View All Blog Posts
Quick guide: 3-hour itineraries for downtown Rochester
250+ businesses. 44 blocks. Three hours of free ramp parking. Endless combinations of fun!
When you shop, dine, or support a service business, the free parking program allows you to explore downtown Rochester for three hours with free ramp parking through October 31. With so much that can be experienced, here is a quick guide to three-hour downtown Rochester itineraries for your enjoyment!
12 p.m.: After pulling into one of the six municipal ramps downtown, start off by grabbing a bite at a favorite restaurant; you’ll need fuel for the next three hours of fun. Because there’s everything from American to Asian and pizza to sushi, we’ll let you decide what you’re hungry for with all restaurants in downtown Rochester here!
1 p.m.: Downtown Rochester is compact and easily walkable (everything is within 44 blocks, after all). That makes getting to your nail, massage, hair, or dentist appointment or a financial meeting with a professional service business easy and quick.
2 p.m.: Saving the shopping for last so you can go right to your car with your bags! Subway, skyway, or street level: there are many layers of unique shopping in downtown Rochester. Visit any of the downtown shops here.
3 p.m.: We hope you've enjoyed your time—however you chose to spend it—in downtown Rochester! Be sure to exit the parking ramp by this time and use your free parking voucher for three free hours. But we always encourage additional exploration!
Late afternoon itinerary
2 p.m.: Before starting your three-hour adventure (and after parking in one of six municipal ramps), get a caffeine boost by stopping by one of the great coffee shops in downtown Rochester. Sip it slowly while reading a book from the Rochester Public Library at the shop or take it to go for enjoyment at a park (Central Park, Mayo Park, or Soldiers Memorial Field Park are all nice options!).
2:30 p.m.: From antiques and textiles to apparel and jewelry to gifts and novelties, find exactly what you're looking for or discover something new from any of the retail destinations here.
4 p.m.: Whew! The first two hours have flown by. Make plans to meet up with friends or coworkers for an early happy hour. Check out this list of downtown bars or restaurants for where to go. Some still have outdoor patios that allow for physical distancing and enjoying the early fall weather.
5 p.m.: When you're ready to head home, make sure you have your free three-hour parking voucher in hand at the ramp exit.
Bonus: With ramp parking being free after 5 p.m. weekdays, extend your time with after-hours fun (see ideas below)!
Feel free to add to or adapt your three-hour itinerary with this a la carte ideas list:
- Take in an exhibit, a show, or a tour:
- Do something artsy:
- Get some exercise:
- Make it a stay-cation or vacation with these downtown hotels.
- Snap a photo with the large Downtown Rochester MN letters in Peace Plaza. Use #DowntownRochesterMN and tag us on social media!
Through October 31, when you shop, dine, or support a service or experience business downtown, get a three-hour free parking voucher to use at any of the six municipal ramps. Learn more