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
The balanced and airy interior of Laurent House
Exploring a pulley system at Discovery Center Museum
Aiming for the green from the fairway at Aldeen Golf Club
Packed house for a concert at the Coronado Performing Arts Center
Prairie Street Brewing Co. along the Rock River in downtown Rockford
Watching the Head of the Rock Regatta in the Rock River
Open-air shows on the stage of the Starlight Theatre at Rock Valley College
A city of gardens, rivers 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 five-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. Anderson was named the highest-quality Japanese garden in North America by Sukiya Living Magazine. Explore 60 hectares of unusual trees, shrubs and perennials at Klehm Arboretum & 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 & Gardens overlooking the Rock River’s nature path; it’s the third largest conservatory in Illinois.
Non-stop Outdoor Recreation
For outdoor thrills, soar through the air on a zip line tour experience at Zip Rockford. Go kayaking along the Rock River with Rocktown Adventures, or try wakeboarding 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 the Sinnissippi or Elliott courses. Don’t forget the kids: Magic Waters, which is now a Six Flags 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 science 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 Theatre. Before you leave, stop at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Laurent House, which the acclaimed architect considered his “Little Gem.” Recently restored, this single-story Usonian home is a rare mid-century design.