Arts and Culture in Rochester, MN

By AJ Donahue on January 23, 2014 at 5:57 pm EST
Rochester Symphony Orchestra & Chorale in Rochester, MN

PHOTO CREDIT: Photo courtesy of Post-Bulletin LLC

Rochester, Minnesota is home to a thriving arts and culture community featuring dozens of unique, exciting attractions and performance groups.

Visual Arts

Connoisseurs of fine art can’t miss the Rochester Art Center, a dazzling collection of contemporary exhibits and experiences housed in a breathtaking building. Those looking for locally created art shouldn't miss the SEMVA Art Gallery, conveniently located in Peace Plaza downtown. The gallery carries a wide selection of reasonably priced works that make excellent one-of-a-kind gifts or additions to personal collections.


Rochester’s music scene is a feast for the ears, thanks to performances by the Rochester Symphony Orchestra & Chorale, the Honors Choirs of Southeast Minnesota and the Rochester Male Chorus being among the most notable local music organizations.

Theater and Dance

Rochester certainly has no shortage of shows, with regular productions by the Rochester Dance Co., the Children's Dance Theatre, the Hill Theatre at Rochester Community and Technical College, the Rochester Civic Theatre, the Rochester Repertory Theatre and the Words Players Theatre.

Special Events

In Rochester, summers include vendor strolls and live music at the monthly Thursdays on First & 3rd festivals, as well as the Rochester Civic Theatre's Civic Live patio music series. There’s also live music at the Rochester Civic Music-Riverside Concerts, including the popular Down by the Riverside series. WinterFest, a two-week, mid-winter  festival held every February, also is a must-attend event.


Experience what life was like in Rochester 140 years ago at Heritage House Victorian Museum located within a beautifully preserved Italianate home, which was relocated to Central Park in 1972. The community pays respect to its local veterans at the Soldiers Field Veterans Memorial.

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