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Top Places to Visit after Moving to Rochester, MN

by Ryan Cox on Jan 31, 2017

Rochester, Minnesota, is a vibrant community of more than 107,000 people. Located on the shores of the Zumbro River's south fork, Rochester is consistently ranked as one of the top 10 places to live in the United States. The city is known for being the home of the world-renowned Mayo Clinic as well as many parks and its unique landmark, the corn-shaped water silo. After getting settled into your new home or apartment, you will want to get out and see what the city of Rochester has to offer. This great list of places to visit in Rochester is a simple way to familiarize yourself with your new community.

Plummer House
Rochester-MN-plummerThe Plummer House features 11 acres of beautifully landscaped formal gardens, and there is a bird trail where you can catch a glimpse of hummingbirds and songbirds during the summer. There also is a quarry for people of all ages to dig in and explore and a water tower to climb to take in the view of the surrounding landscape. The Plummer House also features several playgrounds for kids, and there is a picnicking area where you can sit down and enjoy a packed lunch. This venue also offers facility rentals for special events such as weddings and anniversary parties. It hosts special events throughout the year such as special holiday decorations in December and delightfully scary Halloween activities. (Photo Credit: http://www.rochestermn.gov/departments/parks-and-recreation/indoor-facilities/plummer-house)


Rochester Art Center
The Rochester Art Center offers permanent and changing exhibits of well-known historical and modern artists from around the world including an interactive exhibit by Eamon O'Kane. This gallery features thousands of pieces of blocks and supplies that children and adults alike can put together to create art of their own. The museum also houses sculptures, paintings, and glass works. The Rochester Art Center also features a spectacular view of Mayo Park and the Zumbro River. There are frequent special programs, educational opportunities, and galas; a summertime arts camp is available for kids through young adults. You can also sign up for classes and learn more about art techniques and history.

Minnesota Children’s Museum
At the Minnesota Children’s Museum, kids of all ages can try out the hands-on, handicap-accessible exhibits related to science, nature, and everyday life. The museum contains permanent exhibits such as “Forces at Play,” which explores the physics of throwing, rolling, jumping, and other activities. There are also seasonal exhibits as well. Each day, the museum offers pop-up activities, so there is always something new to see, try, or do. The Minnesota Children’s Museum is also home to outdoor activities during the summer months and special educational programs throughout the year. It also contains a water room, building room, and nature exploration room.

Semva Art Gallery
SEMVA Art Gallery is a cooperative of the Southeastern Minnesota Visual Artists group that creates and displays works of photographic art, mixed media, jewelry, glass, and painting. The gallery also displays pottery, woodworking, folk art, printmaking, and collage. You can take your time browsing through the collections and become inspired to learn more about the techniques. SEMVA Art Gallery also houses collections of wearable art. Each exhibit offers information about the artist and the techniques that he or she used.

Douglas State Trail
Rochester-MN-trailDouglas State Trail is a paved, 12.5-mile trail that provides opportunities for a variety of outdoor sports. You can walk, run, or bike on the trail any time of the year, and roller skating, rollerblading, and equestrian and dog use is also allowed. During the winter, you can bring along your cross-country skis, walking sticks, and snowshoes to enjoy the trails on crisp, clear winter days. The trail is generally level and handicap-accessible. Beginning in Rochester, the trail continues through the small town of Douglas and terminates at Pine Island. The Douglas State Trail also provides an opportunity to see some of Minnesota's incredible wildlife such as bald eagles, double-crested cormorants, and red foxes. Be sure to look out for some of the beautiful plant species including yellow lotus and the white water lily.


Canvas and Chardonnay
When you want a great entertainment experience, a visit to Canvas and Chardonnay may be just what you need. Canvas and Chardonnay is a place where you can go with a date or a group of friends and enjoy a delightful glass of wine while you also paint. In this relaxed atmosphere, you can choose a paint-by-numbers kit and create a finished masterpiece that makes you look like a world-renowned artist. You can also visit during one of their themed nights and learn a fun new art technique. They offer singles' night parties, which would be a great way to meet other fun people. Canvas and Chardonnay also features parties and special events for holidays such as Mother's Day and Valentine's Day. They also host group painting events so that you can bring all of your neighbors or coworkers with you to celebrate a birthday, anniversary or another special event. Adults ages 21 and older are welcome, and reservations are recommended.

Chester’s Kitchen & Bar

Chester’s Kitchen & Bar specializes in delectable meals such as swordfish, braised Cajun beef tips, and seared pork chops. Their sides are full of flavor and include steak fries, creamy coleslaw, and hand-mashed potatoes. They also offer a variety of sandwiches, soups, and salads, and the daily and weekly specials take into account the season of the year. You may find autumn offerings such as pumpkin fritters or summertime treats filled with fresh berries. You can watch the big game on the televisions that are found throughout the restaurant, and there often are live bands and other exciting events going on. The menu at Chester’s Kitchen & Bar also includes a sophisticated selection of Scotch, tequila, and other liquors and spirits. You can try a locally made draft beer or seasonal brew offered on a limited-time basis. The atmosphere at Chester's Kitchen & Bar is casual, and the restaurant is open late into the night so you can enjoy a night out with your friends. If you are having a party, you can reserve the private dining room for up to 40 guests.

Grand Rounds Brew Pub
Grand Rounds Brew Pub is a relaxed, casual pub that encourages patrons to sit down and enjoy a lively conversation over a great pint of beer. They have hundreds of varieties on tap including seasonal ales and locally produced microbrews. On the weekends, you can be sure that the televisions will be showing the most popular matchups of the Minnesota Vikings or Twins. The pub offers tours and tastings as well as special events throughout the year. The menu at Grand Rounds Brew Pub also includes a variety of appetizers such as locally made cheese curds, fries, and Scotch eggs. Their meals include bacon cheeseburgers, fried chicken, steak, hot dogs, and pizzas that are made to order.

Mystery Cave State Park
Rochester-MN-CaveMystery Cave State Park is a great way to learn about the geology of caves. You can take the rugged flashlight tour and go spelunking with your adventurous friends and family members or the daylight walking tour with a guide to lead the way. Equestrian tours are available for the traditional trails, which take you past natural sinkholes, the Big Spring, and the openings of several small linear caves. The regular walking tour is handicap accessible and features a 0.75-mile long paved trail that enables you to view caves, natural pools, and a variety of Minnesota wildlife. Be sure to make your tour reservations at least 24 hours in advance of your visit. Mystery Cave State Park also contains a restored 1800’s village with a blacksmith's shop, stables, general store, and one-room schoolhouse. (Photo Credit: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/mystery_cave)    

Apache Mall
If you need a new outfit or some linens, furnishings, and decorations for your new home, a visit to Apache Mall is a great idea. The mall has a variety of stores ranging from national chains to boutiques. There are several restaurants where you can get a refreshing smoothie, tasty cookie, or quick lunch to go. The mall also hosts special events such as photos with Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. If you need an indoor place to exercise, you can walk the mall's circular pathways any time of the day. The mall is open every day of the week.

Relocating to a new place takes some adjustment, and this list of great places to visit will help with your transition. Visiting each of these fun places in Rochester will enable you to get a feel for the city's culture and taste some of the best local food specialties.
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