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Winter Fun

Five Hot Ways to Spend a Cool Day

In Rochester, winter gets a warm welcome! When the ponds freeze and the snow falls, the fun heats up. So lace up your boots, grab a hot cocoa, and embrace winter with our top five recommendations on how to spend a winter day.

  1. Hit the trails. Enjoy Rochester's tranquility and sparkling winter landscapes when you cross-country ski or snowshoe at one of the city's many parks or trails. There are more than eight miles of trails at Quarry Hill Nature Center, a 329-acre park minutes from downtown that is free and open year-round. Rental equipment is available at Quarry Hill, and may be used off-site as well.                                                                                                                                                                                    
  2. Take the ice. Bring a friend - or meet a new one - when you lace up your skates and hit the ice at one of Rochester's many skating rinks. Rent skates and stay indoors for an open skating session at the Rochester Recreation Center, or bundle up and glide around one of the city's eight outdoor rinks. At select rinks, there are warming houses to keep your toes toasty and lights to extend your skating hours into the evening.                                                                                                
  3. Slide away. Zip down one of Rochester's favorite sledding hills with your family. Go old school and bring your own sled to one of Rochester's most-beloved hills, or sign up for a snow tubing session at Ironwood Springs Christian Ranch, 17 miles south of Rochester. Ironwood Springs provides the tubes and a towrope, and features a warming house and lights for night tubing.                                                                                                                                                                                             
  4. Get back to the basics. Throw your agenda out the window and just play! Visit one of Rochester's more than 100 city parks and build a snowman, have a snowball fight, or simply take a walk. Two of the city's biggest and best parks are Silver Lake Park and Soldiers Memorial Field Park. Both are peaceful, wooded retreats just a heartbeat from downtown Rochester.                                                                                                                                                                                 
  5. Cozy up. Rochester loves its fireplaces, and so will you! Curl up in front of one at The Forager, a multi-faceted coffee shop/market/restaurant/microbrewery specializing in small-batch beers and wood-fired pizzas. Twigs Tavern & Grille features an elegant fireplace foyer and is known for its butternut squash ravioli and gluten-free dining options. Or enjoy a smokin' martini or other specialty cocktail-and, if you're hungry, a prime grade steak or fresh seafood entree--near the gigantic fireplace at 300 First, located in a century-old downtown building three blocks north of Mayo Clinic. 

Rochester is a hotspot for distinctive, only-in-winter annual events that celebrate the season. Make plans to join us for WinterFest in late January and early February, and for SocialIce, Rochester's ice bar, in early- to mid-February.