The Mayo Clinic forms the core of Rochester’s economy. The clinic’s many facilities, along with hotels, restaurants and retail stores, comprise nearly the entire city’s downtown. A number of Rochester buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places, including the former Chateau Theatre and Avalon Music, formerly a hotel important in the local civil rights movement. Rochester’s park system is large with over 100 sites and several trails like the Root River and Douglas State Trails, which were developed on historic rail passages.
Minneapolis and adjoining Saint Paul make up the “Twin Cities.” Minneapolis is somewhat younger with modern skyscrapers compared to other large cities. Saint Paul has been likened to an East Coast U.S. city or a European city with quaint neighborhoods and a vast collection of well preserved late-Victorian architecture.