Four Great Pinball Arcades in Rochester, NY

Four Great Pinball Arcades in Rochester, NY
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Four Great Pinball Arcades in Rochester, NY
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Four Great Pinball Arcades in Rochester, NY
Published on
June 3, 2023
Updated on
May 13, 2024
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What makes Rochester such a nice place to visit is that you can see that it would also be a comfortable place to live. There is a stunning waterfall right in the heart of the city and also a larger-than-life statue towering tribute to the iconic Marilyn Monroe. It's an absolutely beautiful landscape and the culture suggests they don't take themselves too seriously. 

Nostalgia permeates the air in a town like Rochester. Some comes naturally from the changing seasons along the shores of the river and lake, but some is also fabricated by kitsch like the sword in the stone at E-Z Industrial Park where you can try your hand at pulling a sword from the side of a boulder and becoming knighted. 

History buffs will love the George Eastman Museum, especially for The Dryden Theatre and its motion picture archives where you can watch classic 35mm film on the big screen. Music lovers won’t want to miss the iconic House of Guitars, a cluttered gem packed with music memorabilia, and the Record Archive with its vast vinyl collection and live music. 

For a taste of Rochester along with a little history lesson, go to Nick Tahou Hots in the train terminal on Main Street and order a garbage plate, or stop in Dogtown for a white hot or a red hot. 

When you are ready to play a few arcade games and meet the locals, give these establishments a try: 

Rochester Pinball Collective

  • Address: 349 West Commercial St. East Rochester, NY 14445
  • Pinball machines on location: 50
the rochester pinball collective

To find the Rochester Pinball Collective, you have to go upstairs in the Piano Works mall, find the red door, and follow the hall until you reach… pinball nirvana – machines you rarely see out for public use in a typical bar or arcade and all in amazing shape. These five pinball fanatics, (including the other host of The Slam Tilt Podcast), pooled their private pinball machines to form the state’s 2nd largest collection of retro to modern games to attract top-ranked pinball players for tournaments. It worked! On Thursdays and Saturdays the machines are set to free play for $20. It's worth trying to find!

The Playhouse

  • Address: 820 South Clinton, Rochester, NY 14620
  • Pinball machines on location: 17
the playhouse swillburger rochester ny

Feel like a burger, a beer, and a few games? That's the winning combination making The Playhouse a trendy hangout. Located in a church built in 1890 right on the border of the Southwedge and Swillburg neighborhoods, The Playhouse offers classic arcade games, skeeball, shuffleboard, and a whole room dedicated to pinball with popular new games and a couple of 90’s classics. Burgers are on the menu and come in vegan and gluten free options. A full bar serves craft cocktails and The Playhouse is family friendly until 10pm.

Flower City Arcade

  • Address: 1676 Penfield Road Rochester, NY 14625
  • Pinball machines on location: 9
flower city arcade rochester new york pinball

In the 1940's, the Grillo family started Flower City Distributors by supplying peanut dispensers to local bars in Rochester. They were a hit, so the business grew to include candy, soda, cigarette vending and shuffle alleys, ball bowlers, jukeboxes, video arcade games, and pinball machines and the family kept the business running until the 80's. Today, the family’s third generation of arcade enthusiasts, Greg Grillo, has revamped the family business and opened Flower City Arcade. This well maintained arcade charms with favorite video arcade games from the 80’s including an assortment of Donkey Kong cabinets, PacMan, and Centipede and a pinball lineup that includes Twilight Zone, Taxi, and Hercules. All games are all set to free play for $12 per person. 

The Strong National Museum of Play

  • Address: 1 Manhattan Square Dr. Rochester, NY 14607
  • Pinball machines on location: 31
strong national museum of play rochester pinball arcade

Grab a selfie with a human-sized flipper at The Strong National Museum of Play. Strong is the nation’s second-largest children’s museum with hands-on collections of toys, dolls, games, and video games. The pinball collection includes choice machines from each era in the history of the game, from early games like Whiffle (1931) and World’s Fair Jigsaw (1933), to FunHouse (1990), and Monster Bash (1998), a few recent Sterns, and Hercules, the biggest commercial pinball machine in the world.

Rochester pinball players - did we miss anything good? Drop us a line and let us know!