20 Best Things to Do in Marion, IL

Marion, IL
Danita Delimont / shutterstock.com

There is no shortage of the best things to do in Marion, Illinois.

Located in Williamson and Johnson Counties, Marion serves as the county seat of Williamson County and its largest city.

The coal fields of the early twentieth century gave rise to a scattered urban region, of which this is a component.

The city got its name from General Francis "Swamp Fox" Marion, a hero of the American Revolutionary War.

Marion has grown into Southern Illinois ' central retail trade hub because of its convenient position on Interstate 57 and Illinois Route 13.

It's a popular destination for food enthusiasts and those looking for a good time.

Aside from shopping, the city is abundant with stunning scenery, excellent museums, and lovely parks.

A city full of high-octane racing and a world-class ballpark awaits you.

A mall and a minor league baseball club call Illinois Star Centre home.

One of the region's major natural preserves is one of the area's quieter spots for introspection.

A National Historic Registry-listed building from 1913 serves as a showcase for art, history, and culture.

Here's a list of the best thing to do in Marion, IL:

Explore the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge

A bird at Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge
Derek Richardson / shutterstock.com

Unwind at Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge.

Five miles west of Marion, the tourist center is an excellent place to start.

You may obtain a map of the 44,000-acre preserve from the center.

Lake at Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It's an excellent opportunity for families to get outside and explore the region's natural beauty.

You'll be able to observe wild deer, turkeys, bobcats, and migrating birds on a 9-mile self-guided driving tour of the property.

Beautiful view of Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge surrounded by tall trees and benches
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You may also catch catfish by casting a line from the shore of a lake.

If you'd like, you can pack a picnic and take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Explore the City's Past at Williamson County Historical Museum

A historic 1913 brick building houses the Williamson County Historical Society.

Located at 105 S. Van Buren Street, a half-block from the Williamson County Courthouse, this 1913 structure served dual purposes.

It operated as both a jail and a residence for the Sheriff and his family.

It has four large cell blocks for the males and smaller ones for the ladies.

In the ancient days, the Sheriff's wife would cook for the convicts as part of the deal.

Following the completion of the new jail in 1972, the Williamson County Historical Society agreed to use the building as a museum.

With many treasured family heirlooms and fascinating antiques dating back to the founding of the county in 1839 in its collection, it has been a treasure trove since its establishment.

The museum exhibits relics from a bygone era, including antiques and documents.

An old-fashioned schoolroom and many more displays of historical furniture, equipment, amusement, clothes, and military costumes are among the 17 rooms filled with exhibits.

Browse the Extensive Archives at Marion Carnegie Library

The old home of "Grandma Cline" is now the Marion Carnegie Library.

The Carnegie Foundation donated $18,000 to construct the building in 1915.

The building was planned by Evansville, IN architect Clifford Shopbell and built by Marion, IN contractor Robert Sparks.

There were 1,162 books and 680 borrowers when it launched on February 29, 1916.

Today, the library possesses more than 118,000 pieces in its collection.

Books, periodicals, DVDs, audiobooks, instructional kits, and digital material are just some of the resources patrons can borrow from the library.

You may also request an item from other libraries in its system if what you are looking for is unavailable.

Catch a Game at Rent One Park

Exterior view of Rent One Park
Farragutful, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located in Marion, Illinois, Rent One Park is a stadium that opened in 2007.

From 2007, it served as home to the Southern Illinois Miners of the Frontier League, a minor league team.

In contrast to the typical red brick and green-painted steel of other ballparks in the United States, this stadium has a modern, non-traditional appearance.

In the new stadium, the roof dips down toward the pitch, making it one of the unique aspects.

As a result, fans may be able to snag players' foul balls that roll back down the field.

It is not uncommon to find a more oversized chair behind home plate among the ballpark's more than 3,400 regular armchair seats.

Over 2,000 people may watch in the grassy area along the left-field line and the outfield.

Baseball field at Rent One Park
Farragutful, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Two picnic areas are available in Rent One Park.

An open-air plaza, home and guest clubhouses, a maintenance facility, and administrative offices are all part of the complex's facilities, as are team stores.

The Fun Zone, a children's play area with four inflatable activities, can be found at the park's southwest corner on the left-field side.

Baseball, Wiffle ball, skeeball, and basketball are some of the ball activities you may try here.

Swing Your Club at Kokopelli Golf Club

It has a long history of bringing Southern Illinois and the game of golf together through Kokopelli Golf Club.

More than 20 local investors led the charge to begin construction in 1996 to bring world-class golf to Southern Illinois.

Steve Smyers, a famous golf architect, developed this comprehensive course and rated it one of the most fantastic locations in America by Golf Week Magazine.

Whether you're a rookie or an expert player, this course is sure to keep you entertained.

