Rockford was built along the Rock River, midway between Chicago and Galena, IL in 1834. Rockford was named for the place where wagons would cross, or ford, the Rock River. "Midway" is another name sometimes used, as well as "Forest City", for the oak forests which once surrounded it.
Rockford is located at the intersection of Interstates 90 and 39, as well as US 20, a distance of 85 miles west of Chicago, IL, 73 Miles south of Madison, WI, 95 miles east of Dubuque, IA, and 130 miles north of Bloomington, IL
While there is mass transit, car is the best means to get around Rockford. There are some taxi services, but they aren't as common as in larger cities. While walking and biking are always options, most of the destinations are spread out, and many roads lack sidewalks or crosswalks.
Rockford is largely based on a grid layout, with a few major exceptions. State Street is a major retail corridor that provides the north-south boundary. The Rock River provides the east-west boundary. Main Street, Auburn, and many other major roads that pass through downtown are in the midst of a rennovation project to revitalize the downtown region. Because of this, while Main Street is currently one-way on North Main and two-way on South Main, this may soon change.
Rockford's roads change names often, be aware of how these changes occur. One road in particular changes names 5 times all within 3 miles. 3-way interesections are also very common as many roads simply discontinue when reaching an intersection.
East-State, Riverside, and Harrison are the largest east-west avenues, with Alpine, Mulford, and Perryville being the largest north-south avenues.
Many roads have been redesigned over the years. One good example is the "Five-Points" area, so-named for the 5 roads that once intersected, but have since been rearranged. Charles Street once ran from Belvidere, IL to downtown Rockord through Five-Points, and it's for this reason that it's at an angle to all other roads.
The intersection of Main and Auburn has recently been reworked as a two-lane traffic-circle.
The Rockford Mass Transit District  offers bus service in Rockford, Loves Park and Machesney Park.
Rockford also has a large variety of low-cost public and private golf courses. In the fall and winter, locals and visitors enjoy many apple orchards and Christmas tree farms.
Rockford also has a symphony orchestra, dance company and several theatre companies.
During March, the Midway Village & Museum Center hosts the Sock Monkey Madness Festival featuring vendors, crafts, make-your-own-monkeys, activities, and information on sock monkey history.
Rockford hosts an annual rock concert during Memorial Day weekend called Wing Ding. Notable bands such as Buckcherry, Saliva, Breaking Benjamin, P.O.D, and Drowning Pool have performed at this concert. The concert is held by WXRX 104.9FM.
Every Labor Day weekend, Rockford hosts On the Waterfront, Illinois' largest outdoor music festival, featuring local, regional and national acts on eight different stages. The second weekend of October brings rowers from around the country for the Baird Head of the Rock Regatta, a premiere national rowing competition.