Rockford gets CRE8IV

Rockford gets CRE8IV
Art by Jenny Roesel Ustick & Atalie Gagnet

I was thrilled when I heard about an annual mural festival that Go Rockford puts on. After seeing photos on Instagram, I booked a day trip to the “City of Gardens.” Bonus points for most of the murals being within walking distance of one another. Three Chicago-based artists have contributed including Stuk One, Sam Kirk, and Molly Z. You can download the handout here to plan your mural tour.

Art by Stuk One
Art by Sam Kirk
Art by Molly Z Art
Art by Jenny Roesel Ustick & Atalie Gagnet
Art by Yulia Avgustinovich
Art by Rafael Blanco
Art by Thomas Agran
Art by Fatherless
Art by Kelsey Montague

I discovered Rockford is also home to distinctive architecture and quirky sculptures. Another thing worth mentioning is the friendly people who don’t hesitate to smile at strangers. While I was photographing a mural, a man approached to talk to me about the murals. This is a perfect example of how art sparks conversation.

I love everything about the Kortman Center

The Norwegian is a hidden gem

I’m so glad I noticed the Norwegian on my Google map, as I initially planned to “wing it” for lunch. I checked out their menu and secured a reservation. As soon as I was greeted by the staff, I knew this Scandinavian gem was worth the trip in itself. The hospitality is outstanding, and I felt as though I made new friends while I was there.

The Norwegian offers several vegan options, and I chose the Pyttipanne. A flavorful hash consisting of fried red and sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, and tofu in a maple cashew sauce. They have a solid beer menu, and while tempting, this dish was filling.

Get in my belly!

The restaurant sells memorabilia, has a stage for live music, and offers charming covered tables on the patio. They even have a play area for the kids, better known as “Baby Bergen.” A huge thank you to the staff, and I cannot wait to see you again!

This was my first Rockford experience, and it definitely won’t be my last. The next trip will include an overnight to experience the nightlife and breweries. I can also sneak in brunch AND dinner at the Norwegian. Cheers!

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