Rockford has so many incredible restaurants, attractions, and locally owned shops that it is hard to know where to start when planning a day in the city. I am here to help! In this intern’s guide to Screw City, I’ll point you in the direction of some of my favorite spots in Rockford to add to your must-see list of places to visit!



Rockford Art Deli 402 E. State Street, Rockford, IL. 61104

You simply cannot visit Rockford without making a stop at Rockford Art Deli to take a little bit of the city home with you. RAD is the premier destination for merchandise of all things Rockford related. They have a vast supply of t-shirts, stickers, glasses, patches, and many other items all designed with Rockford in mind. Whether you are a first-time traveler to the city, or are a long-time native, make sure to grab a souvenir at Rockford Art Deli to keep that Rockfordian spirit with you wherever you go!


Beef-a-Roo 2558 Auburn St., 61116 N 2nd St., 3401 S Alpine Rd., 6593 Lexus Dr., 1608 N Alpine Rd., 6380 E Riverside Rd., 4601 Adamson Ln., 5109 Rockrose Ct.

If you are in town and looking for a quick bite to eat, take a swing through Rockford’s very own, Beef-a-Roo. This fast-food chain is local to the Rockford area and has been since its start in 1967. There are 8 locations across the Rockford region, so it is always right around the corner when you are hungry for some cheese fries and a chocolate shake (or one of their gourmet salads if you’re in the mood for something light and fresh). Don’t miss out on this Rockford classic food stop.


JMK Nippon 2251 N Perryville Rd. Rockford, IL 61107

If you have a little more time to sit down for a meal, I recommend heading to JMK Nippon for some authentic Japanese food served Hibachi style. They are open for lunch in their café and dinner that comes with a show! JMK never fails to entertain guests while preparing their food and has been building that reputation since 1984 when it opened in Rockford. This family-owned restaurant is perfect for newcomers to the city, as well as lifelong residents.


Inzombia Coffee 306 E State St, Rockford, IL 61107

A recent addition to Rockford’s growing list of coffee shops is Inzombia Coffee on East State Street. The shop opened in June 2022 and has been thriving ever since. The storefront is full of 90s nostalgia and allows customers to adapt drinks to their specific tastes. They are constantly adding to and evolving their menu and ‘blend’ perfectly with Rockford’s coffee crowd. If you are looking for something to keep you energized during a day in town, stop by Inzombia for the perfect pick-me-up!

B @ mural

Downtown Murals Map of the Murals

Thanks to the CRE8IV Transformational Art Festival, which has been held in Rockford each summer since 2019, over 30 murals have been added to Rockford’s art landscape across the city. I highly recommend mapping out the locations of the artworks and taking a driving tour past each of them. They are a gorgeous backdrop for Rockford inspired photoshoots and make a perfect addition to any visit to the city.

Rock Cut State Park kayaking

Rock Cut State Park 7223 W Lane Rd. Caledonia, IL

My favorite place to spend time outdoors in Rockford is Rock Cut State Park. This state park covers 3,092 acres and features both Pierce Lake and Olson Lake for fishing, boating, kayaking, and other water activities. The Outdoor Store is operated by Rocktown Adventures and offers watercraft rentals, bait for sale, kayaking safety classes, and stand-up paddleboarding lessons. Connected to the Outdoor Store is Lone Rock Café which offers food and drinks to replenish park goers during a day of adventuring. Rock Cut is the perfect spot to spend an hour, a day, or a weekend either on the water, hiking, picnicking, or camping.

riverfront museum

Riverfront Museum Campus Ste 3, 711 N Main St. Rockford, IL 61103

Learning comes to life at the Riverfront Museum Park! At Burpee Museum of Natural History, you can learn about our very own Jane the dinosaur and other prehistoric creatures. Or, you can explore the wonderful world of science through family friendly experiments, activities, crafts, and games at the Discovery Center Children’s Museum. If you are looking for a more refined experience, then check out the Rockford Art Museum and their collection of modern and contemporary American artworks. The Riverfront Museum Park has a little something for everyone and is perfect for a fun and educational day in Rockford for the whole family!