Rochester was founded in 1854 as a frontier town in the southern area of the state. The biggest moment in the cities history was when the railroad arrived in the 1860s, bringing Dr. William W. Mayo in 1863. Dr. Mayo opened a frontier clinic, which toady is one of the leading hospitals in the world. The town tends to revolves around the Mayo clinic and its prestigious clients, although there are some old early 20th century homes to check out also. The town lies on the South Fork of the Zumbro River and is in Olmsted County, which is one of 4 counties in Minnesota that doesn't have natural lake. But in order to make it feel like a normal Minnesota county some artificial lakes have been built including Silver Lake.



Sights and Activities

Mayo Clinic

The Mayo Clinic is a non profit medical practice located in Rochester. The clinic is one of the best known in the world and is leading center for medical research, especially in cancer. The hospital has experts in cancer, tumors, bone problems, HIV and almost every medical problem under the sun. The clinic also has a medical school and residency program attached to it. Due to the large number of international patients the Mayo Clinic has great facilities to handle people from different cultures.

Frank Lloyd Wright Homes

  • A. H. Bulbulian Residence - Is a good example of Wright's Usonian genre of architecture. The home has been recently restored to its original condition.
  • James McBean Residence - This is a nice Wright home located in the city.
  • Thomas Keys Residence - Built in 1950, with earth berms, this home was originally designed to be a middle class home in order to give working class families more refined homes.

Other Sights and Activities

  • Chateau Theatre - Is national historic building and currently houses a Barnes & Nobel Bookstore and Cafe.
  • Biking/Hiking Trails - The city has more then 60 m of trails for people to enjoy. The Root River and Douglas State Trails, near the Rochester area, includes an additional 55 m (89 km) of trails with mixed woods, hills and limestone bluffs.
  • Rochester Art Center - Open in 2004 is a small art center with visiting collections and a nice garden in the back.
  • History Center of Olmsted County - Learn the history and natural history of the county at this museum.
  • SEMVA Art Gallery - In Peace Plaza in the downtown area, this gallery has a collection of local artists from southeastern Minnesota.
  • Chorale Arts Ensemble - Is a good 40 voice choir that performs a wide range of styles.
  • Masque Youth Theater - Is the local children's theater.
  • Rochester Repertory Theatre Company - This is a good local theater company.
  • Rochester Community Band - Enjoy free classical concerts in East Park during the summer with this group.



Events and Festivals


  • New Year’s Eve - The US celebrates the outgoing of the old year and incoming of the New Year quite dramatically. Every state boasts its own parties to ring in the New Year, but none is more extravagant than New York’s Time Square, which sees people overflowing into the neighboring restaurants, bars, parks, beaches, and neighborhoods.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day (officially Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. and sometimes referred to as MLK Day) is an American federal holiday marking the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year, which is around King's birthday, January 15. The holiday is similar to holidays set under the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. The earliest Monday for this holiday is January 15 and the latest is January 21. King was the chief spokesperson for nonviolent activism in the Civil Rights Movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law.
  • St Patrick’s Day - March 17 celebrates the US’s large Irish population. Many cities around the country boast boisterous parades and Irish-themed parties, especially New York and Chicago, where the river is dyed green. Be wary of the drunkenness that dominates as this is definitely a party-day.
  • Memorial Day - Memorial Day is an important holiday throughout the United States, but not for crazy festivities. Parades commemorating wartime heroes are often held and the day is also the ‘unofficial’ start of summer. Most visitors follow the crowds to parks and beaches, which are capped off with informal BBQs.
  • Independence Day - Also known as the Fourth of July, Independence Day celebrates the US’s break from the British during the 18th century. Barbecues, street parties, beach trips, and weekend getaways are commonplace to appreciate freedom.
  • Labor Day is a public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws, and well-being of the country. It is the Monday of the long weekend known as Labor Day Weekend. It is recognized as a federal holiday. Beginning in the late 19th century, as the trade union and labor movements grew, trade unionists proposed that a day be set aside to celebrate labor.
  • Halloween - Halloween is a fun holiday on October 31 for all generations to dress up in costumes and relive their youth. Children walk around the neighborhood trick-or-treating for candy, while adults attend parties. Other seasonal events include haunted houses, pumpkin farms and carving, and corn mazes.
  • Thanksgiving - On the fourth Thursday in November, Thanksgiving is held in almost every home in the US. Tourists will have a hard time finding anything to do as the country essentially shuts down in observation. A typical Thanksgiving meal consists of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie commemorating the original Pilgrim’s feast at Plymouth Rock.
  • Christmas - On December 25, Christians celebrate Christmas as the pinnacle of their calendar by attending church and opening gifts from Santa Claus. Almost everything shuts down to promote family togetherness. The northern regions hope to experience a “white Christmas,” with trees and festive lights blanketed by snow.


