RDA Blog

Category: Events

Movies in the Park September Preview: The Birds

Posted on September 6,2019

An ebony night descends on the autumn horizon. The faint flapping of wings can be heard, only to grow louder and louder, closer and closer. Fear not, though: these sounds will be contained to the screen during Movies in the Park presented by Premier Banks September 21. The last feature film of the season is the classic drama, The Birds. Here's a preview guide of what will keep you on the edge of your seat and what will get you of out of your seat!

Tags: Entertainment | Events

Last Call for Thursdays Downtown 2019

Posted on August 27,2019

Times flies when you’re having fun at Thursdays Downtown! While it's a bummer there’s just one left, take advantage of what’s left of summer! If only for five minutes to up to five hours, here’s why you should come downtown for the last Thursday Downtown!

Tags: Entertainment | Thursdays Downtown | Events

A Runner-Up on The Voice Is Coming to Thursdays Downtown!

Posted on August 17,2019

He was a runner-up on the Emmy Award-winning TV series The Voice and he's coming to Thursdays Downtown August 29 in downtown Rochester!

Tags: Entertainment | Thursdays Downtown | Events

Ferris Bueller Day in Downtown Rochester

Posted on August 8,2019

August 17 is dubbed Ferris Bueller Day in Downtown Rochester! In honor of the next Movies in the Park flick, play hooky with these fun things to do before or after attending Movies in the Park presented by Premier Banks.

Tags: Entertainment | Events

Movies in the Park August Preview: Ferris Bueller

Posted on August 6,2019

"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." We couldn't agree more, which is why we encourage you to attend this month's Movies in the Park presented by Premier Banks! On Saturday, August 17, it's the showing of Ferris Bueller's Day Off, plus a variety of themed activities and food!

Tags: Entertainment | Events

Behind the Booth: Vendors' Favorite Thursdays Downtown Moments

Posted on August 1,2019

One of my favorite parts about my job is being out on Thursdays Downtown every week. Thursdays bring a new excitement and energy to the week. Every week, I get the chance to talk to our vendors and attendees amid a busy day onsite to get to know them. After seeing these vendors week after week, I get to hear their personal and event stories, memories, and experiences, and to get a sense of tight-knit community. Some vendors have been at this event for years and love to share their stories about what they have encountered. I decided to talk to a few of our vendors so their stories could be shared with the rest of our community.

Tags: Thursdays Downtown | Events

Dogs Downtown Quiz: What Type of Dog are You?

Posted on July 29,2019

With more than 300 dog breeds (according to the World Canine Organization), what type are you? Find out with this quiz before Dogs Downtown August 3 in downtown Rochester, where you'll see a variety of breeds!

Tags: Entertainment | Events | Lifestyle

Paws-ing to Recognize Subaru of Rochester as Dogs Downtown Partner

Posted on July 26,2019

The Rochester Downtown Alliance has quite fetching Dogs Downtown partners, one of which is Subaru of Rochester! We're paws-ing to recognize them as our presenting partner and to learn more about the company from Jake Wessel, Subaru of Rochester's marketing director!

Tags: Events

A Summer of Purple in Downtown Rochester

Posted on July 23,2019

"Let's Go Crazy" leading up to Prince's former band The Revolution's Riverside Concert performance August 18! Grab your "Raspberry Beret," get in your "Little Red Corvette," and party like it's "1999" in downtown Rochester! Here are the Prince-inspired specials, events, and promotions to celebrate the Summer of Purple!

Tags: Events

Ultimutt Guide to Dogs Downtown

Posted on July 19,2019

Bow-WOW: Dogs Downtown presented by the Rochester Downtown Alliance and Subaru of Rochester will be bustling with all things canine August 3! From activities to food to special guest appearances, here’s an Ultimutt Guide to the free event!

Tags: Entertainment | Events

3 Food-Allergy-Friendly Eats at Thursdays Downtown

Posted on July 16,2019

Living with a food allergy or a dietary restriction doesn't mean depriving yourself of mouthwatering fare. Whether you have a sensitivity to gluten or dairy or you are a vegetarian, delicious options complementary to your dietary needs can be found at Thursdays Downtown!

Tags: Thursdays Downtown | Food | Events | Lifestyle

Movies in the Park July Preview: Crazy Rich Asians

Posted on July 9,2019

No need to hop on a plane: your passport to fun is at Movies in the Park July 20 at Castle Community (note relocation because of storms/rain July 20) in downtown Rochester! The next flick in the lineup presented by Premier Banks is Crazy Rich Asians! Here's a high-class preview of the hilarious romantic comedy night!

Tags: Entertainment | Events

Looking for Under 500 Calorie Foods at Thursdays Downtown?

Posted on July 8,2019

Health-conscious Thursdays Downtown attendees, rejoice! It may be a struggle to find wholesome yet satisfying foods at a fair or festival. But this Thursdays Downtown cuisine offers delectable selections at 500 calories or less!

Tags: Thursdays Downtown | Food | Events

We're "Yappy" to Announce Dogs Downtown 2019!

Posted on July 3,2019

We know who let the dogs out: it's going to be us at Rochester Downtown Alliance and our presenting partner Subaru of Rochester for Dogs Downtown 2019! On August 3, hundreds of pooches and their humans will head to Peace Plaza in downtown Rochester for these fun giveaways and activities!

Tags: Entertainment | Events

Sidewalk Sale Seals the Deals in Downtown Rochester

Posted on July 1,2019

Money money money money, money! That's what you'll save when you shop the downtown Rochester Sidewalk Sale July 15-21! Check out the hot deals from this year's participating downtown Rochester businesses, and find some of the following retailers onsite at Thursdays Downtown July 18, too!

Tags: Thursdays Downtown | Shopping | Events

9 Things to Do Other Than Thursdays Downtown for July 4th

Posted on June 28,2019

With Thursdays Downtown on a one-week break in celebration of the Fourth of July, holiday plans may have you wondering what to do with a free Thursday. No need to worry: We have you covered with this list of nine other fun things to do in downtown Rochester!

Tags: Entertainment | Thursdays Downtown | Events

New Food & Drinks at 2019 Thursdays Downtown

Posted on June 18,2019

What's on the menu? Along with your favorites, partake in some fresh culinary creations at Thursdays Downtown. So go on: be adventurous and try something new! Here are the most recent eat-and-drink additions to Thursdays Downtown this year!

Tags: Thursdays Downtown | Food | Events

Movies in the Park June Preview: Harry Potter

Posted on June 5,2019

Be spellbound by Harry Potter & The Sorcerer’s Stone as the first film of the 2019 Movies in the Park season! Muggles and wizards alike are welcome to this free, family-friendly movie June 15.

Tags: Entertainment | Events

Your Insider's Guide to 2019 Thursdays Downtown

Posted on May 29,2019

After the winter we’ve endured, Thursdays Downtown provides the fun in the sun we’ve all earned! It’s time to head to downtown Rochester for arts, crafts, music, and food! Everyone at the Rochester Downtown Alliance, our partners, and vendors are gearing up for the first Thursdays Downtown! Here’s a look at everything you need to know to get your Thursdays Downtown attendance-planning into gear, too!

Tags: Entertainment | Thursdays Downtown | Food | Shopping | Events | Art & Culture

Movies in the Park, a Feature Presentation in Downtown Rochester

Posted on May 28,2019

With the premiere of Movies in the Park, presented by the Rochester Downtown Alliance and Premier Bank Rochester, summer nights are about to get a lot more fun! Save the following dates for Movies in the Park 2019!

