Explore Rochester, Minnesota

Home to the world-renowned Mayo Clinic, Rochester has historically been a hub for innovation. The city’s 20-year plan, centered around medical tourism, projects that billions of dollars will be invested in expanding the Mayo Clinic as well as developing the city into a destination for arts, culture, and biotechnology. Located about 90 minutes southwest of the Twin Cities, Rochester makes for an ideal day trip. We listed some of our favorite places where you should visit, eat, and stay in the coming months.


  • Located just across the street from Mayo Clinic, The Kahler Grand Hotel has an international flair that complements the city’s tourist makeup. Its proximity to the hospital provides guests with unique amenities, including physical therapy, emotional support, and other medical services.


  • The Rochester International Film Festival (April 15-21) showcases films by local, national, and international directors. This year’s lineup includes Son of Saul, which won this year’s Academy Award for Best Foreign Language film.
  • Sample local beers, learn about brewing, check out live music, and more at the Rochester Craft Beer Expo (April 30). Participating breweries include Twin Cities favorites (Indeed, Surly) alongside Rochester brews (Forager, Grand Rounds).
  • The Rochester Art Center’s programming examines the relationship between art and society. Their Project Feminist Space (through May 8), curated by artist and social activist Amanda Curreri, explores feminist themes in art through propaganda with inspiration from the Guerilla Girls.
  • Thursdays on First and 3rd (June 2-Aug. 25) is a free annual market and festival that takes over downtown Rochester, featuring local vendors, music, art, and food within a communal atmosphere.
  • Rochesterfest (June 18-26) celebrates the city and its community through special events like a treasure hunt, triathlon, live music, parade, and much more.


  • A newer addition to the Nova Restaurant Group—which also owns local favorites Chester’s and PescaraTerza Ristorante has earned a reputation for creating sustainable, organic, and handcrafted food in an authentic Italian style. Its lengthy menu includes handmade pastas, locally grown produce, and fresh seafood.
  • Tonic Kitchen and Juice Bar works with local farms to produce fresh and healthy meals. While the house-made juices and smoothies are the highlight, the food—which includes a number of vegan and gluten-free offerings—will please any locavore.
  • After a long hiatus, Minnesota’s first Dunkin Donuts location opened in Rochester last year. The popular donut chain, known for its above average coffee, has more stores in the works throughout the state.

Rochester, tonic
Photo by Tonic

Learn more about the city of Rochester here. (Please note that the former Söntes, now closed, houses Grand Rounds Brewery.)