Brimming with more than 3,000 hotel rooms, hundreds of restaurants and a plethora of cultural venues, Rockford has all the amenities of its neighbor, Chicago – at a lower cost. Its location just 60 minutes west of O'Hare International Airport also means that groups can escape the hustle and bustle of the Windy City without sacrificing accessibility. Add in the wide range of Rockford event venues, including some of the Midwest's best sporting facilities, and it's easy to see why Rockford is a must-book for any convention.
One of the largest Rockford event venues is the BMO Harris Bank Center. Following a $23-million renovation in 2006, this 10,000-seat arena now boasts club boxes, 11 executive suites and a 200-person group terrace. Already home to the AHL's Rockford IceHogs and concerts by the likes of Brad Paisley and Reba McEntire, the BMO Harris Bank Center also lends itself well to trade shows, conventions and large presentations.
Many hotel venues in Rockford are well equipped to handle convention traffic. The Best Western Clock Tower Resort boasts more than 30,000 square feet of event space, including the 10,000-square-foot Wallingford Grand Ballroom, 1,300-square-foot Eli Terry banquet room and 20-person Gambrinus boardroom. The 245-room Best Western makes itself amenable to business travelers with complimentary Wi-Fi, a business center and 24-hour fitness center, while its massive indoor water park appeals to families.
The 200-room Cliffbreakers Riverside Resort/Lexington Hotel is an all-in-one destination for meetings, with more than 27,000 square feet of banquet and event space. Capable of hosting events of 10 to 1,200, Cliffbreakers has a 65-person amphitheater and four ballrooms overlooking the Rock River. The Hilton Garden Inn Rockford, Holiday Inn Rockford and Radisson Hotel & Conference Center also perfectly pair accommodations and event space.
Planners will have no trouble finding Rockford event venues for social events. The pagodas, waterfall and Japanese-inspired landscaping of the Anderson Japanese Gardens create a serene setting for receptions and corporate events, which can be held in a number of spaces throughout the grounds. The Klehm Arboretum and Botanic Garden is another stunning outdoor venue, offering 155 acres of colorful gardens and meeting rooms for up to 300 people. Back indoors, the restored Coronado Performing Arts Center retains its ornate 1927 architecture but with modern, state-of-the-art amenities. Against a backdrop of Spanish castles, oriental dragons and starlit skies, seated groups of up to 180 people can dine in this former vaudeville hall.