Maker’s Guide to Rochester, New York

Maker’s Guide to Rochester, New York

Rochester is the third most populous city in New York State after New York City and Buffalo. The city limits document a population of around 210,000 residents and a population of nearly 1.1 million people within the area. It was originally nicknamed the “Flour City” due to the flour mills along the Genesee River, but later changed to the “Flower City” due to the blossoming lilacs that are celebrated in the city each year.

The city is best known for being the home to George Eastman, founder of Kodak, Susan B. Anthony, Frederick Douglas, home to the National Toy Hall of Fame, and the Garbage Plate (a delicious combo of mac salad, home fries, 2 hamburger patties, and a signature meat sauce).


  • Rochester Makerspace – 4,000 square foot makerspace and art studio. Community hours take place on Thursday nights and Saturday mornings.
  • Interlock Rochester – hackerspace for technologists and artists to work on projects and hack on cool things
  • The Construct @ RIT – makerspace that is open to all RIT students, staff, faculty, and alumni. The space saw over 2,000 unique sign-ins during 2016, almost a 10th of the campus population.
  • Computer Science House at RIT – makerspace built within a dorm floor. Has been around 42 years and developed one of the first internet connected drink machine
  • Rettner Hall at University of Rochester – 18,900-square-foot building featuring a fabrication studio, sound and video recording studios, and design studio
  • Adapsace – all female, LGBTQ+ friendly hackerspace
  • Made on State – campus of individual creative maker businesses, including world-renowned Airigami.
  • R Community Bikes –  grassroots 501(c)3 organization that collects and repairs used bicycles for distribution, free of charge, to Rochester, NY’s most needy children and adults
  • Roc Game Dev – group of video game developers, artists and enthusiasts.
  • Rochester Brainery – community classroom and event space that allows people to connect through fun, affordable and accessible classes.
  • The Commissary – shared kitchen incubator to open in 2018
  • Phelps Community Library & STEAM Makerspace – library located 35 minutes outside of the city, complete with woodshop and clean making room


  • The Strong National Museum of Play – home to both the National Toy Hall of Fame and the Video Game Hall of Fame, the museum is filled with hands-on activities all focused on every form of play.
  • Rochester Museum & Science Center – our local science museum that has embraced the maker movement with their Invention Center, their Musical Tesla Coils, and displays of historical makers in the region
  • Wall Therapy – community focused murals spread throughout the city. Has brought in local, national, and international artists to the city
  • George Eastman Museum – world’s foremost museum of photography and cinema located on the historic estate of George Eastman, the founder of Eastman Kodak.
  • Memorial Art Gallery – our local art museum that often brings in makers who want to share their hidden passions.
  • High Falls – located within the city limits, it’s one of three waterfalls on the Genesee River

Makery Events

Where to Get Materials



Art Supplies:

Craft Supplies:

Electronics & Hobbyist Stores:

Game Makers Boom

Over the last 4 years, the indie game developer industry has exploded in Rochester, mostly thanks to efforts from Roc Game Dev and MAGIC Center at RIT, home of the Empire State Development-designated Upstate Region Interactive Technologies Hub. There are approximately 40-50 indie video game developers in addition to another 10 board game creators. With this explosion, we’ve seen a festival sprout up just around the game industry, and have had new games demoed every year at the Rochester Mini Maker Faire. Rochester is a city where we play by making.

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Dan is the Community Manager at Make: Community. He is also a space enthusiast, event organizer, and co-chair of Maker Faire Rochester. Dan can often be found developing hands-on activities for maker events through Rochester and New York State.

View more articles by Daniel Schneiderman