I've been thinking about changing my name to Where's Your Car? (though I would have preferred You're Stunning or Are Those Real?). I recently got a car and people always wonder why I still walk places when I have the option to drive. It's because I've concluded that everything a person needs to spend an enjoyable day can usually be found within one compact, hoofable area.
Take Monroe Avenue. What Yonge Street is to Toronto, Monroe Avenue is to Rochester. It's possible to while away some carefree and car-free time in our fair city without ever leaving this one street. All you'll need are sensible shoes and, if you want to go a little farther afield, a number 7 bus schedule.
• The Oxford Square area is full of unique shops. Chief among them is Brownbag Bookshop (678 Monroe Avenue), with its big selection of used books, good prices, and friendly proprietor. Archimage (668 Monroe Avenue) is a great little boutique, teeming with the useless and useful and the first place to go when looking for a gift.
• Hungry? In about a one-mile stretch you'll find Greek, Middle Eastern, Indian, Vietnamese, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, little diners, and monster chains. My first choice is always the Plum House (686 Monroe Avenue), a perfect sushi restaurant that never disappoints. I also really dig Ming II (1132 Monroe Avenue), a delicious noodle house where you pay a little and get a lot; as well as Mark's Texas Hots (487 Monroe Avenue), which is open 24 hours and serves yummy comfort food.
• As far as nightlife, the Bug Jar (219 Monroe Avenue) is, without question, the best place to see the best bands. There's also Monty's Krown (875 Monroe Avenue), which doubles as a live music venue and English pub.
• Cooks' World (2179 Monroe Avenue) carries professional-quality knives, cookware and bakeware, as well as gourmet condiments and ingredients. They also have a bargain section in which you can find kitchen implements you never knew you needed.
• Pittsford Plaza (3349 Monroe Avenue) is an interesting blend of the small (Blueground Jewelry, Finger Lakes Coffee Roasters) and the big (Barnes & Noble, TJ Maxx). And if you're looking to catch a movie, the nine-screen Pittsford Cinema is nestled in the plaza and provides a decent variety of both Hollywood and arthouse fare.
• Then there's Wegmans (3195 Monroe Avenue). Many out-of-town guests initially wonder why their local hosts are so excited to drag them to what seems to be a grocery store, but they soon understand.
Keep in mind that these are just my preferences. Ten different people could write 10 different pieces and it's possible that none of us would mention the same places. You might even discover spots I haven't yet noticed. And that's the beauty of Monroe Avenue.