The Annual Lilac Festival—Highland Park
This May marks the 123rd of the Lilac Festival in Highland Park, the only festival of its kind in North America and the largest collection of lilacs in the United States. Travelers from across the globe turn out to admire 1,200 stunning and aromatic lilac bushes in over 500 varieties. Bonus, there will also be live music, craft beer and a wine-tasting expo!
Accessible from the Lilac Fest, The Lamberton Conservatory is a nationally renowned arboretum built in 1911 that hosts exhibitions of exotic floral curiosities ranging from tropical forests and desert plants to orchids and a koi pond. Take your time walking through this tranquil botanical destination.
Spirits and Eye Candy at the Rochester Public Market
Since 1905, the Rochester Public Market has offered a flourishing food scene, where shoppers can enjoy food stands, ethnic delicacies, outdoor sheds bursting with fresh seasonal produce, baked good and specialty items. Just steps away in the surrounding Market District is Black Button Distilling – they create a seasonal lilac gin each spring (with notes of lilac, lavender, rose and hibiscus) to complement Rochester’s rich festival and floral history. For a sweet treat, Boxcar Donuts serves up out-of-the-box donut flavors that range from Blueberry Maple Bacon to Lemon Lavender or cannoli. Visit on National Donut Day (June 4) to see how they celebrate the delectable holiday.
Strong Museum Butterfly Conservatory
The Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden located in The Strong museum is the only year-round indoor butterfly garden in upstate New York. Immerse yourself in a butterfly sanctuary filled with colorful and tropical butterflies and flowers.
Shopping Along Park Ave.
Park Ave is a pedestrian-friendly and tree-lined street brimming with cafes, bistros, boutique shops and more. A visit to Stever’s Candy is a must – they have been making delicious confections for over half a century, with operations out of their Park Ave store since 1970. Original recipes are still in production here, along with regional favorites, such as the melt-in-your-mouth milk or dark chocolate-coated sponge candy. Take some home to enjoy on the road!
Durand Eastman Park
Durand Eastman Park is home to some of the most beautiful nature scenes in the Greater Rochester region. Spring is a great opportunity to view the plethora of blooming trees at the Durand Eastman Park Arboretum. The park is also filled with aromatic spring perennials spanning across the arboretum.