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Top Activities in Rochester

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Rochester Attractions

Rochester is a vibrant city full of picturesque parks and charming culture. The home of the Mayo Clinic and the Destination Medical Center development project, Rochester is also known as "Med City" and aims to become a hub of wellness and health. But beyond the medical field, Rochester is rich with fun things to do and see. Sprawling green spaces like the Quarry Hill Park offer hiking trails and recreational activities for all ages, while the thriving downtown area celebrates the city's arts. With unique events put on all year round including the annual Rochester City Jazz Festival and cozy Fall Fest, Rochester has no shortage of exciting opportunities to get to know the city.

Things to Do in Rochester with Kids

You'll find plenty of fun activities to do with your kids in and around Rochester. Keep the crew happy with our family friendly experiences.

Areas & Neighborhoods in Rochester

Rochester is best known for its large Mayo Clinic and sprawling Destination Medical Center complex, but the city's real character can be found elsewhere. Explore urban areas and lush parks and experience firsthand the distinct community that the city has created.

Downtown

Vibrant Downtown is home to a thriving fine arts and culinary scene. Follow the ARTWalk, which highlights public art installations and local exhibits throughout downtown, or visit the Rochester Art Center and explore contemporary art. Treat your tastebuds at the many boutique restaurants and craft beer breweries around Downtown, or pay a visit to the weekly Farmers Market, where you can find locally produced foods and crafts.

Quarry Hill Park

A 329-acre (133-ha) natural space, Quarry Hill Park is a recreational hub for the city. It features over 8 miles (13 km) of paved and rugged trails that cross through restored oak savannas and pass by a large pond. Go fossil hunting in the park's limestone deposits and look for preserved brachiopods, gastropods, and trilobites. The Quarry Hill Nature Center offers an interactive look at the region's wildlife, complete with an enormous aquarium of native fish.

What to See in Rochester

Rochester's charm reveals itself in the form of historic sites and natural parks. The city is dotted with buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including Chateau Theatre, a 1927 structure featuring medieval interior decorations, and Avalon Music, a former hotel opened in 1919. A number of parks fill Rochester with natural beauty as well. Silver Lake Park offers a quiet place to relax while watching the countless Canadian geese that inhabit the area, while Soldiers Memorial Field Park includes recreational facilities, sports fields, and a memorial honoring Southeast Minnesota veterans.

Sightseeing in Rochester

Rochester is full of exciting and family-friendly activities that pull you into the culture of the city. Through the city's Trails and You mission, which promotes physical activity, over 85 miles (136 km) of paved trails wind through Rochester's downtown and parks where biking, inline skating, and running are the preferred means of getting around. During the winter, spaces like Eastwood Park and Graham Park are transformed into snowy wonderlands perfect for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and ice skating. Downtown Rochester hosts outdoor adventures in the summer like the Let's Play Rochester interactive art project featuring huge sidewalk decals and the Move on the Plaza series of fitness and dance classes in Peace Plaza. Catch a glimpse of history at the Heritage House Victorian Museum, a preserved Italianate home from 1875, or visit the Minnesota Children's Museum where kids and adults learn through play. Golf is a favorite sport in Rochester too—tee off at the bunkered greens of the Soldiers Field Golf Course or swing through the natural challenges and wooded sections of the Eastwood Golf Club.

Free Things to Do in Rochester

A visit to Rochester doesn't have to break the bank. You won't have to spend a penny if you go to:

University of Minnesota-Rochester - This modern-style landmark is the perfect backdrop for that vacation profile pic.

Soldiers Field Veterans Memorial - Take a stroll around this historic attraction and discover some secrets from long ago.

Saint Marys Hospital - Chat to a local resident and learn why many travelers drop by this place.

Assisi Heights - Spend a bit of time in prayer or meditation at this peaceful holy site.

Douglas State Trail Head Rochester - Retreat from the busy city life and get in touch with Mother Nature at this inspiring place.

Quarry Hill Nature Center - If you like pottering around the garden, this place will excite your inner green thumb.

Explore The Neighborhoods of Rochester

Downtown

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

Historic Southwest

Historic Southwest might not have many top sights, but Mayo Civic Center and Rochester Civic Theater are two attractions nearby that you can check out.


Frequently Asked Questions

What can you do in Rochester for free?

Your time away in Rochester needn't break the bank with free things like these to keep you busy:

  • Saint Marys Hospital
  • Apache Mall
  • University of Minnesota-Rochester
  • National Volleyball Center