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89 Days

Tips for a rockin' Rochester concert road trip weekend

Down by the Riverside in Rochester, Minnesota
Down by the Riverside in Rochester, MinnesotaKate Klaus Photography

by Staff

June 27, 2022

Rochester Civic Music’s summer programming is underway, and it’s extensive. Led by new general manager Avital Rabinowitz, formerly a producer and project manager for YourClassical, the months ahead feature a wealth of live music events part of Down by the Riverside, Global Music Series, and forWARD Neighborhood Park Concerts.

Among the highlights: Them Coulee Boys (June 29), 4th Fest (July 4), Nur-D (July 10), Mavis Staples (July 24), En Vogue (August 7), Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Evening (August 14), Good Morning Bedlam (August 17), PaviElle (August 24), and Kokou Kah (August 31).

If you go, there are a ton of great reasons to stick around and enjoy Rochester. (Special thanks to Dennis Brooks, Andre Griffin, Kay Hocker, Lianna Matt McLernon, Luke Taylor, and Zeke for these suggestions.)


Pasquale’s Neighborhood Pizzeria: On the south end of downtown, the peckish music fan can find a slice of Bari, Italy, by way of New York City. Chef Pasquale Presa and his crew serve hot pizza either by the slice or as full pies, done up in the style of pizza Presa has known since his youth. Authentic Italian desserts include cannoli and gelato. Seating is available inside and out.

Redwood Room: Amid the cozy atmosphere, you'll find a bounty of gourmet pasta and pizza created by chef Clayton Welder, who claimed the title of best local chef in 2019. Add in its line-up of creative cocktails and its weekly rotation of live jazz and acoustic music, and you can't go wrong.

Crave American Kitchen and Sushi Bar: Fans of the Twin Cities Crave restaurants will find urban chic dining at the Rochester location. More upscale dining options include The Bleu Duck Kitchen and Pescara.

Five West Kitchen + Bar: A great daily breakfast option, plus lunch and dinner.

Watch for Merge Food Truck, which migrates around town. Plus: Peoples Food Co-Op (organic deli options), City Market Downtown (sandwiches, salads), Thai Pop (Thai food), Jersey Jo’s (Philly cheesesteaks), Taco JED & El Carambas (Mexican), Opa! Opa! (Greek), and Francisco's (Caribbean).


Mezza9 Cafe & Bakery: European desserts galore, plus coffee.

Chocolaterie Stam: Great for gelato and luxurious chocolates.


Cafe Steam: However you like your specialty beverages — a Dreamsicle-inspired iced latte, a matcha lemonade, or a classic flat white — you can enjoy that, cafe bites, and local music all at once. The Broadway location has periodic concerts and open mic nights, but even if you come on an off day, you'll feel more than refreshed with the spot's quaint indie vibes and resident guinea pig, Lloyd. You can also find top-notch coffee at Cafe Aqui.


Forager Brewery & Cafe: The established craft beer source added a new upscale cafe in 2021. (There’s even a Dessa show happening there on July 9.) Great craft beer is also at Little Thistle Brewing Co. and Thesis Beer Project.

Chip Shots: A bar and restaurant featuring pickleball, sports simulators, and more games.

The Tap House on historic 3rd Street: Come here for an epic rooftop happy hour.

For more local resources, check out, the Experience Rochester guide, Downtown Rochester’s tips, and Med City Beat.

Two people hike down a hill near a river and a farmers market
Minneapolis artist Andrés Guzmán created three original pieces of 89 Days of Summer artwork.
Andrés Guzmán for MPR

This feature is part of The Current’s 89 Days of Summer series, helping you enjoy the best of the season with weekly guides to events, entertainment, and recreation in the Twin Cities.

Clean Water Land & Legacy Amendment
This activity is made possible in part by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment’s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.