Tags: Entertainment | Events | Lifestyle | Art & Culture

Thursdays Downtown 2019 Lunchtime Entertainment

Posted on May 21,2019

There’s no better lunch hour than grabbing a delicious bite, finding a comfy spot outdoors and listening to a variety of music all summer-long at Thursdays Downtown!

Tags: Entertainment | Thursdays Downtown | Events

Thursdays Downtown 2019 Evening Entertainment

Posted on May 7,2019

The countdown to the long-awaited Thursdays Downtown is on, with less than a month to go! Presented in partnership with Bremer Bank and Rochester International Airport, the Rochester Downtown Alliance is excited to present this year’s Thursdays Downtown evening entertainment lineup!

Tags: Entertainment | Thursdays Downtown | Events

Don’t Miss Out! A Year of Downtown Rochester Events

Posted on May 6,2019

How does the common saying go: “So much time and so little to do”? Strike that and reverse it! In downtown Rochester, there is plenty to do and we’ll help you with the time factor, too! Here is a list of Rochester events worth traveling for in every season and year-round! Find more Events in downtown Rochester while attending the following!

Tags: Entertainment | Thursdays on first & 3rd | Food | Shopping | Events | Lifestyle | Art & Culture

What to Do in Downtown Rochester in Your Free Time

Posted on April 23,2019

Welcome to downtown Rochester, Minnesota! Whether you are visiting for the first time or are a life-long resident, here you will find plenty of places to go in your spare time. Within a 44-block district, downtown Rochester has everything from arts and culture to live action to quiet nature. Find your free-time fit with the following See & Do ideas in downtown Rochester!

Tags: Entertainment | Events | Lifestyle | Art & Culture

We want your feedback for SocialICE and FAM JAM

Posted on February 12,2019

SocialICE returned to the Peace Plaza on February 7, 8 & 9 for an event that was a perfect example of a Minnesota winter. We started the weekend with a snowstorm, went into freezing temperatures on the second night, but ended with perfect temps! Although the weather was a bit all over the place, Rochester residents were right in the heart of Downtown.

Tags: Events

Valentine's Day in Downtown Rochester

Posted on February 6,2019

Calling all sweethearts, friends (hello, Galentine's Day), or really just anyone that likes good food and great gifts! Have you made your Valentine's Day plans? If not, no need to worry, we have complied a list of great specials and offers happening in Downtown Rochester. From delicious dinners to perfectly wrapped gifts, there is sure to be something to keep you on the good list.

Tags: Events

#SocialICE Photo Contest and Hat Sale

Posted on February 5,2019

Have you been following us on Instagram? If so, you probably saw that we just released our new Downtown branded hats...

Tags: Events

Insider's Guide to SocialICE FAM JAM

Posted on February 1,2019

We are one week away from our brand new event SocialICE FAM JAM and we can’t wait for you to experience it! SocialICE FAM JAM will be happening on February 9 from 1PM-4PM on the Peace Plaza. Gather your friends and family and get ready for a day of arctic adventure.

Tags: Events

Insider's Guide to SocialICE 2019

Posted on January 29,2019

It’s almost February, which means something big in Downtown Rochester is on its way- SocialICE! Join 50,000 of your closest friends and head to the Peace Plaza February 7, 8, & 9 for an icy experience fit for true Minnesotans. This year, we have seven uniquely themed ice bars serving signature drinks while nightly DJs and activities help to keep you on your toes. To view the participating bars and restaurants and their unique themes, click here

Tags: Events

Ice Bars Bring Activities to SocialICE FAM JAM

Posted on January 25,2019

SocialICE FAM JAM is bringing the cool vibes of SocialICE to the day time with a lineup of family-friendly activities and entertainment. One of these specialties is that several of our participating ice bars will be offering kiddy versions of their SocialICE signature drinks as well as themed activities.

Tags: Events

Save the Date with your Girl Gang for Ladies Night Out

Posted on January 23,2019

Grab your girl gang and get ready to treat yourself! Downtown Rochester’s Ladies Night Out is returning on March 7 from 5PM-9PM. The Rochester Downtown Alliance is helping to put together a night of wining and dining, shopping, and more. This is the perfect excuse to get the girls together and checkout some of Downtown’s best shops and restaurants. Let the pampering begin!

Tags: Events

8 Reasons to Attend SocialICE

Posted on January 21,2019

SocialICE 2019 is on it’s way and this year we’re pulling out all the stops! From a giant igloo to all-new ice bar themes and LIVE painting on 1st Avenue, this year is bigger and better than ever. Need more convincing? We have listed our top eight reasons why we think you should attend...

Tags: Events

Here's What's Popping Up Downtown

Posted on January 16,2019

National Popcorn Day means popcorn, so National Popcorn Day in Downtown Rochester must mean FREE popcorn! Join the Rochester Downtown Alliance on Friday, January 18 as they hand out complimentary bags of popcorn to Downtown employees. No catch-- just our way of saying thanks to you!

Find us at select locations serving up Rochester’s finest, Carroll’s Corn, our exclusive popcorn provider. We will have thousands of bags to give away, but come early as we will only be handing out as supplies last. Additionally, you must be there in person to receive your complimentary bag.


Follow Downtown Rochester MN on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for updated details and instant event coverage.

Tags: Events

SocialICE May Be Cold, But Our Partners Bring The Heat

Posted on January 14,2019

SocialICE wouldn't be possible without our great community partners that make it come to life. By injecting their own brand of creativity into ice sculptures and providing all-new experiences (or both!), our many partners are setting you up for the ultimate winter weekend. We hear they're as excited as you are! Let's get to know who's making SocialICE happen.

Tags: Events

Find Arctic Activities at SocialICE FAM JAM

Posted on January 11,2019

Take a trip into a real life snow globe when you visit SocialICE FAM JAM! You’ll see the coolest elements of SocialICE, but during the day, such as our life-sized ice sculptures and giant SocialICE letters; word on the street is that they make the best selfie spots! SocialICE FAM JAM will be held on February 9 from 1PM-4PM on the Peace Plaza. This brand new event will be the perfect opportunity to bring the whole family out & about to enjoy everything SocialICE has to offer.

Tags: Events

Brand New Activities Add to the SocialICE Atmosphere

Posted on January 7,2019

It may be cold outside, but the good times and great memories bring warmth to SocialICE. We want to help you make those special memories by creating the best night ever. On February 7, 8, & 9, the Rochester Downtown Alliance (along with our awesome partners) is throwing the biggest winter whiteout in town. Join us Downtown and look below to get a glimpse of what SocialICE 2019 has to offer.

Tags: Events

Cool Fun to Come at the First-Ever SocialICE FAM JAM

Posted on January 3,2019

If you didn’t think SocialICE could get any better, think again! We are excited to introduce SocialICE FAM JAM, a brand new event set to bring the community together to positively embrace our wintry months. SocialICE FAM JAM will be on Saturday, February 9, before SocialICE, from 1PM–4PM on the Peace Plaza. Use this as the perfect time to check out the sculptures, engage with Downtown businesses, and enjoy SocialICE with the whole family.

Tags: Events

Pop By on Popcorn Day

Posted on January 2,2019

Pop by on National Popcorn Day! The Rochester Downtown Alliance is celebrating National Popcorn day early this year by handing out complimentary popcorn bags at select Downtown Rochester locations on Friday, January 18 from 11AM-1PM. Can't wait? Let's sneak a peek at these crazy flavors you might find on the shelves. 

Tags: Events

A New Year brings New Themes at SocialICE 2019

Posted on December 31,2018

SocialICE is the outdoor bar experience fit for true fans of the bold north. Mark your calendars and get excited by checking out this year’s participating bars and their unique themes arriving on February 7, 8, & 9.

