Posted on June 26,2013
It’s a fascinating thing when one begins to grasp the vastness of how much they don’t know. I have lived in Rochester since I was five years old, and in the last few weeks have learned more about this city than I have in the last 17 years. To provide a little background information, I just took a Certified Tourism Ambassador (CTA) class to better serve the community while working for RDA. Ok, full disclosure: growing up, I gave-in to the perception that, “There is nothing to do in Rochester”. WRONG. If you are ever bored in this city, it is your own darn fault. Rochester offers way more than any other town of 100,000 (approx.) would be able or willing to provide, and so much of it is just minutes away from downtown!
Don’t believe me? Challenge accepted.
Let’s start off on a classy note with some expression of the arts. The Rochester Arts Center provides a variety of world-class exhibits throughout the year providing opportunities for volunteers, interns and artists to get involved or get exposure. With no private collection, the Rochester Arts Center is able to best utilize their space and bring in multiple exhibits throughout the year for an ever-changing visual experience. Not only is Rochester rich in visual arts, but also performing arts. The Rochester Civic Theater offers opportunities for the community to experience the art of acting through classes and performances, as well as various professional, dance and musical acts throughout the year.
Maybe all that is too rich for your blood? Maybe you want to be out of the air conditioning and into the beautiful Minnesota wilderness? Well, there’s not an app for that, but there are several options in and near Rochester. First, we have the Quarry Hill Nature Center with tons of family friendly activities and classes throughout the year, as well as trails and lakes to explore via whatever mode you prefer. They even offer snowshoeing and cross country skiing rentals during the winter to tame the snow. Quarry Hill isn’t the only trail hub in Rochester. We also have the Douglas Trail stretching 12.5 miles all the way to Pine Island. Offering accommodations for foot, bike, snowmobile and horse traffic, the Douglas Trail caters to a wide variety of interests.
Still not convinced? It is said that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, so maybe Rochester’s restaurants will be the final aphrodisiac. Rochester boasts over 165 restaurants ranging in variety from Italian to Asian, Indian to African, Greek to Mexican and of course, many American favorites. 50 of these establishments are conveniently located in the downtown area for easy access for visitors and hospital patrons. Along with delicious dishes, many of Rochester’s dining destinations offer live entertainment on a regular basis. Dinner AND a show, what more could you ask for?
To sum this all up, my teenage self was wrong. There is plenty to do in Rochester if you just take a second to look around. And the best part is, we just keep expanding. New projects and innovations are bringing Rochester to life and providing opportunities to residents and visitors that were never available before. It maybe took me a while to figure out, but better late than never I suppose.