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Peace Plaza Fact Sheet

December 16, 2010

Related Document: PeacePlazaFactSheet.doc

Rochester's Peace Plaza offers a space for residents to enjoy local events and festivals while taking in the sights and sounds of a bustling downtown.  The Peace Plaza hosts outdoor concerts, markets and events, and serves as a slice of nature in a downtown where millions of travelers visit each year.

Peace Plaza

A community gathering spot and link between the many downtown shops, restaurants and attractions, the $2.9 million Peace Plaza spans First Street SW between Mayo Clinic and the University Square complex opened in June 2008 and features:

  • A bright blue "river" of decorative groundcover, symbolizing the many rivers in the area.  The "river" illuminates with underground lights at night and winds through the square.
  • The newly restored Peace Fountain, with its bronze birds reaching for the sky.  Monitored by a wind-powered sensor, the fountain's cascading water makes it a centerpiece of the plaza.
  • Ample green space, which ties the modernized plaza with a slice of nature.
  • Seating for gatherings and for downtown employees to enjoy during their lunch hour.
  • Space for outdoor concerts and events.
  • Welcoming bird tower lights, lit with multicolored LED lights which follow the "river" through the plaza, leading to the Peace Fountain.


While strolling through the Peace Plaza, visitors and residents alike will encounter not only a welcoming and beautiful area, but a number of unique shops and restaurants that add to the downtown Rochester experience.  Some of these attractions include:

  • Many restaurants that offer outdoor seating on the Plaza such as Martini's, Chester's Kitchen and Bar, VINO and Mac's Café.
  • The SEMVA Art Gallery, which offers a wide variety of works from regional artists.  Additional shopping is available on the street surrounding the plaza.
  • The nearby Kahler Grand and Marriott Hotels, two of Rochester's full-service hotels, both with over 60 restaurants and shops on their underground pedestrian walkway (which connects to the Mayo Clinic buildings), street and mezzanine levels.
  • The world-renowned Mayo Clinic campus.  Many of the 32,348 Mayo Clinic employees frequent the plaza during their lunch hour.  Mayo Clinic also houses the 56-bell Rochester Carillon, the most complete carillon in North America.
  • The historic Chateau Theater, built in 1927, which is best known for its exterior sunburst-design marquee, along with its unique "French village" décor.  Refurbished in 1994, the elegant theater now houses a Barnes & Noble Bookstore and Starbucks Café. 
  • The adjacent University Square complex, housing the University of Minnesota at Rochester and a rich array of independent specialty boutiques like Sopra Sotto, with imported Italian housewares, and the Nordic Shop, offering the largest selection of Scandinavian sweaters in the area.


The Peace Plaza hosts numerous events throughout the year, like the summer market, which brings artists, vendors and musicians to the plaza weekly from May through September.  Noontime entertainment with music and theatrical performances, as well as a winter market, fashion shows, an Octoberfest celebration and many, many more are just some of the events that visitors and residents can experience.  Area organizations and business also can rent the plaza for private events.


For more information on Rochester's meeting capabilities, please contact Mary Gastner at
800-634-8277 or mgastner@rochestercvb.org or visit http://www.rochestercvb.org/.