Tags: Events

Toast the Town on New Year's Eve!

Posted on December 20,2018

Before we can start writing our New Year’s resolutions, we need to celebrate 2018 and all of the memorable moments it brought. Grab some champagne, put on your dancing shoes, and toast to another fabulous year; you deserve it! There’s no need to leave town on December 31 as many of Downtown Rochester’s best spots are hosting various New Year’s Eve specials and events.

Tags: Events

Guide to Here Comes Santa Claus

Posted on November 19,2018

Silent night… yeah, right! Downtown Rochester will be anything but silent on November 23 as we celebrate the start of the holiday season at Here Comes Santa Claus. The beloved tradition is back for its 44th year and it wouldn’t be possible without our activities partner, Olmsted Medical Center, our warming house partner, Castle Community, or our event partner, Shops at University Square. Running from 4-8PM, Here Comes Santa Claus has a multitude of activities to keep everyone filled with cheer.

Tags: Events

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

Posted on November 12,2018

As the days get shorter and the nights get colder, it’s only right that we take time to celebrate all things jolly in Downtown Rochester. Celebrate what makes the winter season so special on November 23 from 4:00PM - 8:00PM at Here Comes Santa Claus. The Rochester Downtown Alliance is proud to partner with multiple organizations to put on the jolliest celebration of the year.

Tags: Events

Ring in the Holiday Season with Here Comes Santa Claus

Posted on November 5,2018

The holiday season is almost upon us and what better way to celebrate than with a beloved tradition in Downtown Rochester. Here Comes Santa Claus is celebrating its 44th Anniversary on Friday, November 23 in Downtown Rochester, and the holiday spirit will be bigger and brighter than ever. Our warming house partner, Castle Community, events partner, Shops at University Square, and our activities partner, Olmsted Medical Center, have helped us to create a day of festivity for Rochester residents and visitors of all ages.

Tags: Events

A Heads Up from the Crossing Guards of Downtown Rochester

Posted on October 4,2018

Pedestrian Safety Week is not “sexy.” It’s not like Thursdays on First & 3rd or SocialICE or any of the other entertaining events that Downtown Rochester is best known for. But the absence of bands, production, and vendors doesn't make the subject any less important.

Tags: Events

Fall Fest Insider's Guide

Posted on October 2,2018

We want to make sure you're prepared for the Fall Fest 2018, so we've created this insider's guide with everything you need to know.

Tags: Events

Two New Crafts to Brighten Up Your Fall

Posted on September 24,2018

The fall season is upon us, and while we miss summer, we're excited for another great Fall Fest in Downtown Rochester! This year, we're bringing new crafts for even more family fun!

Tags: Events

Carvers, On Your Marks!

Posted on September 17,2018

You don't have to travel too far to enjoy the activities that come with the fall season in Minnesota. Read more to all of the fun activities coming to Downtown Rochester for Fall Fest 2018.

Tags: Events

Movies in the Park: Snuggle Up for Save Haven

Posted on September 14,2018

Movies in the Park is a four-part outdoor movie experience presented by the Rochester Downtown Alliance and Premier Bank Rochester featuring activities, film-inspired food and drink, and a movie nestled in string-lit Historic Central Park. This time, it's "Date Night" inspired by the romantic favorite, Safe Haven. Play, dine, and watch a movie under the stars with us!

Tags: Events

Heads Up for Safety in Downtown Rochester!

Posted on September 7,2018

Many people don’t think of pedestrian safety until something affects them personally. Let’s flip that mentality and focus on how we can all help make Downtown a safer place to work, live, and play! Here’s your inside scoop on all the free, public events happening for Heads Up! Pedestrian Safety Week happening September 10-14.

Tags: Events

Heads Up When You're Downtown!

Posted on August 25,2018

With the change of season, and students headed back to school, Autumn is traditionally the deadliest time of year for pedestrians in Minnesota. To help make our Downtown safe, the Rochester Downtown Alliance (RDA) presents Heads Up! Pedestrian Safety Week beginning on Monday, September 10, 2018. The goal of this week long program is to increase safety for pedestrians within Downtown Rochester, but we also want to bring the community together for some fun activities!

Tags: Events

Movies in the Park: Brighten Up Your Night with Coco

Posted on August 17,2018

Movies in the Park is a four-part outdoor movie experience presented by the Rochester Downtown Alliance and Premier Bank Rochester featuring activities, film-inspired food and drink, and a movie nestled in string-lit Historic Central Park. This time, we will feature a night inspired by the award-winning favorite, Coco. Play, dine, and watch a movie under the stars with us!

Tags: Events

Moms Who Lunch at Victoria's!

Posted on August 10,2018

Get ready for a power hour! The Rochester Downtown Alliance (RDA) and the Rochester MN Moms Blog are excited to bring you the third lunch in our Moms Who Lunch series. These lunches are a fun opportunity to connect with other moms, enjoy a delicious meal at a reduced price, and stay in the know about the great programs and events happening for families Downtown.

Tags: Events

Your Dogs Downtown Insider's Guide

Posted on August 2,2018

Dogs Downtown, presented by the Rochester Downtown Alliance and Subaru of Rochester, is just two days away and everyone’s tails are wagging in anticipation! We’ve got all paws on deck making sure this year is the best one yet, so make sure to stop down on the Peace Plaza, this Saturday, August 4th for a day worth barking about. Read on for a sneak peek of what you can find at this year’s event.

Tags: Events

Let the Dogs Out for Yappy Hour

Posted on August 1,2018

Let the fur fly August 4th* and beyond at Dogs Downtown’s Yappy Hour. After you and your pup play at Dogs Downtown, 11am-3pm, head to one of Downtown Rochester’s participating bars for a ‘Yappy Hour’!

Tags: Events

What Dog Would You Be?

Posted on July 27,2018

Subaru of Rochester (Subaru) has been a part of the Rochester community since 1986. Since then they’ve proven to be active community members— and furry-friend lovers. “There are always dogs on leashes in our show room and on the lot trying out our vehicles, and we even have a dog park to let them run around!” For the last couple of years, Subaru has played a huge part in making Dogs Downtown possible. This year, we got to know their organization better, and found out which dogs their staff members wanted to be!

Tags: Events

Movies in the Park: Get in the Game with Jumanji

Posted on July 20,2018

Movies in the Park is a four-part outdoor movie experience presented by the Rochester Downtown Alliance and Premier Bank Rochester featuring activities, film-inspired food and drink, and a movie nestled in string-lit Historic Central Park. This time, we will feature a night inspired by the reimagined hit, Jumanji. Play, dine, and watch a movie under the stars with us! 

Tags: Events

Weekend Events in Downtown Rochester

Posted on May 1,2018

Are you looking for something to do this weekend for Cinco De Mayo or maybe you are looking to wear your Kentucky Derby hat; Downtown Rochester is filled with options and we have compiled them here! 

Tags: Entertainment | Food | Events

2018 SocialICE Insider's Guide: All Things SocialICE

Posted on February 6,2018

SocialICE 2018 Insider's Guide: All Things SocialICE

Meet the Ice Bars

This year, SocialICE will feature nine uniquely themed ice bars all serving signature, one-of-a-kind specialty drinks, live DJ entertainment nightly, life-sized ice sculptures, and much more. 

To view the participating bars and restaurants and their unique themes, and to watch the SocialICE 2018 Specialty Drink Teaser video, click here

P.S. Check out the official event map to see the specific ice bar locations. Plus, the SocialICE letters are now on the Peace Plaza! Have you seen them? 

