Skip to Main Content

View All Blog Posts

What to Do in Downtown Rochester in Your Free Time

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!

Arts & Culture
There’s a castle (yes, a castle!) in downtown Rochester that is home to an independent bookstore, coffee shop, restaurant, art gallery and shop, all in a one-stop place. Stop in to Castle Community to see for yourself! Just up the block is Heritage House Victorian Museum, a 1875 home built for early merchants. Its story of close-call destructions will make its restored Victorian heritage that much more appreciated. Another historic site to admire is the Historic Chateau Theatre. While currently a work in progress inside, the Theatre’s exterior features a starburst marquee (fun fact: there are 636 light bulbs to illuminate the iconic façade). If live concerts are more your jam, visit the Mayo Civic Center or the annual Riverside Concert series. Both present local, national, and international acts to suit your musical tastes. The Rochester Art Center and Rochester Civic Theatre works come to life before your eyes. Whether it’s dancing colors on a canvas or dancers on a stage, these two are arts-and-culture must-stops.

What better way to fully immerse yourself in downtown Rochester than with an experience! The Rochester Trolley and Tour Company is pleased to be your guide around Rochester while making it a ride to remember. Enjoy a night out with the girls tour or a Haunted Rochester ride year-round, just to name a few trolley options. Looking to hit your Rochester experience out of the park? Rochester Honkers Baseball provides family fun entertainment every spring/summer in downtown Rochester, so watch the rising collegiate baseball stars in action! Speaking of more family-friendly events, the Rochester Farmers Market offers more than in-season produce: it showcases music, demonstrations and crafts. It’s a can’t-miss opportunity when the market returns to downtown for the summer. Located in the heart of downtown, Peace Plaza is the place to be for year-round entertainment, including noontime music and theater performances. Grab your lunch and relax near the popular Peace Fountain, which is near delectable dining establishments and exceptional stores.

Green Space
If a breath of fresh air is all you need, enjoy a leisurely stroll, try your hand at horseshoes or simply take in the natural beauty in one of the many outdoor spots (Central, Mayo or Soldiers Memorial Field Parks). Experience more of downtown Rochester’s green spaces here.

Hands-On Fun
Looking to get an even better grasp of everything downtown? Try out any one of the hands-on fun places! Take Canvas & Chardonnay, for example. With the help of step-by-step instruction (accompanied by good friends and wine or beer), you become an artist of a wonderful masterpiece! Neon Green Studio lets your artistic imagination run free. Create a work uniquely yours using the studio’s professional-quality materials (they’ll guide you through the process if you’re a novice artist). Don’t let this next place’s exterior fool you: there’s hours of fun to be had at The Machine Shed! Touted as “Rochester’s only real arcade”, The Machine Shed lets gamers get together for nostalgic sake. Get your hands on the vast literary collection at the Rochester Public Library and find anything that piques your interest!

For more ways to spend your time in Downtown Rochester, sign up for our eNewsletter and follow us on social: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!