications in its urban areas
  • Higher education at diverse institutions throughout the region.

Major international corporations such as Xerox, Paychex, Paetec, and Barilla are supported by hundreds of vigorous smaller enterprises that make international business a vital multi-billion dollar component of our economy.

Seven professional sports teams are joined by a host of semi-professional and amateur teams in all major sports.  Area golf courses host professional and international tournaments. Water recreation and winter sports opportunities abound.  Rochester is also noted for its spacious parks, five of which were designed by the legendary landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead. In addition, numerous ski areas, hiking trails, and bike paths provide outdoor recreation year-round.

Thousands of international visitors are drawn to Rochester’s annual festivals, including the Lilac Festival, the International Jazz Fest, the Cornhill and Clothesline art festivals, as well as its museums and galleries: the Strong Museum of Play, the International Museum of Photography at the George Eastman House, the Memorial Art Gallery, and the Rochester Museum & Science Center.

You can learn more about Rochester by visiting these websites:

City of Rochester

Visit Rochester Check out their Photo Tour

International Business Council of Greater Rochester, NY

Arts and Cultural Council of Rochester

Business and Tourism

Higher Education
For links to and an overview of the 19 excellent colleges and universities in the Rochester region, visit the Education web page of Greater Rochester Enterprise.