Peoria can be pretty intimidating, and if you’re new to Bradley University’s campus, it can be hard to leave that safe space sometimes. What you may not have known is that there are so many interesting and local places to check out in the surrounding area! Here are 5 really cool places to hang out in P-Town.
Zion Coffee Co. – East Peoria, IL
Fair warning, Peoria has a lot of really cool and unique coffee shops to explore. One of my favorites to go to is Zion, located in East Peoria just before the bridge. As opposed to the stereotypical, rustic vibe most coffee places give off, Zion is extremely modern, and it’s beautiful white walls and counters match perfectly with all the light wood furniture and plants. They have bags of their own coffee for sale if you enjoy what they brew, and they have a wide selection of coffee and tea to choose from.
The location is usually quiet aside from low volume conversations between patrons, as lots of people choose this spot to study. Zion is the perfect place to study when you need to get away from the library on campus. Plus the location is in the perfect location for you to explore the downtown district if the weather is nice.
Each drink is very affordable for the working, college student. With the teas, if you stay in the shop long enough, they will save your teabags for you to get a free refill! All you need to do is ask.
In my opinion, the best time to visit is when it’s raining. Grab a seat along the table facing the window and watch the rain pass by while you work.
Landmark Cinema/Bowling – Peoria, IL
This is one of the best places to go for a fun, all-age friendly, night out! In the same building is a bowling alley and a movie theatre. The bowling alley, like most of the ones near home, has black light nights and good discounts. The best days to go are on Tuesdays and Thursdays! On Tuesdays, it’s $5 a person for unlimited bowling plus $2.75 shoe rental from 8-11pm. On Thursdays, it’s $6 a person for unlimited bowling plus $1 shoe rental from 9-midnight! The deals can’t get better than that!
The better part about this location, in my opinion, is the cinema. I saw Black Panther on opening week for $4.50!!! If you see a movie during the matinee times (11:00am – 5:59pm) the price for tickets is only $4.50. Any other time, if you show your student ID, its $5.50, regardless of the movie. If you want to see it in 3D, just add another $2.
Landmark hands down is the best place to have fun at in Peoria for little to no money. On top of the bowling alley and cinema, there is also a small arcaded in the bowling alley, so the fun really will never end.
Obed & Isaac’s Microbrewery and Eatery – East Peoria, IL
This place is a little more pricey than some other restaurants in the area, but the food is to die for. The building it’s in used to be a church, so the interior is quite stunning. It’s full of stained glass and wide open space, with a bar smack in the middle of the main room. This is the perfect place for date nights, family or sibling weekend, or birthday celebrations.
I personally recommend the Horseshoe, a Peoria staple. It’s an open faced sandwich with your choice of meat, which is then smothered in cheese sauce and fries. All that and it’s only $12. The location is also in East Peoria. Since the restaurant is so popular, the wait times can get rather long, but the area surrounding is beautiful and is worth a short walk around while waiting for your table. You can check out their menu here to see if this place is worth adding to your list.
Tanners Orchard – Speer, IL
This one is a bit of a drive, but if you’re willing to find some friends to tag along, it will make your entire fall. Tanners is one of my favorite places to hit up during the first semester of the year, and it’s guaranteed to help you forget about any home sickness you may have. The best part about Tanners is the apple picking they have. For just $10, you can fill a bag with as many apples as you can fit in it, and they have such a wide variety to choose from!
The other big thing Tanners is known for is their Apple Cider Donuts. They are to die for and my roommate in LA has actually had her grandma ship her a container of these bad boys because they are that good. The recommendation is to warm it up in the microwave for a few seconds and within minutes the entire box will be gone. If you’re into the fall season along with driving through central Illinois, hit up Tanners! The current season doesn’t end until November 30th, 2019, so hit them up soon!
Leaves n’ Beans – Peoria Heights, IL
This is another coffee shop, but what’s different about this one compared to Zion Coffee Co. plentiful. Leaves n’ Beans opts for the homey-vibe quite literally. It is a coffee shop run out of what used to be someone’s home. All of the seating is either a form of dining table chair or a couch. The upstairs area is perfect for studying or getting work done, and the downstairs section is littered with multiple couches, perfect for just hanging out.
They have amazing handcrafted, blended drinks, delicious sandwiches, and just about any flavor add-in your heart could desire. It’s also located in Peoria Heights, a very beautiful area that is fun to explore and walk around.
Which place are you excited to check out! Tell us in the comments below, along with some of your own fun places to visit near Bradley University!
Featured Image Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/538954280408624278
I am a junior Creative Writing major at Bradley University with a passion for Halloween, Starbucks, and poetry. I have had work published in my school's literary magazine Broadside, and have been a selected finalist for the Stein Academy of American Poets Award for 2019. I also have a strong hatred for capital letters, and if given the choice, will write everything lowercase.