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Top Things To Do In Rockford

Rockford is a beautiful city located on both sides of the Rock River in Northern Illinois. With its rich history, the city is known for its many museums, preserved homes, and gardens. Restaurants, shops, parks, and more dot the city streets. Plus, the city is very prideful of its rock n’ roll history. So put on some Cheap Trick and keep reading for a detailed guide of Rockford’s most popular attractions and things to do while visiting.

The city of Rockford boasts an abundance of beautiful outdoor areas, an interesting history, plus a lively local culture. From botanical gardens, nature centers, and numerous hiking trails, you can stay busy outside for your entire visit. As well as the plethora of outdoor activities, you can also enjoy inside experiences at the many museums, restaurants, and antique shops.

The best things to do near Rockford include:

  • See why the Anderson Japanese Garden is said to be one of the most beautiful Japanese gardens in the country
  • If traveling with children, the Discovery Center Museum is not to be missed
  • Stroll through the magical atmosphere of the Klehm Arboretum and Botanical Garden
  • Enjoy a meal at local-favorite, Abreo, in downtown Rockford
  • Visit the Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum & Gardens which is an actual Swiss cottage overlooking Kent Creek

Events in RockfordView All

Chris Mitchell Virtual Jazz Concert (Through August 1)
Chris Mitchell Virtual Jazz Concert
online_deal
$19.98 $10.00
49% discount_off
Through 08/01/20: One General-Admission Ticket to Any Virtual Show with a Digital Download of the album I Found Forever
40+ bought
The Dancing Horses Show on Saturday Nights at 7 p.m. Only (6/6 Through 8/29)
Dancing Horses
Delavan
$44.56 $19.00
57% discount_off
Early Discount – 06/06/20 Through 08/29/20: One General-Admission Ticket to One Show on Saturdays Only at 7 p.m.
20+ bought
"One Woman Sex and the City: A Parody of Love, Friendship, and Shoes" Through July 31
One Woman Sex and the City: A Parody of Love, Friendship, and Shoes
online_deal
$19.95 $12.00
39% discount_off
Through 07/31/20: One Viewing
10+ bought
Gaylarious Virtual LGBT Stand-Up Comedy Show (June 25–August 20)
Gaylarious Virtual LGBT Stand-Up Comedy Show
online_deal
$10.00 $5.00
50% discount_off
06/25/20 at 9 p.m. ET: One General-Admission Ticket
6 bought
$132.57 for Murder Mystery Dinner & One Night Stay for Two at Periwinkle Place Manor B&B ($270 Value)
Murder Mystery Dinners In Iowa
Chelsea
4.1
icon-full icon
icon-full icon
icon-full icon
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icon-half icon
$270.00 $132.57
50% discount_off
Murder Mystery Dinner for Two with a 1-Night Stay at Periwinkle Place Manor B&B and Breakfast
Ben Seidman: Camera Tricks (July 10–July 22)
Ben Seidman: Camera Tricks
online_deal
$40.00 $28.00
30% discount_off
07/10/20 at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT: One General-Admission Ticket
1 bought
Virtual Stand-Up: Comedy's Best Kept Secret Tour 2020 featuring Dan Frigolette (May 22–July 31)
Comedy's Best Kept Secret Tour 2020
online_deal
$41.49 $6.00
85% discount_off
7/10/20 at 5 p.m. EST: One General-Admission Ticket
1 bought
Jazz Age Jeopardy: Virtual Interactive Murder Mystery Experience
Jazz Age Jeopardy: Virtual Interactive Murder Mystery Experience
online_deal
$275.00
Through 07/31/2020: Admission to Virtual Show for Up to 10 People
1 bought
Chippendales@Home! Virtual Party
Chippendales@Home
online_deal
$200.00 $150.00
25% discount_off
30-Minute Party for Up to 9 Guests + Souvenir Video
1 bought

With a rich history, beautiful parks, and cultural must-sees, Rockford is an underrated tourist destination. Nature lovers will flock to The Atwood Center to feed the birds, and history buffs won’t be able to resist exploring the many historical sites in town. These are the best-of-the-best tourist attractions to see while in Rockland.

