If you’re planning a trip to Rockford, Illinois, don’t let the small town’s lack of national recognition deter you; there’s plenty to see and do for visitors.
Things To Do In Rockford IL, If you’re a nature lover you won’t be bored in Rockford, where there are numerous botanical gardens, nature centers, rockford attractions and hiking trails to explore.
Additionally, you can spend some quality time indoors by visiting the city’s numerous museums. These institutions will transport you back in time to learn more about this region of the country and its people.
Orchards, where you can pick your own Illinois produce, as well as leisurely cruises on the Rock River or Rockford attractions, the city’s primary waterway, are among the city’s other popular attractions, in addition to the museums and loves park.
List Of 15 Things To Do In Rockford IL Today
1. Rockford Art Museum
Visit the Rockford Art Museum, which has been around since 1913 if you’re looking for a little culture in Rockford. Over 1,900 works of art, ranging from antiquity to the present, are housed in the museum’s holdings, which include paintings, sculptures, and photographs.
The museum’s collection includes works by a wide range of artists, but the primary focus is on Illinois-based works, and visitors can expect to see three different galleries with both permanent and rotating exhibits at rock cut stat at North Americane park.
The museum’s attached shop, where you can purchase items made by local artists as a memento of your trip to Rockford, is another excellent option like in Anderson Japanese Garden.
2. Kegel Harley-Davidson
If you love motorcycles and want to visit the world’s oldest family-owned Harley-Davidson dealership, head over to Kegel Harley-Davidson midway village.
As well as an award-winning display of Harley-Davidson motorcycles, this dealership houses a riding school and a gift shop selling memorabilia and apparel associated with the iconic brand in Northern Illinois.
3. Klehm Arboretum and Botanic Garden
Located on 155 acres, Klehm Arboretum and Botanic Garden is a veritable living museum, home to rare trees and plants from all over the world.
Attractions include a Butterfly Garden and an area for children to play. In the winter, you can go skiing or snowshoeing on the trails that cross the beautiful landscape. You can take a self-guided tour of the arboretum, or you can reserve a guided tour in advance.
4. Burpee Museum of Natural History
This Midway Village museum is an excellent place to learn more about the geology of Illinois and the surrounding area. The Diary of a Dinosaur exhibit, which follows the life of a T-Rex skeleton named Jane, which was discovered in Montana, is one of many interesting exhibits available here.
Homer, a triceratops skeleton discovered in the area, is also on display at the Midway Village Museum, along with four other sections that focus on different topics. In addition to a rooftop garden and a Rock River Valley exhibit, there is also an educational component.
In addition to the fact that Burpee is a working museum, you can even watch staff and researchers working on specimens like newly discovered dinosaur bones at sinnissippi park.
5. Stockholm Inn
The Stockholm Inn in Rockford, Illinois, is a must-stop for anyone who enjoys sampling new cuisines and cultures. The Stockholm Inn serves, as you would expect from the name, a whole host of Swedish classics such as fluffy pancakes and delicious meatballs with mashed potatoes.
Since the inn has been in operation since the 1940s, you can rest assured that you will be part of Rockford history while you dine on some of the city’s most renowned Scandinavian cuisine.
6. Anderson Japanese Gardens
As one of the country’s best-known Japanese gardens, Anderson Japanese Garden should not be missed when you’re in town if you appreciate stunning landscaping.
You’ll find koi ponds, babbling brooks, waterfalls, and manicured gravel gardens in the 12 acres of land that make up the gardens’ landscape.
The gazebos, which are modeled after those from the 16th century, add a traditional touch, and it’s a peaceful haven in the middle of the city. The on-site restaurant serves seasonal and organic dishes made with local ingredients.
7. Discovery Center Museum
The Discovery Center Museum in Rockford is a must-see for anyone visiting with children. There are over 250 exhibits in this museum aimed at teaching younger visitors about art and science, and it’s a fun place for the whole family to visit.
Additionally, there is a planetarium, a television studio, and even a special Tot Spot for toddlers to explore.
8. Main Street Antique Mall
There are over 15 antique shops in the Main Street Antique Mall in Rockford, Illinois, which is a great place to go if you’re looking for a unique souvenir.
