CNN Producer recommends 5 places to visit in Rochester, NY

Monica Hill is a Senior Producer of the CNN Original Series, How It Really Happened.
Monica Hill with Anthony Bourdain
Monica Hill with Anthony Bourdain /

Wondering how it really happened, whatever “it” may be? Then you’re going to want to check out CNN’s new show How It Really Happened, a series that takes you behind the scenes of historical events with a depth rarely seen on TV. And if the “it” you’re referring to happens to be the show itself, at least part of how it happened is through the diligent work of Senior Producer Monica Hill.

Hill, who works on the CNN Original Series is based in New York City, working out of CNN’s offices. But in between breaking down crime sagas and stunning looks at different points in history, she always tries to make the time to travel back to her ancestral home of Rochester, in upstate New York. In fact, with many of her friends and family still based there, between steering the latest hit docuseries to the news channel, she makes time to check in – and check out the sites.

With How it Really Happened, hosted by Jesse L. Martin, premiering on CNN this upcoming Sunday, April 28 at 9 pm ET/PT with a two-hour installment on the Titanic, we checked in with the very busy Hill to get her recommendations of five must-visit places if you find yourself in the ol’ Rochacha.

1. The Strong National Museum of Play

“Well known for its yearly induction into their Toy Hall of Fame, this monstrous museum is an incredible array of permanent and temporary exhibits, a huge playable arcade, Sesame Street, a miniature grocery store where kids can run the checkout line or shop, among other things.  And it's not just for parents and kids, check their calendar for their ‘Happiest Hour’ 21+ events.”

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2. Wegmans

“Rochester is the home of the grocery store with a cult-like following, and there are dozens here to choose from. Do your shopping, sure. But also grab lunch in their wildly large prepared foods section. I recommend a fresh sub from the sub shop, and the legendary chocolate chip cookies. My first job was working as a cashier at one, and it is regularly among the top 100 companies to work for, so the staff are wonderfully kind.”

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3. High Falls & Genesee Brew House

“Grab a spot on the Brew House terrace for a meal and beer with a spectacular view of the Rochester skyline and High Falls- a 96 ft high waterfall in the middle of the city.”

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4. Abbott’s Frozen Custard

“If it's warm, you absolutely must grab a cone at Abbott's. I do not understand why it's so delicious. But it is. Just trust me.”

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5. Colonial Belle Cruise

“Cruise down the engineering marvel, Erie Canal, on the Colonial Belle! Guided trips down the waterway depart from my hometown of Fairport, which offers a fantastic array of restaurants, breweries, and bars for pre or post cruise fun.”

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