If you’re in the mood for a day trip, Rockford is just a short drive northwest from Chicago. The Rockford area may be slower paced than the city, but there’s no shortage of fun activities and events taking place this spring.
When: Saturday, May 19 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Where: Midway Village Museum, 6799 Guilford Rd., Rockford
There are a lot of craft markets out there, but Main Street stands in a class of its own. Each May and September, thousands flock to the grounds of Midway Village to shop, munch on treats from local food trucks and enjoy live music. More than 170 vendors will be selling vintage goodies, handmade decor, jewelry and more. Admission is $8 when you buy online in advance, $10 at the door. The event is also ultra-family friendly and admission is just $5 for kids ages 8-17. Tickets go on sale on April 9.
When: Now-June 3 during business hours
Where: Nicholas Conservatory, 1354 N. 2nd St., Rockford
If you’ve got budding entomologists in the family, you’ll want to spend several hours at Nicholas checking out butterflies in different stages of the life cycle. Admission is $8 for non-resident adults, $6 for non-resident children ages 5-17 and $2 for ages 3-4. Kids 2 and under are free.
Want to get even closer to the winged insects? Breakfast with Butterflies promises a “unique and intimate breakfast experience” according to Nicholas Conservatory. The breakfast takes place each Saturday in April, and you must register in advance by calling 815.987.8858. Admission to the breakfast is $18 for non-residents 5 and up and $14 ages 1-4. Children 12 months and under are free.
When: Saturday, May 19 from 1-5 p.m. for VIP, 2-5 p.m. for general admission
Where: BMO Harris Bank Center, 300 Elm St., Rockford
If you’re needing some kid-free time, look no further than the first annual Gr815 Beer Fest, a clever take on Rockford’s zip code. Sure, Chicago is tops when it comes to great beer, but Rockford has some local brews that are worth the drive. For $35, you can sip samples from 26 different breweries including Rockford’s own Prairie Street Brewhouse, and chow down on local cuisine from food trucks parked inside the arena.
General admission is $35 and includes a commemorative tasting cup. VIP admission is $75 and will get you early entrance, a souvenir t-shirt and access to a private bar with free appetizers, in addition to the commemorative cups.