"Peoria:" Top 5 Page for this destination Peoria by cheryl-b

Peoria Travel Guide: 100 reviews and 192 photos

As a Bradley University alum, I spent my four undergraduate years living in Peoria, just about a mile from the heart of downtown. Peoria itself doesn't have much to offer the tourist - it's largely a blue-collar town with little shopping (one mall) and only a smattering of good restaurants. I wouldn't particularly recommend it as a vacation destination to anyone, but if you're on a road trip and need to stop somewhere for the night, Peoria probably offers the greatest range of accomodation in western/central Illinois. The town also has a few gems, at which you might while away a day.

The Peoria tourist office promotes things like the Illinois River, Wildlife Prairie Park, and the Para-a-Dice casino as its main attractions, and I think that's sadly mistaken. The river isn't particularly interesting and the WPP is just a zoo for native animals. And, well, if a riverboat casino is your idea of a good time, then you're not asking the right person for advice.

In my opinion, the best things to do in Peoria are also some of the lesser-known: my best memories involve a romantic midnight stroll along Moss Avenue, which is known for its fine old houses. Underneath the Revolutionary War tree (one of the oldest in Illinois), there's a bench that looks out over the city. At night, with the lights, it's really quite a nice place to sit and relax with your loved one. You can tour some of the houses during the day, if you're interested.

And, while it's not strictly inside Peoria, a drive out to Tanner's Apple Orchard is a pleasant fall excursion, with (along with the obvious apple-picking) offers a country store full of fresh cider and apple butter, plus (if you have kids) a petting zoo full of farm animals.

There's also an amusing, if rather odd, spectacle in Morton (a suburb) every fall: a pumpking-throwing festival, in which the aim is to chuck a pumpkin further than anyone else. Now that's certainly not the form of entertainment you'd find, well, just about anywhere else.

I've heard about - but have not been on - a river cruise that heads from Peoria to Starved Rock State Park, which has always sounded particularly nice to me. Starved Rock has some of the most beautiful scenery in Illinois, with rock canyons and waterfalls, and I would imagine the cruise there would certainly be pleasant, though it would probably be faster and cheaper to just drive. (But, after all, traveling is about the experience.)

  • Last visit to Peoria: Feb 2002
  • Intro Written Aug 13, 2003
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  • deecat's Profile Photo
    Mar 5, 2005 at 9:52 PM

    I just returned from Peoria and found it quite historic with plenty to do. Civic Center is wonderful as was the Pere Marquette Hotel, Moss Street, Riverfront, and new restaurant called "Red Zin". Lots of progress since I was last there.

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