It doesn’t matter what you’re looking for; the mall has a wide variety of stores that sell everything from furniture to jewelry and vintage clothing to home decor. Stores like Nancy’s Old Fashioned Candy specialize in oddball merchandise.
9. Atwood Center
There are 334 acres of beautiful land and the Kishwaukee River bisecting Historic Seth B. Atwood Park. Atwood Center is a part of Atwood Park.
If you want to learn how to take self-guided walks through the park and participate in feeding the birds of prey, the Atwood Center is the best place to begin your journey.
If you’d like to stay longer and see more of the area, you can do so at the center, where you’ll find walnut, hickory, and oak forests, as well as a quarry, a prairie, and a dry creek bed, among other sights is a fun thing to see at North America.
10. Ethnic Heritage Museum
Amazingly, the Ethnic Heritage Museum was built in 1850 and is located in the city’s former water power district.
Different sections of the Riverfront museum park are dedicated to different ethnic groups that have had an impact on Rockford’s history.
African Americans, Italians, Irish, Poles, Hispanics, and Lithuanians are just a few of the many ethnic groups represented in this melting pot of a city and their contributions to its development.
11. Curran’s Orchard
Curran’s Orchard is a must-visit for anyone interested in sampling the best of Rockford’s fresh produce.
Pick your own apples like Yellow and Red Delicious at this family-owned business, or indulge in some of the home baked goods sold here like the mouthwatering apple pies or the signature apple doughnuts downtown rockford.
If you’re in the mood for a drink, try the award-winning apple cider on sale here, which is a local favorite. Other delectables include maple syrup, apple butter, and fresh pumpkins. Hay rides, an apple slingshot, and an animal petting zoo are just some of the weekend activities available to visitors.
12. Forest City Queen Riverboat
It would be a waste to visit Rockford and miss the opportunity to see the city from the water, given its location on the banks of the magnificent Rock River.
The Forest City Queen Riverboat, which has been in service since 1979 and can carry up to 49 passengers, is one of the best ways to experience this iconic waterway. You’ll learn all about Rockford’s past and future as you cruise along the Rock River’s banks, and you’ll be able to see all of the city’s most famous landmarks at Museum Center.
13. Indian Hill Manor and Farm Historic District
This historic district, which includes Indian Hill Manor and Farm, is well-known in Rockford for its stunning views of the Kishwaukee and Rock rivers. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.
You can take a tour of the estate, which dates back to the 1900s, to see the manor house, the preserved coach house, and the dairy farm that is located nearby. There is a wealth of historical information to be found on the property, which is part of the larger Indian Hill Forest Preserve at upcoming events.
14. LZ Peace Memorial
To honor those who served their country, the LZ Peace Memorial in Rockford serves as a poignant memorial for visitors at tinker swiss cottage.
To honor those who perished in the Vietnam War, the monument includes a Wall of Honor and an authentically restored Huey helicopter that flew missions in the country.
15. Rockford City Market
If you want to meet local farmers and vendors who have a wide variety of local produce for sale, Rockford City Market is the place to go at cherry valley.
Fruits, vegetables, eggs, cheese, flowers, and baked goods are just a few of the local delicacies. In addition, there are home-cooked meals on the menu, as well as local wines to go along with them.
Even if it rains, you can still enjoy the festivities because there will be live music under a covered pavilion.
FAQs Things To Do In Rockford IL
Is Rockford worth visiting?
Rockford, Illinois, is affectionately known as the Forest City for its abundance of green spaces and historical museums. There are numerous nature preserves and parks in the area, making it a popular destination for people who enjoy cycling, hiking, and spending time outdoors.
What is there to do in Rockford IL in the winter?
Skate on the Eclipse Lagoon in Sinnissippi Gardens on the Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens campus when the weather permits. The Rockford Park District hosts the Illinois Snow Sculpting Competition, a free community winter event.
Why is Rockford called Forest city?
Because of the lush forest that stretches along the river valley, early settlers dubbed it “Forest City. The “City of Gardens” moniker has gained popularity recently. A riverside trail and several magnificent public gardens are just some of Rockford’s parkland’s many features.