Rockford Illinois Day Trip

Cheap Getaways Close To Chicago – Rockford Illinois

There are many cheap getaways less than a few hours from Chicago. Rockford Illinois is one of those quintessential towns where you can enjoy your stay. It’s halfway between Galena and Chicago, and about a 60 minute drive west of Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. Plus it’s located about 90 minutes from downtown Chicago in. Winnebago County. With it’s population more than 50,000, it’s one of Illinois’ largest cities.

You can get here on public transit from Chicago as there are 17 daily shuttle buses that run between Rockford, and Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. Plus seven buses run to Midway Airport, and four daily shuttles to Chicago’s Union Station, and downtown Chicago.

So there’s no excuse for not paying this town a visit if you’re visiting Chicago. But if you’re not driving but plan to fly to the city you can come via the Rockford Airport . I come to Rockford in the winter as well as the warmer months. But I tend to come here mostly in the winter for a day or so to get some fresh air, and enjoy a change of scenery.

Things To Do In Rockford, Illinois

So where do we start? If you plan on coming when it’s warm then the summers in Rockford are hot like any typical Midwest summer, and the weather is usually in the 80’s. In the winter there’s plenty snow with temperature ranging in the 20’s to 30’s. Now it can also be lower or higher depending on the winter we’re having. So please dress appropriately for the seasons you plan on traveling.

But for those who like snow sports and winter festivals, it’s a good time to come here. Rockford can be very festive! Rockford has many attractions for you to choose from on your trip. The city has over 10,000 acres of parks and forest preserves, so there’s plenty of indoor and outdoor fun going on in all seasons.

The museums, gardens, attractions, fairs, festivals and events are interesting, and will keep you occupied for a good while.

If you’re bringing the kids, the Best Western Clock Tower Resort and Conference Center, and the CoCo Key Water Park is a place to consider.

A nice physical attribute of Rockford is that the Rock River runs through it. And when you have a river that means that there are many water attractions, and events off the river. From the Illinois Snow Sculpting Competition to the Fourth of July Festival and Water Ski Shows, the list goes on and on. They have Art fairs, street musical festivals, and Holiday Festivals.

You can go on the Forest City Queen excursion boat or enjoy one of the many museums at the Riverfront Museum Park on the west bank. Don’t worry about places to stay or eat because there are plenty of hotels and restaurants, resorts and bed & breakfast places in Rockford.

If you’re a shopper the CherryVale Mall has plenty of discount shops plus there are other unique shops in town. You can also try your hand at antique shops, and malls in town. Not only will Rockford give you a chance to enjoy your time away but you will be impressed at the richness of this city. If you’re a museum lover then you’ve come to the right place. Not only in Chicago full of museums but so is Rockford.

Some of Rockford’s Museum include:

  • The Burpee Museum of Natural History – The Discovery Center Museum is located there, it’s rated by Child Magazine as one of the top four children’s museums in America.
  • The Midway Village Museum – Has a 1899 village with 24 life-sized buildings.
  • The Rockford Art Museum – Impressive works of art. Outside of Chicago it has the largest art museum in Illinois with over 1,500 works of art. Has permanent collection of 19th and 20th Century American art.
  • The Vintage Spokes Motorcycle Museum – Great variety of vintage motorcycles. You’ll wish you had one of these.
  • The Ethnic Heritage Museum – Interesting information about culture and heritage.
  • The Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum and Erlander Home Museum.

If you are a garden lover, then Rockford has many.

People that come in the spring and fall you will discover these are great times to visit the city’s world-class gardens. You can see all the fresh blooms of colors coming in, and all the different hues. Bring your cameras to capture the great shots.

The Anderson Japanese Gardens has been rated as one of the top two Japanese gardens in the Western World. It has also been named one of Illinois’ 150 Great Places by the American Institute of Architects, Illinois Council Top Japanese Garden in America. The award is very prestigious and is given to places that have been identified by leading architects as contributing to their communities’ quality of life.

The garden has 12 acres with ponds, paths, pools, streams and waterfalls to create a unique flavor. The Japanese styled buildings capture an old world ambiance and gives the place that perfect feel. The garden is just stunning, and very tranquil. When you come here you will sense a peace about the place.

The Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden is another garden that is known for it’s many rare trees and shrubs. They have garden tours, garden concerts, and flower shows year round. So be prepared for a good time of music, fun, and of course flowers.

The city also has the Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens at Sinnissippi Gardens. The garden is right by the Rock River. You can sit just off the water and enjoy the tranquil views of the area overlooking the river. It has a tropics theme and is a very beautiful place to visit.

All of the gardens in Rockford are worth a visit, and they all have their own unique scenery to keep you interested. Not only are there plenty of gardens in Rockford but the Rockford Area has 25 miles of interconnecting trails. Plus a dozen golf courses.

There’s plenty of swinging going on here as visitors try to master their game. As a matter of fact Fodor’s chose it as “Best Mid-Sized City for Golf” in 1998, 1999 and 2000. The Aldeen Golf Club and Practice Center, operated by the Rockford Park District, has also been awarded a 4-1/2 star rating by Golf Digest.

You can bike, hike, roller-blade, swim, boat, sail, picnic, camp, fish, bird-watch, ride horses, and play miniature golf.

Did I miss anything? As you can see there’s plenty going on in Rockford!

They also have the 35-acre Magic Waters Water Park . You can ride a river boat or go see motorcycle races at the Rockford Speedway or Blackhawk Farms Raceway. So whatever you think you may want to do for your cheap getaways, it’s in Rockford!

You may be interested in going on your trip in the winter. Well don’t worry because winter is something that doesn’t limit people from enjoying Rockford. You can ice-skate indoors or out, cross-country ski, sled, snowmobile, and ice-fish.

Enjoy seeing the fan favorite IceHogs, which is an American Hockey League team affiliated with the Chicago Blackhawks, play at the BMO Harris Bank Center in Rockford. Families visit Rockford because there are so many inexpensive indoor & outdoor attractions, plus affordable family packages at places to stay in town.

So if you’re looking for a nice trip or cheap getaways, this city has what Chicago has to offer in a mid sized city environment! You will be pleasantly surprised at your visit here!

Recommended Resources for more tips for cheap getaways to Rockford.:

Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau
102 North Main Street, Rockford, Illinois 61101-1102
Phone: (800) 521-0849

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