Tags: Events

Startup Weekend Rochester

Posted on October 24,2017

Want to learn how to transform an idea into a viable business concept? Participate in Rochester’s inaugural Startup Weekend. This event will take place from Friday November 3rd through Sunday November 5th at Collider Coworking in downtown Rochester.

Startup Weekend is an opportunity to connect with like-minded entrepreneurs, create an idea, and build the beginnings of a viable startup in fifty-four hours. The event is powered by Techstars, a global network that supports and encourages entrepreneurship. Techstars’ Startup Weekends take place in over 150 countries; 2.9K Startup Weekends have occurred to date.

Tags: Events

"It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year...STYLE time!"

Posted on September 25,2017

This year we celebrate the 10th year of STYLE! The show is quickly approaching, but we wanted to do things a little different this year, we want to give you a backstage pass to the life of one of our STYLE Models, Melissa McNallan. Melissa McNallan is a writer, marketer, and actor based in Rochester, Minnesota. Her big obsessions are fashion, fitness, and delicious (healthy) food. She is the publisher, editor, and creator of 40fitnstylish.com and today is our guest blog writer for STYLE. Below is her story and why she models every year for this fashion forward event. 

Each time I do STYLE, it’s like a reunion. Unlike a class reunion there’s no anxiety about my accomplishments, my weight, or my relationship status. Instead, it’s about great clothes, accessories, and the best mirrors around - those involved with STYLE.

Tags: Events

Cheers to 10 years!

Posted on August 21,2017

Cheers to 10 years of STYLE! STYLE will be returning on Thursday, September 28 with slight changes from previous years. Instead of STYLE on the Plaza, the event name has now been shortened to STYLE. The change of name comes with a change of location. The event will now be in the Kahler ballroom – Heritage Hall. This move will ensure the event goes on no matter the weather. This year, STYLE will be featuring clothing, accessories, and styling from 11 downtown businesses. There will be fashion featured for adults, young adults, and children.

This annual fashion show shines a light on the retail community that resides within downtown Rochester and what they can offer to the residents of downtown.

Participating businesses include:

With the help of these great downtown businesses and Lauren Scott, STYLE’s Fashion Coordinator for the third year in a row, the collections will be spectacular and will prepare you for this fall’s fashion season. Make note of any styles you love during the show because these collections will be readily accessible at each business as soon as the show ends. 

Do you want your chance to see what’s up and coming in the fashion world this fall? Check out our STYLE webpage for information on ticketing, entertainment, and the experience of STYLE 2017.

Tags: Events

Clements Subaru Loves Pets

Posted on July 30,2017

Dogs Downtown is quickly approaching and we couldn't be more excited. The event is happening Sunday, August 6th from 11AM to 3PM in the Peace Plaza. Dogs Downtown is free and open to the public featuring an array of activities for you and your furry friend. From free dog caricature drawings to free dog massages, there will be something for everyone to enjoy. With that being said, we all know that behind every great event is a great partner and this event is no different. We have partnered up with Clements Subaru, as they stay true to the Subaru Love Promise. With their five tiered program, they believe in supporting the community they love and it shows, especially their love for four-legged friends. 

Clements Subaru Loves Pets

Whether they live in your homes or in the wild, Subaru is committed to keeping all animals safe and healthy. Since 2008, Subaru has donated close to $14 million to the ASPCA and helped support nearly 1,000 pet adoption events, resulting in more than 11,500 adoptions to date. In addition to what Subaru has done for pets nationally, Clements Subaru locally has partnered with us for Dogs Downtown and works closely with Paws and Claws Humane Society. 

The Peace Plaza is going to be barking! So be sure to join Clements Subaru and all of our other great partners on Sunday, August 6th from 11AM to 3PM in the Peace Place. It's sure to be a howlin' good time! 

Tags: Events

'SocialICE' Kicks Off This Week in Rochester

Posted on February 7,2017

Video Credit: WCCO CBS

Tags: Events

SocialICE Insider's Guide: Entertianment

Posted on February 1,2017

Entertainment comes in many different shapes, sizes, and sounds. At SocialICE, attendees are treated to live DJs spinning hits and classics all evening. DJs are perched atop an impressive ice DJ booth, which is great for a statement or for a selfie. So who's performing this year?

Tags: Events

Get FREE popcorn this Thursday and Winter Clearance Sale begins today

Posted on January 18,2017

National Popcorn Day locations announced

Get your free bag of Carroll's Corn popcorn at:

Location 1: Subway Level, outside Associate Bank (101 1st Ave SW)
Location 2: Shops at University Square (111 S Broadway), first floor, by escalator

Thursday, January 19 is National Popcorn Day and what better way to celebrate the day than giving away free popcorn?

Tags: Entertainment | Shopping | Events

2017 SocialICE Ice Bars Announced

Posted on December 21,2016

2017 SocialICE participating ice bars and themes announced

SocialICE draws big crowds and one reason is the amazing uniquely themed ice bars that make up Rochester, MN's Ice Bar. Click here to see which bars will be at SocialICE 2017 and what theme to expect.

Tags: Events

Downtown Rochester events update for week of Nov 16 - Nov 23

Posted on November 16,2016

Next Week: 42nd Annual Here Comes Santa Claus

When: Friday, November 25, from 6 - 8:30 pm
Where: Old City Hall, Peace Plaza, Shops at University Square (111 S Broadway)

Here Comes Santa Claus,” downtown Rochester’s cherished holiday tradition, features appearances by Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus, local celebrities, live entertainment, and Peace Plaza tree lighting ceremony.

Tags: Events

Halloween Fun, Women's Fall Expo & More

Posted on October 26,2016

Rochester Women's Fall Expo 2016

When: Saturday, Oct 29 from 9 am-4 pm
Where: Mayo Civic Center - 30 Civic Center Drive SE

Gather your girlfriends for a day of shopping, entertainment and FUN! The Rochester Women’s Fall Expo is back for its 20th year on Saturday, October 29th at the Mayo Civic Center. Enjoy over 100 exhibitors, a fashion show, cooking demonstration, guest speakers, and much more. Click here for more information.

Tags: Events

Fall Fest is this Saturday from 10 am - 2 pm

Posted on October 12,2016

Family-Friendly "Fall Fest" is this Saturday, and this is your guide

"Fall Fest," downtown Rochester's newest family-focused event, is this Saturday, October 15 from 10 am - 2 pm on the Peace Plaza.

Like getting instant Fall Fest updates? RSVP on our Facebook Event Page.

Tags: Events

Hello. We're Downtown Rochester

Posted on March 22,2016

© 2016 Rochester Downtown Alliance. All Rights Reserved

Downtown Rochester Stakeholder Celebration Highlights Downtown Stakeholders and Rochester Downtown Alliance History and Future.

What makes a downtown unique? Vibrant? Authentic? What makes it the place to be? It’s the people. The Community. It’s our heritage. It’s Our future. It’s our downtown.

People. Place. Experience. These are the focus of the Rochester Downtown Alliance (RDA) during our stakeholder celebration held on March 22. 

Tags: Events

Downtown Update with KROC Am: Monday, March 14

Posted on March 15,2016

Get the scoop on Rochester's hottest events with our monthly radio show thanks to KROC AM. Click to listen.

In this month's episode, we recap the first ever Ladies Night Out, summer events season, and the stART-up Fund.

Tags: Events

WCCO CBS: "Outdoor Ice Bar Coming to Downtown Rochester"

Posted on February 15,2016

©2016 CBS Local ©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved.

