21 Best Things to Do in Pekin, IL

Pekin, IL
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Why should you travel to Pekin, Illinois?

In the late 1820s, people once believed that this tourist destination stood at the exact opposite point on the globe from Peking, China.

So, they named the Illinois version "Peking," too.

Pekin's farmers' markets, restaurants, parks, and golf courses in countless tourist spots will pique your interest.

Created in the 1880s, Mineral Springs Park features a lovely boating lake and has become a true source of pride for Pekin.

Pekins has several other well-known tourist attractions, including Avanti's Dome, Pekin Paintball Park, Sunset Hills Golf Course, and more.

Here are the best things to do in Pekin, IL:

Golf with Buddies at Sunset Hills Golf Course

One of the best golf course designs in the Peoria region is at Sunset Hills Golf Course.

This nine-hole disc golf course holds major yearly competitions where players compete and test their talents.

This course is adaptable, offering a challenge for avid players while also assisting beginners amid the natural surroundings.

The people who play there agree that it is a true treasure.

You only need to consider where to shoot your next shot because the grounds are professionally manicured.

Some of the top disc golf competitions in the world also happen at Sunset Hills Golf Course.

A short distance from the first tee pad is a restaurant and bar called Mashie's Pub & Eatery.

Their extensive selection of dishes is bursting with luscious tastes and diversity.

Watch Sports at Avanti's Dome

Are you looking for a place to attend and join the big events in Pekin?

You can find one of Central Illinois' premier events and sports venues, which is also equipped to withstand the winter.

The main structure is an imposing, 76,000-square-foot dome, standing out for miles and looking like a giant, distorted golf ball.

This is an all-weather venue for a host of sports events, from soccer to softball to lacrosse.

It also hosts concerts, festivals, trade shows, dog competitions, private events, car shows, conventions, and much more.

Come to Avanti's Dome and engage in activities with family and friends.

This is just the perfect location you've been searching for.

Take in Stunning Views at Pekin Riverfront Park

Pekin Riverfront Park is a fantastic spot to see winter eagles since it has a viewing platform and a picnic area.

You can find it along the Illinois River, but it's crucial to note that the park is quite far back from the river's edge.

It's also on significantly higher land.

It has a beautiful view of the Pekin Bridge, the adjacent forested bank, and the river across both directions.

Live birds, storytelling, music, and river trips are all available.

Pekin Riverfront Park is also a meeting location with a gazebo, plaza, and meadow for special occasions.

Likewise, it has an interactive water play section for youngsters.

Some tourists and locals alike just come to stroll along the observation pier and take in the landscape.

Taste Delicious Meals at Avanti's Italian Restaurant

Albert Zeller founded Avanti's Italian Restaurant.

Since 1966, Avanti's has provided its customers with delicious Italian food and affordable rates.

In Central Illinois, Avanti's is known as a local Italian restaurant offering sandwiches, pizza, and pasta in a casual environment.

Their extensive menu of delectable Italian food is prepared using traditional family recipes.

Mouthwatering dishes are available on the Avanti's menu, including appetizers, entrées, desserts, and beverages.

Consider catering from Avanti's if you are hosting a private party or corporate event.

They may cater to any party size at any time, and they offer special catering rates for parties of 30 or more.

Ride a Horse at Rockin' P Ranch Public Riding Ranch

Are you looking for unique activities and unforgettable experiences in Pekin?

Riding a horse through McNaughton Park may be the most relaxing one.

With the help of the riders of Rockin' P Public Riding Ranch, you will surely experience lovely pastures and landscapes.

The ranch offers horse-drawn hayrack rides for kids and horse riding classes.

You will ride your horse through McNaughton Park's designated paths, which are home to over 80 different bird species, numerous fauna, and a broad range of wildflowers.

The staff at Rockin' P Ranch will select a horse that is ideal for you and lead you through the breathtaking woodlands, creeks, and across the park's expansive plains.

They can pair you with the ideal riding partner to accompany you through the woods and over the creeks.

Have Fun at Sunset Lanes

The best spot for family entertainment in Central Illinois is Sunset Lanes.

Sunset Lanes is a vintage, 36-lane bowling alley along Court Street that has provided Pekin locals with entertainment for decades.

It's also close to Avanti's Dome.

Every day, Sunset Lanes offers a variety of promotions, such as two games for the cost of just one.

You can find a pro shop and an arcade featuring ballgames, air hockey, and a few game cabinets.

You could also find something to eat following a fun yet exhausting game.

JK's Pizza and Grill is located within Sunset Lanes and serves excellent thin crust, pan, or filled pizza for dine-in or takeout.

Sunset Lanes offers bowling, an arcade redemption center, and delicious food for your enjoyable vacation to Pekin.

