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Guide to Here Comes Santa Claus

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.


Take a ride through Downtown like you’ve never seen it before! Trolley rides throughout Downtown Rochester will be running from 4-6PM with multiple stops at each activity center. Click here for full details on what each stop will be offering. 

Warming House at Castle Community ( 121 N Broadway Ave)

  • Musical entertainment
  • Holiday craft inspired by local artists 
  • Sugar cookie decorating and hot cocoa 
  • Story time with Mrs. Claus

Snap a Pic on the Peace Plaza (Peace Plaza)

  • Sing along to your favorite holiday tunes playing in the heart of Downtown Rochester
  • Snap a photo in front of the giant holiday tree or in Santa's sleigh

Santa’s Elves Workshop on Broadway presented by Olmsted Medical Center (311 Broadway Avenue S)

  • Color your own letter to Santa
  • Complimentary popcorn
  • Watch everyone's favorite holiday movie, "Elf", on pillows and blankets inside; pajamas allowed


Santa’s Rescue ( 224 1st Avenue SW)

The holiday magic kicks off at 6PM when Santa Claus is rescued by the Rochester Fire Department from atop Old City Hall. Then, make your way to the Peace Plaza as Santa and the Mayor of Rochester ride with the Rochester Fire Department to host the holiday tree lighting ceremony.

Holiday Tree Lighting (Peace Plaza) 

Enjoy the much anticipated holiday tree lighting ceremony featuring Rochester Mayor Ardell Brede and Santa Claus. Be there and watch as they pull the giant lever to light the largest holiday tree in Rochester at approximately 6:30PM. You won’t want to miss this!


Meet and Greet with Santa, plus Complimentary Photo  (Shops at University Square - 111 S Broadway Avenue)

After the tree lighting, follow Santa inside for a complimentary photo! Make sure to grab another treat and a cup of cocoa provided by Caribou Coffee before you head up the escalator. Plus, return to Castle Community at the end of the event after taking your complimentary photo with Santa to enjoy live music and more holiday cheer.

The event ends at 8PM, but the holiday season is just beginning. Come back Downtown on November 24 for Small Business Saturday! Numerous Downtown shops will be opening their doors for customers to shop their wares with various sales and activities being offered. All participating businesses and their corresponding sales can be found here.