9 of the Easiest Hacks for Enjoying the City

Downtown Skyline

Our lives are messy enough. But no matter who you are, where you live, or what you're up to, you know you're always looking for ways to make your life just a little bit easier and enjoyable. ALWAYS. How do we know this? Because EVERYONE is.

So it doesn't come as a surprise to us why we're seeing more and more blog posts, magazine articles, and Youtube videos about the "Best Hacks..." around. Hack this, hack that...they're all about spreading the information, shortcuts, and loopholes that may or may not be obvious, but will save you time, money, stress, or a combination of them all.

Yes, we're that friend. The one that gets you in the know. You'll notice that some of these are deals, others are just plain common stinkin' sense. All of them though, will make you see 9 of theEasiest Hacks (ok, more like easy tips!) for Enjoying the City.

And you might think to yourself that these are not really hacks if we're just telling people how to use things the way they're supposed to be used...but if a good portion of the public doesn't know how to read a parking meter, doesn't know how to Google inexpensive travel, or how to get discounts at the places we love the most around here - then these are serious hacks for life in the city - let's call them loopholes for making your life easier.


1. Read the meter!

Parking meter

Yes, starting simple. But seriously, READ THE METER! We can't tell you how many times we've seen good, hard-working, law-abiding citizens paying into the meter after 6pm. And paying anytime on a weekend or a holiday! Listen - for the love of sanity - please don't pay the government any more money than you need to.

For those who say there isn't any parking available in the city, we think that's absurd. There's parking all over this city, and if it's metered parking, it's FREE after 6pm on the weekdays and FREE on the weekends. Period. Boom, we just saved you $5 for a 2 hour show at Geva Theatre.


2. Megabus your journey


Think options for traveling to New York City will cost you hundreds of dollars on Amtrak or the airlines? Not around here. We've seen fares on Megabus as low as $5 from Rochester to New York. I've personally scored a last-minute fare from New York City to Rochester for $25 - on the 20th of December! Whaaaaaaaat!

With only a simple pick-up spot and drop-off area (low overhead, keeps costs low), Megabus can be seen 1-3 times daily over on Broad Street between Chestnut and Broadway.

And in case you're wondering, no it wasn't a scary experience. In fact, in the 7-hour trip I managed to sleep a few hours during the early morning trip, grabbed a cup of coffee on the trip's one stopover, and I got all of my last minute Christmas shopping done online with their FREE Wi-Fi enabled buses. Oh, and no need to worry about going dark - all seats come with multiple power outlets.

Megabus it here!

Food (and more)

3. RYP Perks App

Hart's breakfast sandwiches

Do you ever go grocery shopping? Do you ever eat? Ok, here's one - don't you just LOVE the breakfast sandwiches at Hart's Grocers? We thought at least one of those questions may garner a resounding "Yes!".

So why aren't you taking advantage of RYP's mobile "Perks" app? It's FREE for download on Apple and Android devices, and it gives you a 10% discount off your entire order at Hart's - including fresh breakfast sandwiches and coffee! There's no catch to it, you simply download the app and you're in!

Even better, RYP Perks will give you discounts off of dozens of products and services throughout Rochester. So tell me again, why are you paying full-price for that?

Get the app here!

4. Hart's and the Rosie App

Rosie app

Speaking of grocery shopping (and Hart's!), why not skip this mundane task all together and have someone else do it for you? Hart's Grocers has teamed up with Rosie to offer you a simple, easy-to-use app that can be downloaded on your smart phone or computer so you can have your groceries delivered right to your door.

Save a few minutes of time in a day by ordering exactly what you need and having someone else do the heavy lifting. This would also keep you from spending frivolously on extra's while you're waiting in the checkout line.

Get the app here!

5. City Dining Cards & App

City Dining Cards

You may have heard us mention this before - City Dining Cards and App. Their new App is FREE to download, and it gives you a 20%+ discount to some of the most happening cafes, restaurants, and watering holes here around town. Again, stop paying full price for things you don't have to!

Last call: While the new app takes over, you can still purchase the last deck of cards that City Dining Cards will ever make on our own site. We have them on the Rochesteriat SHOP for the absolute lowest prices sold anywhere. We'll stop selling them after October 31st, the deals are good 'til the end of the year, so get the last of these cards that offer 30%+ discounts to some of the best venues in our city - SHIPPING is FREE too!

Buy clearance Dining Cards here!


6. Geva Theatre Volunteers

Democrat & Chronicle

What's the best way to get FREE stuff? Give of yourself freely! That's right, also known as volunteering. It should come as no surprise to anyone that the local not-for-profits around town need all the help they can get. And the theatres are no exception. Geva Theatre actively looks for volunteers to help them out and in turn, gives volunteers the opportunity to see the shows for free.

Have another favorite cultural institution that you wouldn't mind getting involved with? Contact them directly to see if there's a need for your services, you may be able to save BIG on theirs.

Start here for Geva info!

7. Eastman Concerts

Eastman School, Downtown Rochester

We've said this before, and we'll say it again: world class music + students = FREE concerts here in our city. During the school year, downtown Rochester is alive with some of the world's most talented musicians practicing their works. You get to take advantage of this by simply showing up. Yes, that's right, no tickets or advance anything is needed - just show up.

Most performances take place in the beautiful Kilbourn and Hatch Recital Halls. Come and go as you please. Check out the concert calendar to see what's playing, and make a date night out of it!

8. Your Local Library

the Rochesteriat

Everyone should have a local library card. Period. You know they have books that you can borrow. But did you know that there is an app called OverDrive that allows you to borrow ebooks, audiobooks, and videos from thousands of local libraries across the world, and you won't have to step foot inside a library to do this or worry about returning on time to avoid any late fees? Yes, you still need that library card to do this.

Secondly, when you are the proud owner of that library card, you'll have the opportunity to check out what's called the V.I.P Pass at your local Monroe County Library. Checked out like a book, this pass gives you discounts to the Eastman Museum, Geva Theatre, the MAG, and the RMSC - without having to spend a penny for that discount. At the Eastman Museum, for example, the discount is nearly 60% off a regular price admission for up to 5 people - better than a Groupon!

Get the app!

9. BONUS - Halloween Costume Sale! 

Blackfriars Theatre Costume Sale

Still looking for that unique last minute Halloween Costume? Why not buy one and support a great local cultural institution at the same - Blackfriars Theatre! On October 26th and 27th, from 5-8pm both nights, Blackfriars will be holding a theatrical costume sale and you'll be able to snag something great for only $3 or $5 - now that's a deal. Go see their beautiful theatre and walk away ready for Halloween. It's a win-win.

Know of any other great hacks in our city? Share them and add to our list.

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