24 Hour Guide to Rochester, Minnesota

Rochester skyline reflected at sunrise in the Mayo Clinic

A warm winter weekend is always meant to be enjoyed, but especially when it can be spent exploring a cool, new city that has great food, cool family-friendly outdoor hikes and activities, and gorgeous urban adventure exploring skyways, artwork and a diverse array of art! Rochester, MN has all of that and more. Here’s your 24 hour guide to Rochester and getting the most out of your adventure. So go and explore!

Note: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may make a tiny percentage if you buy something using them. I only recommend places and products that I know and trust that I think can help you.

24 Hour Guide to Rochester

There is lots to see and do in Rochester and no way to ever do it all in a short visit so this 24 hour guide to Rochester is meant to give you some ideas and suggestions to get you started.

Morning Stroll

Start your morning out enjoying the fresh air at Indian Heights Park– walking along one of the high points of the city. The park is full of gorgeous oak trees and some great vantage points!

After your early morning stroll head into downtown to spend the day exploring the sights.

Coffee Break

Coffee Break at Cafe Steam

Cafe Steam has a delicious matcha tea latte, a beautiful space with brick walls plus the front lets in tons of natural light so you can get that token coffee shop shot for your instagram page!

Skyway City Walks

Rochester skyway system

An urban hike awaits in the Rochester skyway system. After the midmorning pick-me-up head off to explore the skyways. A little adventure that will probably require a map unless you’re exceptional with directions. They may not be as extensive as the Twin Cities’ system, but they’re still amazing and a great way to get around on a cold winter’s day!


Newts mac and cheese grilled cheese

If you like burgers, or big, bold sandwiches than Newt’s is the place to grab a bite (or three). A monstrous Mac n Cheese Grilled cheese sandwich or Mike D’s Fatty Melt (2 grilled cheese sandwiches around a delicious burger) should probably be on your list! And make sure to order that with fried pickles – this is a pickle-lover’s blog after all!

And if you’re thirsty… I recommend the bloody mary!

Mayo Clinic

Dale Chihuly glass at Mayo Clinic Rochester

The Mayo Clinic buildings in downtown have some gorgeous aesthetic vibes and artwork. During the week you should be able to walk through and explore the main level, which includes a beautiful installation of Dale Chihuly glass art among other great pieces. The Mayo Clinic also offers a guided art tour to patients and their guests that you can set up ahead of time for the day of your Mayo Clinic appointment.

Note: The Mayo Clinic buildings are not open on the weekends, so plan your trip accordingly.


The Half Barrel has delicious flatbreads. The perfect way to start wrapping up your visit- and don’t forget to grab a drink- they have one of the best whisky bars my husband has ever seen


The main reason for our visit was to attend the Social ICE experience at Peace Plaza in downtown Rochester. Put it on your calendar for next year. It’s a great event with 7 ice bars outside, each perfectly crafted and with a fancy drink created just for the event.

Or combine your dinner and entertainment plans and check out Forager Brewery.


Rooftop Pool Kahler Grand Hotel

It’s worth staying as close to downtown as you possibly can, in order to enjoy all that this city has to offer in terms of restaurants and fun.

Stay in one of the historic rooms at the Kahler Grand Hotel. Wake up bright and early to enjoy one of winter’s late sunrises from the indoor, top-floor pool!

If you’re staying for an extended stay or want some flexibility to cook your own meals then stay in one of dozens of these VRBO & AirBnB homes.

If you have more time

Use your mind and keep your wits about you to make your escape from an Escape Room.
For a full body work out try rock climbing at Roca.
Or for more nature check out the nearest MN State Park at Carley State Park (35 minutes).

Kid-friendly activities:

Explore the Quarry Hill’s Nature Center which includes a 1700 gallon aquarium.
Minnesota Children’s Museum

What about you- What’s your favorite thing to do in Rochester on a short trip?

24 hour travel guide to Rochester MN whether on a day trip or road trip across the midwest this guide shows you the things to do like where you can see famous artworks like Chihuly. Or where to hike to overlook the city and drink the best bloody mary you'll ever have. Lots of great activities the whole family can enjoy- including rooftop swimming pools.

6 Thoughts on “24 Hour Guide to Rochester, Minnesota

  1. Sounds like you had a great short trip! We recently found Tonic and it’s a great place to eat down by the Mayo Clinic. The Kahler Hotel is great and your photo of the pool is beautiful! We have enjoyed staying at the Kahler and walking around the shops and the eating is fantastic! We sure miss the Barnes & Noble by the Kahler.

  2. LeighNo Gravatar on June 10, 2017 at 5:53 pm said:

    Another fun Midwest city I’ve yet to explore! I love the rooftop indoor pool!

    • GretaNo Gravatar on June 11, 2017 at 8:34 am said:

      Me too Leigh! I wish I had known it was that cool when I got there- then I would have spent all my time at the pool ;-) Minnesota would love to have you visit again!

  3. Emily HinesNo Gravatar on June 12, 2017 at 5:09 pm said:

    That bloody mary sold me! I’m in for Rochester one day.

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