Rochester vacation rentals
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Your guide to Rochester
All About Rochester
Located amid tree-topped bluffs in southeastern Minnesota, the city of Rochester lies in the valley of the Zumbro River. The river, which winds its way downtown, provides opportunities for kayakers and tubers to float down the waterway. Rochester is Minnesota’s third-largest city and home to one of the country’s best-known medical facilities, which has fed the city’s growth, but it manages to keep a small-town vibe with a walkable downtown.
During the warmer months, musical concerts and other artistic performances take place by the riverside, and you can hop on one of the city trolleys to check out a wine trail, a local brewery, or the farmers’ market. The Twin Cities are a little over an hour north, while the Mississippi River’s Bluff and Amish Country are within an hour’s reach.
A well-developed park system around the city offers more than 85 miles of multi-use trails to explore. Near the heart of downtown, the Quarry Hill Nature Center features trails and paved pathways for hikers and bikers. The area was underwater during prehistoric times, and you may find fossils and other remnants if you keep your eyes out for them. During the wintertime, you can rent snowshoes and cross-country skis at the quarry.
When is the best time to stay in a vacation rental in Rochester?
The best time to stay in one of Rochester’s vacation rentals is during early summer, when temperatures are typically pleasant. July and August are warm to hot and more humid, but you can cool off by paddling on one of the nearby lakes and rivers. In September and October, temperatures cool down, and the nights grow chilly. Apple orchards and changing fall foliage are main attractions, as are the pumpkin patches and bonfires.
Snowfall often begins in October and lasts through April, and Minnesota winters are snowy, icy, and cold. The Christmas holiday season kicks off in November with the Festival of Trees, and skating rinks like the outdoor skating rink at Soldiers Field are a popular place to be — next to a fireplace is nice, too. January and February temperatures stay below freezing, and the wind chill factor can keep temperatures at zero degrees Fahrenheit. But there’s little chance of cabin fever with themed ice bars, ice sculptors, DJs, and bright lights of the SocialICE festival. March weather can still have freezing temperatures, but the winter thaw usually begins by April.
What are the top things to do in Rochester?
Lanesboro and Amish Country
A 60-minute drive southeast of Rochester lands you in Lanesboro, an artistic community home to theater troupes, musicians, and visual artists. You’ll also find several antique shops and independent boutiques. Nearby Harmony is home to a thriving Amish community, and local stores sell Amish handcrafted furniture, baskets, quilts, and leather goods.
Root River and Root River Trail
Within an hour east of Rochester is the Mississippi River’s Bluff Country. You can glide in a canoe down the 80-mile Root River or bike the Root River Trail, whose path runs for 42 miles along a disused railway line. There are 30 miles of blacktop for biking in the warmer months and for cross-country skiing in winter.
Silver Lake Park
Just 10 minutes from the center of Rochester, you can fish, rent a paddleboat, or cruise with a friend on a tandem bike around Silver Lake. Rental bikes and strollers are available. Around the 1.8-mile loop are picnic areas, an outdoor pool, and a skate park.