Community Series: A Guide on Things to Do in Downtown Rockford, IL

June 28, 2019

Rockford, IL is making a comeback. The third largest city in the state, Rockford has received some much-deserved attention in recent years, especially with regards to the revival of its downtown area. As more and more developments occur, it can be overwhelming to try and figure out where to go and what to do if you want to stop by.

If you’ve ever thought about paying downtown Rockford a visit, we’ve got just the guide for you. Keep reading to learn about 5 different kinds of attractions you’ll encounter on your next trip there.


1. Nature

As a city whose biggest focal point is the river that runs through it, Rockford loves showing off its natural features. There are plenty of nature spots all over the downtown area, and all of them provide their visitors with unique experiences.

  • Go on a mini tropical vacation among the plants featured at the Nicholas Conservatory. Plus, if you’re there on Food Truck Tuesdays, you’ll get reduced ticket prices and your pick of on-the-go food fare.
  • Find inner peace on a walk through the Anderson Japanese Gardens. Once that’s done, try your hand at ikebana or participate in a traditional tea ceremony.
  • Explore the grounds of the Beattie, Davis, Haight, Ingersoll Centennial, and Wester Whether you’re catching an outdoor concert, playing on a playground, or simply moseying about, there’s a little something for everyone to do at each location.


2. Museums

Who doesn’t want to see some museums? Conveniently grouped in the Riverfront Museum Park, you’ll find three there that will help you make new discoveries, all within walking distance from the heart of downtown Rockford, IL.

  • Answer your questions on fossils and local wildlife at the Burpee Museum of National History. Wednesdays in the summer are especially wonderful there, with special events held all day and live music in the evening.
  • Got kids? Share incredible moments with them at the Discovery Center Museum. Make some art, jet through outer space, complete mazes and puzzles, and learn just about everything together in more than 300 interactive exhibits.
  • Pop by the Rockford Art Museum to see diverse collections from modern and contemporary American artists. With tours and art classes available at any time, there’s always something new going on at the RAM.


3. Art

Rockford doesn’t limit its appreciation for the arts to one locale; in fact, there are several places you can visit downtown to satisfy all of your artistic sensibilities.

  • Peruse art galleries like The Underground, Gallery 610, and 317 Studio and Gallery. Displaying works from local and international artists, you won’t be disappointed by all there is to see.
  • Marvel at the illustrious architecture and performances of the historic Coronado Theater. Named one of AIA’s top 200 places to visit in Illinois, you’ll find yourself transported to another time while watching the concerts, plays, and comedic acts they feature.
  • Gaze at stars when visiting the award-winning Bengt Sjostrom Starlight Theatre. With a kinetic roof that opens to the sky, this venue’s live performances are incomparable to any other.


4. Dining

Restaurants are one of the most important amenities a city can offer. Fortunately for you, downtown Rockford has too many great options to choose from. Unfortunately for us, we have to limit them to the brief suggestions below. For other great options, check out Rockford’s own restaurant guide here.

  • Take a scenic bar crawl near the Rock River by checking out Prairie Street Brewing Co., the Carlyle Brewing Co., and the Oasis Micro-Pub. With all offering unique craft beers, such as Rockford’s own Nikolob, these spots will make any beer enthusiast raise a glass in admiration.
  • Reserve your date night at Abreo or the Social Urban Bar & Restaurant. With their low lighting, modern décor, and masterfully prepared cuisine, either locale strives to serve you an unforgettable experience.
  • Grab some coffee from the Rockford Roasting Company or Wired Café. Whether you prefer a hip or quirky atmosphere, both of these coffee shops ensure that your first visit certainly won’t be your last.


5. Shopping

No matter where you decide to visit, make sure you still have time to shop! As with their eateries, the streets of Rockford’s downtown are lined with unique storefronts.

  • Brush off some thrifted finds at White Light Mercantile or Salvaged by Sonya. The first offers vintage apparel while the second sells upscale resale furniture.
  • Treat yourself to beauty products and treatments from Arch Apothecary. For still more pampering, you can visit Lucette, a holistic salon and boutique located a few blocks down the street.
  • Browse mysterious items available Luna Datura’s Curious Gifts. From crystals to incense to pottery, you’ll be sure to find something that piques your curiosities.

Now that you have an idea of where to go downtown, you need to make sure you have enough extra cash to get you there! Don’t let life get in the way of taking a fun trip to Rockford or someplace new. Whenever your immediate finances are at risk, let Illinois Lending lend you a hand with one of our loans. Not sure where to start? Using our payment calculator will help you find the personal loan that’s right for you.

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