Arts & Culture
Rockford's arts and culture scene has so much to offer. Whether it's a day spent at the Rockford Art Museum, or a night at the theatre, the region has something for every taste.
The Rockford Art Museum offers 17,000 square-feet of space for feature exhibitions and permanent collections, making it one of the largest art museums in Illinois outside of Chicago. A different kind of art, the natural gardenscape at Anderson Japanese Gardens is equally inspiring as a classic painting or photograph. AJG is continually ranked as one of the top Japanese gardens in the United States and is designed so that the visitor becomes one with the garden—and it also embodies why Rockford is known as the Forest City. And up in Roscoe, you'll find a true hidden gem at Historic Auto Attractions, where you'll find the world's largest collection of presidential and world leaders limousines, John Dillinger's getaway car, Elvis Presley's personal car, Indy cars, vehicles from classic movies like Batman and Back to the Future, and so much more!
Renowned Paleontology expert Robert Bakker once said, "Pound for pound, Burpee Museum of Natural History is the best natural history museum in the country." Known as the home of Jane, the renowned juvenile tyrannosaurus rex, Burpee’s quality parallels that of the Rockford region’s entire museum portfolio.
Rockford was established in 1834. Originally named Midway because it was halfway between Chicago and Galena, it eventually became known as Rockford because of the Rock River's rocky ford bubbling near the original settlement. Several museums celebrate the region's historical roots, in particular Midway Village Museum where you can see exhibits featuring our ubiquitous Sock Monkey and the Rockford Peaches.
If you’re in search of dazzling architecture, the unique design abilities of Frank Lloyd Wright are on display at the Laurent House. Considered by Frank Lloyd Wright himself as one of his masterworks, the house was originally built for a disabled World War II veteran.
Once you’ve explored our many museums, be sure to also check out the Pottery Lounge, which offers a unique, fun, and interactive experience including all types of pottery. Stop in, pick a piece to paint, take your time and take it home! And speaking of artistic creations, the region is home to a variety of public art that includes murals and sculptures--if you miss the CRE8IV art festival, you can still take the Rockford Sculpture Walk while you're in town!