Green Spaces in Rochester

The City of Rochester has many green spaces both within the city and in the surrounding suburbs. A “green space” is an area of grass, trees, or other vegetation set apart for recreational or aesthetic purposes in an otherwise urban environment. Throughout Rochester there are more than 3,500 acres of nationally recognized parks which include parks, playgrounds, scenic overlooks, trails, gardens, fields, beaches, and boardwalks.

Having access to green space in urban settings, like Rochester, promotes physical and mental health of the people that live and work in the community. Green space make physical activity, such as walking, running, biking, more accessible. According to the World Health Organization, having access to green space can reduce health inequalities, improve well-being, and aid in treatment of mental illness. Studies have suggested that green space can help with mild depression and reduce stress.

Green space is beneficial to the environment. Trees and other plants produce oxygen, and help filter out harmful air pollution, including airborne particulate matter. Vegetation provides ecological functions such as absorbing rain during heavy storms, and providing relief from extreme heat. Green space also provides refuge from noise pollution which can be extreme in cities.

The University of Rochester has made green space a priority for its students, faculty, and staff on all of its campuses. On the River Campus, there are many places to enjoy the outdoors including the many academic and residential quads, the Genesee Riverway Trail, the outdoor sports fields, and the many walking paths throughout campus. On warm Rochester days, you can find what seems like the entire student body out on the George Eastman Quad, talking with friends or throwing a Frisbee.

Across from the River Campus, Genesee Valley Park provides more than 800 acres of green space for many different types of outdoor activities. Mt. Hope Cemetery adjacent to the River Campus is also a great place to take a walk and enjoy nature.

The University of Rochester Medical Center offers numerous courtyards and green spaces filled with benches for both employees and patients to enjoy the outdoors and get some fresh air. Grace’s Garden honors Grace Esposito, who battled a congenital diaphragmatic hernia and Laurens Garden honors a leukemia patient who was treated at the Golisano Children’s Hospital. Both gardens offer a special place of solace, comfort, and healing. The Memorial Art Gallery is also surrounded by green space, featuring statues and other sculptures for visitors to enjoy. ARTWalk is a permanent urban art trail, connecting the arts centers and public spaces within the Neighborhood Of The Arts (NOTA), located between the Memorial Art Gallery and the George Eastman House. Even the Eastman School of Music, which is located in the city center, has a small courtyard where students can relax outside.

Green space in the city center includes Aqueduct Park, Genesee Crossroads-Charles Carroll Park, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park at Manhattan Square, Brown Square Park, Genesee Gateway Park, the Genesee Riverway Trail, and the Heritage Trail. Many of these parks are a great place to eat lunch or go for a walk. The Genesee Riverway Trial has many spots to sit by the Genesee River and enjoy the view. For a full list of parks, trails and other green spaces in the Rochester Area, visit


Written by Alyssa Lemire, Class of 2017

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