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Rochester: Home of the World-Renowned Mayo Clinic
Founded in 1854, Rochester is home to around 110,000 people, at least some of whom have presumably been attracted by the city’s status as one of the most liveable in the country. It’s an appeal that is not missed by the three million annual visitors to the city each year. While some come to receive treatment at the world-famous Mayo Clinic, others come to indulge in the vibrant arts and cultural attractions and the delicious dining available city-wide. Why not see what you’re missing?
It’s a Mayo Thing
Dr. William Mayo arrived in Rochester in 1863, primarily to examine Civil War draftees. Following a devastating hurricane some 20 years later, it was Mayo who, along with the Sisters of St. Francis, cared for the wounded. In 1889, Mayo opened the hospital that would ultimately become respected around the world. The facility now treats around 1.3 million patients annually, many of whom stay in local hotels to take advantage of convenient shuttle services to and from the hospital. Only patients can tour the Mayo Clinic but, as a tourist, you can visit Mayowood. Known as ‘The Big House’, this stunning Minnesota mansion was home to two generations of the Mayo family between 1911 and 1965. The Olmsted County Historical Society offer guided tours of this stunning home.
Enjoy the Fresh Air
In the warmer months, Rochester is a great place to be outdoors and with miles of paved walking and cycling tracks winding through the city, it’s never been easier to squeeze a little exercise into your day. Visitors can also take their pick from several public golf courses and more than 100 parks, many of which feature sports courts. Outside of the city limits, there’s even more to enjoy. Popular destinations include Carley State Park, Chester Woods, and the Douglas State Trail. While you’ll need to wrap up warm in the winter, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy the fresh air. The Quarry Hill Nature Center offers activities such as snowshoeing and cross-country skiing while a trip to see the thousands of Canadian Geese that make Silver Lake Park their winter hangout is a must.
Arts, Culture & Entertainment
Arts and culture are an important part of the Rochester landscape. Many visitors like to enjoy a night at the theatre; the Mayo Civic Center, the Rochester Repertory Theatre, and Theater Du Jour are all popular venues. If you prefer strolling around a museum, the Olmsted County History Center and Heritage House should be on your must-see list while those who appreciate art will enjoy a trip to the likes of the Rochester Art Center and Taylor-Gebler Gallery. If you’ve left the kids at home, you’ll also be able to enjoy some of Rochester’s lively nightlife. Bars and clubs, many of which have rooftop terraces offering stunning city views, can be found dotted along Broadway and, in the west of the city, along Route 52.
Superb Shopping and Dining
Shopaholics won’t be disappointed with Rochester’s offering. The city’s Apache Square Mall and Miracle Mile are among the most popular retail destinations although the Shops at University Square are also worth a visit. True retail enthusiasts will want to take the 90-minute drive north to Bloomington, home of the famous Mall of America. Here you’ll find around 500 stores jostling for space alongside attractions such as SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium and Nickelodeon Universe, not to mention a choice of 50 restaurants. Back in Rochester, you’ll find the dining options are equally numerous, with everything from budget eats to gourmet treats on the menu. You can find some of the city’s best loved dining spots situated along Historic 3rd Street.
Take a Tour
If you plan to stay in Rochester for a while, you may have time to explore a little further afield and take a day trip to one of the many attractions in the wider area. If you like to be outside, you will find a trip to the Upper Mississippi River Valley and the surrounding Bluff Country enjoyable. While touring this area, possible destinations for your itinerary include Lark Toys, America’s largest family-owned toy store, the historic Nelson Creamery, and the fascinating National Eagle Center. Another interesting possibility is to visit the Old Order Amish area where highlights include traditional Amish homes and woodworking shops as well as the option to buy Amish baked goods and preserves from traditional Amish grocery stores. If you have time left over, be sure to check out the architecture in Historic Lanesboro on your way back to Rochester.