What's New in Rochester, MN

The latest things to do, entertainment, and restaurants 

Rochester, MN offers an abundance of things to do, and new activities and entertainment options are frequently introduced. Check this page for all the latest and greatest things to do and places to go in Minnesota’s Rochester.

1. Explore the Castle Community. This innovative gathering place in a newly-renovated Armory building (with an exterior that looks like a castle) features Cameo at the Castle restaurant, as well as Collective Books & Records, Queen City Coffee & Juice, Neon Green Studio, Latent Space, and artists in residence with Threshold Arts. Play a game or just relax in the Castle Commons, and view local art on display throughout the building. Restaurant opened in November, 2018 and other establishments open Feb. 1, 2019.

Collective Books & Records at the Castle Community in Rochester, MNCollective Books & Records at the Castle Community | AB-PHOTOGRAPHY.US

2. Sip on a cocktail at Bitter & Pour, the newest addition to downtown's lively Historic Third Street.  Descend to a cozy, intimate & stylish setting, where you can enjoy a variety of cocktails--both classic and original--as well as wine, craft beers, and small plates. The bar is being set increasingly high for nightlife in downtown Rochester, MN with the opening of this sophisticated lounge-style establishment in December, 2018.

3. Try several new, only-in-Rochester restaurants with diverse cuisine and ambiances that have opened recently, including Cameo at the CastleBar Buffalo and Lettuce Unite. Also check out the new Fiddlehead Coffee, a specialty coffee shop/roaster by day, Northwoods tapas bar by night. Fiddlehead's chef is Paul Berglund, a James Beard award-winning chef who previously worked at the acclaimed Bachelor Farmer in the Twin Cities. If you're interested in a sweet treat, try two new establishments as Apache Mall: addiecakes cupcake shop or That's How We Roll ice cream.

4. Taste what's brewing at Little Thistle Brewing Company, which opened in August, 2018. Little Thistle features experimental, barrel aged and traditional beers, cask ales, and light lagers. The brewery's taproom offers 18 beers on tap at any one time, including two cask-conditioned ales. Bring food from home, takeout, or check out the food vendor calendar on Little Thistle's website to see what’s cooking. The brewery has an outdoor garden and also a game room with shuffleboard and a variety of video games. Located right off the Cascade/Douglas Trail, Little Thistle is dog, family, and bike friendly, with plenty of bike parking and a bike station.

Little Thistle Brewing Co.Little Thistle Brewing Company | AB-PHOTOGRAPHY.US

5. Bounce on over to Air Insanity trampoline park, which opened in July, 2018. The 32,000 square foot indoor Air Insanity provides active fun and entertainment for the whole family. Play extreme dodge ball and slam dunk basketball, or joust with your friends and engage in a Nerf war.  Or, just bounce to your heart's content!  

6. Visit the newly-renovated Quarry Hill Nature Center. A major upgrade to the center’s main building was completed in April, 2018, with new exhibits, animal enclosures, and an aquarium with crawl-through tunnels installed.  Already a favorite destination for hiking, nature tours, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing, Quarry Hill Nature Center is now a great place for indoor exploration as well as outdoor fun!

Quarry Hill Nature Center in Rochester, MNQuarry Hill Nature Center | AB-PHOTOGRAPHY.US

7. Enjoy a bold new addition to the Rochester public art scene with a visit to the yet-to-be-named tapered arch shaped sculpture installed on the Riverfront Plaza of the newly-renovated Mayo Civic Center downtown. Interactive components will be added to the stainless steel installation in mid-2018, adding sound and light to the sculpture. After you’re done admiring the new installation, walk around to the back of the building to Mayo Park and see the statue of the Mayo brothers.  

8. For a nostalgic gaming experience, visit the original Machine Shed or the Machine Shed at Apache MallThe owners call it a “real arcade, like the one you hung out at high school,” and it features cabinets containing hundreds of classic arcade games like Donkey Kong, Pac Man, Asteroids, Centipede, Joust, and more. Pay a one-time fee and play all the games, for as long as you want.

Besides new activities and entertainment options, Rochester is experiencing a hotel boom.  Read about several hotels that are coming soon to Rochester.

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