Arts and Culture in Rochester, MN

Rochester Symphony Orchestra & Chorale in Rochester, MN
Rochester Symphony Orchestra & Chorale in Rochester, MN

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

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 can drop by the SEMVA Art Gallery, the Gallery on First Avenue or Broadway Jewelry and Visual Arts. The Taylor-Gebler Gallery at the Professional Skaters Association headquarters celebrates the sport of ice skating with beautiful statues and sketches.


Rochester’s music scene is a feast for the ears, with performances by the Rochester Symphony Orchestra & Chorale, the Bella Voce Young Women's Choir, the Choral Arts Ensemble, the Honors Choirs of Southeast Minnesota, the Rochester Area Girls Choir, the Rochester Aria Group, the Rochester Male Chorus and the Rochester Music Men Barbershop Chorus.

The city also has several stellar performing orchestras, including the Southeast Minnesota Youth Orchestra, the Lyra Baroque Orchestra, the Rochester Chamber Music Society, the Rochester Community Band and the Southeastern Minnesota Suzuki Association.

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, SEMSA - Southeastern Minnesota Suzuki Organization, the Theater du Jour, the Vertigo Theatre Factory, and the Words Players Theatre.

Special Events

The city of Rochester also hosts many special events. Summers include vendor strolls and live music at the monthly Thursdays on First & 3rd festivals, as well as the ARTigras arts festival held annually in August. There’s plenty of live music at the Rochester Civic Music-Riverside Concerts, including the popular Down by the Riverside series, and the C4 Downtown creative space. WinterFest, a two-week winter sports-awareness festival held every February, is a must-see.


Rochester has a rich historical background as well. The landmark Avalon Music building, formerly the Northwestern Hotel and then Avalon Hotel, was the only hotel in town to accept African-American guests prior to desegregation. Elsewhere, visitors can soak up the stories at the Heritage House and Soldiers Field Veterans Memorial.

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