Rochester, Minnesota has a unique subway system of sub-terranean walkways. It also has skyways so you can walk ‘outside’ in winter without freezing. While many doctors and patients come for the world renowned Mayo Clinic, there are plenty of free family friendly activities to keep tourists busy.
At the Quarry Hill Nature Center, you can enjoy year-round outdoor fun. Hike, bike, cross-country ski, and snowshoe on five miles of trails, covering 320 acres. Fish in a 2-acre pond and explore interactive displays and exhibits of area wildlife scenery. There are also cave tours and a 1,700-gallon native fish aquarium. Open Monday-Saturday, 9am-5pm, Sunday, noon-5pm.
The Cascade Meadow Wetlands & Environmental Science Center offers hands-on interactive displays focused on environmental education of energy, water and wetlands.
Soldiers Field Veterans Memorial honors veterans from SE Minnesota who died serving our country. The 60 ft circular granite walls feature battle graphics from the Civil War to the Gulf War and stories of military events and historical facts from the Revolutionary War to the Gulf War. You can see cannons from the Gulf War and World War I.
On Thursdays, explore the contemporary art exhibitions at the Rochester Art Center. The Free Thursdays, 10am – 9pm, include docent tours from 11am-1pm; bring a bag lunch.