Tags: Events

2016 SocialICE Ice Bar Lineup

Posted on January 19,2016

Photo: "Candyland Ice Bar" by Chester's Kitchen & Bar

Have you ever wanted to sit on an ice throne? What about seeing a life-size ice sculpture of the Hulk or Willy Wonka? You can at SocialICE. SocialICE brings thousands to downtown Rochester to enjoy seven 12-foot uniquely designed and themed ice bars -- each with hand-crafted signature drinks, special-effects lighting, and life-size ice sculptures. 

We are excited to announce the seven participating bars for 2016:


#SocialICE Photo Contest

With such a variety of participating bars and themes, SocialICE makes for the best one of a kind photos. That's why we've included the #SocialICE Photo Contest. We’re giving away a $25 gift card from each of the seven ice bar establishments (listed above). That’s seven chances to win! To enter, post photos from SocialICE on Instagram and/or Twitter using #SocialICE. Click here for more info.

So what are the themes this year? You'll have to attend SocialICE - Rochester Minnesota's Ice Bar, on Feb 18 - 20 to find out! More information at DowntownRochesterMN.com/SocialICE.

Tags: Events

Downtown Update with KROC am: Monday, November 9

Posted on November 10,2015

Get the scoop on Rochester's hottest events with our monthly radio show thanks to KROC AM. Click to listen.

In this month's episode, we try to figure our how Santa keeps getting stuck on top of Old City Hall, and we encourage everyone to Shop Small for a big impact this holiday season.

Tune-in to KROCam's Rochester's Good Morning on the second Monday of every month to catch the live show.

Click here to listen.

Tags: Events

Rochester Fashion Blog: Five colors to shop this autumn season

Posted on September 16,2015

As the seasons change, so do the trending colors in clothing. This season you’ll see a mix of bright and daring. Here are five colors bound to make an appearance this autumn:

Head-To-Toe BLACK. The color will NEVER go out of style. It’s a staple that belongs in everyone’s closet and always adds a slimming effect. Mix textures or add sparkle to break up the monochromatic look.

Cream. Even though black is having a moment, the opposite color, cream, is competing as well. Intricate patterns and embroidery (think lace) help bring an elegant feel.

Blood Orange and Tangerine. Orange is making a statement in many unique ways. This dramatic color will pop up where it’s least expected: jacket linings, accents on scarves, and trims on sporty vest.

Wine Red. Bold and sophisticated, Wine Red’s richness is perfect for an upscale look. As the leaves change, this color brings warmth and excitement.

Olive Green. A strong, earthy tone that’s dependable as the weather cools. Enough to stand on its own or compliment another color, Olive Green creates an inviting, comfortable look.

While many other colors will be emerging this season, these five colors are having a major moment. Style on the Plaza is a perfect way to see how these colors can be worn. The event will be held on September 17, 2015 in the Peace Plaza. You can buy your tickets on the Rochester Downtown Alliance website. 

- Lauren

Lauren Smith is the Fashion Coordinator of STYLE on the Plaza – Downtown Rochester's Premier Fall Fashion Show, and author of the fashion blog Outfit a Day. Follow her on Twitter (@smithlrn) or Instagram (@outfitaday365) for your daily dose of fashion happiness.

Tags: Events

Rochester Fashion Blog: Autumn trends you'll be seeing on the Streets

Posted on September 15,2015

As the weather begins to transition from hot and humid to breezy and cool, new clothing trends emerge on the streets of downtown Rochester. Layers of clothing will pile up as the cool air moves in and the leaves begin to fall. There are ways to take any outfit suited for colder weather  to the next level; making it fashionable yet functional.

From t-shirts to duffel coats, and every layer in-between, you can add a little texture and pizazz with the upcoming trends for autumn:

Statement Sparkle. Take any outfit and step it up with layers of sparkle. From earrings to bracelets and rings, sparkle and shine will help draw major attention to a simple outfit.

Velvet. A sultry fabric that doesn’t get much credit for it’s unique look and texture. You’ll be seeing it pop up in interesting places: crop tops, flowing skirts, and accents on purses.

Fur. Whether you prefer the faux or real, there will be fur EVERYWHERE. A piece to invest in this season is the fur stole, which will add a vintage, lady-like feel to a modern outfit.

Puffer Coats. Not you typical ski slope coat either. This season’s puffer coats will include interesting cuts, fur trim, and bold colors. Stay warm and stylish as autumn transitions into winter.

Turtlenecks. Layered under a shift dress, paired with a high-waisted skirt, or worn with a fur vest, turtlenecks are the HOT item for the cooler weather.

Style on the Plaza is an excellent event to see how these trends, and many more, can be worn this season. The event will be held on September 17, 2015 in the Peace Plaza. You can buy your tickets on the Rochester Downtown Alliance website. Which trend are you most excited to try?

- Lauren

Lauren Smith is the Fashion Coordinator of STYLE on the Plaza – Downtown Rochester's Premier Fall Fashion Show, and author of the fashion blog Outfit a Day. Follow her on Twitter (@smithlrn) or Instagram (@outfitaday365) for your daily dose of fashion happiness.

Rochester Fashion Blog is a two part blog series featuring the latest locally-made fashion tips.


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Tags: Events

Downtown Update with KROC am: Monday, September 14, 2015

Posted on September 14,2015

Get the scoop on Rochester's hottest events with our monthly radio show thanks to KROC AMClick to listen. This week we recap Thursdays on First & 3rd, talk fashion with STYLE on the Plaza - downtown Rochester's premier fall fashion show, and upcoming holiday activities.

Click here to listen.

Tags: Events

2015 Calendar of Events

Posted on March 19,2015

Download a copy

Download a copy

Tags: Events

2015 #SocialICE Photo Contest Winners!

Posted on February 25,2015

Congratulations to our Winners!

First Place: @regullerud

Second Place: @amandasuecrawley

Third Place: @emily.groth

With over 880 contest entries, voting was tough. We would like to thank everyone for participating in this year's #SocialICE photo contest. Be on the look out for more online contests in the future.

Tags: Events

SocialICE Survival Guide issue 4: Best SocialICE Ever

Posted on February 18,2015

By now, we've given you some of the best tips and tricks to navigating your way to the best SocialICE ever. Now it's time to pull it all together into one neat little package.

  1. Getting around the city during SocialICE: Get from the Peace Plaza to other downtown bars and restaurants with FREE trolley service thanks to our friends at the Rochester Trolley Tour & Co. Service runs every 15 minutes, every night during SocialICE from 7pm - 10:30pm. Click for detailed schedule and stops.
  2. #SocialICE Photo Contest: Tag your photos taken at SocialICE on Instagram or Twitter with #SocialICE for a chance to win some huge prizes. First place prize is two airline tickets compliments of Rochester International Airport. Runner up and third place prizes are available too!
  3. Get to know the Ice Bars: There will be seven ice bars at SocialICE and each will be serving up signature SocialICE drinks. We also put together this nifty video for a sneak peak at some of the bars, their themes, and of course, their signature drinks!
  4. And finally...Download the official SocialICE 2015 Brochure: Click here to view the brochure.


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Tags: Entertainment | Events

Social Ice Survival Guide Issue 3: Ice Bars and Staying Warm

Posted on February 11,2015

SocialICE is just as much about the ice bars as it is about the activities! So we thought we'd put together this handy ice bar guide, so you can easily find your way to some of your favorite bars and restaurants that will be hosting them. (Skyway runs North and South)

Vote for Your Favorite Ice Bar

And while you're at it, vote for your favorite theme! This year marks the beginning of the first ever SocialICE Ice Bar Champions Cup! The ice bar with the best theme as chosen by the crowed will take home the SocialICE Ice Bar Champions Cup traveling trophy. Voting will take place at the information kiosk located at the east end of the Peace Plaza (east of the 1st Ave pedestrian crossing) near the Walk of Ice ice-sculpture garden.

