To the immediate southeast of Rochester , the canal town of Pittsford offers unique shops and cafes, some inhabiting historic buildings along the banks such as the Coal Tower, (9 Schoen Place, 585/381-7866, www.villagecoaltower.com ) while the town’s Lock 32 (2797 Clover Street, 585/586-4330, www.genesseewaterways.org , Mon–Fri. 5 p.m.–dusk, Sat–Sun. 3 p.m.–8 p.m., May 1–October, $15) offers whitewater kayaking in the spillway.
Live music also rocks the locks here, with Summer Concert Series (Port of Pittsford Park, 22 N. Main Street, www.townofpittsford.org , free), Positively Pittsford (Main St. & Church St., www.townofpittsford.org , free), and Pittsford Celebrates (www.townofpittsford.org , free), all filled with family entertainment and the occasional fireworks display.
Pittsford is a good alternative to lodging in Rochester and has a couple of good options, including the modern Brookwood Inn (800 Pittsford-Victor Rd., 585/248-9000, www.thebrookwoodinn.com , $99–149 d). On its premises are 108 large guest rooms, a heated indoor pool, fitness facilities, and a sauna. It’s spacious and friendly, clean and comfortable.
Also in Pittsford is Oliver Loud’s Inn (1474 Marsh Rd., 585/248-5200, $120–140), a restored 1812 stagecoach inn on the canal, next to the renowned Richardson’s Canal House. Room rates include a continental breakfast and a picnic basket.
Bushnell’s Basin, a charming spot to dock just outside of the village, is home to one of Rochester ’s landmark restaurants, Richardson’s Canal House (1474 Marsh Rd., Pittsford, 585/248-5000, $25), a restored 1818 Erie Canal  tavern with its own secluded garden. Elegant and highly acclaimed, the restaurant serves French country and American regional fare by candlelight.