Just 90 minutes northwest of Chicago, Rockford is reinventing itself as a weekend-worthy destination, with attractions such as the Anderson Japanese Gardens, Discovery Center Museum and Nicholas Conservatory and Gardens.

By The editors of MidwestLiving.com
Updated March 01, 2021
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Due to possible pandemic-related travel restrictions, please check destinations' websites for the current status of attractions, events, restaurants and lodgings.

What to do

Anderson Japanese Gardens Twelve acres of gardens offer a tranquil space for walking and reflection. andersongardens.org

Anderson Japanese Gardens
Anderson Japanese Gardens

Burpee Museum of Natural History (Currently closed for renovation; check website for reopening updates.) Check out exhibits such as Jane: Diary of a Dinosaur, exploring the discovery and the restoration of a juvenile T.rex staffers unearthed in Montana. burpee.org

Discovery Center Museum Kids can touch a tornado or learn how pulleys work. discoverycentermuseum.org

Klehm Arboretum and Botanic Garden A glass visitors center is the gateway to 155 acres of gardens, a labyrinth, a butterfly garden and mature woodlands laced with walking paths. klehm.org

Laurent House Tour the only wheelchair-accessible home Frank Lloyd Wright designed (for a WWII vet). laurenthouse.com

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. midwayvillage.com

Nicholas Conservatory and Gardens Exotic plants, sculptures and a mural depicting town history fill this conservatory in Sinnissippi Park. nicholasconservatory.com

Rockford Art Museum The collection emphasizes regional artists at the location in the Riverfront Museum Park. rockfordartmuseum.org

Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum and Gardens A time capsule of Rockford history, the 1865 Swiss chalet-style home preserves furnishings, diaries and collections. tinkercottage.com

Where to eat

Abreo Restaurant Dine small-plates-style in an upscale setting. abreorockford.com

Carlyle Brewing Company A European-style alehouse features pub grub and 10-plus house beers. carlylebrewing.com

Carlyle Brewing Company
Carlyle Brewing Company

Josef-Barbados Restaurant and Oyster Bar An all-white dining room showcases an international art collection, including a piece by Salvador Dali. josefs.us

Mary's Market Made-with-care goodness shines in every cookie, pie and bread loaf at this favorite for hearty sandwiches, soups and sweets in Edgebrook. marysmarket.com

Octane InterLounge The owners' album collection gives this funky downtown hot spot a cool vibe; try the homemade soups and vegetarian fare. Octane on Facebook

Stockholm Inn Don't miss the Swedish pancakes. stockholminn.com

Where to stay

Riverview Inn and Suites Overlooking the Rock River, this hotel resembles an old hunting lodge-the type of place Teddy Roosevelt might have stayed. choicehotels.com

For information visit gorockford.com