Grab a Beer at Maquet's Rail House

Maquet's Rail House is not just an old building serving burgers and beer.

One of Pekin's better craft beer breweries is on the banks of the Illinois River.

One hundred and seventy domestic and craft beers, including twenty on tap, are available at Maquet's Rail House.

As you sip the newest beers, listen to the trains rushing past Pekin.

In addition, they provide bar staples like their iconic burgers and sandwiches.

Drop by the 120-year-old Maquet's Rail House on a sunny weekend afternoon.

While savoring one of their numerous craft beers and specialty meals, come and watch the trains pass by at Maquet's Rail House.

Buy Fresh Vegetables at the Pekin Farmers Market

The Pekin Farmers Market offers seasonal local fresh vegetables and delectable baked products, jams, sauces, and other specialty items.

The Farmers Market is open every Thursday afternoon from May through September.

Pekin Farmers Market offers the ideal setting to take advantage of the market and the park's facilities, making the evening enjoyable for everyone.

They will move indoors to the Miller Center in case of bad weather.

For both children and adults, there is usually a selection of food vendors and excellent entertainment.

View the various products available for purchase at the famous Pekin Farmers Market.

Take a Walk at McNaughton Park

McNaughton Park is an 850-acre nature park with more than 80 bird species and various animals, including deers, foxes, beavers, and more.

You'll also find an 18-hole disc golf course, a waterfall, a horse stable, lakes, and horseback routes in the park.

The Illinois Nature Preserves Commission's Land and Water Reserve contains most of the park's land area.

Additionally, McNaughton Park includes several covered places ideal for hosting picnics or getting a break from the trails.

Visit McNaughton Park and engage in various outdoor activities while admiring its natural beauty.

Try Mexican Dishes at Hacienda Fuentes

Hacienda Fuentes is a lively Mexican restaurant that opened in 2011, serving traditional cuisine and margaritas.

It is a family-run business founded by three brothers who tried to find a way to preserve their mother Maria's recipes.

They take great satisfaction in preparing and serving Mexican food that is genuine, flavorful, and fresh.

Customers will find something they like on their menu, including sizzling fajitas, enchiladas, and toasted nachos.

Among the featured meals are the Yucatan chicken, super ranchers, traditional chiles, tacos al pastor, and more.

Come to Hacienda Fuentes for a meal to bring your family and friends together.

Go Ice Skating at Pekin Memorial Ice Arena

Pekin Memorial Ice Arena offers one of Pekin's top ice skating and hockey programs.

Typically, the Ice Sports season lasts from September through March.

Pekin Memorial Ice Arena has everything from fundamental skating lessons to competitive skill sessions that focus on jumps, turns, and spins.

Their hockey program gives youngsters a lot of opportunities to practice their ice and puck handling abilities while also teaching them the fundamentals.

Whether it's public skating, freestyle skating, stick and puck sessions, youth hockey, or learning to skate, find something enjoyable to do at Pekin Memorial Ice Arena.

Visit Pekin Memorial Ice Arena with friends and family to have a good time and make lasting memories.

Visit Pekin Paintball Park

Are you seeking a location to make unforgettable outdoor experiences?

Ten acres of excitement, adventure, and fun await locals and tourists at Pekin Paintball Park.

Enjoy the brand-new Firing Range field, New Fort Pekin, the Castle, and astroturfed lot.

Each of their playing fields is around the size of a football field.

Bring your friends to the spacious park for a wild night.

Visit Pekin Paintball Park in Pekin to participate in outdoor activities and experience something new.

Have a Root Beer at Cranwill's Drive-In

Since 1969, Cranwill's Drive-In has provided some of the best root beers in Pekin.

When you enter Cranwill's Drive-In, you can count on excellent meals.

All of their customers love their meals because of the fresh toppings and family recipes they take great joy in using.

Delight yourself and your family with some delicious, palate-pleasing meals at Cranwill's Drive-In.

Cranwill's Drive-In services include a Drive-Thru, Drive-In, Takeout, and Kirby Service.

Enjoy a fantastic meal at Cranwill's Drive-In, and you'll undoubtedly leave smiling and stuffed to the brim.

Go Swimming at the Dragonland Water Park

You'll be amazed by a couple of the attractions at Dragonland Water Park.

Dragonland Water Park offers a sand beach play space with water toys, a patio, a concession stand, beach volleyball courts, showers, and locker rooms.

This facility is open all summer long.

If you're planning a party, there are special rates for large groups, and the concession stand has treats for everyone to enjoy.

Given the variety of activities available at DragonLand Water Park, your weekend excursion will be enjoyable.

