Click here to view the Rockford Fact Sheet!
Just how big is Rockford, anyway?
How far away is Rockford by car?
How did Rockford get its name?
How did Winnebago County get its name?
What are Rockford's nicknames?
What's Rockford's ethnic heritage?
What makes Rockford tick today?
What's down by the riverside?
Did anyone famous come from Rockford?
Why do people visit Rockford?
How do you get to Rockford?
|Q.||JUST HOW BIG IS ROCKFORD, ANYWAY?|
|A. Big enough to have lots of attractions and culture, but small enough to be inexpensive and uncomplicated. Rockford’s population is 147,651 (2016), making it one of Illinois' largest cities ...smaller than Chicago, but bigger than Peoria or Springfield. Rockford’s the county seat of Winnebago County, population 285,873 (2016). The city encompasses 61 square miles, while the county covers 513 square miles.|
|A. In north central Illinois, just south of Wisconsin, halfway between Galena and Chicago.|
|Q.||HOW FAR AWAY IS ROCKFORD BY CAR?|
|A. Just a 60-minute drive west of Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, and only 90 minutes, more or less, from downtown Chicago, Milwaukee and Madison. Peoria, Bloomington, Galena, the Quad Cities and Wisconsin Dells are only a few minutes more, and it's an easy drive from Des Moines, Waterloo, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Springfield, Minneapolis and Detroit.
Visit our Location and Transportation page to find specific travel information, mileage and links.
|A. More than 3,000 rooms at a couple of dozen hotels, motels, resorts and a bed-and-breakfast. Most of the major chains are present, and many of the properties are relatively new. Some of the largest are Riverview Inn and Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, Holiday Inn of Rockford and Radisson Hotel & Conference Center Rockford.|
|A. Hundreds! A host of Rockford Originals plus plenty of chains create an exciting collection of eclectic ethnic and gourmet restaurants…from elegant places such as Josef Steakhouse & Oyster Bar to trendy bistros such as Abreo and Octane Interlounge.|
|A. CherryVale Mall; a bustling East State Street “strip” of discount chains, off-price outlets and “big box” stores; interesting specialty shops scattered all over town.|
|A. And you thought the market was dominated by quaint villages like Galena and St. Charles! With antique malls, more than 25 individual shops and several annual antique markets, this is where other antique dealers get their stuff!|
|A. In 1879, Rockford joined baseball’s first professional minor league, along with Dubuque, Davenport and Omaha. In 1943, Chicago Cubs owner Phil Wrigley formed the Rockford Peaches, a top-flight women’s baseball team for 12 years. (The team was featured in the movie A League of Their Own starring Tom Hanks, Madonna, Geena Davis and Rosie O’Donnell.) The Rockford Peaches played at Beyer Stadium, which was recently renovated. Rockford's current women's baseball team, the Rockford Starfires, plays baseball at this historic stadium. Rockford is also home to the Rockford Rivets, an expansion team of the premium college summer league, the Northwoods League. The Rivets play at Rivets Stadium located near I-90 and Riverside Boulevard.|
|A. Rockford is big enough to offer oodles of cultural events, but small enough to make them affordable. For performing arts, there is theatre, a symphony orchestra, chamber music group, dance company, outdoor concerts and two venues for big-name shows: the BMO Harris Bank Center and Coronado Performing Arts Center. Starlight Theatre at Rock Valley College has a retractable star-shaped roof, so that outdoor performances can go on, rain or shine. The visual arts are represented by a major art museum, plus storefront and loft galleries. The Rockford Art Museum has over 1,900 works of art.|
|A. Rockford has metro-quality museums, too. Burpee Museum of Natural History, host to the annual celebration of dinosaurs, PaleoFest, has created a stir among paleontologists by unearthing a rare new dinosaur, a one-of-a-kind member of the tyrannus family that they named "Jane." Child Magazine rated Discovery Center Museum as one of the top four children's museums in America. Midway Village Museum has a charming 1899 village with 24 life-sized buildings. Add to the mix Rockford Art Museum, Ethnic Heritage Museum and several historic homes: Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum, Macktown Living History Center at Macktown Forest Preserve, Erlander Home Museum and Graham-Ginestra House.|
|A. You could spend a whole weekend touring the "City of Gardens."Anderson Japanese Gardens is considered one of the top two Japanese gardens in the Western World; the other one's in Portland, Oregon. Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens at Sinnissippi Gardens, a linear park on the Rock River, brings the tropics to the Midwest. Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden has so many rare and unusual trees and shrubs, botanists say there's only one comparable site...and it's in France. There’s a year-round schedule of garden tours, flower shows, garden concerts and gardening workshops, too.|
|A. With 10,000+ acres of parks and forest preserves, there’s plenty of outdoor fun in and around Rockford. You can bike, hike, roller-blade, swim, boat, sail, picnic, camp, fish, bird-watch, ride horses, play miniature golf. The Rockford Area has 25 miles of interconnecting trails and a dozen golf courses. Enjoy the 35-acre Magic Waters, A Six Flags® Waterpark and the two huge sports complexes - Mercyhealth Sportscore One and Mercyhealth Sportscore Two and Indoor Sports Center. UW Health Sports Factory is one of the largest sports facilities in the Midwest. Watch the world-class Ski Broncs Water Ski Show Team ply the Rock River in free weekly shows during the summer. Attend car and motorcycle races at Rockford Speedway and Blackhawk Farms Raceway.|
|A. You can ice-skate indoors or out, cross-country ski, sled, snowmobile, ice-fish and bowl. The Rockford IceHogs, an American Hockey League team affiliated with the Chicago Blackhawks, plays at the BMO Harris Bank Center.|
|Q.||HOW DO YOU GET TO ROCKFORD?|
|A. Rockford is easily accessible by car from either I-90, I-39 or US Highway 20.
• There are 17 daily shuttle bus runs between Rockford and Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, seven to Midway Airport, and four daily shuttles to Chicago’s Union Station and downtown Chicago.
• Rockford is served by Greyhound Bus Lines and five rental car firms: Avis, Enterprise, Hertz and National/Alamo.
• Rockford’s international airport, Chicago Rockford International Airport (RFD), offers flights to Arizona (Phoenix, Mesa); Florida (Destin, Ft. Myers/Punta Gorda, Orlando/Sanford, Sarasota/Bradenton, Tampa/St. Petersburg); Nevada (Las Vegas); Costa Rica (Guanacaste); Dominican Republic (Punta Cana); and Mexico (Cancun).
Visit our Location and Transportation page for specific travel information, mileage and links.
|A. Hotel tax is 12% to 13%; food and beverage tax is 7.25%; retail sales tax is 8.25%.|