10 Things To Do in the Peoria Area for First-Time Visitors


Samantha Whiting: Guest Writer


There is no shortage of fun in the Peoria Area. With endless options for first time visitors, it may be difficult to decide what to do! Whether you’re here for a quick trip or an extended stay, there’s always time to discover what Peoria has to offer. To get the most out of your visit, here’s a list of 10 must-do experiences!

1. Dine Out  //  Exploring local eateries is an essential part of experiencing a new city. In Peoria, the options are endless. Plan dinner at Sugar Wood-Fired Bistro or The Blue Duck Barbeque Tavern, both conveniently located in Downtown Peoria for unique dining experiences you’ll never forget. Sugar features a variety of gourmet wood-fired culinary creations that pair perfectly with a selection of artisan beer. If you’re looking for something a bit heartier, dive into some brisket, pulled pork, ribs, and more at The Blue Duck.

2. Shop Local  //  Turn your trip into a shopping spree by shopping at a variety of small business boutiques like Wishing Star Boutique, located in Peoria and Washington, or Perfect Pear Boutique in Peoria Heights. Strut your stuff in the latest women’s fashion unique to each store. There are so many shopping locations in Peoria, you’ll never want your trip to end! Shop ‘til you drop!

3. Stop By the Zoo  //   The Peoria Zoo will be the highlight of your visit. Whether you’re with the whole family or venturing out on your own, check out exotic animals, learn about animal conservation, and wander into new continents at the Peoria Zoo.


4. Learn About Peoria  //  ​ Take a tour with the Peoria Historical Society to learn about Peoria’s rich and exciting history, or head over to the Peoria Riverfront Museum to check out a variety of rotating educational exhibits. Engage with our historic past and learn about the strides Peoria has made to become the thriving city it is today.

5. Take in the Views  //  ​ While there are many things that make Peoria special, the beautiful views are high on the list. Drive through Grandview Drive to take in the Illinois River from one of the most famous vantage points. This scenic route offers a beautiful view of the best of what nature has to offer.

6. Get Crafty  //  ​ Make your own souvenir at Crafted DIY Studio and Bar in Peoria. Sip on your favorite beverage while working on your own DIY craft, selected from a menu of fun ideas, or head over to Fired Up in Peoria Heights to paint your own custom pottery. Happy crafting!

7. Get Outside  //  ​ Luthy Botanical Garden or the variety of parks in the Peoria Area make great spots to take in our beautiful landscapes. Luthy Botanical Garden features beautiful botanical life and sprawling gardens, perfect for trips in the warmer months of the year. A must see for nature lovers!


8. Experience the Nightlife  //  ​ Hang out Downtown at Martini’s on Water for specialty martinis, including their famous chocolate martinis, or make your way to Kellehers for a classic Irish pub feel. Both locations frequently offer live music, essential for a great night out!

9. Indulge in Some Sweets  //  ​ Trefzger’s Bakery in Peoria Heights is a historic one-stop-shop for all things sweet. Find something delicious to enjoy, and experience that unique Trefzger’s flavor that has satisfied Peoria’s sugar-cravings since 1861. Try their cookies, cakes, pies, and more.

10. Check Out The River  //  ​ Head down to the Riverfront in Peoria to take in the sights of what put Peoria on the map, the accessible Illinois River that flows through our area. Take a walk accompanied by the waterfront view, or participate in a variety of events that take place at the Riverfront throughout the year.

riverfront market

The Peoria Area is unlike any other destination, offering a unique variety of experiences you don’t want to miss! Whether you’re planning a trip, or just passing through, you’ll never run out of things to discover in Peoria!

Samantha Whiting: Guest Writer
Discover Peoria, IL