  • Super Bowl Sunday - the world’s most watched sporting event and one of the highest grossing TV days of the year, Superbowl Sunday is a spectacular extravaganza. Held the first Sunday in February, the Superbowl is the final playoff game between the NFL’s top two teams. The venue rotates every year around America, yet the local parties seem to remain. Pubs, bars and restaurants are great places to enjoy the Superbowl or locals throw their own parties with different variations of betting.
  • The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball (MLB) in North America, contested since 1903 between the American League (AL) champion team and the National League (NL) champion team. The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff, and the winning team is awarded the Commissioner's Trophy. As the series is played during the fall season in North America, it is sometimes referred to as the Fall Classic.




Rochester has hot summer and cold winters.

Avg Max-0.6 °C0.3 °C5.9 °C13.3 °C19.9 °C24.3 °C27.1 °C25.6 °C22.1 °C15.8 °C8.8 °C2.1 °C
Avg Min-8.7 °C-8.6 °C-3.5 °C2.2 °C7.9 °C12.4 °C15.3 °C14.3 °C10.9 °C5.3 °C0.7 °C-5.3 °C
Rainfall52.8 mm53.3 mm57.9 mm66.3 mm69.1 mm76.2 mm68.8 mm86.4 mm75.4 mm62 mm74.2 mm69.3 mm
Rain Days11.



Getting There

By Plane

  • Rochester International Airport (RST) is a major airport located 7 m (11 km) southwest of the downtown area. The airport is serviced by American Airlines, Northwest Airlines, Allegiant Air and private jets. Recently Federal Express and DHL added terminals. There is a limousine service to and from the airport to the city.



Getting Around

During the winter there is a system of underground roads and walk ways called the Subway/Skyway. This system accesses all the major sights and shops in the downtown area, including the Mayo Clinic. During the winter these tunnels can be great way to avoid the cold and some shops even have direct access. The tunnels also have handicap access.

By Car

Many international rental companies have a wide selection of rental cars and these include Hertz, Avis, Dollar, Thrifty, Enterprise, Budget and Alamo/National. Most companies will require you are at least 25 years of age, although younger people might be able to rent cars at slightly higher rates and with some insurance differences as well. A national driver's license is usually enough, but an additional international one is recommended. Also note that it usually costs more to include lots of other extra things. For example extra drivers, GPS, the first full tank, SLI (Supplemental Liability Insurance), PAI (Personal Accident Insurance, usually covered already at home), road assistance/service plan, and drop-off costs for one-way rentals.
If you want to book a car, it is recommended that you book your car before arriving in the USA. This is almost always (much) cheaper compared to just showing up. Also, try and book with a so-called 'broker', which usually works together with a few or many car rental companies and can offer the best deal. Some examples include Holidayautos, Holidaycars and Sunny Cars. Some of the cheapest deals to book from Europe, includes Drive-USA, which also has a German version.

For more information and tips about renting cars and campers, additional costs, insurance, traffic rules, scenic routes and getting maps and fuel it is advised to check the USA Getting Around section.

By Public Transport

  • Buses - Rochester has a very good public bus system. For more information on routes and schedules click here.





You can use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)




Keep Connected


There is a very small internet bar/cafe culture in the USA. Even then most of the internet bars/cafes tend be located in major urban centers. Accessible WiFi networks, however, are common. The most generally useful WiFi spots are in coffee shops, fast-food chains, and bookshops, but also restaurants and hotels more and more have a network to connect on. Some of them might require you to buy something and you might need a password too, especially in hotels.


See also International Telephone Calls

The general emergency phone number is 911. The USA has a great landline phone system that is easy to use. The country code for the U.S. is +1. The rest of the telephone number consists of 10 digits: a 3-digit area code, and a 7-digit number. Any small grocery store or pharmacy has pre paid domestic or international phone cards. These phone cards are very cheap and offer good rates. The once ubiquitous pay phone is now much harder to find. Likely locations include in or near stores and restaurants, and near bus stops. The cellphone network in the states is slowly getting better but is still not as good when compared to other western countries. Cell phones tend to operate using different frequencies (850 MHz and 1900 MHz) from those used elsewhere in the world (2100 MHz). This used to prevent most foreign phones from working in America. Phones must be tri- or quad-band to work in the U.S. Fortunately, technology has meant that most phones should now be able to pick up one of the U.S. networks. Prepaid phones and top-up cards can be purchased at mobile phone boutiques and at many discount, electronics, office supply and convenience stores. A very basic handset with some credit can be had for under $40.


The US Postal Service is a very good and well priced mail system. There are post offices in every small and large town for sending packages internationally or domestically. Although some might keep longer hours, most are open at least between 9:00am and 5:00pm. If wanting to send a letter or postcard it is best just to leave it in a blue mail box with the proper postage. First-class international airmail postcards and letters (up 28.5 grams) cost $1.10. There are also private postal services like FedEx, UPS, TNT and DHL, which might be better value sometimes and are generally very quick and reliable too.

Quick Facts


  • Latitude: 44.019279
  • Longitude: -92.459152

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This is version 15. Last edited at 11:38 on Jun 19, 19 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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