Rochester Minnesota SocialICE And A Bustling Metropolis

I don’t know about you, but for me as I had experience Rochester most of my life, I considered it a sleepy little town that happened to be the headquarters of Mayo Hospital. But my most recent experience with Rochester showed me that I was wrong, Rochester is a bustling metropolis confident of its position as tourist destination, educational center, cultural center, sportsman’s destination and world-class Medical Research Center wrapped up all in one.

Rochester Minnesota SocialICE And A Bustling Metropolis

One of the Great Ice Bars at Rochester SocialICE 2016

My sense of Rochester now is that it was a little Chicago or little New York City situated in southeastern Minnesota and more and more people are going to soon be aware of this fact.

Rochester SocialICE

The purpose of this particular trip was to cover Rochester’s 8th annual midwinter SocialICE event. The Rochester Convention & Tourism Bureau was rightfully excited about this event and wanted to spread it much wider than the local region so they brought me in as a media influencer just help spread the word.

Rochester Minnesota SocialICE And A Bustling Metropolis

The Wonder and Excitement of Rochester SocialICE 2016

I got into town and checked into my hotel that the bureau had arranged for me. They put me up in an executive suite up on the locked executive floor, I knew this was going to be a great adventure!

I met with Mary Gastner and Megan Malugani, part of the staff of the Convention Bureau to get an overview of the SocialICE event and of course of Rochester itself. They gave me an amazing overview of the city and also the plan of things to come. During the meeting I remember hearing an acronym DMC and the next day on the news I heard the acronym again. I’m at a point in my life where I have learned to take seriously concepts that I hear multiple times in a very short succession.

Rochester ‘s DMC Plan

Rochester ‘s DMC plan is a twenty year $6.5 billion plan to transform Rochester into a Destination Medical Center.

Check out this great article here:  The $65 billion 20 year plan to transform an american city

Rochester World Wind Tour

So with that in mind, some of the new energy and locations that I had seen on this particular trip will make more sense. We started the evening off at a hip swank coffee joint in downtown so that Mary and Megan could give me the overview of the city. Mary is a seasoned veteran with over 14 years of knowledge and experience and she was communicating the highlights of the Rochester area. She totally knows her stuff and I know I’m going to be using her as a resource for many more trips to the area in the future. Of course I was a little overwhelmed with all of the possibilities of here to go, what to shoot and what to experience. I knew I had to focus on the SocialICE event in that would be my core focus for the evening.

Rochester Minnesota SocialICE And A Bustling Metropolis

The Excitement of the Ice Bar at Rochester SocialICE 2016

As we were taking our world wind tour of downtown, Newt’s Restaurant was pointed out to me as the home of the Juicy Lucy. As the evening went on I was able to sneak back to notes to try to get in and even later in the evening there was a long waiting line to get in so I knew it had to be crazy popular.

Rochester Minnesota SocialICE And A Bustling Metropolis

Newt’s is gorgeous and the best burger in town.  Home of the Juicy Lucy. 

I was surprised to find out there were three or four beer joints popping up all over downtown and it sounds like even more are planned. Rochester is certainly becoming a place that has many places that are interesting to the palate and it would keep many foodies interested for days.  Places of note, Newt’s restaurant mentioned above, Chesters, Pescara and many many more.

Rochester Minnesota SocialICE And A Bustling Metropolis

University of Minnesota Rochester Campus

I had no idea University of Minnesota has a campus right downtown but I guess as I look now that would not be surprising at all. Rochester is a high-tech scientific town that needs to keep up with all the latest and greatest science and research and it just makes sense to have a college campus right downtown.

Rochester Minnesota Architecture

If you follow my work you know I love interesting architecture and rochester does not disappoint in this arena either. Of course there’s the original Mayo Hospital right downtown. It’s Architecture stunned me as I was driving down 2nd Avenue and route to my hotel. The particular building I’m talking about is the grey slate building that immediately captures your attention.

Another building associated with the Mayo is the Plummer Building. The Plummer Building in Rochester, Minnesota is one of the many architecturally significant buildings on the Mayo Clinic campus. This new “Mayo Clinic” building, opened in 1927, added much needed space to the ever expanding Mayo practice.

Rochester Minnesota SocialICE And A Bustling Metropolis

Amazing Incredible Hulk Ice Carving in front of The Gonda Building

And another from the Mayo collection is the Gonda Building.

The Gonda Building is a medical building owned by the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and designed by Ellerbe Becket Architects and Engineers.

Rochester  Minnesota SocialICE 2016

So of course the real purpose of this particular trip was the SocialICE event.

The actual event is is simply a community celebration. The main concept is that a bunch of businesses create ice bars, yes like outdoor saloons for the whole community to come and enjoy the winter. Plenty of adult libations are flowing and the DJ has the music thumping to keep the energy high! The crowd was much larger than I expected for Thursday evening, the mood was exuberant and everyone was having a great time.

The Kissing Booth Rochester Minnesota SocialICE And A Bustling Metropolis

Tap House Kissing Booth Rochester SocialICE 2016

SocialICE Ice Sculptures

There were quite a few really great ice sculptures from a local and regional artists. One of my favorites was the Incredible Hulk partially because of the exceptional quality of the carving but also because of the great backdrop of the Gonda Building.

One of the surprise ice carvings that I saw was an ice carving from TEDx which of course is the sponsor of the great and incredibly popular TED talks. Rochester will be the home of their first TED talk sometime in the near future.

Ted Talks Rochester Minnesota SocialICE And A Bustling Metropolis

Rochester to Host their First TED Talk 

So I hope this post gives you a sense of the excitement and expectation of both what’s currently in Rochester but of all the great things to come. I know we will be going back to Rochester in the spring and summer to go on the walking excursion of all the great historical neighborhoods.
I also want to visit and capture the incredible grounds of the Assisi Heights cloister. Some of the images I’ve seen are really quite beautiful.


I hope this whets your appetite and sense of adventure for discovering for yourself what is in and around Rochester to see to experience to explore.

And until next time, get out and capture the adventure.

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Written by Wayne Moran - Visit Website