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Arts & Culture

Arts & Culture

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Day 2 >>

And The Curtain Goes Up…fun-Coronado-ceiling.jpg

The theatre, arts and cultural districts in Rockford are second to none. Whether it’s the soothing sounds of the symphony…the hot sounds of a blues nightclub…or the excitement of a live concert, you won’t want to miss our downtown River District and historic neighborhoods. 

ARTS & CULTURE TOUR
Day One, morning

Put on your walking shoes! If you happen to be visiting our glorious downtown May through September, one Saturday each month you can join in the River District Historic Walk-Abouts. A popular and free two-hour walk explores the rich architectural history of a different downtown neighborhood each month. Haight Village, Rockford’s only residential National Register Historic District, provides a visual history of our city’s early architectural styles. This fourteen-block district is just a few blocks south of downtown and blends a unique mixture of Victorian elegance and urban living. 

Day One, afternoon

fun-Rockford-Art-Museum-gallery.jpgA quick jaunt north will take you to the Rockford Art Museum, withover 1,900 works of art; noted for its permanent collection of 19th and 20th Century American art. Tucked away immediately south of the art museum is the charming, historic Indian Terrace Neighborhood. It’s a unique lake-resort type atmosphere where most homes enjoy river frontage. As Rockford’s third protected historic district, Indian Terrace has proudly preserved the original condition of its Arts & Crafts, Prairie and Shingle Style homes. The historic Coronado Performing Arts Center, an ornate movie palace and vaudeville hall built in 1927 for $1.5 million, has been restored and renovated to the tune of $18.5 million. It’s a delightful combination of what architects call “entertainment baroque,” with gilded Spanish castles, Italian villas and Chinese dragons in relief on the sides and a starry false sky. Spirited performances can be seen during the Rockford Symphony Orchestra season, or catch a night of piano, mezzo-soprano, opera, ballet or any number of Broadway plays and musicals presented by other community groups. 
Nestled in southwest Rockford’s old Italian neighborhood, you’ll find one of the city’s favorite eating spots. Maria's Italian Café is one of Rockford’s longest standing, family owned restaurants in its original location serving up traditional pasta and pizza along with what some claim to be “Rockford’s Best Steak.” 

Lodging

After exploring Rockford’s diverse neighborhoods, you’ll want to rest your head on a soft pillow and put your feet up. Rockford’s hotels include everything from full-service resorts to budget lodging. For a complete listing visit our accommodations page. 

ARTS & CULTURE TOUR
Day Two, morning

Rockford’s history is rich in ethnic diversity. The Ethnic Heritage Museum is located in the heart of the old waterpower district. Each room in the museum highlights a distinct ethnic group, including: African American; Irish; Italian; Lithuanian; Polish; and Hispanic. The neighborhood is now predominantly Hispanic and is dotted with many Mexican restaurants, shops and bakeries. 

Scandinavian immigrants settled in Rockford between 1852 and the early 1900’s. Immigrants arriving in Chicago from New York encountered a cholera epidemic, and were encouraged to travel west to the end of the line…Rockford. The Erlander Home Museum is a 12-room Italianate style home and was the first brick home constructed for a Swedish family in Rockford. In 1865, after traveling through Europe, Robert Tinker was inspired to build his unique Tinker Swiss Cottage overlooking Kent Creek. A rare example of Victorian exotic architecture, the cottage features parquet floors, ornate woodwork, murals, sculptures, and spiral staircase with the family's original furnishings and belongings in place. 

Day Two, evening

Downtown’s Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center is the oldest, continuous community music organization in the United States presenting over 25 concerts each year. If you’re looking for blues or jazz…then head to Big Cities Lounge on State Street in downtown. You’ll find some of the area’s hottest blues and jazz bands performing on Wednesday through Saturday nights. If live concerts is more your thing, check out the schedules at the BMO Harris Bank Center, Rockford's 10,000 seat downtown arena, and Davis Park, a seven-acre outdoor venue, hosts to a variety of events and entertainment ranging from rock concerts to rodeos and live outdoor concerts to festivals. 

Lodging

After exploring Rockford’s diverse neighborhoods, you’ll want to rest your head on a soft pillow and put your feet up. Rockford’s hotels include everything from full-service resorts to budget lodging. For a complete listing visit our accommodations page.

Spotlight On Rockford