4 Places to Visit in Dog-Friendly Rochester

By Investigative Dog-porter Kramer Canine. Photos: K. Lessard.

I recently found my furry self with something rare – an entire just-for-me day off. Whomever shall I meet? What new place can I discover today? The answer came just moments later as I put paw to map and headed south for a mini Dachshund-like day trip to Rochester, Minnesota.

Rochester is roughly an hour-and-a-half drive from Minneapolis. Humans likely know this city for the Mayo Clinic and IBM; dogs, if they haven’t already visited, should add it to their My-Snout-Must-Visit List. Between the paths, parks, and everything in between, Rochester offers a great day for humans and canines alike. Just don’t mistake the cool Corn Water Tower for a late-night snack.

Here’s just a few reasons I give Rochester two paws up and a Basenji tail wag:

Quarry Hill Nature Center (pictured above).  Where oh where do I begin with this treat? Quarry Hill Nature Center is amazing: over 300 acres of beautiful nature to see, listen to, and smell…and smell like a Pointer I did. Leashed dogs who are respectful of wildlife (read: no chasing!) are welcome in many outdoor areas of the park. I saw geese, toads, birds, mallards, and butterflies—and my sniffer was on overdrive. Don’t forget to be a good canine citizen and remind your humans to bring your water bottle and poo bags; extra bags are available free of charge at the front sign.

Roscoe’s Root Beer & Ribs. You’ll sniff the BBQ goodness long before you, er, your humans, walk up and place your order. That’s right – I woofed walk up and place your order. Roscoe’s delicious casualness allows you to stand proud and tall while your order is taken and picked up. You’ll have your choice of seating under umbrellas (or without, if you’re a sun loving pup). Water bowls are available upon request, for as the staff says, “We get A LOT of dogs!”

Forager Brewery. I dig the Forager Brewery patio. It’s cozy, intimate, and surrounded by green and flowers and … again, I digress. Forager offers small-batch beers made onsite, sustainably, with local ingredients – ones also used in their tasty pizzas…not that I’d know personally because I didn’t sneak a bite, they just looked delicious. The folks at Forager Brewer are working on creating their own dog biscuits and non-alcoholic “dog beer” – check the website from time to time to see when they become available. Water bowls are available upon request; treats are offered when in stock. And make sure to stop by at Halloween for their annual outdoor dog costume contest.

Book ReviewI just happened upon this bookstore as one of my humans is into comics, and Book Review doesn’t disappoint. Besides offering comics, they also have a nice supply of used books, sports cards, and games. If you find yourself a bit parched, just ask them for a little water taster and they’ll be happy to oblige.

If you’re the social type, don’t forget to check out the local dog parks during your visit. Tell ‘em Sidewalk Dog’s Kramer sent ya!

(Don’t forget to share your MN adventures with #SidewalkDog. We’ve got loads more dog-friendly action in our directory, too. Anything we missed? Speak!)

[Related: Inspiration for visiting dog-friendly Northeast Minneapolis, South MinneapolisExcelsior, and St Paul’s MacGroveland; more adventures of Kramer; the heartwarming story of two famous Rochester dogs]

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