Kokopelli's new leadership is bringing together the finest of the company's long history with the excitement of an entirely new era.

For your convenience, Kokopelli has an eight-acre practice facility, a GPS golf cart fleet with Bluetooth and radio capabilities, and an all-inclusive pro shop with expert golf instruction.

Membership and sponsorship opportunities are available to anyone who choose to participate.

The event area at Kokopelli has also been given a makeover, with a pass-through bar, refurbished facilities, and freshly renovated event spaces available for rentals.

Additionally, it features The Turn, an on-site restaurant and lounge for guests to relax and celebrate all night long.

There's no reason to go somewhere else with its extensive range of bourbons, local wine, and delicious meal deals.

Have a Picnic at Pyramid Park

The vast grounds and well-kept facilities of Pyramid Park make it a beloved local green area.

The playgrounds, picnic spaces, and fields at this Marion community park are among the best in the city.

Pharaoh's Way Disc Golf Course, a professionally built, demanding recreational 18-hole course, is located in this 33-acre park.

It also features a centrally placed skate park.

There are also two ball fields and a lot of parking available.

Stay in the park for a while and enjoy the sunset.

From this park, you'll be able to admire the orange tint of the sky in all its glory.

Have a Splash at Marion Park District Aquatic Center

There is a public swimming pool located at Ray Fosse Park in Marion.

Taking a dip in this massive pool, one of the city's most popular attractions, is a great way to beat the heat.

There is a separate section of the outdoor pool for people who wish to swim laps and want to relax.

It is a great place to perform relay swimming races with your pals.

Groups of individuals can race each other in this area, which is wide enough.

Celebrate Arts at Marion Cultural and Civic Center

Front view of Marion Cultural and Civic Center at Marion, IL
Farragutful, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Marion Cultural and Civic Center was previously the Orpheum Play House circuit's "Flagship" theater.

Three DuQuoin businessmen owned and ran ten Southern Illinois movie theaters: Reid, Yemm, and Hayes.

The foundation finished construction in 1919, and the theater followed suit in late 1921.

Visit the Marion Cultural and Civic Center for an uplifting performance or a foot-tapping concert.

With a history dating back to the days of vaudeville, you can be sure that the 1,094-seat venue, run by the city, has something to offer to everyone.

Here, you may watch local Marion community theater performances like the Paradise Alley Players and national touring acts, as well as classic films shown regularly as part of the Classic Movie Series.

Every year, the facility hosts around 300 different events.

Arrive early to take in the lobby art exhibit, which features the work of local artists.

Feel Your Adrenaline Rushing at Southern Illinois Raceway

Enter the exciting world of motorsports in Marion.

The Southern Illinois Raceway's one-eighth-mile dirt track is a great place to catch some racing action.

If you're a motorsports fanatic, you're probably counting down the days until the next exciting race.

Get a pit pass so you can get up close and personal with the racers.

If you get to the track early enough, you can catch some of the practice laps for the significant events before the starting gun goes off.

Practice Shoot at Tombstone Gun Range and Training Center

Shooters of all skill levels may practice their expertise in firearms in a safe environment at the Tombstone Gun Range and Training Center.

In addition, it offers training for all skill levels.

Classes and programs are flexible according to your ability level.

The center aims to safely and successfully teach you how to use a firearm for sport, personal protection, or your professional employment, such as law enforcement, security, or military progress.

At this range, you'll be able to learn from seasoned military, law enforcement, and civilian firearms professionals.

A pro shop, a classroom, and restrooms are all available inside the range.

You may opt to sign up for a membership or pay a daily pass to use the range.

Experience the Tranquility of Mandala Gardens

As you would at a holy shrine, enter the tranquil Mandala Gardens.

There is a sense of peace and tranquility in the air.

You get to decide whether it's a farm, food market, park, or sanctuary based on how you use it.

The mandala-style gardens are peaceful in spiral, star, and medicine-wheel designs.

Or you might gaze at the intricately carved stonework.

Bring your kids to interact with the farm's goats, chickens, and ducks.

You may also relax at the nearby benches.

Summer is a great time to come here and stock up on veggies and herbs left out to dry in the sun.

Have a Fun Family Day at The HUB Recreation Center

Exterior view of the HUB Recreation Center
Farragutful, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

HUB Recreation Center aims to become a leader in the field of health and wellness by delivering tremendous and creative programs and services that produce quantifiable and transformative improvements in the lives of the people we serve.

Its personnel, facility, activities, and services seek to create a friendly community culture of health, recreation, and education.

Here, health and enjoyment come together!

It features pools, courts, a track, and a fitness center where you can get in some exercise.

It doesn't matter if you're looking for a kiddie pool or a lazy river; it has something for everyone here.

