Thanksgiving and the long weekend that follows are always filled with food, family, fun, and much more in Rochester, MN! From shopping local to welcoming in the holiday season, here are six fantastic ways to savor every precious moment of your holiday weekend.

Burn off those calories. The 7th annual Rochester Turkey Trot 5k Run and Walk at Soldiers Field Park on Thanksgiving morning promises donuts from The Donut at the finish line. Plus, this race benefits the local nonprofit Red Drop Resources.

Welcome Santa to town. A beloved Rochester holiday tradition, Here Comes Santa Claus includes the daring rescue of Santa atop Old City Hall and the magical holiday tree lighting ceremony on Peace Plaza. This year’s event is Friday, November 24 from 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Here Comes Santa Claus

Here Comes Santa Claus event | Photo credit Alpha Digital courtesy Rochester Downtown Alliance

Watch a show at Mayo Civic Center. Mayo Civic Center has a packed calendar of entertainment during the holiday season. With two performances on Saturday, November 25, Away in the Basement: A Church Basement Ladies Christmas is the perfect musical comedy for the whole family to kick off the holiday season. There are also two showings of the Monster Truck Nitro Tour, where you can watch 10,000-pound, car crushing giants compete in racing, wheelie contests, and then rock the house with amazing freestyle action! Another excellent holiday tradition, The Nutcracker Magical Christmas Ballet also comes to Mayo Civic Center on Monday, November 27th.

Monster Truck Nitro ShowMonster Truck Nitro Show

Support Small Businesses. Small Business Saturday on November 25 creates jobs, boosts the economy and preserves neighborhoods in downtown Rochester and across the country. Take some time to support your favorite small business or try a new one you haven’t shopped at before!

On Track Boutique ShoppingOn Track Boutique | Experience Rochester

Cheer on the Grizzlies. The Rochester Grizzlies, a local junior ice hockey team, take on the Minnesota Loons at the Rochester Recreation Center on Saturday, November 25 at 7:05 p.m.

Take a walk back in time 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 from November 4-December 17 (except Thanksgiving Day). Find the complete schedule here. This year’s theme is “Sing a Song of the Holidays.”


The next big event is always just around the corner. Browse our Events Calendar for things to do in Rochester, MN.

Santa is rescued every year at the Here Comes Santa Claus event | Rochester Downtown Alliance