Two-hundred-seventy-acre Quarry Hill Park (507/281-6114) is no lost wilderness, but for an urban park it’s not too shabby. Five miles of hiking trail wind through the woods and grassland, though wherever you decide to hike includes a pass though the 20-acre hilltop savanna at the center of the park. In the winter cross-country skis and snowshoes can be rented.
The kid-focused Nature Center (9 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon.–Sat., noon–5 p.m. Sun., free admission) has interactive displays, touch tables, an indoor bee hive, a 1,700-gallon Minnesota fish aquarium, a life-size T-Rex skull model, and over 100 animal mounts. The main entrance is located off County Highway 22.
The paved Douglas State Trail follows a former railroad bed through 13 miles of farmland between the northwest edge of Rochester  and Pine Island. Bikers have many more miles of paved trail crisscrossing the city along the Zumbro River and the smaller creeks that empty into it.
The best of the city’s public golf courses are Northern Hills Golf Course (4721 W. Circle Dr. NW, 507/281-6170, $27 for 18 holes) and Eastwood Golf Course (3505 Eastwood Rd. SE, 507/281-6173, $27 for 18 holes).
Though it’s not very challenging, the limestone bluffs at the Maple Valley Golf Course (8600 Maple Valley Rd. SE, 507/285-9100, www.maplevalleygolf.com , $19 for 18 holes) make it the area’s most scenic by far.