Living in Rochester MN Is a Healthy Mix of Work & Play

April 18, 2017

A confident salesman in suit standing in front of illustrated block letters saying work hard play hard concept.jpegWhen you're a newbie to Minnesota's third largest city, it's natural to wonder about things to do in Rochester, MN, other than work. Yet a good job amid well-educated co-workers -- perhaps in medicine or technology -- may have brought you to this home of the Mayo Clinic, one of the world's greatest medical centers.

Rochester isn't a hot spot for bar hopping. If you aren't much interested in clubbing, you likely won't experience much pressure to party hearty here. Also, there are plenty of other opportunities for free-time relaxation, including 85 miles of developed trails and a lively arts community.

However, it's important to note that if it weren't for the age-old pleasure of ale, Rochester might not exist as it does today. Before it even gained its name, Rochester was a mid-nineteenth century stagecoach stop for overnight camping and watering horses on the way West to Iowa. It was also a watering hole for travelers, because an enterprising business family from Rochester, NY, built a log-cabin tavern.

Small City, Big Opportunities

Due to being home to the Mayo Clinic, Rochester has a thriving economy and low unemployment. The clinic itself employs nearly 34,000 people in medical careers from staff physicians to clinic staff.

By the way, if you've been hired by the Mayo Clinic and are shopping for a new home, the Springs at Broadway Apartments includes the amenity of free shuttle transportation to the clinic.

As one commentator said at the Quora social media site, the clinic is Rochester's "mother ship." It covers 15 million square feet -- roughly 344 acres or one-tenth the size of the entire city. The Mayo Clinic points out that it is 3.5 times larger than the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN.

How socially big is the Mayo Clinic? Here are some examples:

  • Mayo has purchased so much art that it gives free guided tours of its collection
  • The local go-to place for big concerts and sports events is the Mayo Civic Center Arena and
  • The clinic expects its planned $3.5 billion Destination Medical Center development to attract more than $2 billion in private investment expanding the area's livability with more "parks, restaurants, bars and music venues," according to Minnesota Public Radio.

So, you're part of an increasingly dynamic community if you live in Rochester.

The city's population is about 112,000 and has grown about 30 percent since 2000. In a Forbes magazine study ranking 200 "best small places for business and careers," Rochester, MN, came in at 29. Forbes noted its metro population at about 214,000 and identified an educational ranking of 19, meaning that it is a city with a lot of brain power.  

Healthy, Happy Living

USA Today in 2016 ranked Rochester as the "healthiest" city in America due to higher life expectancy (81.2 years), low adult obesity (25.1%) and few adults without health insurance (5.4%). It factored in a median household income of more than $64,000 as well as tendencies to smoke less and be more physically active.

Things to do in Rochester MN that contribute to the city's happiness factors include fun events and activities, such as:

  • After-hours art classes, lectures and free open mic nights at the Rochester Art Center
  • A winter YogaFest with certified teachers
  • An annual middle school STEAM Summit (science, technology, engineering, art and math) for middle school students
  • The Rochester Museum and Science Center, including the Strasenbergh Planetarium and the Cummings Nature Center
  • The Rochester Rowing Club, Rochester Track Club and the Rochester Active Sports Club and
  • Social Ice, the annual winter ice bar celebration.

Restaurants in Rochester MN are another element of the city's happiness factor. They include an increasing number of brew pubs, food trucks, ice cream shops, sidewalk dining experiences and venues accommodating alternative diets as well as gourmet tastes. Don't let anyone tell you that Rochester is plain vanilla; it's a city with flavor.

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