Just a few hours from Chicago, Peoria is full of small-town charm and Midwestern flavor packed into a suddenly bustling metropolis.
Start with Peoria RiverFront, located on the Illinois River, one of the biggest attractions in the area. What are you looking for? Horse-drawn carriage rides in the evening? Check. Concerts and more at James W. Baldwin RiverFront Festival Park? Definitely. Turn-of-the-century paddle boats for sightseeing? Yes.
Peoria features a bustling arts community, with the Contemporary Art Center of Peoria and the Peoria Art Guild and Galleries. Fine arts include the Peoria Symphony Orchestra, the 10th oldest in the country. There's also Opera Illinois, the Peoria Municipal Band, the Peoria Area Civic Chorale, the Central Illinois Youth Symphony and two ballet companies: Peoria Ballet and Illinois Ballet.
Golfers have plenty of options, too. Start with Quail Meadows Golf Course in nearby Washington. The picturesque course is home to plenty of wildlife -- several acres have been converted to wildflower areas that a variety of birds now call home. Or WeaverRidge Golf Club, which features multiple bentgrass tees and fairways, with fast and true greens. Enjoy the community's rolling hills and forested valleys.
The weather in Peoria features a variety, from crisp winters to mild summers, falls complete with dazzling foliage and spring with full bloom. The town is home to numerous festivals, sporting events and a calendar that is always busy with home-grown entertainment.
Accolades began to roll in a year after WeaverRidge opened. Golf Digest ranked it No. 2 on its 1998 list of best new upscale public courses in the country. A year later, Golf Digest gave it a No. 6 ranking among all the golf courses in Illinois. Jerry Weaver is only half-kidding when he says the golf course turned out so well because he didn't know enough about golf to interfere with designers Michael Hurdzan and Dana Fry.
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