The weather is the same as New England: Unless you enjoy winter sports, you're not going to be able to do pretty much anything outside from November to May (and sometimes that means late May). This can be a very long seven months - especially if you have small children.But it's really not that much worse than what you'd find in most of the northeast or Midwest. I just don't know why everyone gets worked up about the weather when it's just as bad in many other parts of the country. You're getting the same weather across many of the country's largest cities.Weather aside, Rochester has a lot going for it but has a couple of fatal flaws that are mostly self inflicted. If it could sort these out, it could be a great up and coming city like Portland, Maine or Raleigh:What's good:It's on a Great Lake. You have to stand at the edge of a Great Lake to appreciate that these are giant bodies of water that are more like inland seas. It's an amazing resource for this country and under appreciated. There is a very active sailing and boating community that is also very social. It's a whole scene and many people in Rochester have their social life built around it. Many days of the week in the spring summer fall you'll find boat races. It's very cool if you can get past some of the uppity snobbery that it can at times lead to.Rochester has probably one of the best public school systems in the country. You can send your children to school in Rochester and they are getting what people in other parts of the country - including wealthy parts of the country like the northeast corridor - have to pay for at 35k/year private high schools. It's impressive how good they are.The real estate is phenomenally cheap. 300k in Rochester will get you 4000 sq ft in a pretty good suburb in a relatively newer home. There's a quality supply of homes also in that the area experienced a few construction booms here and there since the 80s. You can live like a king for what gets you a 1500sq ft fixer upper in a third tier suburb outside Boston.It's easy to have a normal life without a lot of hassle. By this I mean that Rochester's version of rush hour traffic is child's play as compared to cities like Atlanta, DC or Boston. Everything is 20 mins drive. There's 6 or so malls. There's all the chain restaurants. There's an amusement park an hour or so away. There's a movie theatre every 5 feet. It's just easy in that all the stuff Americans do during the course of their week or on weekends is there and easy to get to. In a lot of ways it's as convenient as a city like Dallas is. - There is a small, yet authentic and active arts/culture scene, and enough bars/lounges to give you an interesting night out or maybe give you a small fix if you are craving a cosmopolitanism - but you could wear this scene out FAST if you need to go out often.There is enough of the intelligentsia/corporate caste around spending money that you'll find some of the luxury amenities/services/charity gala scenes/high end retail/restaurants/golf/country clubs that you'd find in a wealthy northeastern city. However, like the yacht club scene, you can run into a few big fish/small pond people that have forgotten that it's Rochester - not a Boston/New York/Washington. This can get a little annoying but at some level it's endearing.What's not so good:It sounds crazy but it's a somewhat isolated city. It's 6 hours to New York City by car. It's 6 hours to Boston. It's 4-5 hours to Toronto. It's 10 hours to chicago. Unlike the coastal cities that are close to each other, you have to drive for many hours to get to a major metropolitan area. If you move from a coast you'll feel a little bit like you're on an island at times. There's not a lot of people visiting from other places at any given time to create a current of idea flow. I There's not a lot going on around it and no, buffalo doesn't count. Buffalo is like a bad sequel to rochester: The same story but not as good. There are also few places you can fly to from Rochester.There are not many high velocity career options if you're not in medicine, education or academia. The three corporations that formed the economic base of the city have either been hollowed out (xerox) or nearly extinct (kodak). Moreover, these companies are old economy and don't have the dynamic cultures that creates career possibilities for young people. This is Rochester's biggest downfall - if you are young and ambitious, and you want to start a high velocity career, you will have to leave. This means that at 18, there are many good minds that leave to go to college in some other city and never return. You will find many succesful people in major cities across the country that grew up in Rochester and think of it as a nice place to be from, but that it's not their home anymore and they don't see themselves returning.The downtown area needs help. People need to live and work in a city in order for it to become a city. Otherwise it's a region - a collection of suburbs. That's what Rochester is today: a collection of suburbs ringing a downtown core that has mostly rotted and is no longer capable of being a nucleus that generates it's own gravity field. The downtown area has a somewhat sad and ghost town type quality to it - even sometimes in the middle of the day. It can be very provincial. Rochester is the type of place where people spend thier entire lives and never leave. Whole "tribes" of people have gone to school together, married each other, live down the street from where they grew up. Their kids are friends and some of them become teachers at the high school they graduated from. If you're into this, it can be a wonderful thing. If you're not and you crave variety of experience, than you can feel stifled, lonely and dissatisfied.The city ignores the lake. No waterfront attractions. BIG waste.