Rochester MN Guide to Summer + Bucket List


The Rochester MN Guide to Summer + Bucket List is sponsored by Experience Rochester MN

summer events

Summer has finally arrived!  You know what that means…endless activity out and about in our city to make up for the time spent indoors. The Rochester MN and SE Minnesota areas have so many activities and events for you and your family. Use our Rochester MN Ultimate Guide to Summer and free printable Bucket List to choose your own adventure!

With 12 categories (and some bonus categories too!) and over 120 ideas, you’re sure to find a way to make 2021 your best summer ever.  Simply scroll down (and scroll and scrolls!) and click on the icon in the category to jump to that list.

Print out the checklist below and you can fill in what you’d like to do to truly customize your summer!  Have fun, friends.  Cheers to the best summer yet!

Experience Rochester MN

Experience Rochester MN is the official destination marketing organization for Minnesota’s Rochester: America’s City of Care & Innovation. Visit for an in-depth summer events calendar, and to explore things to do, festivals and events, dining, nightlife, shopping, and entertainment. A valuable resource for visitors and residents, Experience Rochester MN is your go-to organization for information on the city’s scenic beauty, the culture of caring, and friendly faces. Find your “destination inspiration” and savor your summer with Experience Rochester MN!

Summer Events Rochester MN
Summer Events Rochester MN
Summer Events Rochester MN
Summer Events Rochester MN

Ultimate Guide to Summer + Bucket List

Summer Events Rochester MN
Summer Events Rochester MN
Summer Events Rochester MN
Summer Events Rochester MN
Summer Events Rochester MN
Summer Events Rochester MN
Summer Events Rochester MN
Summer Events Rochester MN
Summer Events Rochester MN
Summer Events Rochester MN
Summer Events Rochester MN

FREE Printable - Rochester MN Summer Bucket List

Join us as we explore all that Rochester MN has to offer this summer, and enjoy the customizable FREE printable below to hang on the fridge!

The Great Outdoors

Back to Top

Day Trips

Below is a list of great cities to visit as well as things to do while you’re there!

Field Trips

Check out these great local destinations for even more things to do!  Below you’ll find parks, museums, attractions, and more!

  • Visit the otters, Northwoods animals, playscape anymore at Oxbow Park
  • See if you can climb the Elba Fire Tower!  Bonus, it’s very close to Whitewater State Park!
  • Visit the National Eagle Center in Wabasha.  This center is very kid-friendly with demonstrations, classes, and even an opportunity to fish for food to feed the eagles.
  • Lark Toys is a must-see! It is a place where magic, childhood, and fun all combine into a store/amusement park/mini-golf course/treat shop/museum/zoo.
  • The Science Museum of Minnesota is always a huge hit!
  • The Minnesota History Center in St. Paul is not your typical history museum! No roped-off areas where you just gaze at decaying smelly artifacts. Interactive. Full hands-on experiences and some very unique immersion experiences await you!
  • Check out the many permanent interactive zones (construction! climbing! growing!) at the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota in Mankato.
  • We love the Minnesota Zoo!  This is just a short drive away and has a day’s worth of fun animal adventures.
  • Rochester is fortunate to have many nearby state parks.

Back to Top

Festivals & Concerts

There are so many local festivals and concerts to attend in and around Rochester.  These events are listed by date for easy reference! Check out our list complete list of Outdoor Music events here!




Back to Top

Local Love

Rochester has so much to offer during the summer months. Why not become a tourist in your own city!  Consider exploring places and things you’ve never seen or done before.  Here’s a list to get you started!

Back to Top

Around the Neighborhood

  • Join our Community and Conversation Group to meet other moms and families near you!
  • Plan a Family Movie Night!
  • Attend a forWARD Neighborhood Park Concert
  • Have a camp out in the backyard
  • S’mores Bar (Try Reese’s Peanut Butter cups,  salted caramel chocolate squares, use Nutella instead of chocolate, etc)
  • Build a giant slip-n-slide and get crazy with foam or shaving cream
  • Water Balloon wars…We LOVE these! Worth the price to us!
  • Family Game Night! Pick out a new game – these are our favorites!
  • Play Giant Jenga or another awesome DIY Backyard Game!
  • Plan a neighborhood squirt gun war!  Winner picks the show for the next neighborhood movie night!
  • Create a neighborhood Scavenger Hunt (get inspiration here and here)
  • Ultimate Summer Beverage Contest: who can create the ultimate summer refresher?
  • Find all your amazing summer produce at the Rochester Farmers Market
  • Host an outdoor movie night
  • Make special treats and deliver them to neighbors
  • Have a neighborhood sidewalk chalk art contest
  • Organize a Neighborhood Garage Sale

Back to Top

Food & Drink

Back to Top

Fun Family Activities

Around Rochester

Indoor Fun

Around the House or with Friends

Back to Top

SE Minnesota Love

Back to Top

Sports Enthusiasts

Back to Top

Staying Cool

Trying to beat the heat?  Check out these great ideas and destinations to stay cool this summer!

  • Burn off some energy indoors
  • Read, explore, create and connect at the Rochester Public Library (Library Express!)
  • Visit your childhood with vintage arcade games at The Machine Shed
  • Visit the Spark (formerly Minnesota Children’s Museum – Rochester) for an afternoon of fun!
  • Head to the grocery store and pick out a new fruit or vegetable
  • Explore the subway downtown…can you find Carroll’s Corn?
  • Hang out at the mall play area right outside Scheels
  • Rent some skates and go ice skating at the Rec Center!

Back to Top


There are so many area pools, beaches and other ways to stay cool in the water in our area! Check out our Complete Guide to Swimming in SE Minnesota! And for even more fun: check out all the things you can do on the water that AREN’T Swimming.

Back to Top

Rochester MN July Events

Looking for a fun family event or maybe something just for you?  Check out our Guide to August Events!

Rochester MN Guide to August Events | Rochester Mom

Still Need More Ideas?

Is there anything more quintessential than a summer parade?  We love a good parade, and our kids do too. 

Thursdays Downtown is THE place to be for food, fun, and all things Rochester MN!

Our comprehensive list of of all the breweries in Rochester MN!

Why not take the opportunity of the beautiful weather and summer sunshine to get an updated family photo?

Take a coffee tour around Rochester to all our great coffee spots!

Our comprehensive list of of all the taco trucks in Rochester MN!

Some people are real ice cream snobs, while others are just happy with any old frozen, sugary treat. In an effort to be inclusive, soft serve, gelato, frozen custard, and frozen yogurt are all included in the Rochester MN ice cream guide.

Our Guide to Running, Races & Fun-Runs: a complete guide to all the races and fun runs in our area! These events are almost all family-friendly and are great opportunities to get out and get running!

We’ve rounded up some nearby pizza farms for you to enjoy while the sun is still high. Enjoy the friendly, country settings and the delicious local food for a truly special summertime experience!

Check out this list of 9 (no food) date ideas in the Rochester, MN area as well as these summertime date ideas!

Rochester MN has fantastic hiking with unique characteristics and loads of natural beauty. Even better? There are some great trails and hikes just out your back door and there are some great ones for families!

Because we strongly believe in getting out and enjoying some adult time, we’ve put together a helpful guide to downtown Rochester, MN happy hours.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here