22 Best Places and Things To Do in Peoria, Illinois

Peoria, Illinois, is a vibrant city located along the Illinois River and offers a range of attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy. Known for its rich history, cultural landmarks, outdoor recreational opportunities, and friendly community, Peoria has something for everyone. Here are some of the best places to visit and things to do in Peoria:

1. Peoria Riverfront

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The Peoria Riverfront is a bustling area filled with restaurants, shops, and entertainment options. Take a stroll along the riverwalk, enjoy the scenic views, and visit the Peoria Riverfront Museum, which showcases art, science, and history exhibits.

2. Wildlife Prairie Park

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This 2,000-acre zoological park is home to a variety of native Illinois wildlife. Visitors can explore the park’s hiking trails, ride the Wildlife Prairie Park Railroad, and learn about conservation efforts. The park also offers a variety of outdoor activities such as fishing, horseback riding, and camping.

3. Peoria Zoo

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Located in Glen Oak Park, the Peoria Zoo is a great destination for animal lovers. The zoo houses over 100 species of animals, including lions, tigers, giraffes, and monkeys. It also offers educational programs, special events, and interactive exhibits for visitors of all ages.

4. Peoria Heights

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This charming neighborhood located on a hilltop overlooking Peoria offers a mix of boutique shops, art galleries, and upscale dining options. Take a leisurely walk through the area, visit the Tower Park Observation Deck for panoramic views of the city, and indulge in delicious cuisine at one of the many local restaurants.

5. Peoria Civic Center

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The Peoria Civic Center is a premier event venue that hosts concerts, theater performances, sporting events, and conventions. Check the event schedule to see if any shows or exhibitions align with your visit.

6. Spirit of Peoria Riverboat

Spirit of Peoria

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Step aboard the Spirit of Peoria Riverboat for a memorable cruise along the Illinois River. Enjoy sightseeing tours, themed cruises, live music, and delicious meals while taking in the scenic beauty of the river and its surrounding landscapes.

7. Peoria PlayHouse Children’s Museum

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If you’re traveling with kids, the Peoria PlayHouse Children’s Museum is a fantastic place to visit. It offers interactive exhibits and hands-on activities that engage children’s imaginations and encourage learning through play. From a mini grocery store to a construction zone and a water play area, kids can explore various themed exhibits designed to spark creativity and curiosity.

8. Glen Oak Park

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Located near the Peoria Zoo, Glen Oak Park is a beautiful green space offering a range of recreational opportunities. Take a leisurely walk around the park’s trails, have a picnic by the pond, or let the kids enjoy the playground. The park also features a greenhouse, botanical garden, and a historic pavilion that hosts events and concerts during the summer months.

9. Sculpture Walk Peoria

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Art enthusiasts will appreciate the Sculpture Walk Peoria, a public art display featuring rotating sculptures by local and national artists. Stroll through downtown Peoria to discover these captivating artworks displayed along the streets and sidewalks. The annual exhibit showcases a diverse range of sculptures that add vibrancy and cultural significance to the cityscape.

10. Grand View Drive

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Grand View Drive is a scenic roadway located in Peoria, Illinois, often referred to as the “World’s Most Beautiful Drive. Grand View Drive lives up to its name by offering breathtaking panoramic views of the Illinois River Valley. As you drive along this winding road, you’ll be treated to stunning vistas of the river, lush greenery, and the downtown Peoria skyline.

11. Forest Park Nature Center

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Forest Park Nature Center is a beloved destination for nature enthusiasts in Peoria. Nestled within the 500-acre Forest Park Preserve, this center offers a serene escape into the beauty of the natural world.

12. Luthy Botanical Garden

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Discover the beauty of nature at the Luthy Botanical Garden. This tranquil oasis features a diverse range of plants and flowers from around the world. Stroll through the themed gardens, including a rose garden, herb garden, and a garden dedicated to tropical flora. The garden also hosts seasonal events, workshops, and educational programs.

13. Jubilee College State Park

Jubilee College State Park

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Just a short drive outside of Peoria, Jubilee College State Park is a hidden gem for outdoor enthusiasts. This expansive park offers hiking trails, camping facilities, and picturesque picnic spots. Discover the remnants of Jubilee College, a former seminary, and explore the park’s natural beauty, including dense forests, rolling hills, and abundant wildlife.

14. Glenwood Park Zoo

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Located in nearby East Peoria, the Glenwood Park Zoo is a smaller-scale zoo that focuses on conservation and education. Explore exhibits featuring a variety of animals, including big cats, primates, birds, and reptiles. The zoo also offers interactive experiences and educational programs for visitors of all ages.

15. Peoria Historical Society’s John C. Flanagan House

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Step back in time with a visit to the John C. Flanagan House Museum. This beautifully restored Victorian mansion provides a glimpse into the elegance and grandeur of the late 19th century. Take a guided tour and learn about the history of the house and the influential Flanagan family.

16. Pettengill-Morron House

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Another historical gem, the Pettengill-Morron House Museum offers a glimpse into Peoria’s rich heritage. This elegant mansion showcases the lavish lifestyle of the early 20th century. Take a guided tour and marvel at the exquisite architecture, period furnishings, and intriguing stories behind the house and its former residents.

17. Peoria Holocaust Memorial

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The Peoria Holocaust Memorial is a significant commemorative site located in Peoria, Illinois. It serves as a solemn reminder of the Holocaust, honoring the memory of the millions of victims who suffered and perished during this dark chapter in human history.

18. George L. Luthy Memorial Botanical Garden

George L. Luthy Memorial Botanical Garden

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The George L. Luthy Memorial Botanical Garden is a picturesque and tranquil oasis located in Peoria, Illinois. Spanning over 4.5 acres, this botanical garden is renowned for its diverse collection of plants and its serene ambiance.

19. Dan Fogelberg Memorial

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The Dan Fogelberg Memorial is a tribute to the late singer-songwriter Dan Fogelberg, located in Peoria, Illinois. Dan Fogelberg, born in Peoria in 1951, was a highly acclaimed musician known for his poetic lyrics, melodic compositions, and soulful performances.

20. Catholic Diocese of Peoria Museums

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The Catholic Diocese of Peoria is home to several museums that offer insights into the rich history and cultural heritage of the Catholic Church. These museums provide visitors with the opportunity to explore religious artifacts, artwork, and historical displays.

21. Northmoor Observatory

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The Northmoor Observatory is situated in the Northmoor Park, located at 1127 W. Northmoor Road in Peoria. The park provides a convenient and accessible location for stargazing and astronomical observations.

22. Donovan Park

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Donovan Park is a popular community park located in Peoria, Illinois. It offers a range of amenities and recreational opportunities for visitors of all ages.

These are just a few of the many attractions and activities that make Peoria, Illinois, a fantastic destination to visit. Whether you’re interested in nature, history, arts and culture, or simply enjoying the local hospitality, Peoria has something to offer every visitor.