As we step into the new year, it’s time to look forward to an entire year of excitement in Rochester, MN. There are many reasons to make the most of all the Med City has to offer, such as great restaurants to try, year-round events to enjoy and unique places to shop. Even though the list is endless, here are 24 reasons to experience Rochester, MN in 2024.

Purple Goat dinersPurple Goat | photo credit Experience Rochester

1. Diverse Restaurants. Whether you’re craving comfort food or want to try an adventurous new dish, Rochester is home to a wide variety of restaurants that will satisfy every appetite.

2. Family-Friendly Activities. Rochester is a kid-friendly destination that parents will appreciate with year-round activities for families of all ages.

Joe Bonamassa at Mayo Civic CenterJoe Bonamassa at Mayo Civic Center | AP Photo / Rob Klein

3. Events and Entertainment at Mayo Civic Center. The lineup of live entertainment at Mayo Civic Center in 2024 is shaping up to be a jam-packed year with great shows for all interests. Live music, comedy, kids’ entertainment and dance performances are just some examples of what’s to come at Mayo Civic Center.

4. Social-ICE. This can’t-miss event in downtown Rochester on February 23 & 24 features unique themed bars—each with its own signature drink—and full-scale ice sculptures illuminated with vibrant hues.

5. Top-Notch Accommodations. Visitors coming to Rochester, MN have many options for great places to stay. Whether you’re looking for a downtown hotel connected to restaurants and entertainment, or an extended-stay suite, Rochester has the right accommodation for your visit.

6. Sensational Spectator Sports. Cheer on Rochester’s hometown teams in a variety of sports: The Rochester Grizzlies hockey team, the Rochester Royals Baseball Team, the United Soccer League’s USL 2 Men’s and USL Women’s Teams and the Rochester Honkers Baseball Team.

Downtown Peace plaza crowdPeace Plaza | photo credit Experience Rochester

7. Rochester’s Walkable Downtown. Rochester’s downtown offers a wide array of fun things to do, exceptional dining, vibrant nightlife, and unique shopping. Many downtown hotels, restaurants, stores, and entertainment venues are within easy walking distance of one another and connected via climate-controlled skyways and undergrounds walkways.

8. Breweries and Wineries. Savor a “sip of the city” at one of Rochester’s highly-rated breweries or wineries in a relaxed and welcoming environment.

9. Thursdays Downtown. A weekly summer staple of downtown Rochester, Thursdays Downtown combines arts, music, food, and a vendor market into one free community-uniting, block-party-style event! Every Thursday from June 13 – August 15, 2024 (Except July 4th) from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

We Bike Rochester at Cascade Lake ParkWe Bike Rochester group at Cascade Lake Park | photo credit Experience Rochester

10. Rochester’s Extensive Trail System. Rochester has more than 85 miles of paved, interconnected walking and biking trails. These trails take bikers and hikers along creeks, through woods, and along the cityscape and bustling buildings near downtown.

11. Coffee Shops. Whether you’re looking for a quiet place to work and study, a spot to enjoy live music and local art, or a drive-through for a quick recharge on the go, there’s something for every kind of caffeine craving.

12. One-of-a-Kind Shopping. From unique gift boutiques to beloved local apparel shops, the shopping scene in Rochester, MN features independent establishments offering only-in-Rochester merchandise.

Live music at Forager BreweryForager Brewery | photo courtesy Forager Brewery

13. Live Music. The music scene in Rochester is very active with local, regional, and national groups playing a variety of music at different venues throughout the year.

Ear of Corn Water TowerEar of Corn Water Tower | photo credit Experience Rochester

14. The iconic Ear of Corn Water Tower. Recently designated an official historic landmark in the City of Rochester, the Ear of Corn Water Tower is a beloved fixture located at Graham Park. Stop by and see firsthand why Rochester is so proud of this unique water tower.

Rochester International Airport (RST)Rochester International Airport (RST) | Photo courtesy RST

15. Convenient Air Travel Options. Rochester International Airport (RST) features an on-site restaurant, rental car services, ride share, and shuttle services, making flying into the city a convenient option for travelers.

16. The Arts. Rochester, MN boasts a vibrant arts and cultural scene. A dynamic array of galleries, theatres, museums, and live music venues provide engaging and inspiring experiences for visitors.

17. Drivable Day Trips. Explore Southeast Minnesota and be back in Rochester by the evening! There are many attractions within driving distance of Rochester, such as the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, Oxbow Park and Zollman Zoo in Byron, or the SPAM Museum in Austin.

18. Hands-On Experiences. Learn a new skill this year with a variety of hands-on classes in Rochester: take an art class at Art Heads Emporium, master your green thumb with plant seminars at Sargent’s Gardens, learn to dance at Blue Moon Ballroom, or learn to spin pottery at 125 Live, just to name a few.

Rochester Pride 2023Rochester Pride | photo credit Experience Rochester

19. Community Fairs and Festivals. Experience the flavor and culture of Rochester by attending one of our city’s many fairs or festivals, such as Rochester Pride in May, Rochesterfest in June, and the Olmsted County Fair in July.

20. History and Heritage. Rochester takes great pride in its unique history. Discover Rochester's heritage - including the story of the renowned Mayo Clinic - by taking a guided tour or by visiting Mayowood Mansion, Plummer House of the Arts, or one of our many other historic and cultural sites and attractions.

21. Health, Fitness and Wellness. Ranked as one of the healthiest cities in America, Rochester is a wonderful destination for visitors seeking a healthy mind, body, and spirit. Stay active, eat healthy, and pamper yourself while spending time in the Med City.

22. Indoor Recreation. When the weather won’t cooperate, there are still plenty of things to do indoors in Rochester! Play pickleball or a variety of sports simulators at Chip Shots, go climbing at ROCA Climbing & Fitness, smash and destroy things in a safe environment at The Mess Hall.

Down by the RiversideDown by the Riverside | photo credit Experience Rochester

23. Down by the Riverside. Rochester Public Music’s Down by the Riverside is a free, public outdoor music festival held on Sunday evenings (July 14-August 11, 2024) in downtown Rochester along the banks of the Zumbro River. This family-friendly community event features must-see national acts as well as standout local opening artists.

24. Wonderful Winter Recreation. Beat cabin fever and embrace the winter weather with a day of skiing, ice skating, snow shoeing or sledding. There are plenty of things to do in Rochester during the winter!

For more reasons to experience Rochester, MN year-round, be sure to sign up for Experience Rochester’s e-newsletter, download the free Visitors Guide, and follow us on social media.