Tips for Staying Warm

What’s the best way to stay warm at SocialICE? Keep moving and walk your way to all 7 bars, of course! But here's a few other tips and pointers to help you stay warm during Rochester Minnesota's Ice Bar.

  1. Layering – wear several layers of clothing. This will help to create air between the layers which will insulate and help ventilate your core.
  2. AVOID COTTON - cotton binds moisture and then has a chilling effect. Wool is your best friend during a MN winter.
  3. Bigger shoes – choose footwear that is a little roomier to allow for those cozy wool socks.
  4. Wind protection – a waterproof outer shell is key to guarding against any wind when amongst downtown buildings.
  5. Top it off – A good hat and is crucial. It should protect not only your head, but your ears, and neck. Gloves come in a variety of styles, but our favorites are the kind that you can use with your smart phone. #SocialICE

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Tags: Entertainment | Events

Downtown Update with KROC AM: SocialICE is Feb 19 - 21 and Thursdays on First Vendor Applications Available today!

Posted on February 9,2015

Downtown Update with KROC AM radio show:

Get the scoop on Rochester's hottest and (coldest!) events with our monthly radio show thanks to KROC AM. Click to listen.

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Tags: Entertainment | Thursdays on first & 3rd | Events

Social Ice Survival Guide Issue 2: Ice Bars, Selfie sticks, and FREE airline tickets—Need we say more?

Posted on February 4,2015

Your vacation dreams are one snapshot away! 

Tag #SocialICE on Instagram & Twitter when you post pictures from the event, and be entered to win TWO AIRLINE TICKETS* from the Rochester International Airport! Don’t be worried about finding that perfect lighting or backdrop; there are seven unique bar themes to create that ideal photo opp. Need some photo assistance? We’ve got you covered—selfie sticks will be available for your use! Find them at the information kiosk. 

Enter in 4 easy steps!

  1. Go to SocialICE on Feb. 19, 20, or 21.
  2. Snap a photo at the event. 
  3. Post your photo on Instagram or Twitter using #SocialICE.
  4. Visit SocialICE.SeenMoments.com and click "Register" to enter—Registration opens Feb. 19

Double your chances- Find the Rochester International Airport ice-sculpture (located on the west side of 1st Ave.) and snap a photo or selfie with it to double your chances to win! Follow the same steps above to enter. 

Even if you don’t take home the grand prize, you can dream of a shopping spree with the runner up getting a $50 Downtown gift card, and third place taking home a $25 gift card.

*Tickets in the form of one airline voucher valued at $600 or two airline vouchers valued at $300 each. **Certain restrictions apply.
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Tags: Events

SocialICE Survival Guide Issue 1: Getting around the city - Trolley style

Posted on January 27,2015

SocialICE is a can’t miss event for Minnesotan’s and visitors alike. But let’s be honest – we’re all explorers at heart, and we love to venture when we get the chance.

That’s why we want everyone at SocialICE to have the opportunity to enjoy all of Downtown every night! The Rochester Trolley and Tours Co. will be offering FREE trolley service to and from SocialICE to various downtown bars and restaurants from 7pm – 10:30pm each night! You can take in all the sights, sounds, contests, and cold temps of SocialICE knowing a welcoming (and heated!) bar or restaurant is less than a 15 minute trolley ride away!

Stops and Schedule:

Starting at 7pm: Board on 1st Ave SW outside Marriott & U.S. Bank Building. Service runs every 15 minutes. Last service boards at 10:15pm

 Pick Up  1st Ave SW outside Marriott & U.S. Bank Building
 Stop 1  Dooley’s Pub (Boards/Drop off at front door) 
 Stop 2    The Loop (Boards/Drop off at the corner of 1st Ave SW and 3rd St SW crosswalk)
 Stop 3  Kathy’s Pub (Board/Drop off at corner of Historic 3rd and Broadway)
 Stop 4  The Tap House/The Doggery/The Half Barrel (Board/Drop off in front of The Tap House)
 Return  1st Ave SW outside Marriott & U.S. Bank Building (Repeat route)

Need a ride to SocialICE from one of these locations? No problem. The Trolley runs every 15 minutes. Just hop on / hop off.

The SocialICE Survival Guide is a four part series offering tips, tricks, contests updates,and more -- helping you navigate your way to the best-SocialICE-ever! A new issue will be released each Wednesday leading up to SocialICE.


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Tags: Entertainment | Events

Downtown Update with KROC AM: New year brings the hottest ( and coldest!) Rochester events

Posted on January 13,2015

Downtown Update with KROC AM radio show:

Get the scoop on Rochester's hottest and (coldest!) events with our monthly radio show thanks to KROC AM. Click to listen.

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Tags: Entertainment | Thursdays on first & 3rd | Events

New Years Eve 2014

Posted on December 30,2014

Here we go #RochMN. Time to Ring It In! New Year's Eve is upon us, and that means celebration, laughter, and of course, the countdown! This is your guide to a flawless NYE complete with tips for a healthier 2015. Where will you be counting down this NYE? 



The Night is Young

With many bars and restaurants featuring live music and entertainment, Downtown Rochester is the place to be this New Year's Eve 2014.


After the Ball Drops

The party doesn't end when the clock strikes midnight. Downtown nightlife scene. Check out our great selection of bars and pubs.


Get Healthier in 2015

With the new year comes New Year's resolutions. And it's no surprise that one of the most popular has to do with getting healthier. So here's a tip-of-the-hat to a few places that could help you stay fit for 2015.


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Tags: Entertainment | Food | Events

December 12, 2014 - Downtown Rochester TOP 5

Posted on December 12,2014

We've grouped a few of our favorite live performances and art & culture events -- even with a chance to participate!

Music & Performance

Little Big Town 
When: Friday, December 12, 2014 • 7:30 pm
Where: Mayo Civic Center 

Alex Rossi and Root City (Free) 
When: Saturday, December 13th at 8:00pm
Where: Kathy's Pub

When: Saturday, Dec 13 at 3PM and 7PM, Sunday, Dec 14 at 2PM
Where: Mayo Civic Center 

Art & Culture

Dedicated: 30 Days of Art part II 
When: Saturday, December 13, 2014 • 5PM -10 PM
Where: C4 the Salon  


Artist In Residence - Jennifer Jesseph 
When: Sunday, December 14, 2014 • 1:30 PM - 4:30 PM
Where: Rochester Public Library 

See a full list of events on our calendar.

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Tags: Entertainment | Events | Art & Culture

Thanksgiving in Rochester

Posted on November 26,2014

Here for the Holiday? 5 Things To-Do Downtown Over the Thanksgiving Day Weekend.


Tags: Entertainment | Events

City Officially Proclaims Saturday after Thanksgiving "Small Business Saturday"

Posted on November 14,2014

The staff at the RDA is excited to announce that the City of Rochester has officially announce the Saturday after Thanksgiving as "Small Business Saturday."

Signed by Mayor Ardell F. Brede, the proclamation comes just as the RDA prepares for its first official Small Business Saturday event taking place Downtown Rochester!

The proclamation states the importance of small business on our community and the local economy.
It reads, “…according to the United States Small Business Administration, there are currently 23 million small businesses in the US, they represent more than 99 percent of American employer firms…and employ over 55 percent of the working population…”

About Small Business Saturday in Downtown Rochester, Nov 29:

We will also have some awesome family friendly activities like the city's tradition of saving Santa off the roof of Old City Hall, free trolley rides, and special book reading with Santa! Click here for a comprehensive schedule of events.

