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.


Anderson Japanese Gardens
Credit: Bob Stefko

Anderson Japanese Gardens

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

Burpee Museum of Natural History 

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 by Frank Lloyd Wright
Laurent House
| Credit: Bob Stefko

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

Eat + Drink

Abreo Restaurant

Dine on a creative menu crafted from locally sourced ingredients in an upscale setting. Your dinner might include duck nachos, a ramp and Italian sausage cavatelli, and chambord crepes. abreorockford.com

Carlyle Brewing Company
Carlyle Brewing Company
| Credit: Bob Stefko

Carlyle Brewing Company

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

Josef-Barbados Restaurant and Oyster Bar

An all-white dining room showcases an international art collection, including a piece by Salvador Dali. josefs.us


Peruvian-inspired cuisine includes ceviches, a beef soufflé, and aji de gallina, a classic Peruvian dish of shredded chicken with a creamy yellow sauce. limamarrestaurant.com

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

The Norwegian

The brunch pub and live music venue serves both small and large plates, with choices like Danish pancake balls with maple syrup and house raspberry jam or salmon and eggs. thenorwegian.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


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 more information visit gorockford.com