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Welcome to Peoria, Illinois, a dynamic blend of historic charm and modern attractions nestled along the Illinois River. As the oldest European settlement in Illinois, Peoria offers a rich tapestry of cultural experiences and scenic beauty unfolding at every turn. From the vibrant warehouse district to the lush landscapes of Forrest Hill Nature Reserve and beyond, this city is a delight to discover.
A must-visit is the Peoria Riverfront Museum, where you can dive into the fascinating worlds of art, science and history. Another highlight is the Wildlife Prairie Park, a 2,000-acre zoological park that homes animals native to Illinois, and just a 30-minute car ride from downtown Peoria. Grandview Drive, which winds along the Illinois River, is another gem to explore. Designated as the 'World's Most Beautiful Drive' by President Teddy Roosevelt, this 2.52-mile stretch boasts panoramic views that are especially spectacular during fall.
For those seeking a longer excursion, a 3-hour car journey brings you to Chicago, the Windy City. Alternatively, you could head to Springfield, Illinois' capital, a 2-hour drive offering historical sites like the Lincoln Home National Historic Site. There's also the spiritual community of Kewanee, about 60 minutes away by car, that is home to the Bishop Hill Heritage Association - preserving the unique 1846 Swedish commune. So, whether you're a city slicker or nature enthusiast, Peoria offers a starting point to explore the heart of Illinois by car.