Skip to Main Content

View All Blog Posts

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

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!

(A bold event denotes a Rochester Downtown Alliance event.)


  • ARTWalk: Art, art, art as far as the eye can see! More than 45 works of art, in all forms of media, grace downtown Rochester. See if you can find them all, whether it’s a painted goose sculpture, transformer box art or a piece of architecture!

  • 3rd Street Alley: Art can be found in the most unexpected places, and the 3rd Street Alley in downtown Rochester is one of them! Beautifying the alley will be a work in progress, as each art piece—be it vinyl-wrapped doors, hanging installations, and murals—is phased in. Stop down enough and you might spot something different every time!

  • Rochester Farmers Market: The Rochester Farmers Market is always in season! Locally-grown produce, farm-raised meats, and freshly-baked goods are a few of the seasonal treats to snatch up! Enjoy market extras like music and demonstrations. Visit the farmers market in the heart of downtown Rochester starting May 4!

  • Café Steam Open Mic Nights: This is homegrown entertainment at its finest! The Café Steam Open Mic Night stage features everything from poetry to spoken word to comedy and performances in between! Grab a tea or coffee, warm up those vocal cords and either present or watch this longest-running open mic series in Rochester!

  • Canvas & Chardonnay Art Head Tuesdays: Mingle around works of art while listening live musical performances and you get Canvas & Chardonnay’s Art Head Tuesdays! Every Tuesday, it’s a new combination of music or book readings and an exhibit of photography or live artwork. Satisfy your curiosity as to which you will experience at Art Head Tuesdays!

  • Rochester Civic Theatre: There's always a performance gracing the stage of the Rochester Civic Theatre! Check out its ever-changing calendar of productions for a show to suit your fancy!


  • Games on the Grass (May through October): Strike up a game of checkers or chess during your lunch break or after hours. Games on the Grass is free family-friendly entertainment in downtown Rochester and is available for everyone to experience. Pick out your favorite lawn or board game from the cart and get ready for fun under the sun (and on the grass)!

  • Thursdays Downtown (Thursdays from June 6 through August 29, except July 4): Never wonder what to do on Thursdays: a summer staple is Thursdays Downtown! Meander through blocks of arts and crafts for a one-of-a-kind find. Delight in the tantalizing food choices. Be-bop and dance ‘til you drop with a variety of live music throughout the day and into the night. It’s the perfect fair-weather hangout spot with friends or coworkers every Thursday from June to August in downtown Rochester.

  • RochesterFest (June 22-30): Usher in summer with a week-long celebration of Rochester! While every day of the festival is different, expect RochesterFest to include its famous parade, a treasure hunt worth $1,000, and fun daily themes (think Family Fun Night or Celebrate Art Day)! Even the RochesterFest buttons are designed by community members right here in town!

  • Down by the Riverside Concert Series (Sundays from July 14 through August 18): Amplify your summer concert experiences in downtown Rochester! Along the banks of the beautiful Zumbro River and in one of the greenest parks in downtown Rochester, Down by the Riverside Concert Series features local, national and international artists from a variety of genres. Take in a free concert under the city lights at this annual summer concert series; there will be no shortage of tuneage!

  • Downtown Sidewalk Sale (July 15-21): Bring on the summer heat and the red-hot deals! Bargain hunters will find downtown Rochester to be a discount haven. This is one steal-of-a-deal sales event you can’t miss!

  • Dogs Downtown (August 3): Bow-WOW, look at all the four-legged friends of downtown Rochester! Bring the whole pack for bone-fide fun: activities, crafts, games, and giveaways! Fur-give us if we’re PAWS-itively overdoing it on the canine puns: we just love Dogs Downtown!

  • Movies in the Park (June 15, July 20, August 17, September 21): Summer nights are made for outdoor movies. Bring a cozy blanket, grab some buttery popcorn and catch a flick—either the timeless classic or a new blockbuster—at Movies in the Park. Reminisce the good ‘ol days of a drive-in movie but in downtown Rochester!

