"Three-Time All American City: Peoria" Top 5 Page for this destination Peoria by deecat

Peoria Travel Guide: 100 reviews and 192 photos

"If it Plays in Peoria": More Than a Catch Phrase

The minute you enter Peoria, you know that it is a very old city; it's the oldest settlement in the state. Louis Jolliet & Pere Marquette, along with a French party, discovered it in 1673. La Salle established Fort Creve Coeur on the eastern shore of Peoria Lake (really the Illinois River) in 1680. The British flag flew over Peoria for about 15 years, & the Spanish flag flew here for less than a year. The name "Peoria" comes from the Native Americans who occupied the area when the French first arrived.

This East-Central Illinois city is a real industrial city that grew where the Illinois River widens to form two large lakes. Peoria is the international headquarters of Caterpillar, Inc., makers of earthmoving equipment that is used worldwide. Steel is another product that the city is known for as well as agricultural-based companies, information/high-tech firms, & a commodity market.
This mid-sized city is home to Bradley University (1897) & the University of Illinois-Peoria College of Medicine.

But, what I enjoyed most about this lovely place was its diverse architecture.
I was able to see beautiful Italianate/Second Empire mansions, American Federalist style homes, as well as a Frank Lloyd Wright home. This city of about 113,000 people has numerous charming churches, historic theaters, & several new, architectually- interesting buildings. Peoria is an easy city to navigate by foot & by car. Its setting on the Illinois River is a real plus. The somewhat new Riverfront Area with its promenade, Visitors' Center, restaurants, shops, & Riverboat Cruises is especially wonderful during the spring, summer, & fall.

If you visit, also take advantage of the unique, diverse shopping; tee up on one of the 18-hole golf courses; walk the nature trails; and enjoy some of the best entertainment at the Civic Center. Remember, "If it plays in Peoria...", it'll be a success elsewhere!

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Historic, Scenic, Diverse, Friendly
  • In a nutshell:Historic Riverfront Town With Many Architectual Gems
  • Last visit to Peoria: Mar 2005
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (23)

Comments (40)

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo
    Jul 29, 2011 at 7:39 PM

    I really enjoyed all the historic homes Dee! You always put such wonderful thought and your pages are always a delight to read. Excellent page! I'm still trying to figure out this new format:)

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Feb 14, 2010 at 6:25 AM

    Hi, Dee! Thanks for your interesting and detailed story! ><><><

  • jillzi's Profile Photo
    Jan 20, 2010 at 12:23 PM

    Terrific photographs. Great architecture; loved the war memorial. As always, excellent hotel and restaurant tips. Your postive take on out-of-the-way places in the mid-west is refreshing.

  • toonsarah's Profile Photo
    Dec 26, 2009 at 12:37 PM

    The river front area sounds great and I would love to tour the historic houses and especially the Francis W. Little House :-) It's great that you found so much to appreciate when others have failed to do so it seems

  • Pawtuxet's Profile Photo
    Nov 8, 2009 at 1:16 PM

    Recently had guests from Peoria, but you've represented it better. Congrats on a very informative page. Of course I knew you guys would have a wonderful dinner there w/ scrumptious desert!

  • May 29, 2009 at 2:14 PM

    What a delight to read such positive information about Peoria. It's such a neat town, especially with the new river walk. Love the architecture, scuptures, monuments, and that great tree.

  • Kuznetsov_Sergey's Profile Photo
    Oct 16, 2008 at 10:03 AM

    Comprehensive page on another great city in Illinois! Sacred Heart Catholic Church and Peoria Insurance Building are very impressive. Though I know the name of Caterpillar better than the name of Peoria, haha! Thanks Dee for the virtual tour!

  • VeronicaG's Profile Photo
    Oct 31, 2007 at 4:31 PM

    I found all of your tips interesting, Dee, but especially enjoyed reading about the restored Riverfront...a very wise decision on Peoria's behalf!

  • Oct 3, 2007 at 6:33 PM

    I heartily agree. I've taken the Spirit of Peoria many times, each time taking a new group of adventurers with me. The price is a real bargain and the staff are just...well..."real."

  • Jun 7, 2007 at 6:07 PM

    And to answer an earlier question: the "trolley" isn't like a SanFran trolley.. it's free-running.. basically an open-air bus. It stops outside my office building (on the riverfront) every day..feel like I'm in Mr. Roger's Neigborhood. :)


“Yesterday is a cancelled check; tomorrow, a promissory note; today is the only cash you have; spend it wisely. Kay Lyons”

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