Click here for the official press release.

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Tags: Entertainment | Shopping | Events


Posted on October 8,2014

Explore MN Features Rochester in Commercial

Check out this commercial created by Explore Minnesota. Can you spot where Downtown Rochester is featured? Have you been to that spot?



Video compliments of Explore Minnesota.

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Tags: Entertainment | Events | Lifestyle

Downtown Farmers Market is BACK!

Posted on May 2,2014

As we retire our winter jackets and boots in exchange for tank tops and sandals, one thing comes to mind: the farmers market. Nothing signifies the arrival of warmer months more than that!

The first market of the season will be on Saturday, May 3 from 7:30 a.m. – noon in the parking lot located at 4th St & 4th Ave SE (and every subsequent Saturday through October).

Rochester’s downtown farmers market boasts a variety of vendors, all of whom are local growers who live and farm/garden within 50 miles of Rochester.

In early spring, market attendees can expect to find a selection of in-season produce including asparagus, spinach, watercress, lettuce, arugula, rhubarb, morel and shitake mushrooms, salad mixes, sprouts, ramps (wild leeks), green onions, mustard greens, radishes, edible flowers, and shallots.

In addition to produce, the market also offers an assortment of other locally-sourced items such as flower & herb starters, meat, eggs, various dairy products, jams & jellies, maple syrup, pasta, goat milk soap, and baked goods.

Shopping at the farmers market is a great way to get a variety of fresh and organic foods and helps to support our local farmers.

Make sure to ‘like’ the Rochester Downtown Farmers Market Facebook page for weekly updates and healthy recipe ideas!

Written by: Jeanette Caban

Jeanette is on the RDFM advisory board – a committee that strives to improve and promote the market. Jeanette works as a Communications Coordinator at the Post-Bulletin by day and spends her free time DIYing, urban gardening, running and crafting up new vegetarian recipes. Check out some of her projects on her blog, SimplyChic.

Tags: Food | Shopping | Events

Studs, Struts and Stilettos, a Construction Fashion Show Exposé

Posted on April 24,2014

This Thursday night a fusion of fashion and construction will come together in the first ever ‘Studs, Struts and Stilettos’ construction fashion exposé taking place at the DoubleTree Hilton in downtown. This unique event will showcase the creativity and resourcefulness of Rochester’s building industry while raising funds for Rochester Area Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to build simple, decent, affordable housing for people in our community who are economically challenged.  

The catwalk will encompass a variety of distinct designs, all featuring at least one element made exclusively with building materials. The judges will present awards for the following:

  • Best Use of Recycled Materials
  • Best Use of Construction Materials
  • Most Wearable
  • Bling Factor
  • Best of Show
  • People's Choice

Come on out to this one-of-a-kind community event and show your support for local builders, designers and the Rochester Habitat for Humanity!

The details…

Where? DoubleTree by Hilton ● When? Thursday, April 24 @ 7 p.m. ● Cost? $25 advance, $30 at door, $50 VIP.

Learn more about this event, here

Written by: Jeanette Caban

Bio: Meet Jeanette Caban, the RDA’s newest guest blogger! Jeanette lives in Rochester and works at the Post-Bulletin as a Communications Coordinator. In her spare time she enjoys tackling home improvement projects, thrifting, gardening, and cooking – all of which she shares on personal lifestyle blog, SimplyChic. Welcome, Jeanette!​


Tags: Entertainment | Events

Celebrate Earth Month: 'A Litter Bit Better'

Posted on April 22,2014

April is Earth Month and I’m eager to do my part in making our community a little “greener.” Interested in joining me?

The last week of April marks the 8th annual ‘A Litter Bit Better’ event. This city-wide litter clean-up effort serves as a great opportunity to get involved in working toward making our downtown community more attractive. From April 19-26, volunteers from Rochester neighborhoods, businesses, groups, and individuals are invited to take part in this popular event.

Aside from cleaning up our city, volunteers can feel good knowing they are helping the environment and making a positive impact overall.

Is there an area of downtown that you are particularly fond of? You can cater your clean-up to that specific spot! Simply complete the registration form online and contact Mike Kraszewski, Rochester Public Works Department, with any questions at 507.328.2431 or mkraszewski@rochestermn.gov.

Fun fact: Earth day (April 22) marks the anniversary of what many consider the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970. It was founded by Gaylord Nelson, a preceding U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, after he witnessed the devastation caused by the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, CA.

So what are you waiting for? Sign up today and let’s make Rochester ‘a litter bit better’!

Written by: Jeanette Caban

Bio: Meet Jeanette Caban, the RDA’s newest guest blogger! Jeanette lives in Rochester and works at the Post-Bulletin as a Communications Coordinator. In her spare time she enjoys tackling home improvement projects, thrifting, gardening, and cooking – all of which she shares on personal lifestyle blog, SimplyChic. Welcome, Jeanette!​


Tags: Events

Downtown's 12 Favorite Things: Glow with the Show

Posted on December 5,2013

Written by: Gabriel Yeager

"Glow with the show" this Saturday, December 7th at the official City of Rochester tree lighting ceremony. New to "Here Comes Santa Claus"  this year, event attendees can enjoy live entertainment on the Peace Plaza beginning at 1:30 pm. The heart-warming entertainment features dance performances, Christmas caroling, youth singers, and theater acts. The holiday cheer continues at 5:00 pm with the lighting of the beautifully decorated two-story City tree. Join the magic and light your complimentary tea light when the countdown strikes zero. Take an evening stroll in the Peace Plaza winter wonderland with complimentary hot chocolate and cookies served from the Information Kiosk.

Saturday's entertainment features Rochester Dance Company's The Nutcracker from 1:30 pm - 1:50 pm. Pure Rock Studios features young talented musicians from 2:00 pm - 2:20 pm. The Otherwise Actors features a theater troupe from 2:30 pm - 2:50 pm. The Rochester Symphony Orchestra & Chorale will be performing your favorite a cappella holiday carols from 3:00 pm - 3:20 pm. Join Rochester International Dance and "shimmy" your way into the holidays from 3:30 pm - 3:50 pm. Sam Butterfass, a local high school student and talented singer performs from 4:00 pm - 4:20 pm. The Words Players Theatre performs selections from "The Spirit of Christmas Past: A Christmas Carol" from 4:30 pm - 5:00 pm. Then, don't miss Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus, and the Mayor flip the switch and illuminate the holiday season!

For complete event details, visit:

Here Comes Santa Claus

Next week on the RDA Blog: Looking for the perfect gift? The Downtown Rochester Gift Card debuts this holiday season!

Tags: Events

Downtown's 12 Favorite Things: Here Comes Santa

Posted on December 3,2013


Written by: Gabriel Yeager

Run, run Rudolph, Santa's got to make it downtown! The Rochester Downtown Alliance celebrates the holiday season and proudly presents "Here Comes Santa Claus" this Saturday, December 7th. The festivities kickoff at 1:00 pm with Santa Claus's magical roof-top landing on Old City Hall (224 1st Ave SW). Join the Rochester Fire Department and Mrs. Claus as we rescue Santa and welcome him to downtown Rochester. Following Santa's arrival, join Southern Touch Photography inside Barnes & Noble for free enchanting pictures with Santa under the castle's archway. Don't forget to stop by the store's children section for stories read by Mrs. Claus. No need to haul that stroller throughout the day. Take advantage of our new stroller valet located on the Peace Plaza. Leave your stroller with us and pick it up at the end of the night.

