OK Awakien- How is Rochester? As I answer this, remember the following; I am a parent and a resident, as such, my take will be different from what you may wish to hear. Also, you are from NYC!
U of R is a hike into the actual downtown area, and through some questionable areas of town. Unfortunately, Rochester has the highest homicide rate/capita of any city in NY (even higher than NYC), so it is important to use good judgement. The Eastman School (Music) is actually downtown, I would guess there is transportation between the two sites. Also, personally, I would be careful venturing across the bridge on campus and into the 19th Ward area. Some old homes and some not so great places in that area. While U of R is listed as a suburban school, it really pushes the boundaries of the city. The true suburban colleges in Rochester are St.John Fisher College, Nazareth College, Roberts Weslyan, and RIT (but that is really removed)
Surrounding the U of R is the Mt Hope Cemetery (http://www.fomh.org/history.php)
, actually it is historically a cool place and home to the likes of Susan B. Anthony and Fredrick Douglas! The tours there are quite interesting.....really! Also, in walking distance from campus is Highland Park, home of the Lilac Festival(http://www.robertstech.com/run/places.htm
) a wonderful place to spread out a blanket and relax/study. Also, very close by is the junction of the Genesee River and Erie Canal and the old towpath. Everyone in Rochester uses this constantly to bike, run, and walk along.
Really, there is lots of traffic around the U of R Campus, but not places that I see college kids having a reason to venture into for much. The campus is contained between the river, cemetery and hospital. Malls and shopping are a distance.