In Rochester, Minnesota, we savor every precious second of summer. When the sun shines and the flowers bloom, it’s time to get out and play. While the opportunities for summer fun and relaxation in Rochester are infinite, these five recommendations can help you narrow your options.
1. Take to the water. Summer recreation in Minnesota revolves around water, whether we’re gliding over it, splashing in it, or casting a fishing pole into it. For a quintessential on-the-water experience, enjoy a paddleboat ride around Silver Lake, or journey down the Zumbro River in a canoe or kayak. If swimming is more your style, take a dip at Foster Arend Park’s lake and then soak up the summer sun on the sandy beach. Another favorite destination that will make a splash with the whole family is Soldier’s Field Pool, which features a 112-foot water slide and zero-depth entry.
2. Enjoy our woods and wildlife. Rochester’s natural beauty and tranquility are on full display at Quarry Hill Nature Center, where you can hike more than eight miles of trails, borrow binoculars in the Nature Center and go bird-watching, or amble around a pond that’s home to ducks, muskrats, turtles, and frogs. Kids under 15 can also bring a simple fishing rod and fish in the pond without a license. Oxbow Park & Zollmann Zoo, located 13 miles west of downtown Rochester, is another popular destination for hiking, picnicking, and observing more than 30 species of wild animals native to Minnesota, including otters, bears, and wolves.
3. Get sporty. As the proud home of Mayo Clinic, it’s no surprise that our city encourages an active lifestyle and healthy habits. Rochester boasts more than 85 miles of trails for rollerblading, walking, and biking. Start your biking excursion at Silver Lake Park, where you can rent not only a standard bike, but a tandem bike or baby trailer. If you’re ready to tee off, Rochester offers several highly acclaimed golf courses that appeal to a wide variety of skill levels. Whatever your healthy passion—from indoor rock climbing to bowling to hiking—Rochester will keep you moving.
4. Dine on a patio. Treat yourself to dinner or a cocktail on one of Rochester’s stylish outdoor patios. Enjoy a panoramic view of downtown from the seventh-story rooftop lounge La Vetta, and then take the elevator down to the lounge’s sister establishment, Terza Ristorante, for fresh pasta hand-crafted in house. Or visit the Tap House, which is located on Historic Third Street and is known for its 50 beers on tap as well as its rooftop seating with a large fireplace and heaters for chilly evenings.
5. Take your fun indoors. When you need a break from the sun (or it’s a rainy day), there’s plenty to keep you busy indoors, too. Check out the latest production at Rochester Civic Theatre or the newest installation at the Rochester Art Center. If you’re traveling with kids, experience some hands-on fun at the Minnesota Children’s Museum Rochester, jump around at Bounce World, or race a go-kart at Skyline Raceway.
Some must-do Rochester activities don’t fit neatly into any category, including our trolley tours. You can choose a history-themed tour or a brewery-themed tour, which makes stops at four local microbreweries. Rochester hosts many special events in June, July, and August to keep you busy as well. Check out Thursdays on First & Third, a summer market and music festival. And be sure to mark Rochesterfest, which livens up downtown in late June, on your calendar.