Rochester, NY Gay City Guide

Rochester lies in the heart of Western New York, situated on the shore of beautiful Lake Ontario. With a population of over 200,000 people, it is the third-largest city in New York. It’s often highly ranked as a very livable city, a wonderful place to raise a family, and as a very LGBTQ-friendly place to live.

A Look at Rochester’s History

The area that is now Rochester was founded by Colonel Nathan Rochester. It was officially incorporated as “Rochesterville” in 1817, and its name was shortened to Rochester five years later. Rochester is often called both the “Flour City” and the “Flower City,” because as it began to grow in the mid-1800s, the town had a thriving mill industry and a profitable seed trade as well. Since its founding, Rochester has continued its growth and is today a major manufacturing center, home to many corporations, tech companies, and other businesses – not to mention having a thriving arts and culture scene, and consistently being ranked as a wonderful city for families. Truly, Rochester has it all!

Rochester - A Few Fun Facts

  • Rochester was the long-time home of celebrated civil rights champion Frederick Douglas, who lived there for 25 years. His grave, in Mt. Hope Cemetery, now overlooks Rochester’s skyline.
  • Susan B. Anthony, famed champion of women’s rights, is also from Rochester.
  • Several famous corporations began in Rochester – Kodak and Xerox among them.
  • Rochester is home to the Rochester Red Wings – minor league baseball’s oldest continually operating franchise.

Read more fun facts about Rochester here.

The LGBTQ Community in Rochester                                            

Rochester is a city with a growing and thriving LGBTQ community that is well-supported by a variety of community resources, including:

The Out Alliance

The Out Alliance has been a champion for LGBTQ life and culture in Rochester since 1973. It is a community center dedicated to giving all members of the Rochester community a space to be themselves, to build community, to obtain the resources they need, and to live their best lives.

PFLAG Rochester

PFLAG Rochester is the city's local chapter of the national PFLAG organization, which is the largest grassroots organization of its kind in the country. PFLAG is well-known for its mission of supporting LGBTQ people, friends, family, and allies across the country in a wide variety of ways. With 500 chapters and more than 200,000 members in the United States, PFLAG plays a critical and important role in providing advocacy, support, and resources to the LGBTQ community.

What's the Weather Like in Rochester?

Rochester is a great place to live if you like colder weather, particularly snow. In fact, it’s widely considered to be one of America’s snowiest cities – receiving an average of around 89 inches per year, in fact, with temperatures dropping to an average low of 17°F in January. Spring and fall are typically the most pleasant seasons to enjoy the outdoors in Rochester, with Spring bringing beautiful blooms and fall bringing crisp fall leaves. Summers are generally mild and pleasant as well, with temperatures in July reaching an average of 82°F.

The Best Events in Rochester

Rochester Pride

Rochester Pride is the city’s largest annual LGBTQ pride celebration, and it’s one event you won’t want to miss.  Sponsored by local LGBTQ community group Out Alliance, the weekly festivities include parades, parties, networking events, and more, and the week is a great way to make new friends, support important causes, and celebrate all that the LGBTQ community adds to the greater Rochester area.

Rochester Jazz Festival

The Rochester International Jazz Festival has quickly become one of the nation's most popular and well-respected music festivals. This city-wide music festival attracts visitors from all over the U.S. and the world and features national and international talent. If you love music and having fun with friends, it's an event you'll definitely want to put on your calendar.

Where to Live in Rochester

Unlike some cities that have one specific “gayborhood,” the LGBTQ community in Rochester is spread across the entire city – which simply means there are many wonderful neighborhoods to live in! Even though the gay community is spread across the city, the Park Avenue corridor is the center of the city’s gay neighborhood. There are many restaurants, shops, and entertainment venues in that neighborhood, as well as several charming homes. The 19th Ward is also a very popular, known for being very ethnically diverse, and offering a variety of home styles from condos to homes designed in the 1960s, and characterized by leaded glass, hardwood floors, and open porches. Ultimately, regardless of what neighborhood you choose in Rochester, you’re sure to find plenty to love!

Arts and Entertainment

Kodak Hall

Kodak Hall is a beautiful theatre in Rochester known for showcasing the world-class talent of all genres of music, dance, theater, and other performing arts. Attracting talent from across the country and the world, there’s a performance here to fit everyone’s tastes and preferences.

Blackfriars Theatre

Blackfriars Theatre is a mid-sized professional theatre group in Rochester, well-known for its talent and ability to entertain audiences with exceptional theatrical arts using local talent. Don’t miss your chance to enjoy a show –or several- for yourself!

Parks and Recreation

Rochester Pride Hockey

It only makes sense that a city well-known for its wintry weather is also known for loving hockey – and of course, that includes the LGBTQ community! Rochester Pride Hockey is the city's LGBTQ hockey league and is welcoming and opening to all, whether you'd like to be a participant or spectator. Don't miss your chance to join in the fun!

Highland Park Conservancy

The Highland Park Conservancy is a beautiful park located in the heart of Rochester and is a wonderful place to enjoy the outdoors during all four unique seasons. It's also home to Rochester's well-known Lilac Festival, and it's a great place to spend a day appreciating nature's splendor.

Rochester Nightlife

The Park Avenue Pub

The Park Avenue Pub is a staple of Rochester nightlife, and one-stop you'll definitely want to put on your list. With its cozy, welcoming atmosphere, excellent menu, strong drinks, and friendly atmosphere it’s a wonderful place to spend an evening out on the town.

 The Bachelor Forum

The Bachelor Forum is a very popular LGBTQ bar in Rochester known for its excellent music, lively dance floor, theme nights, strong drinks, and friendly crowds. Don't miss your chance to enjoy a fun night out here for yourself!

Contact a Rochester Gay Realtor Today

If you're ready to make a move to Rochester, at, we're here to help you take the first step toward finding an agent who knows and loves the community, and who can help you find a home and a neighborhood you'll love. We're proud to have a network of excellent realtors in Rochester, and we would love to help connect you with the right one. Contact a Rochester gay realtor today for a free, no-obligation consultation!

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