Get a one-day visitor pass or sign up for membership to try these amenities.

Go Antique-Hunting at Warehouse Antique Mall

If you're planning a vacation to Marion, one of the best things to do on a budget is to go antique-hunting.

Each booth in the Warehouse Antique Mall occupies a space of around 11,000 square feet.

When shopping in Marion, there's no shortage of one-of-a-kind antique products at this huge mall.

We have anything from century-old children's toys to luxurious bar carts and solid shelving.

Visit as many vendors as possible before making a purchase.

Have a Date Night at AMC CLASSIC Illinois Centre 8

Moviegoers may see the latest releases at the AMC Classic Illinois Centre 8.

One of the most popular things to do in Marion at night is to take in the latest blockbuster releases at this quaint movie theater.

There's nothing better than a night in front of the big screen while snacking on popcorn and sipping soda.

For a more immersive experience, see a movie in this theater's RealD 3D cinema.

Even if you're not a massive film lover, it is a great place to catch 3D films.

The facility also has a private theater where you and your loved one may have an intimate movie experience.

Have a Taste of the Wild West at McKinney's Western Store

Are you a fan of the Wild West?

You'll find everything you need to satisfy your inner cowboy at Marion's shop.

Since the 1960s, McKinney's Western Store has been serving Southern Illinois.

As the second generation of McKinneys, Rick and Kim took over in 1993.

The store offers the best brands and range of Western clothing and tack to the area.

The McKinney family enjoys horseback riding and spending time together.

Western wear and accessories, including hats and boots, tack, and feed, are available at McKinney's Western Store.

You can rely on McKinney's personnel to be informed, kind, and helpful.

Find something for yourself or that particular Western fan in your life.

Savor Unique Cuisines at THAI-D Classic Thai Cuisine

THAI-D Classic Thai Cuisine is proud to deliver excellent cuisine as Marion's first Thai restaurant since 2009.

They provide a combination of top-notch, genuine Thai food and friendly service in a chic yet conventional atmosphere.

Every meal you order will be prepared and cooked by skilled chefs using the highest quality ingredients, such as deluxe Thai spices and herbs.

A wide assortment of wines and domestic and international beers are available, which go well with the restaurant's authentic food options.

Dine at THAI-D Classic Thai Cuisine, one of Illinois' top 9 ethnic restaurants!

Practice your Skills at Goofy Golf

Make sure to include Goofy Golf, an 18-hole mini golf course in Ray Fosse Park, on your list of entertaining things to do during your vacation!

Finish the mini-golf course and score a sucker before heading out.

It is fully accessible from April to October for an afternoon of enjoyment.

Practice your swing at the nearby Batting Cages with three kinds of speed to improve and maintain your batting abilities.

Test your throwing skills at the bags complex situated adjacent to the course.

Goofy Golf is a great place to spend the day after you tour Ray Fosse Park!

Soak the Ambiance at Aspire Yoga

Come by the rated five stars Aspire Yoga, a cutting-edge fitness boutique in Marion, Illinois.

Aspire Yoga aims to provide a warm, peaceful, and welcoming environment that brings individuals together and upholds one another in the process.

They strive for customers to have the greatest possible experience, regardless of whether they are a beginner or an expert yoga practitioner.

Swedish massage at Aspire Yoga uses customized methods to relieve stress and promote relaxation in sessions lasting 30 minutes, 60 minutes, or 90 minutes.

Enjoy their latest service offering in their new studio: dry salt treatment, popularly known as halotherapy.

Engage in Outdoor Fun at Pirate Pete's

While your older children enjoy other games like laser tag, you can let the little ones crawl, slide, bounce, and play in a highly safe and enjoyable enclosed space.

Put on your laser tag vest, have a blast, and start firing in the brand-new, cutting-edge laser tag arena.

Discover the spick and span PlaySmart toys available at Pirate Pete made just for kids between 3 and 7.

Come in and check out the area's biggest arcade, boasting games for players of all ages.

Win tickets and collect fantastic rewards!

Pirate Pete's can tailor any party or event; you can include arcade tokens, laser tag, and the PlaySmart in your party package.

Take a Swing at Backwoods Axe Throwing

Try something new in Backwoods Axe Throwing, an indoor axe-throwing facility featuring nine axe-tossing lanes and a bar.

They will supply you with all you need to have a memorable time.

A one-hour minimum booking period is required for axe throwing.

Enter their leagues, celebrate significant events, or simply enjoy going out with your buddies at Backwoods Axe Throwing.

They allow walk-in axe throwing for smaller groups or host social outings.

You have arrived at the perfect place if you're seeking something unique and fun to do in Southern Illinois.

Final Thoughts

Get a taste of the Southern Illinois culture and history.

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