Waterfall and vivid fall foliage in Anderson Japanese Gardens
Juvenile T. Rex Jane holding court in the Burpee Museum
The local vibe at Rockford City Market
Outside the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Laurent House
The balanced and airy interior of Laurent House
Roses at Sinnissippi Park Gardens
The Head of the Rock Regatta 5,000-meter rowing race
Exploring a pulley system at Discovery Center Museum
An exquisite city of gardens and golf
A Rainbow of Gardens
Rockford has been dubbed “City of Gardens” because of its 4,000 hectares of parks and public gardens. Stroll Anderson Japanese Gardens, a 5-hectare treasure featuring waterfalls, ponds, paths, quiet corners and 16th century sukiya-style structures, including a teahouse and guesthouse (visit on a Tuesday for live music in the evening). Explore 60 hectares of unusual trees, shrubs and perennials at Klehm Arboretum and Botanic Garden. Visit historical gardens reflecting those of the late 1800s at Midway Village Museum and Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum. Don’t miss the Nicholas Conservatory and Gardens overlooking the Rock River’s nature path; it’s the third largest conservatory in Illinois.
Non-stop Outdoor Recreation
For an outdoor thrill, try Zip Rockford, a state-of-the-art zipline tour. Go kayaking along the Rock River with Rocktown Adventures, or try wake boarding at West Rock Wake Park. You can swim, bike, hike or kayak in Rock Cut State Park’s 1,251 hectares. If you’re a golfer, then Rockford is paradise. Thanks to the quantity and quality of courses available, this city can be counted among the best for golf (try Sinnissippi or Alpine Hills courses). And don’t forget the kids: Magic Waters Waterpark is an exciting way to cool off.
Arts, Culture and More
Jane the T-Rex is the undisputed star of Rockford’s Burpee Museum of Natural History. The many unique exhibits will intrigue both young and old. The Discovery Center Museum houses more than 250 hands-on arts and science exhibits. Art fans will love the Rockford Art Museum, Illinois’ largest art museum outside of Chicago, with over 1,500 exhibits. Don’t miss the Coronado Performing Arts Center; its opulent interior is painted with Gilded Spanish castles, Italian villas, Chinese dragons and a starry sky for a ceiling. Mingle with the locals and enjoy a community performance at Starlight Theater. Before you leave, stop at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Laurent House, which he considered his “Little Gem.” Recently restored, this single-story Usonian home is a rare mid-century design.
Rockford was first called "Village of Midway" because it's midway between Chicago and Galena.
Rockford has a large Swedish population and is home to the Stockholm Inn, which serves thousands of Swedish pancakes a year.