Order Chinese Delicacies at Ginger Asian Bistro

Have your fill of delicious dining meals and takeaway at the Ginger Asian Bistro.

It's also a pillar of the Pekin community, known for its exceptional Chinese food, first-rate service, and welcoming personnel.

This Chinese restaurant is renowned for its contemporary takes on traditional dishes and commitment to using only the finest fresh ingredients.

Try their starters, fried rice, entrées, salads, and pasta made with meat, chicken, or seafood.

Additionally, they provide vegetarian meals, chef's specials, gluten-free choices, and side dishes.

This is the ideal dining spot if you want to try something new.

Rent a Boat at Mineral Springs Park

Mineral Springs Park carries the name of an 1882 artesian well that may be Pekin's greatest asset.

You can find over 200 acres of top-notch family entertainment at Mineral Springs Park.

The park features a playground, water and skate park, fishing pond, bike trail, mini-golf course, tennis and basketball courts, and baseball fields.

You'll also find picnic tables, a fitness center, an arena with an ice rink, and many other amenities.

The boating lake is surrounded by a half-mile walk and has a lovely pavilion in front of it.

In the summer, you may hire pedal boats for the pavilion.

When the water freezes in the winter, you can go ice skating on its surface.

Kids have enjoyed themselves at the storied Mineral Springs Park Playground in Pekin for many years.

This is a place you must bring your kids since it has slides, swings, and areas for them to climb and enjoy.

Spot All the Downtown Murals

Craving an art excursion in the streets of Pekin?

You might like going on a hunt for the city's downtown murals.

Start off your mural tour with Gro Up Gardening's building, which features the beauty of flowers close to blooming.

You can find it on Court Street.

Kountry Nook Craft Mall on North Capitol Street is also worth a visit.

If you're into graffiti, Muse Salon's mural may speak to you in bright vibrant colors and a cacophony of portraits and doodles.

When you go for a walk along Pekin's streets, be sure to keep an eye out for any other murals along your way.

Take a Peek at the World’s Greatest Sundial at Sunken Gardens

The Pekin Sundial is not your ordinary sundial.

This sundial is famous for being the World’s Greatest Sundial that tells the sun's highest point on a certain day.

It also indicates the equinox and the many solstices of the year with its small stakes.

Built in the 90s, it sits in the middle of Sunken Gardens.

You can find this accurate and breathtaking sundial within Mineral Springs Park on Park Avenue.

Watch the Parade at the Pekin Marigold Festival

The Pekin Marigold Festival is one of the most-awaited events in Piken.

This celebration started all the way back in 1973 and served to honor Senator Everett Dirksen.

His persistence in the cause of making marigold the country's floral emblem—among many other progressive movements—made him Pekin's favorite.

This festival starts off with a parade that begins on 14th Street and ends on Broadway Street.

Other program activities you can anticipate attending include Art in the Park and Carnival fanfare.

This momentous also includes a chalk art walk and showcase stages you wouldn't want to miss.

And to add a bit of flair to the event's night hours is the Lagoon Glow, where you can send off messages to your loved ones on a casted lantern.

The Pekin Marigold Festival takes place every Labor Day Weekend in multiple locations in Pekin.

Swing Your Way to a Hole-in-One at Parkview Golf Course

Parkview Golf Course is your premier destination for a standard golfing adventure in Pekin.

Within its 6,002-yard course are 18 holes, ideal for golfers of all expertise.

Part of this golf course's charm is its added rolling hills for a challenging gameplay ahead.

Opened in 1930, this golf course is also open during twilight.

It has clubhouses for your equipment needs and hosts several leagues and tournaments.

Come by with a group and turn your usual golf game into an unforgettable bonding experience.

Get going to Broadway Road, east of Parkway Drive, to reach Parkview Golf Course.

Strike a Pose in Front of the Everett McKinley Dirksen's Statue

When it comes to commemorative statues, Everett McKinley Dirksen's statue in Pekin is one of the significant works in Illinois.

This 11-foot bronze sculpture puts the exemplary man on a pedestal.

Everett McKinley Dirksen was one of the inspirational politicians in the 60s who represented the state in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The statue depicts a standing Dirksen with a cluster of marigolds, which is also the hoped national floral emblem of the country.

Sculpted by Carl Tolpo in 1975 and dedicated in 1976, Everett McKinley Dirksen's statue is a must-stop between Court and Park Streets.

Final Thoughts

For a little break from the big metropolis, travel to Perkin, where you can engage in numerous indoor and outdoor activities.

A weekend in Pekin includes activities, from paintball, boat trips, pack lunches, and horseback riding.

The attractions in Pekin provide you with various choices, whether you're in the mood for some alone time with nature or outdoor adventure.

Prepare for a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Pekin!

Book your trip today!

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