Rockford named best place in Illinois to spend a weekend getaway


The City of Rockford is often cited on various national lists, often for less-than-flattering reasons. But sometimes, the Forest City gets some good news.

The Active Times, dedicated to readers with active lifestyles, has named Rockford as “the Best City in Illinois for a Weekend Getaway.”

“Rockford really is blessed when it comes to a high quality of life,” said John Groh, President and CEO of the Rockford Area Convention and Visitor’s Bureau (RACVB). “We have high quality attractions. We have great restaurants. We have realy high quality and affordable hotels.”

Attractions, like the Discovery Center Museum and Anderson Japanese Gardens, were named in the article.

“We had over 20,000 [people] come here, just in the month of March, and that doesn’t even include the field trips and school groups that we had here as well,” said the Discovery Center’s Marketing Director, Ann Marie Walker.

In fact, the Discovery Center is named on several lists as a “Best Place to Visit” in Illinois.

Walker says the museum has big plans to keep visitors coming back for more, including, “New science technologies, new learning standards, and how can we translate those into fun, hands-on things to do.”

Katie Weston, the program and events manager for Anderson Japanese Gardens, says, “You don’t have another Japanese garden [in the area.] There aren’t that many of them that are this size and quality in the United States, some of the closer ones. Comparing Anderson Japanese Gardens to other traditional Japanese gardens, you have to go to Japan.”

Groh says he’s not surprised at all that the Forest City is getting this recognition.

“I’m not at all surprised with the ranking, and we certainly look forward to welcoming folks to our community who either see that, or just know that Rockford is good on its own, without that ranking,” he said.

West Rock Wake Park was also named in the article as a place to visit, as well as the city’s 10,000 acres of natural and recreational areas.

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