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Experience: Picture yourself here

Want to dig in and get a deeper look at what it's like to be a learner on our campus in Rochester, Minnesota? Learn more about the reasons people choose Mayo Clinic and what they do while they're here.

A day in the life: Meet medical student Diana Hla


A day in the life: Meet medical student Diana Hla

Complete your Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science experience checklist

Your education is shaped by your time in our hospitals, outpatient buildings, research labs, classrooms, and simulation centers. Beyond that, there’s more to be discovered in and around the campus and city.

To fill your breaks and days off, let us suggest a dozen can’t-miss activities that are student and trainee favorites.

Student at Mayo Clinic racing up a flight of stairs as part of Climb the Clinic
See how fast you can race to the top of our tallest clinic buildings.

Participate in Climb the Clinic

Residents taking photos at Thursdays on First & Third festival
Grab lunch and stay awhile at this weekly summer festival.

Take in Thursdays Downtown

Student reading book in Plummer Library
Learn in the exact spaces where the Mayo brothers did.

Study in the Plummer Library

Outdoor photo of ice sculptures in a city center
Grab a hot cocoa and make sure you bundle up!

Enjoy SocialICE

My Brother and I statue at Mayo Clinic
Take a selfie in this iconic spot on campus.

Pose with the Mayo Brothers statue

Exterior photo of skyway system at Mayo Clinic
Avoid the weather with our extensive above-ground and below-ground indoor walkway system.

Get lost in the subway and skyway system

Piano player in the Gonda lobby
Enjoy the music or play it yourself.

Listen to the piano in the Gonda Building lobby

Group photo of learners holding ice cream bars, smiling at camera
Take part in the annual celebration of Mayo Clinic's history.

Join in with the festivities of Heritage Days

Table display with spinach and pumpkins piled high at the farmers market
Open year-round with seasonal produce, food stalls, and more.

Spend a morning at the farmers market

A falcon perched on a gloved-hand
Tune in every spring, when our resident falcons nest on a campus building with a 24/7 live camera.

Follow along with Hattie and Orton

Person sitting in a lawn chair, facing a large outdoor movie screen reaching into a bag of popcorn
Bring some snacks and take in an outdoor concert.

Catch a show at Down by the Riverside

Group of students on a sand volleyball court, all looking at camera and smiling
Find a league for nearly every sport in every season.

Join a recreation league or create your own

Local(ish) state parks

Local(ish) state parks

Minnesota has amazing sights and sounds, and some of the best places to find them are at our state parks.

Carley State Park is known for its impressive wildflowers throughout the summer and cross-country skiing in the winter.

Perched on the Mississippi River, Frontenac State Park has beautiful views, camping, and hiking trails.

Explore the hidden falls at Nerstrand Big Woods State Park, and then in the fall, watch the leaves change.

Whitewater State Park has several popular hiking trails and is home to the historic Elba fire tower.

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Winter outdoor options

Winter outdoor options

During the winter, our trails and parks turn into areas for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and sledding.

Rinks are set up for ice skating and hockey. One of the most popular areas is the Soldiers Field loop!

And don't forget about some of the lesser known activities, like curling and broomball. There are several ways to participate and get involved for both competitive players and those who just want to try something new.

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Hiking, walking, and biking

Hiking, walking, and biking

After you get familiar with the Rochester parks and trails system, try one of the many other trail options in Rochester.

Quarry Hill has eight miles of paved and hiking trails, an events and activities center, and more.

The Douglas State Trail is a popular, paved 12.5-mile path between Rochester and Pine Island and is the optimal bike ride.

Just a few miles from Rochester is Oxbow Park and Zollman Zoo, perfect for hiking, camping, picnics, or enjoying the free zoo and play area!

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Beaches, paddling, and canoeing

Beaches, paddling, and canoeing

There are several areas to swim, lie on the beach, or do some paddling.

Our urban lakes, Silver Lake and Cascade Lake, are both close to downtown and feature paved trails, paddling rentals, parks, and more.

Perfect for an afternoon are Foster Arend Park and Chester Woods Park. Both have several amenities, including a beach area, fishing, and access for canoeing, kayaking, and paddleboarding.

A short drive from Rochester are larger bodies of water, Lake Zumbro and Lake Pepin, both of which are perfect for boating and other aquatic activities.

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Summer outdoor options

Summer outdoor options

In addition to summer events and activities, there are several ways to enjoy the warmer months.

Taking in a Rochester Honkers game at Mayo Field is a great way to spend a summer evening. You'll definitely want to grab a photo with Slider.

If you prefer to get off the sidelines and into the game, explore recreation league options. From sand volleyball to kickball to ultimate frisbee, these are some of the most popular activities among our learners.

Rochester is also home to several golf courses, disc golf courses, and green spaces to enjoy a relaxing, sunny afternoon.

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Keep exploring

When you need a weekend getaway

One of the best things about living in Rochester is its proximity to weekend adventures in the surrounding region. Head in any direction and within just a couple hours, you’ll find big cities, small towns, and everywhere in between.

Skyline view of Minneapolis

Road trip to the Twin Cities

St. Paul is Minnesota’s capital and the "twin city" to Minneapolis. You could say the Twin Cities are where much of the action takes place. While they seamlessly blend together, there are a few differences. Minneapolis has metropolitan flair and is a hub for performing arts, nightlife, and pro sports. St. Paul is historic and has a more relaxed vibe, situated on 26 miles of the Mississippi River. They both have outstanding food and drink scenes, family-friendly entertainment, and options for live music, shopping, events, and arts and culture.

Woman with her dog sitting on a paddleboard in a lake

Spend a weekend on one of the 10,000 lakes

Does Minnesota really have 10,000 lakes? The answer is yes! There are actually more than 10,000, if you want to be precise. With this many lakes spread out across the state, the options for fun on the lake are plentiful all year-round.

Some of the more popular vacation destinations "up north" are the Brainerd Lakes area, Detroit Lakes area, and even farther north, Bemidji. From swimming and boating in the summer to ice fishing and snowmobiling in the winter, no matter what draws you to the lake, you’ll find the perfect area to rest and relax.

A lighthouse on a cliff side with water beneath in Minnesota

Head up the North Shore

Just four hours north of Rochester, you’ll find Duluth. Duluth is its own vacation destination, but it’s also the start of the North Shore Scenic Drive right along Lake Superior.

The North Shore area is full of natural beauty, dramatic landscapes, and so much to see and do. People flock to enjoy the sights and sounds of Lake Superior, state parks, camping, hiking, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and other outdoor activities.

Street in a small town with old buildings

Take in the small-town charm of bluff country

Scattered around the outskirts of Rochester are several small towns full of charm. Each has its own unique style and activities, but they all have a hometown feel. In the very southeastern corner lies the Root River State Trail. A top spot for biking and river tubing, Lanesboro is also a popular destination for canoeing, fishing, and fine arts. To the east, you’ll run into the river towns of Lake City, Winona, Wabasha, and Red Wing along the mighty Mississippi River. These cities played a key role in Minnesota’s history and carry a historic appeal.

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