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Fun Ways to Spend Time in Downtown Rochester

There is always more to explore in downtown Rochester! It’s true. No matter your age or interests, we compiled a variety of ways to have fun and spend time downtown. Want to know the best part? Free parking exists if you enter and exit a City-owned ramp within an hour and after 5 p.m. weekdays and on weekends. How will you spend your time in downtown? Here are the fun ways we found!

For the Young and Young-At-Heart

Many ways to experience downtown exist for kids from one to 92. As the title proclaims, whether you have young ones or are young at heart yourself, fun abounds downtown for all! The Machine Shed is one such place where those of a certain age will remember the vintage games sold there and those of any age will enjoy the arcade games in the shop. Speaking of games, Games by James is the haven for all things fun: board games, puzzles, and much more! Reading transcends any decade, and the Rochester Public Library and the Friends of the Library Bookstore are two great places to take the whole family to rent or purchase the adventure contained within the pages of a book. Another activity to enjoy across the generations is an art project from Neon Green Studio. Order a bottle cap magnet craft or greeting card kit and let your creativity shine! No matter what stage of life, “I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream” will be what all ages will be saying with sweet treats from downtown’s favorite ice cream/gelato shops. These include the long-standing Chocolaterie Stam and the new Fuzzy's Italian Ice and Ice Cream.

For Foodies

Now that food is on the mind, let us share what delectable dining there is to devour in downtown. With the A-B-C’s of options (everything from Asian fare to burgers to coffee), it’s easy as 1-2-3…meals in a day, that is. Because downtown has options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! Try a variety of cuisines from around the world, which can all be found in a walkable area on both street and pedestrian skyway levels. Dine your way around downtown by starting your foodie bucket list of these restaurants!

For Shop-a-holics

In a food coma after all that dining? Why not walk some of it off with a little shopping. Within a 44-block area is a plethora of unique shopping experiences. Downtown shops, in our opinion, offer some of the best gifts and products you won’t find anywhere else! Come see (and shop) for yourself. Spicing up your wardrobe or your kitchen cabinet are all options with the help of these stores! Looking for the perfect gift? Let a downtown shop help you find what you may be looking for or allow them to offer options for a personalized present.

For Art Aficionados

Art abounds downtown. Whether you are an admirer of the arts or are an aspiring artist yourself, find appreciation with the creative avenues in downtown. On display in multiple downtown galleries—to name a few: The Guerin Art and Music Studio, James Krom Natural Images Art Museum Gallery, Rochester Art Center, and SEMVA Gallery—are beautiful pieces. If you want to take home works of art, some of these galleries offer the opportunity to purchase the works you see. Make dedicated stops into Chateau Theatre and Threshold Arts if you want to browse through and buy local and regional artists’ works! For a more hands-on experience, make your own art with Art Heads Emporium, Neon Green Studio, or Rochester Art Center's Open Studio. As the weather gets warmer, plan a walking tour of the public art in downtown with the Art Walk self-guided tour, which includes murals, sculptures, utility box art, and much more.

Trolley Enews

For Experience Seekers

The alluring thrill of a downtown experience is unmatched. From paintings to candles to jewelry to wall hangings, Art Heads Emporium takes you on an adventure of making a creation all your own (with the help of a guide in a class/workshop)! See downtown’s little corner of the world with a Rochester Trolley and Tour Company ride that showcases a few of downtown’s attractions, all from the comfort of a cool-looking trolley. Into theater or other live performances? The schedules for Mayo Civic Center and Rochester Civic Theatre, it seems, have something to always look forward to. For all events happening in downtown, check out this encompassing events calendar that can be sorted by date or your interest area.

For Nature Lovers

Sometimes the bustling of the city is exciting. So is quiet time. Spend mere minutes or hours taking in the scenery of downtown Rochester’s public spaces. People watch or have lunch in Peace Plaza, the site of the programs like Sidewalk Sessions (a mini concert series) or the Pop-Up Art Cart (a free, easy art project). The backdrop of planters bursting with blooming plants and flowers will be a delight. Head to greener pastures at Central Park where there will be a free-to-use ping pong table as part of Games on the Go. While the host of the exciting Down by the Riverside concerts in July and August, Mayo Park is also a contemplative space with plenty of open space and walking paths to explore along the Zumbro River.

For Outdoor and Exercise Enthusiasts

Biking. Jogging. Yoga. Tennis. Barre. Fishing. However you like to spend time outdoors, downtown Rochester is a happening haven for outdoor and exercise enthusiasts. Miles of downtown’s trail system provide endless scenery change to keep your route interesting. Though it’s the downtown spot of a veteran’s memorial monument, Soldiers Memorial Field Park offers space for sporting enthusiasts with tennis courts, softball diamond, play area, running track, and football field. Pure Barre is the place for every body to go if indoor workouts are what you enjoy. On the other hand, Fresh Air Fitness events are free fitness classes that provide an outdoor escape. If you need equipment to enjoy the outdoors in downtown, Janky Gear has you covered with second-hand gear.

  Look for more to explore in downtown Rochester here.