Until 2012, Rochester was basically a foreign land to me, tucked away on the edge of Oakland County. I fell in love with a man and my move to the area followed shortly thereafter. The Rochester area has so much to offer, especially for families, and the location couldn’t be better. There aren’t many other places you can be within minutes of both I-75 and a secluded trail through the woods.
Rochester Brunch House | 301 Walnut Blvd, Rochester, 248-656-1600
If a menu that includes an entire section devoted to Eggs Benedict and Fruity Pebbles French Toast doesn’t suck you in, maybe the boozy brunch libations or specialty coffees will. Great place to catch up with your girlfriends.
Bologna Via Cucina | 334 S Main St, Rochester, 248-651-3300
My number one spot for date night. The antipasto board and a bottle from their cellar is the perfect prelude to sailing away on a heaping serving of pasta.
Lipuma’s Coney Island | 621 N Main St, Rochester, 248-652-9862
You haven’t really been to Rochester unless you’ve stood in line for one of their specialty dogs. Low key, classic perfection served on a bun.
3 FAVORITE OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES
Yates Cider Mill | 1950 E Avon Rd, Rochester Hills, 248-651-8300
If cider mills are a Michigan thing, Yates is one of the crown jewels. Dating back to the 1860s, this picturesque red building is home to tasty treats and the start of easy-to-travel trails. Order a donut sundae and then stroll down the riverbank for a perfect family friendly afternoon.
Speaking of trails…
The Rochester area is home to miles of multipurpose trails along abandoned railways. My recommendation? Hop on your bikes downtown Rochester and cruise up to Sagebrush Cantina in Lake Orion for lunch.
Innovation Hills | 2800 W Hamlin Rd, Rochester Hills
Some areas are still under construction, but this park promises to be one of a kind. Walking paths, beautiful scenery, glow-in-the-dark pathways, and the plans for a nature-centered playground complete with sensory garden.
FAVORITE CULTURAL ACTIVITIES
Van Hoosen Farm | 1005 Van Hoosen Rd, Rochester Hills, 248-656-4663
This 16-acre complex features original structures dating back to the 1800s as well as local exhibits and artifacts dedicated to preservation of the history of the Rochester area.
Rochester Grangers Vintage Baseball | Van Hoosen Farms
Free admission to baseball as it was played in the 1860s: wool uniforms, wooden bats, and good, old-timey fun. Make sure to take the opportunity to mingle with fans and players after the game in the old calf barn!
Lagniappe | Downtown Rochester
People come from all over to admire the buildings of Main Street decked out from sidewalk to roof in twinkling lights. Lagniappe marks the beginning of the holiday season with local vendors and winter-themed activities.
FAVORITE PLACE FOR SWEET TREATS
The Home Bakery | 300 S Main St, Rochester, 248-651-4830
If you’ve never had a Kronut, buckle up. These densely-packed gifts offer a hefty dose of deep-fried croissant dough, filled with vanilla bean pastry cream, tossed in vanilla sugar and finished with a vanilla bean glaze.
PAINT Nail Bar | 116 W 4th St #2024, Rochester, 248-621-3959
Hands-down (pun intended) the most beautiful nail salon I have ever been to. They offer fume-free experience with five free polishes, water-based gel, and a beautiful color palette to choose from. Insider hack: take a selfie in the bathroom, the wallpaper is perfection!
Mantra Vie | 404 S Main St, Rochester, 248-266-7565
The perfect outfit for a night out? Check. Athleisure? Check. On-trend jewelry, accessories, and a gift for anybody on your list? This laid back boutique has it all!
Amanda’s Airbrush Tanning | 814 N Main St, Rochester, 248-941-3541
The BEST sunless tan around. Amanda is a beautiful soul who will make you feel comfortable during the process and like the best version of yourself when you leave.
BONUS TIPS TO ROCHESTER
- The city of Rochester is less than 5 square miles—easy parking and walkable access to dining and shopping.
- The surrounding city of Rochester Hills is a little more spread out, home to its own shops, restaurants, and also ample parks and green space.
- Come on over, grab a Kronut, sit by the river and soak up city vibes with a country feel.