Rockford Trip Guide | Midwest Living

Rockford Trip Guide

Just 90 minutes northwest of Chicago, Rockford (population: 153,000) is reinventing itself as a weekend-worthy destination.

Rockford, Illinois’ downtown glimmers across the Rock River.

Rockford, Illinois’ downtown glimmers across the Rock River.

What to do

Anderson Japanese Gardens Tea ceremonies and origami classes enhance a visit to the 12 acres of tranquil gardens, where meditation sessions take place. (815) 229-9390;

Burpee Museum of Natural History See Jane, a juvenile T. rex  that staffers unearthed in Montana. (815) 965-3433;

Coronado Performing Arts Center The 1927 movie theater and vaudeville palace hosts a resident symphony and a dance company. (815) 968-0595;

John Erlander Mansion Swedish furniture, woodwork and decor fill this 1871 Italianate home. (815) 963-5559;

Laurent House Tour the only wheelchair-accessible home Frank Lloyd Wright designed (for a WWII vet) the first and last weekend of each month. (815) 877-2952

Midway Village Museum Twenty-six historical buildings filled with artifacts take visitors back in time to a farm town of the late 1800s and early 1900s. (815) 397-9112;

Nicholas Conservatory and Gardens Exotic plants, sculptures and a mural depicting town history fill this conservatory in Sinnissippi Park. (815) 987-8858;

Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum and Gardens Focus on the storybook look of this 1865 Swiss chalet-style museum preserving the Victorian furnishings and collections of a prominent Rockford family. (815) 964-2424;

Where to eat

Abreo Restaurant Dine small-plates-style in an upscale setting. (815) 968-9463;

Carlyle Brewing Company A European-style alehouse features pub grub and fresh-brewed beer. (815) 963-2739;

Roma Bakeries Inc. Cannoli and other Italian treats attract multitudes to this 91-year-old bakery at the south end of Main Street. (815) 964-6737

Stockholm Inn They claim to serve 2,500 breakfasts on weekends. Don’t miss the Swedish pancakes. (815) 397-3534;

Where to stay

Cliffbreakers Riverside Resort Overlooking the Rock River, this hotel resembles an old hunting lodge—the type of place Teddy Roosevelt might have stayed. (815) 282-3033;

For information: Rockford Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (800) 521-0849;


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