A Step Back in Time in Central Illinois
It was in 1680 that French explorers first established a fort along the Illinois River where the Peoria area communities now thrive. Before that, Native Americans had settled in our region for centuries, creating a network of commerce and travel along the river. We invite you to step back in time and explore our region, to create new memories and discover why the Peoria region has been so special, for so long, in so many hearts.
Hop aboard the Spirit of Peoria paddlewheel and enjoy a sightseeing cruise along the Illinois River! Take in the Peoria skyline and the natural hillsides of the river valley. This authentic paddlewheel cruise is a must-do for those wanting to relive Peoria’s yesteryears!
Need a midday pick me up? After you part from the Spirit of Peoria and head to Luthy, stop by Thirty-Thirty Coffee Co. in downtown Peoria. Located in the historic Anheuser-Busch/Kickapoo building, Thirty-Thirty has been brewing up high quality coffee and using locally made products since 2011.
Surround yourself in the amazing colors of the season at Luthy Botanical Gardens in Glen Oak Park. The five-acre park is home to over a dozen themed gardens, a conservatory and a garden gift shop. Luthy Botanical Garden hosts a variety of events throughout the year, based on different seasonal foliage.
Before you head up to Wildlife to stay the night, end your day with a meal at The Blue Duck Barbecue Tavern, which is located right on the Peoria Riverfront and in an old train depot. Not quite ready to turn in for the night? Head next door to Martinis on Water where you can enjoy great homemade cocktails and listen to live music. Or walk down the street to Kelleher’s Irish Pub & Eatery where there is a full bar and on Saturday nights, Water Street is closed down for live music and dancing.
Rest your head and tired feet at Wildlife Prairie Park where you can spend the night in a renovated Santa Fe Train Cabooses. On the edge of the Bison and Elk Range, the cabooses complete with all the amenities you could expect from any hotel room. When you spend the night at Wildlife you have full access to the park to fish, hike and discover the natural wildlife and plants in the park.
Looking for a yummy breakfast before you start discovering all the Peoria area has to offer? Check out Trefzger’s Bakery in Peoria Heights. Established in 1861, Trefzger’s is now located in a restored building that is about as old as the bakery itself. The fresh sticky buns will pair nicely with your morning coffee you can pick up right up the block at Leaves n’ Beans.
Want to relive Peoria’s past? Check out the Peoria Historical Society’s history tours. Go back in time, from the first Native American settlers to the establishment of the “whiskey capital” on these hour to two-hour long tours. When finished, walk through the Flanagan House Museum and the Pettengill-Morron House Museum, two of Peoria’s well-known houses.
Antique cars, trains, and Cat machinery await you at the Wheels O’ Time Museum north of Peoria. Take a trip down memory lane with interactive displays. This piece of Peoria’s past is great for all ages!
Looking to get out of the city for the day? Check out Dickson Mounds Museum, the premier on-site archaeological museum, located 45 miles southwest of Peoria in Lewistown. The museum interprets the 12,000 year history of American Indian cultures in Illinois.
After your long day of traveling back in time, continue that journey back heading to Obed & Isaac's Microbrewery and Eatery which is located in a historic restored 1889 church. With a diverse menu and full, locally made beer list, there is something everyone can enjoy.