  • Fall Fest (October 5): As the seasons transition from warm summer days to crisp autumn nights, a pumpkin carving contest, seasonal fall treats and leaf-pile jumping are a staple of fall! And Fall Fest is the essential autumn event in downtown Rochester to attend for all of it!


  • Restaurant Week & FEAST! (Stand by for 2019 dates!): Bring your appetite and savor the local flavor! Celebrating farm-to-table fare is part of the experience of Restaurant Week in downtown Rochester. Sample local establishments’ creations using homegrown ingredients, get helpful tips from chef demonstrations, and participate in other family-friendly activities during Restaurant Week. It all leads up to the main culinary event: FEAST!, a festival-style marketplace of local restaurant makings for you to taste!

  • Festival of Trees (November 29-30 & December 1): The festive sights are on full display this holiday season in downtown Rochester. Stand in awe among hundreds of beautifully-illuminated trees, find that perfect holiday gift for a special someone in the Gift Thyme Shoppe, or partake in delightful holiday treats at the Holiday Café. It’s all in support of people with disabilities and to raise awareness of Hiawatha Homes while celebrating with community this holiday season.

  • Here Comes Santa Claus (November 29): Holiday traditions make the best memories, and Here Comes Santa Claus is downtown Rochester’s most beloved custom! Bundle up the family for an evening of holiday wonder: lively entertainment (including rescuing Santa from atop Old City Hall), tree lighting ceremony, and much more. Have a holly, jolly time at Here Comes Santa Clause in downtown Rochester!

  • Small Business Saturday (November 30): A day to support local retailers, Small Business Saturday boosts the community’s economy, champions the small business-owner’s livelihood, and encourages shoppers to patron mom-and-pop shops in downtown Rochester every day, not just during the holiday season!

  • SocialICE (February 6-8, 2020): No need to hibernate during the winter months; celebrate the season with SocialICE in downtown Rochester! A first-rate outdoor ice bar, SocialICE showcases signature themed drinks, life-sized ice sculptures, nightly DJs and “snow” much more!

  • SocialICE FAM JAM (February 8, 2020): The newest, family-friendly addition to SocialICE, FAM JAM brings the heat to a family day outdoors! Make some memories you won’t soon forget with wintery fun in downtown Rochester!

  • Rochester Area Builders Home Show (February 7-9, 2020): For all things home-remodeling related, make sure to attend the Rochester Area Builders Home Show. Whether you seek landscaping advice or need to hire a roofing contractor, this is your one-stop shop! The Mayo Civic Center is packed with the exact home-improvement help to make your house a home.

  • Winterfest (Stand by for 2020 dates!): Heat up your winter doldrums with some cool activities! Downtown Rochester’s Winterfest has plenty: from the popular Great Cardboard Sled Race to the frigid Blizzard Ride to the soul-warming Chili Challenge.

  • Ladies Night Out (March 26, 2020): If cabin fever has you feeling down, now’s the time to gather the girlfriends and experience a night on the town! Shop, dine and mingle your way through downtown Rochester for Ladies Night Out! Shopping ‘til you drop also has its benefits: you could win fabulous prizes (worth $1,500+) from local merchants by participating in the Ladies Night Out giveaways!

  • Studs, Struts, and Stilettos Fashion Show (April 9, 2020): Who would have thought fashion and construction went well together? Studs, Struts, and Stilettos did when it started its fashion exposé featuring building materials! Now it’s a high-society, can’t-miss event benefiting Habitat for Humanity!

  • Dancing for the Arts (Stand by for 2020 dates!): Team up community members with professional dancers and what do you get? Dancing for the Arts, of course! Ten friendly faces of Rochester put on their dancing shoes to raise funds for youth arts education and the Arts and Cultural Trust programs/services.

(A bold event denotes a Rochester Downtown Alliance event.)


Look for more experiences in Downtown Rochester by visiting the links below!