To Do

Rochester Art Center

Image courtesy of perfectduluthday

Immediately next to the Mayo Civic Center is the Rochester Art Center.  Begun in the mid-1940s, the original home of the RAC was actually in one of the unused rooms of the old Rochester Public Library building, but it’s current home was constructed in 2004 where visitors can overlook the Zumbro River.

Focusing on contemporary art, current installations are an interactive educational space by Eamon O’Kane, watercolor geometrics by Keren Kroul, and the Burnt Matchstick sculpture Karl Unnasch.  Also currently featured is an exhibition entitled Locavore which helps to feature local and regional artists.

Visiting hours are 10a-9p on Thursday, and 10a-5p on Friday.

To Consume

Cafe Steam

cafe steam
Photo courtesy of 9.SQUARE

A short jaunt down Broadway, just round the corner from Historic 3rd Street, is Cafe Steam, one of Rochester’s few locally owned independent coffee shops.  Serving up caffeine cravings since 2015, Cafe Steam has committed to providing a community gathering space that’s nearby but not overwhelmed by the Mayo Clinic.

A welcoming space for local artists, a variety of local art hangs on the walls, the small stage features open mic nights as well as local musicians, and monthly salons take place to further the artistic conversation.

Whether you prefer your coffee cold brew, french press, pour over, or chemex – you’ve got options.  And for the tea drinkers you can choose from such listings as Cloud & Mist, Golden Turtle, and Imperial Dark.  Open early and shut late, this can be a perfect get away from that conference crowd.

To Consume


Image courtesy of Foodservice News

Down second street, just across from St. Mary’s, you’ll find Tonic, a local kitchen and juice bar, which is probably your healthiest bet for eating in town.  Vegetarian and Vegan friendly, you could indulge in Huevos Rancheros with vegan sausage if you wish or Scrambled Tofu, Baked Kale Chips or Blackened Salmon Tacos, Ukrainian Borscht or a Black Bean Burger.

And if you’ve jumped on the juicing train there’s a plethora to choose from.  For a little detox pick up The Sublime which has pineapple, cucumber, cayenne, jalapeno, and fresh pressed lime.  Need a little cell defending, how about The Spiced Carrot which contains carrot (obviously), apple, cinnamon, and ginger root.  And if you have your own special drink, try the 5 Alive! which is basically a make-your-own affair where you choose any five ingredient combo they have available.  Smoothies are also available with names like Grin & Berry It, Coco-Loco, and Green Mango Mojito.

This might make the perfect last stop for something healthy before you hit the road after the conference concludes.


Getting Around

bus-43991_960_720By Foot:  Rochester’s downtown area is connected by various Skyways and Subways (the human kind).  Feel free to use this MAP to help find your way around.

By Bus:  The city is also easily accessible via bus.  Check the Rochester Public Transit site for routes and costs.

By Car:  There are several cab companies available in Rochester – Med City Taxi (app available), Yellow Cab (app available), and RST Taxi.  Uber is also available in town too.

By Bike:  We ran an earlier post about biking options.  Check that out for more info.

By Trolley:  We ran an earlier post about the Rochester Trolley.  Check that out for more info.

To See

Plummer House

Rochester is full of grand houses up on the nationally registered Pill Hill, but the most well-known of them all is the Plummer House.  Originally called Quarry Hill, this Tudor-style manner was the home of Dr. Henry S. Plummer.  Recruited by Dr. Mayo, Plummer joined the Mayo Clinic’s staff as their nephrologist.  Dr. Plummer was considered a forward thinker and personally added many advancements to the property when it was being built between 1917 and 1924; things like an intercom, heated pool, garage door openers, and an underground sprinkler system.

While the house originally sat on 65 acres on a cliffside overlooking one of Rochester’s valleys, a great deal of that land has been reclaimed for other use and now the house and grounds make up only 11 acres.  Now a part of Rochester’s Parks & Recreation department both the house and the grounds are available for tours.

The inside of the home has 49 rooms including 10 bathrooms and is five stories high.  If you do go on a tour you’ll be able to see all of the original furniture.  The grounds feature various alcoves, two caves, a water tower, fountain, and that heated pool which is now filled in with plants.  A fun fact regarding the pool is that because Plummer was a nephrologist he made sure to have the pool built in the shape of a kidney.

Parking is limited because it’s in a residential area so do if you do venture up Pill Hill we’d recommend carpooling.

To Consume


Right in the heart of the Peace Plaza you’ll find a restaurant that combines Greek and American cuisine while wholeheartedly embracing comfort food.  A downtown staple for over 60 years, Mac’s menu varies from a Fig & Honey Kissed Chicken Salad to the Cowboy Yanni Burger, from Lemon Ricotta Cakes to Friend Onions, from Moussaka to Buttermilk Pancakes.  If you’re looking for a meal full of home style cooking then Mac’s is the place for you.

To Consume


Image courtesy of Rochester Newcomers Connection

Within walking distance of the Kahler Grand is another hometown staple of Pannekoeken.  Serving up Dutch-style cuisine, Pannekoeken has been around for over 20 years and has become a favorite of locals to bring out of town guests to because of their extensive menu and of course to hear the wait staff yell “Pannekoeken” as they jaunt from kitchen to table with this baked stuffed pancake.

If all-day breakfast is what you live for, then this place with it’s 20 muffins, 8 skillets, 6 omelets, 12 pannekoekens, plus pancakes, waffles, and toast, this may just be the best place for you to stop by.  And don’t worry, if you’re looking for something a little more substantial for lunch or dinner, then you won’t be disappointed there either.