Meet Me in the Whiskey City


Guest Writer


If you are looking to give your team or event—or both, for that matter—a shot in the arm, head to the Whiskey City. Peoria, Illinois, has the location, amenities and service to create an experience that will leave attendees motivated to accomplish whatever goals are set before them.

This Midwestern destination is in the middle of everything. Indianapolis, Chicago and St. Louis are among the metropolises within driving distance. One major advantage of the proximity of those nearby major cities is the affordability Peoria provides—without sacrificing on meeting facilities, dining, retail and genuine hospitality. 

With 11 direct airplane routes into General Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport, you needn’t be local. The same convenience and enjoyability benefits all in town for business.

The riverside downtowns of both Peoria and East Peoria add a vibrancy to your attendees’ stay. And with 4,500 hotel rooms to choose from, planners can find their financial comfort spot when trying to hit their budget. Throw in the walkability factor and it’s easy to see why there is a buzz about Peoria. It is a place to bring groups ready to convene without some of the hassle seen elsewhere. A meeting should feel seamless, with each decision the right one to reach your objectives.

Read on to learn what makes planning in the Whiskey City such a smooth experience.

Peoria Civic Center

As the largest event venue in Southern Illinois, Peoria Civic Center is outfitted with a ballroom, meeting rooms, exhibition halls and other gathering settings to host thousands for a national convention—or a dozen C-suite executives for a high-stakes board meeting.

With 110,000 square feet of exhibit space spread across four halls, the civic center holds up to 653 booths. The ballroom holds 1,260 for a reception and has an outdoor balcony featuring a panoramic view of Peoria. For more intimate meetings, the ballroom divides into nine meeting rooms, and there are 16 additional breakout venues.

An impressive arena and performance theater add additional options for meeting space, entertainment and networking sessions.

The in-house audiovisual and catering teams provide unrivaled service to meet any planner’s needs.

Hotel Selection

Looking to provide your group an elegant stay? Trying not to break the budget? Or how about something for both extremes? Check, check and check again. Find your ideal venue in Peoria.

Hotel Pere Marquette blends a rich history, layers of sophistication, modern amenities and convenience. Impressively, it never feels stuffy while providing all the niceties guests could desire. There are 286 luxurious rooms and 35 suites. A skywalk connects the hotel to the Peoria Civic Center and arena. Planners can also utilize the 19,500 square feet of meeting space on-site as well.

Four Points by Sheraton Peoria Downtown is chock-full of amenities. The 323-room hotel includes 12 meeting rooms, with the largest available space (ballroom) holding up to 1,800 attendees. Up-to-date technology and safety measures ensure a successful meeting here.

Embassy Suites by Hilton East Peoria Riverfront Hotel & Conference Center puts your group in the heart of downtown and its acclaimed venues, restaurants and shopping destinations. The 35,000-sq.-ft. conference center is ideal for a midsize business event and/or convention. 


For a different perspective from traditional convention centers and hotels, local venues add a fun sense of place to your event. Options include:

Caterpillar Visitors Center + Museum is a popular choice for its inside look at the world of manufacturing and sustainability. Corporate meeting space is available for half-day or full-day rentals, or for nighttime use. Be sure to build in time for the group to tour the exhibitions to gain a new appreciation for what it takes to build a lasting organization.

Peoria Riverfront Museum is an inspired choice to teach the importance of interdisciplinary teamwork. Designated as one of the 200 great places in Illinois by the American Institute of Architects, the facility includes several meeting and event spaces. Consider the lobby for an off-site reception and book a private laser show at the Dome Planetarium.

Group Activities

Shared experiences build bonds and long-term memories. Take the whole group out to a game or a show for a night on the town.

Catch a Peoria Rivermen’s game at the Civic Center; a Bradley University Men’s or Women’s Basketball home game; or a Peoria Chiefs game at Dozer Park; and don’t forget to cheer on the Flying Carps at a Peoria City USL2 Soccer game at Shea Stadium

Crafted DIY Studio & Bar is just what it sounds like. Create a project over a nice drink at this unusual setting also in the Warehouse District.

Workout nuts and wellness-minded attendees will climb hand over fist to First Ascent for a good workout.

Gone Social is more than a catchier phrase than the traditional fishing angle. Attendees can test their aim and strength after a full day of meetings.

Local Flavor

For a true taste of Peoria, attendees can embrace the community’s rich offerings from the food and drink to fun activities. Highlights include:

Black Band Distillery is the right stop to see how the destination earned its nickname of “Whiskey City.”

Zion Coffee Bar in the Warehouse District sources its coffee directly from small growers in Central America. Artisan cocktails and pastries are also available. Planners can order coffee via delivery to up the morning caffeine game.

Thyme Kitchen places a huge emphasis on sourcing the very best ingredients that are as local as possible. The end result? Some truly stunning menu items! While the food at Thyme is definitely deserving of all its accolades, the bar is just as worthy as a stopover. You won’t believe the impressive whiskey menu (we’re talking 60 bourbons alone, plus over a dozen ryes, and 16 whiskeys) that will wet your whistle at Thyme.

Kelleher’s Irish Pub is an authentic Irish pub downtown Peoria known for its live music, Bradley University pregame parties, delicious Irish fare, great rotating draft beers, and lively events. This is a great spot year round to be Irish.

There are many reasons to say “cheers” to Peoria, but it truly is the total package that sets the destination apart. With convenience, amenities and top venues, Peoria has a combination that appeals to all groups. Come meet in Whiskey City for yourself to see the magic firsthand.

Guest Writer
Guest Writer
Discover Peoria, IL