Our View: It’s a good week to show off your hometown
If you’ve got visitors in town, or even if you’re enjoying a quiet holiday week on your own, this is a great time to sample your hometown — or to show it off.
Surely, as someone who lives in Rochester, you know a couple of well-kept secrets: The best place for lunch, the best place to park for some downtown shopping and dining, the best kids activities this week.
And if you’ve got relatives and visitors from out of town in tow, this is a time to show them around.
Sports fans in your house? Let’s start with the Kiwanis Hockey Festival today through Friday at the Graham Arena complex. The games in two divisions pit Rochester schools against visitors from North Dakota, the Twin Cities and Wisconsin.
Or, you can check out the Rotary US Bank Holiday Classic basketball tournament, which fills three halls at Mayo Civic Center Thursday and Friday. Sixteen boys teams and 16 girls teams will compete. One of our best-kept secrets: You can’t beat a basketball game and a box of popcorn in the 1930s-era auditorium at the civic center.
Perhaps your visitors are more interested in culture. The Rochester Art Center is hosting the Artists on the Verge exhibition through Sunday. This contemporary art show is normally a hot ticket in the Twin Cities, but was moved to Rochester this year.
There is also live music, from acoustic to rock, scheduled at local venues through the week.
As for kids activities on this school vacation week, getting outdoors is what it’s all about. Provided the weather cooperates and doesn’t melt our snow and ice, there’s sledding on local hills, and ice skating at the Soldiers Field oval. Skis and snowshoes can be rented at the Quarry Hill Nature Center, where you can also take part in a cave tour Thursday, and a nature walk Sunday.
For indoor activity, there are open swim sessions Saturday and Sunday at the Rochester Recreation Center.
In the evening, take everybody for a stroll around downtown Rochester, where Christmas lights create photo-ready scenes on the Peace Plaza and especially on the Mayo Clinic campus.
Then stop at one of Rochester’s restaurants. The local restaurant scene is getting recognition from elsewhere: Two local chefs, Youness Bojji, at Casablanca, and Kari Davi, at Forager’s, were recently listed by Twin Cities magazine as among the top chefs in the state.
So, it appears folks in the Twin Cities are finally discovering what Rochester has to offer. It’s time for us to do the same, and make this holiday week a time to celebrate — and show off — our hometown.