Embrace the holiday spirit in Rochester, MN, as our city comes alive with festive cheer! From enchanting live performances to free family activities that bring smiles to young and old alike, Rochester has something for everyone. Here are five festive things to do this holiday season in Rochester, MN.

WWE Holiday Tour 2022WWE Holiday Tour at Mayo Civic Center

Experience a merry evening of live entertainment.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy a wide variety of holiday themed entertainment in Rochester! Mayo Civic Center has something for everyone this season, including The Nutcracker (December 9 & 10), WWE Holiday Tour (December 17), Shaun Johnson & The Big Band Experience’s Holly Jolly Holiday Tour (December 20). Find the full calendar of events here.

You can also get tickets to see Rochester Civic Theatre’s production of A Christmas Carol (December 7-23), Rochester Repertory Theatre’s Winter Wonderettes (November 24-December 10), and many more shows and concerts that can be found on Experience Rochester’s Events Calendar.

Chanukah Extravaganza 2022Chanukah Extravaganza

Enjoy free family activities and movies

Round up the entire family and enjoy a huge variety of FREE holiday activities this season.

Chateau Theatre and Pop’s Art Theater are teaming up to bring free family Christmas movies to the community on Sunday afternoons in December. Watch Jingle All the Way (December 3), It’s A Wonderful Life (December 10), and The Grinch (December 17), and don’t forget to head to the Chateau early for storytime with Mrs. Claus! Admission is free, but registration is required.

Celebrate Chanukah with Chabad of Southern Minnesota on December 12 at Chateau Theatre. Chanukah Extravaganza is free and open to all, and will feature inflatables, latkes and donuts, music and more.

Oxbow Park and Zollman Zoo’s annual Zoo Dazzle event is free to attend. The event on December 1 and 2 features visits with Santa, games, storytime, amazing light displays at the zoo, and more. Or, head to Zoo Dazzle on December 8 and 9 to view the lights only.

Threshold Arts is offering free family-friendly holiday workshops on December 9 and 16 at the Chateau Theatre with seasonal activities: cookie decorating, crafts, games, festive music, a winter-themed photo booth, and warm beverages available for purchase. Admission is free, but registration is required.

Immerse yourself in history and holiday charm at Mayowood Mansion.

While the History Center of Olmsted County provides tours of the historic Mayowood Mansion for most of the year, tours in the holiday season are extra special, as the mansion is completely decked out in amazing Christmas decorations. Christmas tours run Wednesdays-Sundays, now through December 17, 2024. This year’s theme is “Sing a Song of the Holidays.”

Jolly Trolley Holiday Lights Tour

Jolly Trolley Holiday Lights Tour | Photo Courtesy Rochester Trolley & Tour Co.

Light up the night on a trolley tour.

If you love looking at Christmas lights, you’ll want to hop aboard the Rochester Trolley and Tour Company’s Jolly Trolley Holiday Lights Tour, which takes passengers around the city of Rochester to view some of the most impressive holiday lights displays in the area. Santa Claus might even make an appearance!

Shoppers at On Track BoutiqueOn Track Boutique

Find the Perfect Gift.

Rochester has many shopping opportunities all year long. From handmade crafts to locally sourced delicacies, you’re sure to discover something for everyone on your list. Check out our guide to Holiday Gifts You Can Only Find in Rochester, MN or head to some special holiday markets this season, such as the Gift Quality Book and Bake Sale at Rochester Public Library (December 1 & 2), Winter Market at the historic Chateau Theatre (December 2), or 125 Live’s Annual Holiday Gift Fair (December 8).

Looking for more? View Experience Rochester’s Events Calendar for more things to do this holiday season, or find more winter fun and inspiration here.