Climb aboard the Rochester Trolley, loading outside the Marriott hotel for a free 15 minute ride around downtown, compliments of the Rochester Trolley & Tour Company. Complimentary hot chocolate and cookies will also be served from the Information Kiosk on the Peace Plaza.

New to the event this year, you and your family can enjoy live stage entertainment between 1:30 and 5:00 pm in the Peace Plaza winter wonderland!  Then, join Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus, and the Mayor at 4:45 pm for the official City tree lighting ceremony!

Check out the RDA Blog this Thursday for your opportunity to "glow with the show," as we feature Saturday's heart-warming entertainment and tree lighting ceremony!

For complete event details, please visit:

Here Comes Santa Claus

Tags: Entertainment | Events

Downtown’s 12 Favorite Things: Festival of Trees

Posted on November 29,2013


Written by: Gabriel Yeager

Contributing Source: Post Bulletin

After enjoying your Thanksgiving Day turkey, carve out time for all the holiday entertainment downtown has to offer now through New Year's Eve. Kick off your holiday season with the 28th annual Hiawatha Homes Foundation's Festival of Trees. The magic unfolded Tuesday, November 26th and transformed the Mayo Civic Center's Exhibit Hall into a beautifully decorated forest of Christmas trees. Week-long activities include senior citizen luncheons and style shows, children activities, including a visit from Santa Claus, gingerbread house decorating, dance parties, and a holiday gift boutique open now through Sunday, December 1st.

The holiday festivities at the Mayo Civic Center continue throughout the month of December with an array of concerts and dance performances. Riverside Live! presents Canadian Brass on December 1st and Yule Fest on December 7th. Country star Trace Adkins takes the stage on December 13th and Lorie Line wraps up the holiday season with her annual concert on December 23rd. Throughout December, dance performances include: Allegro's "Marushka and the Four Seasons"Janet Lang/Goodman Production's "Holiday Magic"; Rochester Dance Company's "The Nutcracker"; and Minnesota Ballet Theater's "Joy".

For complete event details, visit:

Mayo Civic Center

Next on the RDA Blog: Here Comes Santa Claus!

Tags: Entertainment | Events

Downtown’s 12 Favorite Things: White Hot Deals

Posted on November 26,2013

Written by: Gabriel Yeager

'Twas the night before Whiteout Wednesday and all through downtown, merchants were busy the clock around! This Wednesday, November 27th marks the fourth annual Whiteout Wednesday holiday shopping extravaganza in downtown Rochester. Caitlin Stephenson of the Rochester Downtown Alliance says "the event is a one day shopping event designed to bring shoppers downtown and expose them to the great businesses we have to offer. We have so many unique stores; therefore we dedicate one of our signature events to downtown shopping." This year, there are more doorbuster deals than ever before. 47 businesses will be participating this year, which is up from 35 in 2012.

The RDA also encourages the community to "Shop Small" on Saturday, November 30th. Small Business Saturday is a nation-wide day dedicated to supporting small businesses. The event is designed to support small businesses that stimulate the economy and keep the downtown community prospering. The event was founded by American Express in 2010.

Whiteout Wednesday's "deals so good they can't wait 'til Black Friday" and Small Business Saturday are two reasons why you can start checking off your holiday shopping list early this year.

For complete event details, visit the RDA website:

Whiteout Wednesday

Small Business Saturday

Next on the RDA Blog: Festival of Trees and a holiday concert preview!

Tags: Shopping | Events

Life of an Intern - A Change in the Weather

Posted on June 19,2013

It’s amazing how the simplest of things can have an absolutely astounding impact.  We have had two Thursdays on First so far, and these two events have been more opposite than I can adequately describe.  Fire and ice? Honey and vinegar? Harry Potter and Twilight? All similes fall short of the magnitude of contrast needed to bring this point home.  Although our first week had a better turnout than what was expected, the second week (June 13) blew away all expectations with what was sure to be a record breaking crowd.  At the end of the day, I find myself wondering, what factors contributed to this stark change from one week to the next?

Now, the easy answer would be the weather on the 13th of June was beautiful (Sunny with a light breeze and temperatures in the mid-70s) and people were simply itching to get outside.  But I can’t help but believe that there is more to this than meets the eye. 

I have come to gather that Rochester Downtown Alliance is not small potatoes in the garden of nonprofits.  They operate like a serious business, with unique motivations focused on serving the downtown area and Rochester community.  I fully believe that the multitudes at Thursdays on First did not end up there by happenstance, or simply because the weather was agreeable, but instead because of a well-planned out strategy that is continually unfolding year after year.  It would not surprise me if Thursdays like the 13th of June become the norm, instead of just an exceptional day.

Tags: Thursdays on first & 3rd | Life of an Intern | Events

Life of an Intern - The First of First and 3rd

Posted on June 12,2013

Last week was the first official Thursdays on First and 3rd and my first official experience working behind the scenes of this enormous event.  Although the festival doesn’t start until 11am, our day began at 6:30am, an hour I haven’t had to pay attention to for a long time… 

As I was walking up to the Peace Plaza to meet the other Rochester Downtown Alliance staff members at the information kiosk, I can remember three key emotions overwhelming me; anxiety, terror and excitement.  Anxiety because I had never done most of the tasks I had been assigned, and I didn’t want to mess up royally on the first go around.  Terror because I knew I would be without the aid and advice of the RDA staff for a majority of the morning load-in process.  Lastly, excitement because despite the fear and nerves, I knew this was exactly where I wanted to be.

Growing up, I was never the girl who had her wedding day all planned out by age 10, nor was I ever on the prom committee, or even fundraising for student counsel, but somehow I often found myself organizing and coordinating nonetheless.  Although I always enjoyed bringing people together through events and activities, I never thought of it as a career option.  College, thankfully, changed that.  After a year of attempting to convince myself that clinical lab science was my calling, I finally dropped that illusion once intro to chemistry kicked my butt… for the second time.  I quickly switched to Communications and never looked back.

Tags: Entertainment | Thursdays on first & 3rd | Life of an Intern | Events

Life of an Intern - Gearing Up

Posted on June 5,2013

Hello, my name is Raquel Grad and I am the RDA intern for the summer of 2013.  I have had some interaction with RDA events over the past year, but I am excited to begin learning what happens behind the curtain.  I have been coming to the offices of RDA now for almost 3 weeks and already I have learned and experienced so much.  What I find most fascinating so far is how hands-on the staff is with every event they host and assist with.  All the staff members I work with have gone out on several occasions to walk events spaces, monitor events and gather necessary supplies for events.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a weekend, during office hours or late in the evening, the staff is dedicated to making sure things run smooth. 

It’s no surprise that event planning is a hands-on occupation, but the dedication of the RDA members goes above and beyond expectations.  One of my first personal experiences with this happened on Friday, May 31st.  Beginning at 8am, RDA staff and volunteers began work on stuffing 5,000 bags to hand out during Thursdays on First and 3rd.  The morning began with transporting box after box of sponsor materials from the basement storage room to an offsite location, then, of course, unloading them all in our work space.  All of this was done exclusively by staff personnel.  Then the real fun began.  After staff finished setting up four assembly lines, the volunteers began showing up for their assigned shifts and things really got rolling.  Staff and volunteers walked back and forth, stuffing bags, dropping them off and beginning again in an efficient, flowing loop. 

Tags: Entertainment | Thursdays on first & 3rd | Life of an Intern | Events


311 Broadway Ave South, Suite A2
Rochester, MN 55904



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