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Discover Rockford

The Rockford region is a healthcare powerhouse, which makes it an excellent place for educating the next generation of healthcare professionals. It’s also a great place to live, work and play.

The three major health systems, MercyhealthOSF Saint Anthony Medical Center and UW Health SwedishAmerican, have long been a part of the University of Illinois College of Medicine Rockford’s community-based medical education and each of these systems has made significant investments in their facilities recently as they continue to flourish and grow. This allows for clinical experiences that combine cutting-edge technology in state-of-the-art hospitals totaling 875 beds with a chance to care for populations from both urban Rockford and the surrounding rural areas of the northern Illinois/Wisconsin Stateline area. Add to that a network of dozens of other affiliated healthcare partners in the Rockford area, across Illinois and around the world, and rich clinical experiences in areas of particular interest are not only available, but enviable.



Enjoy big-city living without the big-city traffic and sky-high housing costs. Rockford is the third largest city in Illinois with a diverse population of more than 150,000 – or about 350,000 people with the surrounding communities. With that comes the conveniences and luxuries of an urban environment: great restaurants, abundant shopping, a wide range of cultural opportunities and plentiful recreation. It also presents opportunities to make a difference – to conduct the kind of research that addresses healthcare disparities and to volunteer for organizations that provide much-needed health and social services to those in need.

An array of affordable housing, from downtown loft apartments to stately homes on tree-lined streets, is available in Rockford and the surrounding communities. Short commutes, a large selection of public and private educational institutions, and plenty of things to do year-round make this city on the move a good place to live for individuals and families alike.

Medical students pose with stethoscopes


Rockford is a health care hub, so health care professionals are in high demand and many of our alumni stay in the area or return to Rockford to practice in a vibrant healthcare environment where they can be a part of academic medicine. Together, the three health care systems employ about 10,000 people, landing them in the category of the top five employers in the area. Manufacturing, especially in the aerospace field, as well as retail and education sectors are also thriving.

The University of Illinois College of Medicine Rockford is also a great place to work and an economic driver for the Rockford region. About 350 employees and about 475 community faculty members are part of the College of Medicine Rockford. Add to that the hundreds of students on the UIC Health Sciences Campus-Rockford and there’s a significant impact on the economy of the Rockford area. In fact, a recent economic impact study noted that the added income to the area created by the UIC Health Sciences Campus-Rockford was $58.2 million — equivalent to supporting 898 jobs in the area.

People laugh while sitting in a movie theater


Fill your free time with an eclectic mix of cultural and recreational events and venues. Check out the visual and performing arts as well as the impressive museums, including the Burpee Museum of Natural History, the Rockford Art Museum, the highly rated Discovery Center Museum and many others. Nationally touring bands, comedians, theater groups and other acts make Rockford stops regularly at the beautiful Coronado Performing Arts Center and the BMO Harris Bank Center. Local artists also light up the music and arts scene.

Want to mix it up a little? Take advantage of Rockford’s proximity to the urban areas of Chicago, Milwaukee and Madison, as well as the charming small towns and rural areas with their Midwestern hospitality and apple orchards, wineries and antiques. Go even further with a direct flight from the Chicago Rockford International Airport or go to Chicago’s O’Hare airport via convenient Van Galder bus transportation and the gateway to the world is not far away.

Here are a few resources to help you learn more or to plan a visit:

What Rocks in Rockford? Heading link

Meet Up for Food and Drink
Meet Up for Food and Drink
So. Many. Restaurants. From fine dining establishments and ethnic eateries to mom-and-pop diners and quaint cafés, the Rockford restaurant scene is by all accounts above average. Brew pubs, bakeries, farmers’ markets, and the amazing Friday evening City Market and new Indoor City Market make for inviting spaces to grab a quick bite or linger a while with friends or family. A quick poll of medical students listed Prairie Street Brewery, Mexico Classico, Stockholm Inn, JMK Nippon, Sisters Thai Café, and Woodfire Brick Oven Pizza as just a few favorites. Local chains like Beef-A-Roo, plus nationally known names round out the selection so there’s certainly something for everyone.
Take in the Culture
Take in the Culture
Local festivals, parades and performances combine with top-notch museums, such as Midway Village Museum and the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Laurent House, and local galleries to create a vibrant cultural scene with something for everyone. Ranging from the symphony orchestra and lectures to First Fridays downtown that feature live music and specials at local shops, bars and restaurants, a wide variety of experiences await you in Rockford.
Enjoy the Great Outdoors
Enjoy the Great Outdoors
Experience the four seasons in all their splendor in the Rockford area’s impressive network of parks, trails, golf courses, sports facilities and rivers. The Rockford Park District operates a variety of neighborhood parks, sports parks, golf courses, and the beautiful Nicholas Conservatory with its lovely outdoor gardens along the Rock River and its year-round indoor gardens. Nearby Rock Cut State Park offers four seasons of activities, including camping, hiking, kayaking, snowshoeing and more. Stroll through one of the top Japanese Gardens in the U.S., Anderson Japanese Gardens, or the lovely Klehm Arboretum.
Get in the Game
Get in the Game
Rockford has become a sports magnet, hosting a variety of tournaments and events at its many world-class venues for everything from table tennis and pickleball to rugby and basketball. It’s spectacular to be a spectator at such events as the Rockford IceHogs professional hockey game, Rockford Rivets collegiate baseball game, Rockford Speedway or get down to the river for the Head of the Rock Regatta, Rock River Anything That Floats Race or a performance by the Ski Broncs Waterski Team. Prefer to get in the game yourself? Lots of opportunities exist for family fun at bowling alleys, skating rinks, water parks and Volcano Falls, and plenty of gyms and fitness centers provide just the workout you want