Summer in Greater Peoria has arrived, and we hope your love life is heating up just as fast as the balmy weather! Whether you’re navigating a flirty new fling or hoping to ignite sparks in a long-term relationship, planning a date isn’t easy—and while there are plenty of romantic restaurants in the area for wining and dining, sometimes it’s nice to break the dating mold with something a little more out of the box. From quiet afternoons antique shopping to rollicking rounds of ax-throwing, here are some of our favorite ideas for creative day dates throughout the Greater Peoria Area for relationships, situationships, and everything in between.
Need inspiration? Allow us to be of service:
CHARMING DOWNTOWN ADVENTURES
We have plenty of small towns with a je ne sais quoi quality that make them impossible to simply drive by without a second look. There’s something special about these enchanting, tree-lined downtowns across Greater Peoria that ooze charm, history, and nostalgia. Check out Lacon, Chillicothe, Morton, Washington, Pekin, Canton, and Peoria Heights. Park once and take your time exploring the eclectic boutiques, bright and airy coffee shops, and enchanting one-of-a-kind storefronts.
THE GREAT OUTDOORS ADVENTURES
The Illinois River Valley offers some of the best outdoor activities. Explore any of the hundreds of well-maintained trails like the Santa Fe Trail, Forest Park Nature Trail, or Detweiller Park trails. Take in the Peoria skyline from a walk along the river in East Peoria or picnic on Grandview Drive for an unforgettable Illinois River Valley perspective. You’ll quickly understand why Grandview was dubbed the “World’s Most Beautiful Drive” by President Theodore Roosevelt when he visited in 1910! You may not know, but the Peoria Area is also well known for having some of the best bike trails in the county. Check out the bike trails at Jubilee College State Park, Rock Island Trail, Kinsey Park, or Fort Creve Coeur. Peddle through the Illinois River bluffs for some unforgettable scenery on your day date.
Whether you are seeking exotic wildlife or adorable farm critters, Greater Peoria has you covered. Head to Wildlife Prairie Park, a local animal conservation, where the scenery of the park makes for a great date, perfect day outing, and excellent Kodak moments either on the trails, in the water, or with the animals. The Peoria Park District has carefully crafted a respectable reputation with the Peoria Zoo by offering a variety of exhibits, a clean environment, friendly staff, and extensive educational programming. It’s a perfect option for those seeking a lovely stroll with local wildlife and exotic animals. For a natural wildlife adventure, hike an Illinois River jewel at Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge in Fulton County. These 6,000 acres are one of the largest floodplain restoration projects in the Midwest, providing habitat for hundreds of thousands of migratory animals.
Not thrilled about the great outdoors? Weather not cooperating? No problem. The Peoria Area has plenty to do inside to keep you busy. Get your hands dirty at Crafted DIY Studio + Bar, making a unique home decor project over a round of craft cocktails. Create the perfect day date memento at Fired Up or Peek In Pottery by designing and decorating your own ceramic trinket. Create a custom scent and sweet memories pouring candles at Generations Candle Co. Or create happy little trees at the Bob Ross painting class at Art at the Bodega.
The Peoria Area is a goldmine for nostalgic treasure! We recommend spending an entire day exploring unique hidden-gem shops for a one-of-a-kind day date adventure. We have shops specializing in antiques, homemade crafts, retro decor, ornate restoration furnishings, hobby collector boutiques, and rare collectibles. To name a few, check out The Hayloft Shops, Urban Artifacts, Two Sisters and a Warehouse, Relics, Anne’s Anteex, Little Shop of Hoarders, Peoria Architectural Salvage, Restorations Studios, Pleasant Hill Antique Mall, Primitiques Market on Main, The Pickers Daughter, and The Nook.
Looking for something entirely out of the box?! Here are some random ideas to consider….
Try your luck at a bingo hall or at Par-A-Dice Hotel + Casino! Practice your aim ax-throwing at Gone Social. Try escaping one of the many adventure challenges at Escape 60 or Escapetown Peoria. Burn rubber at Kartville. Mini golf at Mt. Hawley Castle Golf, Roc Ice Cream + Golf, or Magic Dragon Mini Golf. Or, depending on the season, catch a Peoria Chiefs game at Dozer Park, a Peoria City Soccer game at Shea Stadium, a Bradley basketball game, or a Peoria Rivermen game at the Peoria Civic Center.