Summer is a special season in Rochester, MN.  Whether you’re looking for active summer fun or some relaxing moments in the sun, here are five reasons to visit Rochester, MN this summer.

Down by the RiversideDown by the Riverside | credit Experience Rochester

Outdoor Concerts. The sound of live, outdoor music is just about everywhere in the Med City each summer. Don’t miss Rochester Civic Music’s Down by the Riverside Concert Series every Sunday evening at Mayo Park from mid-July to mid-August, or the forWARD Neighborhood Park Concerts on select Wednesdays at different city parks throughout the summer. These shows feature local, regional and national bands and are always free to attend. Other events with live music include Rochesterfest (June 17-25, 2023), 4th Fest (July 4, 2023), and the Olmsted County Fair (July 24-30, 2023). Be sure to view our events calendar for even more outdoor live music events throughout the city.

Thursdays Downtown 2022Thursdays Downtown | credit Experience Rochester

Thursdays Downtown. A summer staple in downtown Rochester, Thursdays Downtown begins June 15, 2023 and happens every Thursday (except June 22) through August 10. Stop by 1st Avenue Southwest, 3rd Street Southwest, and Peace Plaza from 11:00 a.m. – 8:30 p.m. for live music, food vendors, arts, and community camaraderie.

Kayaker on Silver LakeSilver Lake | credit Experience Rochester

Outdoor Recreation. There are many opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors in Southeast Minnesota. Get out on the water and rent a kayak, paddleboat, or canoe from Silver Lake Boat and Bike Rentals. If swimming is more your style, visit one of Rochester’s outdoor pools and beaches, or the inflatable water park at Foster Arend Park. Or, hit the trails on bike or by foot. Rochester’s 85 miles of paved trails provide many scenic route options.

Outdoor dining at Victoria'sVictoria's Italian Restaurant and Wine Bar | credit Experience Rochester

Al Fresco Dining. Rochester has a diverse dining scene with many outdoor dining opportunities. Looking for a rooftop bar? Visit The Tap House or Kathy’s Pub in downtown Rochester. For a more serene outdoor environment, try Twigs Tavern & Grille or Whistle Binkies on the Lake. For family-friendly outdoor options, Purple Goat’s patio has four large televisions and a kids’ play area. There are also many dog-friendly restaurant patios, such as SMOAK and The Workshop Food Hall. These and many more outdoor dining options await.

Slider - Rochester HonkersRochester Honkers | courtesy Rochester Honkers

Hometown Sports. It’s a great feeling to cheer on your local sports team and there are many opportunities to watch exciting games in Rochester this summer. Soccer fans should catch a game in the debut season of Rochester Football Club’s two new pre-professional teams in the United Soccer League (USL): The women’s USL W team and men's USL League Two. For baseball fans, The Rochester Honkers are celebrating 30 years of summer fun with a full season of games at Mayo Field.

Looking for more summer fun? Our Events Calendar is packed with events and things to do for all interests.