Rochester has a robust network of bike trails and enough bike-friendly restaurants, breweries, museums and public plazas to satisfy all your vacation desires. Biking here reveals a city full of world-class urban amenities without the complications, long lines and high costs of a bigger city. So grab your helmet and follow us on a whirlwind 24 hour bike-vacation in Rochester!
Start your biking vacation at Peace Plaza, the crown jewel of downtown Rochester. Peace Plaza is a focal point for all things shopping, events and street-art in Rochester. Whether it’s hosting a summer concert series, an annual dog show, or a group bike ride, there’s always something unique happening at Peace Plaza!
While you’re downtown, pick up a coffee at Café Steam or Old Abe’s Coffee Bike before heading to the Rochester Farmer’s Market to pore over its overflowing selection of baked goods, cheeses, produce, farm crafts, flowers and plants.
From there it’s just a short jaunt to the incredible, 329-acre Quarry Hill Nature Center. Wildlife is abound at Quarry Hill, home to 35 Minnesota-native animals, a 1700 gallon aquarium with seven varieties of fish, and two raptors! The adjacent Quarry Hill Park features paved and hiking trails, a pond, and a historical man-made sandstone cave.
By now you’ve probably worked up an appetite, and it’s only a fifteen minute ride to the award winning Tonic Local Kitchen and Juice Bar. Tonic serves up one-of-a-kind organic juice blends, hearty breakfasts, wraps, salads, and soups—as they say, it’s good food that is good for you. Or for something saucier, head to Roscoe’s Root Beer & Ribs for tender succulent ribs, juicy chicken, fantastic pulled pork and thin sliced Brisket among other things.
After lunch, take the riverfront bike path to the Rochester Art Center. Behind its soaring, copper and zinc-plated walls, you’ll find world-class exhibitions and programs that encourage questioning, creativity, and critical thinking. With programming for all age-levels, the Rochester Art Center is a winner for the whole family.
As afternoon fades into evening, saddle back up to explore the city’s burgeoning craft brewery scene. Start downtown with a drink at Grand Rounds Brew Pub, a small batch brewery and restaurant housed in the historic Union Block building.
From there it’s a quick ten minute ride to Forager Brewery, and don’t even think about reaching for your wallet—customers who bike or walk to Forager receive a complimentary tulip (5.5oz) of beer each time they visit!
When you’re ready to get those pedals turning again, continue your brew-tour with a trip to theLTS Brewing Company, just another short fifteen minutes away on the Douglas State trail.
The next morning, after a comfortable stay at one of Rochester’s many outstanding lodging options, you’ll probably want to do two things: eat a good breakfast, and get one last look at the city. Fortunately, you can do both at the People’s Food Co-Op. Scratch-made muffins, scones and kuchen, baked daily, perfectly compliment the bakery’s selection of organic coffees and espresso drinks. And as the sun reflects off the humble downtown skyline, end your Rochester bike-vacation by relaxing on the co-op’s expansive outdoor patio. Take a sip of your coffee, nibble on a perfectly-baked pastry, and start dreaming of the many exciting things you’ll do on your next bike-vacation in Rochester.
Brian Fanelli is a writer and editor for Explore Minnesota. When he isn't writing about life in The North, you'll find him browsing the sci-fi shelves in a local bookstore, biking one of Minnesota's spectacular trails or walking his Chihuahua around Minneapolis.
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