Peoria, a bustling city on the Illinois River, sits at the eastern tip of self-titled Peoria County. This city is the state’s oldest settlement, having been founded in the late 1600s by the French, who at the time still held sway over the territory comprising the Louisiana Purchase.
Peoria, formerly a river port and center of industrial commerce, is now a vibrant yet reasonably priced metropolis with all the historic landmarks and architecture befitting a city of its age. It also has a thriving arts scene, with venues like the Renaissance Park and Civic Center drawing visitors from all over the country. Many famous people have called Peoria home, including horror author Dan Simmons and Chronicles of Narnia make-up artist Tami Lane.
Let’s check out ten things to know before moving to Peoria, IL!
1. It has a notable Riverfront
Peoria, as the largest city along the Illinois River, boasts the kind of gorgeous riverfront views that can only be seen in a riverside community. The Peoria RiverFront neighborhood is one of the oldest in the state and features exciting nightlife, museums, and galleries.
Barges and pleasure boats, like the paddlewheel boat The Spirit of Peoria passing by, contribute to the atmosphere.
2. Get a job in the healthcare industry
OSF St. Francis Hospital, UnityPoint Health, and Caterpillar Inc. are the top three local employers in this city. Registered nurses, CNAs, and LPNs dominate the healthcare workforce. In Peoria, the median annual pay is $61k, with the median hourly earnings being $17.36.
The healthcare sector and the construction industry are both solid bets for those looking for stable employment in Peoria.
3. A cost of living index of 76.3
Peoria has a 27% lower cost of living than the national average, despite its metropolitan layout and prime location on the Illinois River. The city has a median home price of $104,801. You can save money on food and utilities by relocating to Peoria while paying slightly more for transportation. The average monthly apartment rent in Peoria is only $816, so living here is relatively cheap.
Peoria is the perfect place to live since it has all the benefits of city life without breaking the bank. In Illinois, there are few areas where a dollar goes as far.
4. Shop at The Peoria Farmers Market or Peoria RiverFront Market
The Peoria RiverFront Market along the riverside and the Peoria Farmers Market at the Metro Centre both serve to unite local farmers and shoppers. May through October is the season for the Peoria Farmers Market, while June through September is the time for the RiverFront Market.
Guests have their pick of many different types of locally grown produce, as well as herbs, honey, baked items, flowers, and more.
5. Learn about the city’s history at Pettengill-Morron House Museum
The city’s many museums and restored homes provide fascinating glimpses into the past, making this ancient river town an ideal destination for those interested in the past.
The Pettengill-Morron House Museum, constructed in 1868, the John C Flanagan House Museum, built in 1837, and the Wheels O’ Time Museum, which displays artifacts from the fields of industry, agriculture, domestic life, transportation, and entertainment, are also popular destinations.
6. Take the kids to see animals at Wildlife Prairie State Park
The Wildlife Prairie State Park in Illinois is home to over 50 different species of native animals. Over 150 animals call the zoo’s 2,000 acres home, and visitors can also go fishing, ride a train, and camp out there for the night.
The Peoria Zoo, Luthy Botanical Garden, and five public golf courses are just a few of the attractions that can be found within the city’s extensive park system. The Peoria Park District is the largest in Illinois and the first of its kind in the city.
7. The city has a ton of colleges
A university community has long thrived in this city. The area is home to a number of prestigious universities, including Bradley University, Midstate College, Methodist College, OSF St. Francis College of Nursing, the University of Illinois College of Medicine, Illinois Central College, and Robert Morris University.
Moreover, Illinois Central University’s main campus can be found in East Peoria, while Eureka College can be found in adjacent Eureka.
8. It’s one of the politest cities in the country
According to the list that was created by etiquette expert Marjabelle Young Stewart, the city is continuously ranked among the Top 10 Most Well Mannered Cities in the country.
The locals are exceptionally courteous, and they will not think twice about giving you a friendly grin, a wave, or a helping hand if you find yourself in a sticky situation.
9. Get access to the best healthcare
Around a quarter of the city’s GDP is contributed by the healthcare sector. The Children’s Hospital of Illinois, OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, UnityPoint Health – Methodist, and UnityPoint Health – Proctor are the area’s three largest medical facilities.
Peoria is also home to the University of Illinois College of Medicine and St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital’s Midwest facility.
10. Celebrate the seasons with different festivals
As summer winds down and the weather begins to chill, people around the city go a little pumpkin crazy. The Morton Pumpkin Festival is a great event for fans of the ubiquitous squash.
When the pumpkins have been gathered, and the winter has fallen, the East Peoria Festival of Lights becomes a popular destination for locals and visitors alike. One of the largest lit festivals in the country, the Folepi’s Winter Wonderland drive-through show runs throughout the month of December, beginning with the Parade of Lights.
To Sum it All Up
With an affordable cost of living, lots of fun things to do, all four seasons, a thriving job market, and many options for higher education, there’s no doubt that Peoria is a great choice of city to live in, and you’ll absolutely enjoy your time there.