Rochester, MN

Travel Guide
Photo provided by Chad Johnson
Discover Rochester's more than 100 parks and gardens, its traditional Midwestern heritage, great shopping and one of the nation’s most well-respected medical facilities.

Many will know Rochester as the location of the famous Mayo Clinic, a renowned U.S. medical facility that is top ranked in multiple specialties. This northern Minnesota city also has visitor appeal with numerous outdoor spaces and great shopping.

If you are a Mayo patient, take a free tour to find out more about the clinic, learn its history and see its art collection. All city visitors can tour Mayowood Mansion, the 38-room former home of Dr. Charles Mayo.

Summers in Rochester may be hot, making them the perfect time to enjoy the city’s superb network of over 100 parks, covering an area of 3,500 acres (1,400 hectares). Try Oxbow Park and Zoo or walk the Douglas State Trail. Some parks, such as Quarry Hill Nature Center, offer skiing and other snow sports in winter.

Don’t miss the Chateau Theatre, one of the most elaborate theaters from the 1900s. It is now a retail shop, but you can still see the ornate façade and French-style interior. Discover more about the city’s past in Heritage House Victorian Museum in Central Park, where artifacts and belongings of a typical 19th-century Midwestern family are on display. Shop in quirky stores around University Square for Scandinavian goods or contemporary fashion or dine in one of the many restaurants.

You’ll need your own transportation to explore the area, since the bus service is designed mainly for the needs of locals and Mayo Clinic visitors. The town center though, is walkable. Modern city planners have provided wide pedestrianized avenues and enclosed skyways, making it easy to access the lively town center on foot and in snowy weather.

Located 80 miles (130 kilometers) southeast of Minneapolis, Rochester has both international and domestic airports. Serving the high number of people who come to the clinic, Rochester is set up very well for visitors when compared to other cities of similar size, so you will easily find a base from which to explore this attractive Midwestern town.

Where to stay in Rochester

Rochester showing skyline and a city

Downtown Rochester

4.5/5(250 area reviews)

If you're spending some time in Downtown Rochester, Mayo Civic Center and Rochester Art Center are top sights worth seeing.

Downtown Rochester