Rockford is home to a variety of outdoor adventures and cultural experiences that appeal to all types of travelers. To help visitors explore this scenic city, a local guide has been compiled to provide up-to-date recommendations. Read on for a comprehensive guide to Rockford that offers everything from must-see scenic spots to local hangouts.
The downtown area is brimming with local shops a local guide to Rockford, IL and boutiques. If shoppers are looking for unique gifts and souvenirs, Paperdoll Boutique is a must-visit. This independent store carries a curated selection of apparel, accessories and gift items that will suit all tastes. Those who love to shop on a budget can visit the Rockford City Market, which was launched in 2010 to bring local makers and dreamers together for shopping and scrumptious treats.
To learn more about the history of Rockford, a trip to the Burpee Museum of Natural History is an excellent choice. The museum features numerous fossils, indigenous artifacts and various archaeological collections. Some of the notable exhibits include a juvenile Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton and an ancient canoe and wigwam made by Native Americans.
Other notable museums in the city include the Art Museum of Illinois and the Discovery Center. Both offer an excellent range of exhibitions and activities for adults and children alike, including lectures, family game days and members-only events. The Discovery Center is also home to an impressive planetarium and an interactive stingray tank.
If nature enthusiasts are looking for an adventure outside of the city, Rock Cut State Park is a great option. The 3,092-acre park features two lakes, allowing for fishing and boating, as well as hiking, biking and horseback riding. Visitors can also take a stroll through Klehm Arboretum and Botanic Garden, which has over 500 different plant species and ecosystems.
Another popular spot for nature lovers is the Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens on the banks of the Rock River. The conservatory is home to a variety of exotic plants and flowers, including orchids and butterflies, and guests can check the website for monthly free days and other events. After a day of exploring, visitors can head to Sinnissippi Rose Gardens for a relaxing stroll amongst the beautiful flowers and enjoy the views.
A visit to Rockford is incomplete without sampling the local cuisine. The city has a wide variety of eateries to satisfy all cravings, from fast-food options to gourmet dishes. One of the most notable dining establishments is Flo’s Wood Fired Pizzeria, which was founded by Sicilian-born brothers Daniele and Davide Uccello. The restaurant’s wood-fired pizzas are a must-try, and visitors can also try other authentic Sicilian foods such as antipasti and pasta.
If a night of entertainment is on the agenda, visitors can attend a concert or Broadway show at the Coronado Theater. The city’s many clubs and bars are a good place to catch musical performances by local talents, while people who love rum can visit Rockford’s whiskey lounges. The city also has several theater groups and a symphony orchestra to choose from.