Monroe County, New York

A world class arboretum (or "tree garden"), Monroe County's Highland Park is included in the Mount Hope Preservation District and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  

Park History

Established in 1887, Highland Park was the dream of George Ellwanger and Patrick Barry, two leading Rochester citizens and prominent nurserymen. Owners of the world-famous Mt. Hope Nursery, they endowed the community with 20 acres of their nursery's land and enlisted the help of noted landscape engineer Frederick Law Olmsted to develop the park.

The relationship with Mr. Olmsted lasted into the twentieth century and today Highland Park has grown to comprise 150 acres of rolling hills filled with botanical delights, magnificent gardens and the largest collection of Lilacs in the United States.

The Sweet Aroma of Lilacs

When Evangeline comes into bloom, you can smell it all the way down the street. The double whites could be Madame Lemoine or Miss Ellen Willmott, two of the most popular and fragrant of the Lemoine hybrids. Pocahontas has a nice rounded shape and a dark purple flower. Fenelon, a fragrant pink, is another favorite, and the earliest to bloom in Rochester.

With its star status of presenting the largest Lilac Collection in the Unites States, a visit to Highland Park offers a rare opportunity to experience the incredible beauty and intense fragrance of more than 500 varieties of lilacs on 1200 plants. 

From the multi-petaled Rochester Lilac, to the early blooming single white Frederick Law Olmsted, and the Dwight D. Eisenhower, which has huge clusters of sky-blue flowers and was planted at the White House in 1969, there's no shortage of rare discoveries to be found among the famous Lilac Collection at Highland Park. Visitors are invited to explore the expansive collection at their leisure or can choose to take a self-guided tour.  Download the Highland Park Map to begin planning your visit through the lilacs and gardens of Monroe County's Highland Park.

More To Explore

Springtime in Highland Park is filled with discovery - and the opportunity to explore the incredible beauty and intense fragrance of the parks famous Lilac Collection. Visitors to the park also enjoy the Japanese Maple collection, thrirty-five varieties of sweet-smelling magnolias, a barberry collection, a rock garden with dwarf evergreens, 700 varieties of rhododendron, azaleas, mountain laurel and Andromeda, horse chestnuts, spring bulbs and wildflowers and a large variety of trees. The park’s pansy bed features 10,000 plants, designed into an oval floral “carpet” with a new pattern each year.


Lilac Festival Site Ground Rules

This is family and environmentally friendly festival!

The following ground rules apply to the Festival Site within Highland Park. Bicycles, skateboards, in-line skates and pets are not allowed. With the exception of one sealed bottle of water, visitors may not bring food or beverages into the festival grounds. For the safety of all guests, there is a "no chairs” policy. Umbrellas and blankets are welcome.

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