Rochester is often ranked among the nation's best metropolitan areas with respect to "quality of life."
The greater Rochester area, with a population of one million, is rich in educational, cultural, and recreational resources. Fortune 500 companies Bausch & Lomb, Kodak, and Xerox, along with numerous small high-technology companies, offer graduate students options for research in business and industry.
As for weather, Rochesterians know the seasons in all their variations. Summer is sunny, warm, and lush with greenery; autumn is crisp and abundantly colorful; winter is the season of sledding, ice-skating, and downhill and cross-country skiing; and spring is a delight in "The Flower City."
Cultural attractions abound. For music lovers, the city is blessed with an extraordinary number of talented musicians thanks, in part, to the University's acclaimed Eastman School of Music. The school stages more than 700 concerts and recitals—most of them free—throughout the year.
The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra performs at the Eastman Theatre and receives rave reviews from the community, as well as from The New York Times and The New Yorker. Rochester also is home to George Eastman House, with the most comprehensive film library in the world. The University's Memorial Art Gallery, larger than the Whitney or the Guggenheim, frequently houses major traveling exhibits and has an excellent collection of its own. Performing organizations—such as Geva Theatre, an Actors Equity regional theater, Garth Fagan's internationally celebrated dance troupe, and Opera Rochester—stage productions throughout the year.
Rochester also has a wide selection of restaurants, serving African, Caribbean, Chinese, Ethiopian, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Indian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Kosher, Mexican, Middle Eastern, Thai, Turkish, and vegetarian cuisine—and such genuine upstate New York fare as chicken wings and Rochester's own white hot dogs.
For night life, a number of nightclubs throughout the area feature live music ranging from jazz to country to folk to rock.
Sports, too, thrive in this city. Rochester has four professional teams—baseball (the Red Wings), hockey (the Americans), lacrosse (the Knighthawks), and soccer (the Rhinos). Nearby, Lake Ontario and the beautiful Finger Lakes provide opportunities for canoeing, kayaking, sailing, swimming, water-skiing, and windsurfing. In the winter, there's cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, and snowboarding in the hills of the surrounding countryside.
Many faculty and students enjoy visiting the wineries of the Finger Lakes region. Niagara Falls and the sophisticated city of Toronto are both easily accessible by car. The rugged Adirondack Mountains are about a four-hour drive away. In the summer, lovers of the performing arts head for Artpark and Chautauqua in New York State, or to the Stratford Festival and the Shaw Festival in Canada.
But for busy graduate students, the most valuable aspect of life in Rochester may simply be its convenience. "Graduate school isn't easy," as one student noted. "There's no time to worry about transportation, goods, and services. Convenience is really important."
Here, the cost of living is moderate. Because of its reasonable size, the Rochester area is easy to negotiate by car or by public transportation. And housing is affordable, generally of high quality, and readily available.
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