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Rochester, MN Event Planning

Key Highlights

Hotels 36
Total Sleeping Rooms 4,206
Committable Sleeping Rooms* 616
Committable Meeting Rooms* 14
Convention Center Space 120,000 Sq. Ft.
Largest Exhibit Space 200,000 Sq. Ft.
Largest Ballroom 38,586 Sq. Ft.
Average Hotel Room Rate USD $101
Average Daily Meal Cost USD $51
Average Weekly Car Rental USD $262
*Maximum for a single hotel

Rochester, MN Meeting Planning Overview

Attracting approximately 2.6 million visitors per year with its rare combination of modern sophistication and small town charm, Rochester is quickly becoming a sought-after destination for both business and leisure travelers. Centrally located in America's heartland, Rochester is fewer than 550 miles from 16 major metropolitan areas. Meanwhile, flying into Rochester is a breeze with the Rochester International Airport located just a short 10-minute drive from the downtown district. Offering connections to more than 600 destinations, Rochester International is a convenient gateway for the city. Just 90 minutes away, the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport is another popular option for air travelers.

Once in Rochester, visitors will have no trouble navigating the city. Easily managed and pedestrian-friendly, Rochester's climate-controlled skyway and underground walkway system allows easy access to nearly 4,000 hotel rooms, the Mayo Civic Center as well as a surplus of shopping, dining and entertainment options. This unique patchwork of indoor neighborhoods keeps the city bustling all year long. In fact, Prevention magazine named Rochester one of the Top 100 Walking Cities in the U.S.

When it comes to meeting facilities, Rochester is also on top. From intimate retreats to large convention halls, the city is home to some of the most spectacular event spaces in the Midwest. The centerpiece for meetings and conventions is undoubtedly the stunning Mayo Civic Center. As southern Minnesota's largest event facility, the center features 120,000 square feet of meeting space including a 25,200-square-foot exhibit hall, an 11,800-square-foot auditorium and a 25,000-square-foot arena. Surrounded by 11 acres of lush parkland and connected via skywalk to restaurants and hotel rooms, the civic center makes it easy to combine business with pleasure.

In addition to the Mayo Civic Center, several other facilities top meeting planners' list of traditional Rochester event venues. Just moments from the Rochester International Airport, the Rochester International Event Center offers 13,000 square feet of space, on-site catering in a fully-equipped gourmet kitchen, and free high-speed Internet access. Alternatively, the Olmstead County Fairgrounds and Graham Arenas, with 94,000 square feet of indoor event space, is the site of choice for the county fair, antique shows, concerts and exhibitions. The city's spectacular $2.9-million Peace Plaza is also an unexpected spot for meetings and events.

From museums to historic homes and gardens, Rochester has a range of unique options that impart a true taste of the city. Host a meeting at the awe-inspiring three-story atrium of the Rochester Art Center. Step back in time at the lavish Mayowood Mansion by enjoying its 38-room manor, teahouse and surrounding gardens. For an evening of sumptuous tapas, groups can gather at Sontes restaurant's private function space for up to 40 people.

The fastest growing city in the state, Rochester enjoys a thriving economy based heavily on the world-renowned Mayo Clinic. The clinic provides care for more than 500,000 patients per year and employs over 31,300 people. Additionally, the Rochester campus of IBM is one of the company's most prominent manufacturing centers and employs nearly 4,400 residents. The city is also home to several high profile colleges and universities including the University of Minnesota Rochester, the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester Community and Technical College and Winona State University-Rochester.

About Rochester, MN / Additional Info

Nestled along the banks of the sleepy Zumbro River, Rochester shines as Minnesota's 3rd largest city. Spanning approximately 39 square miles across the southeastern part of the state, Rochester is also the largest city outside of the Minnesota-St. Paul-Bloomington Metropolitan Area. Although fairly compact, Rochester packs a powerful punch, serving as home to nearly 110,000 people and winning accolades including the title of Best Small City in America from Money magazine.

Founded in 1854 by George Head, Rochester began as a modest frontier town attracting settlers with its fresh water and fertile lands. The arrival of the railroads in the 1860s brought new businesses and residents to the area including Dr. William W. Mayo, an examining surgeon during the Civil War. When the Great Tornado of 1883 struck Rochester, it was Dr. Mayo and his two sons who cared for the thousands who were wounded in the absence of a medical facility.

Today the Mayo legacy lives on in the Rochester community, most notably at the world-renowned Mayo Clinic. For a personal look at the Mayo family, guests can explore the grand Mayowood Mansion. This Minnesota Historic Site has been preserved as it was lived in by its last occupants Dr. and Mrs. Charles W. Mayo. Or, tour the ornate Italian Romanesque structure Assisi Heights, where the Sisters of St. Francis established the first hospital in Rochester, pre-dating the clinic.

History comes alive in many of Rochester's other grand homes and attractions. The charming streets of Historic Mantorville are bursting with examples of early 20th century Greek Revival, Italianate and Gothic Revival architecture along with a wealth of cozy eateries and shops. Tour downtown's Heritage House to see what life was like for a middle-class Midwestern family over 125 years ago, or explore the History Center of Olmstead County to uncover Rochester's storied past through rare pictures, maps and exhibits.

For those who wish to explore the great outdoors, Rochester's 60 miles of recreational trails do not disappoint. Offering beautiful skyline views and rural scenery, Rochester's City Trail System is one of the finest in the country. Avid fisherman flock to the area's plentiful trout streams, rivers and lakes, while bird watchers can spot everything from bald eagles to migrating songbirds along the shores of Rochester's waters. Golf enthusiasts will also be right at home on the rolling greens of one of nine magnificent courses.

Shopaholics can take a whole different twist on outdoor recreation in Rochester. An antique lover's paradise, the city is peppered with vintage shops and antique stores. Visitors can take a stroll through the Antique Mall on Third Street where dealers sell a range of collectibles, from estate jewelry to home furnishings. Stop in at Blondell Antiques for folk art and Scandinavian antiques, or peruse the impressive selection of fine arts and crafts in glass, metal, wood, clay and fiber at the Callaway Galleries. With so much to do, it's no wonder that visitors are quick to congratulate the city with its enthusiastic cheer of "Rah Rah Rochester!"

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