what to pack
Click on the season below in which you'll be visiting Rochester, MN, to find helpful packing tips. Follow the suggestions and people might just think you're a Minnesota native.
When All Else Fails
Rochester's downtown buildings are connected to an above and below ground tunnel system called skyways and subways. In true, hardy, Minnesota form, there are no subway cars in this system. It's for walking from building to building in an environment that maintains a steady 68 degrees. The luxury lies in the fact that you don't have to step foot outside. If you plan to use the subways/skyways while you're here, be sure to pack comfortable shoes. Click here to see all hotels connected to the subway and skyway system.
Brrr!! These are Rochester's coldest months. December brings snow and cold temperatures in the 20s. January and February offer average high temps in the 20s and below, often with wind chills that make it feel well below zero.
How to Dress for Minnesota Winters
- Bring a coat. Be sure it is a very warm-rated one, preferably with wind protection and including natural fibers like wool and down — especially if you'll be spending any significant time outdoors.
- Accessorize. Don't worry as much about beauty as practicality. Warm-rated scarves, mittens, hats or ear warmers, and insulated boots are a must. We lose most heat through our heads, so hats are critical. The more it looks like something Elmer Fudd wore, the warmer it will be.
- Layers aren't just for cakes. Minnesotans are comfortable in sweaters and jeans, sometimes layered with long underwear or long-sleeve t-shirts. Layering clothing allows you to adjust to your own comfort level.
March is a combination of winter with hints of spring thrown in on any given day. Average temps are in the 30s. April temps begin to increase to the 50s and spring is beginning to thaw the frozen ground. May's average temps move into the 60s.
How to Dress for Minnesota Springs
- Variety outdoors. In March dressing warmly is still a must for outdoor adventures, but you can lighten up your coat, hat, mittens, and other accessories for a less warm rating. Don't forget to bring boots to trudge through the snow or slush from melting snow. In April, light jackets and gloves are a good idea. In May, they're generally optional, but nighttime temps still get a bit chilly.
- Layers? You bet! If you'll be indoors most of the time, long sleeves and jeans are the norm. Layering clothes is a great idea so you can adjust your comfort level throughout the day as the weather changes.
- Lighten up! It's in spring, particularly April and May, that Minnesotans begin to wear a combination of summer and spring clothing-indoors, light sweaters, short sleeves with pants, and in late May, even shorts.
June is nearly perfect. Temps are in the upper 70s during the day with little humidity. July, and August are the warmest months of the year in Minnesota. Temps range from the 70s to 90s. Watch for the humidity to spike in late July and August. Humidity makes the heat uncomfortable and is not something enjoyed by even the hardiest of Minnesotans.
How to Dress for Minnesota Summers
- Bring on the shorts! Summer attire such as t-shirts and shorts, tanks and flip-flops are most comfortable. If you need to dress more formally, short-sleeved shirts and suits and dresses made of light, breathable material will enhance your comfort.
- Plan ahead. Don't forget a light sweater or sweatshirt for the cooler evenings outdoors.
- Stay dry. Minnesota's varied climate can include the occasional thunderstorm or light rain. Bring a raincoat and umbrella to be prepared.
Things start to cool down again, as Minnesota ushers in another season. September brings slightly cooler temperatures back down into the 60s. Daytime temps can be comfortable, in the 70s, but cooling down substantially in the evenings. October is a cooler month still, and temps can change significantly throughout the year. It is a crisp time of year that can also bring some unusually warm daytime temps. November often closes out fall but begins to feel like winter as temps average in the 30s.
How to Dress for Minnesota Falls
- Get out those coats. In early fall, temps can range from the warmth of summer to the coolness of fall. Bring light jackets for outdoor activities. In October, add a pair of gloves to the mix. November gets colder yet, so a warm jacket, hat, and mittens will keep you warm.
- Layer it on. Dressing in layers is a great idea beginning in October. The temp can change substantially from morning to evening so if you want to stay comfortable, wear a variety of clothing, some of which you can shed as the temps change.
- Mix it up. With fluctuating temps this time of year, it's important to be prepared with variety. Jeans, long-sleeved shirts, and even a few shorts and short-sleeved shirts will keep you comfortable in September. Moving into October and November, light sweaters and long-sleeves are important.