With all the cornfields and dead grass in this state, sometimes it's hard to know what city you're passing through in Illinois.

I have lived in Rockford my entire life and still can't figure out where the heck I am when I'm driving around the city.  Sometimes I think I'm in Belvidere, but I'm really in Loves Park.  Anybody else ever have that problem???

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Well, have no fear because I made a list of the top 8 ways to know you're officially in the Forest City, aka the good ol' Rockford, Illinois.

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#1: You spot the "Rockford" sign.

Okay, obvious answer.  At least we have a Welcome sign!  Half the time I'm driving through cities and question whether I've entered a new place.

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#2: The landfill smell

Honestly, we all know the smell.  We can't tell if it's the car's exhaust in front of us or the natural smell of the city.  I'm gonna take a wild guess and just say... all the farmland.

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#3: You see more than one person wearing a "Rockford Peaches" t-shirt

This is when you realize you've stumbled into the Rockford Peaches territory!  We have the Beyer Stadium and Rockford Peaches trail to visit in Rockford, too.

#4: The roads are filled with endless potholes

If your car isn't phased by falling into a pothole while driving, you've officially entered Rockford.  With the amount of construction happening in this town, there are still those iconic potholes we all can't stand; Alpine, Newburg, and Harrison... potholes galore.

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#5: You spot a building with the words "Anderson Japanese Gardens"

No, Rockford and Japan have no connection to each other.  Fun fact, though: Anderson Japanese Gardens' 12-acre streams, waterfalls, winding pathways, and koi-filled ponds were rated one of North America’s highest quality Japanese gardens for more than 10 years!

#6: You pass by a Beefaroo every few miles

Beefaroo is on everybody's "Rockford Bucketlist."  From the beef sandwiches to the delicious cheese fries, to the famous salt, you can't miss it driving through Rockford!

#7: The only places on the "attractions" sign are CherryVale Mall & Magic Waters

Every time I come back to Rockford, I always see the "Attractions" sign for visitors and it literally only says CherryVale Mall and Magic Waters Waterpark.  Maybe that has changed since the last time I drove past it, but I find it kinda funny lol.

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#8: The iconic Symbol

If you see a giant red sculpture driving down North 2nd Street, you know you've made it into good ol' Rockford, Illinois.  Our state bird is a Northern Cardinal, so we have a massive art piece at Sinnissippi Park representing it.  Rockfordians call it "The Symbol."

Read More: LOOK! 5 Most Hated Intersections in Rockford, Do You Agree? 

In all seriousness, Rockford is a great city with a lot to offer. From the beautiful Anderson Japanese Gardens to the rich history of the Rockford Peaches baseball team, there's something for everyone.

So next time you're driving through the area, keep an eye out for these signs so you'll know you've officially made it to the Forest City. Just don't forget to bring your shock absorbers for the road trip lol.

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