Popular attractions near Rockford include:

  • Find that thing you didn’t know you needed with a trip to the Main Street Antique Mall
  • Take part in feeding the Birds of Prey that live in the park at The Atwood Center
  • Learn more about Rockford’s diverse history at The Ethnic Heritage Museum
  • Visit the historic Indian Hill Manor and Farm Historic District famously listed on the National Register of Historic Places
  • Honor those who served by paying respect at the LZ Peace Memorial

Summer is in full swing, which means plenty of daily activities to experience in Rockford right now. From local theater productions to guided garden walks, you’ll be busy from morning until late at night.

Exciting activities near Rockford include:

  • Check out what theater production is happening at the Starlight Theatre
  • Enjoy free admission to the Klehm Arboretum and Botanic Garden every first Tuesday of the month this summer
  • Also at Klehm is the Summer’s Coming Tranquility Walk
  • See what’s playing at Movies On Main

Rockford’s nightlife is buzzing with breweries, cocktail bars, plus plenty of venues to experience a live show or music. There are also a plethora of delicious restaurants serving all types of cuisines. Most don’t require a reservation and range in price point from low to gourmet. Treat yourself to a nice dinner and then experience entertainment from comedy, theater productions, and of course, live music. You’re sure to have a good time no matter what your night agenda holds.

Nighttime activities near Rockford include:

  • Sip on various ales, lagers, porters, and wines at the Prairie Street Brewhouse
  • Enjoy some of the best cocktails in town at Social Urban Bar & Restaurant
  • Grab a burger and fries at the 50-year-old burger chain Beefaroo
  • Try all 10-plus house beers at Carlyle Brewing Company
  • Hang out at a Rockford gem, Social Urban Bar & Restaurant, known to make you feel like you’re in Chicago or NYC

Summer is the perfect time for kids to explore new and old favorites in Rockford. Most are inexpensive, even free, activities and places to go that you as a parent can also enjoy. From the sock monkey festival, world-class museums, water parks, plus more, there are numerous things to do with kids that will leave the whole family happy.

Family-Friendly things to do near Rockford include:

  • Attend the Sock Monkey Festival which celebrates America’s most iconic toy
  • Engage in over 250 hands-on exhibits at the Discovery Center Museum
  • Explore the extinct world of dinosaurs at the Burpee Museum of Natural History
  • Beat the summer heat with a visit to Magic Waters
  • Jump start your adrenaline with an adventure at Zip Rockford

While Rockwell is well-known for its many outdoor activities, there are plenty of indoor things to do as well. So find some time to treat yourself to a tranquil massage and/or manicure and pedicure you’ve been longing for. There are plenty of ways to make yourself feel rejuvenated at the end of the day.

Rockford things to do indoors include:

  • For a little culture, visit the Rockford Art Museum which showcase art from ancient to modern
  • Relax and listen to vinyl records at vintage music shops Toad Hall and Culture Shock
  • Say “Om” to yoga at Pranayama Yoga Studio
  • Paint and sip wine at 317 Studio & Gallery
  • Treat yourself to a spa day (think manicures, pedicures, and massages) at WM DaySpa Salon

Rockford has an active community and vibrant ecosystem. Unleash your adventurous side for activities like wakeboarding, ziplining, kayaking, plus more. And if hiking is your thing, you’ll probably never hike the same trail twice if you don’t want too.

Active things to see in Rockford include:

  • Head to Alpine Hills Adventure Park for ziplining and a five-hole golf course
  • Spend a day biking and enjoying great views of the river at Sinnissippi Park
  • Hike one of the several trails at Severson Dells
  • Wakeboard on Levings Lake at West Rock Wake Park
  • Whether you’re a novice or expert on the waters, join the Adventure Club at Rocktown Adventures