Rockford has coined itself the “City of Gardens” for good reason, as it offers a beautiful conservatory (Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens), along with a Japanese garden (Anderson Japanese Gardens), and a beautiful State Park (Rock Cut State Park) just 10 miles northeast of Rockford in Winnebago County. If you love learning and seeing things from the past you can always stop by the Burpee Museum of Natural History, Discovery Center Museum, Rockford Art Museum, or the best of both beauty and history at the Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum & Gardens. The diversity and charm has brought a population of roughly 148,000 residents, with the average home selling for $175,500. Rockford offers big-city amenities without the major cost and is perfect for new families or retirees looking for the perfect blend of city and suburb. If you are ever craving big city life, Downtown Chicago is just 90 minutes away and offers a variety of activities, food, and architecture.