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Rochester regularly ranks among the best places to live in the US. Its family friendliness is part of what makes it so. Local events, festivals, and public play spaces together make Rochester's downtown the heart of that friendliness. The spaces here are ideal for stimulating young hearts and minds, and the event calendar is brimming with art, music, shows, and more to entertain and challenge your young ones. Grab the kids and take advantage of all that is going on downtown for kids!

Peace Plaza

At the heart of Rochester is Peace Plaza––a place made for play! This urban space includes a fountain, splash area, and wide open sidewalks for burning off some energy. It's walkable to nearby Sweets & Treats shops––grab something to enjoy on the Plaza. Especially in summer and fall, kids and families will enjoy live music in this space and Games on the Go, Peace Plaza's provision of lawn and board games for families to enjoy together, or Play on the Plaza, family-friendly activities, yoga, music, programming, and more. 

Rochester Art Center

Ignite some creativity in your little ones at downtown's Rochester Art Center. Situated on the Zumbro River, the Art Center is a beautiful, light-filled space that houses contemporary art and exhibitions. They host various programming for kids and adults. Need more reason to take the kids? Visitors under 21 are admitted free-of-charge!

Rochester Public Library

Rochester loves its library, one of the most visited spaces downtown. Rochester Public Library boasts a collection use of more than 2 million, a full calendar of programming and events, and a marvelous space for research and reading. Its children's section and children's programming––storytime, special guests, and more––are first-rate. This is the stuff of a marvelous childhood!

Soldiers Memorial Field Park

Soldiers Field is immediately south of Rochester's downtown. A walk across 6th Street SW places you and the kids in one of Rochester's favorite parks. Complete with an impressive war memorial, the popular Field of Fun play area, a track, softball diamond, tennis courts, AND a new (and so fun) Aquatic Center, your family won't run out of things to do here. Grab a picnic lunch at the People's Food Co-op  or any of Rochester's carry-out Lunch or Dinner spots and head to the park!

Art Walk

Set out and explore sculptures, murals, and all manner of public art installations downtown with the kids. The Art Walk will guide you to fine and fun art around every corner of Rochester's downtown. Find your favorite!

Seasonal Play Programming

Every Saturday morning in summer, bring the kids to play downtown! Play on the Plaza hosts play activities and programming each Saturday morning on Peace Plaza. Concessions and family-friendly restrooms will be available in the Chateau Theatre, and downtown shops and restaurants are on the ready to meet your family's shopping or food needs. Play in the morning, then eat and shop for lunch. Bring the whole family to join us for glorious summer downtown!

Play on the plaza