Fun Things to Do in Pekin

Fun Things to Do in Pekin IL

Ask anyone who lives in or visits Pekin what they remember the most, and it’s likely they’ll say, “the parks.” Since 1902 the Pekin Park District has been providing park and recreational opportunities to the community. The park district’s 17 parks encompass 2,280 acres of land, making it one of the largest park districts in the state. Most of the acreage is in four parks on the outskirts of Pekin, which have been mostly preserved in their natural beauty.

Mineral Springs Park: Located in the heart of the city, Mineral Springs Park is the showpiece of the park district encompassing 220 acres. Home to a beautiful pavilion that sits on a man-made lagoon where you can take a paddle boat ride, Mineral Springs Park is also the home of Parkside Athletics (an indoor fitness and tennis/pickleball facility), Veterans Memorial Arena (that includes an indoor ice rink in the winter months), DragonLand Water Park, Magic Dragon Mini-Golf, the Miller Senior Center, Happy Tails Dog Park, the World’s Greatest Sundial and the Sunken Gardens Fountain. There is also a playground for ages 2 to 5 and 5 to 12, outdoor tennis courts, basketball courts, picnic shelters, a skate park, ball diamonds, access to the Pekin Bike Trail and Sunday evening Pekin Concert Band performances in the summer. This park also plays host to several major community events throughout the year, including the Pekin Marigold Festival, the Winter Wonderland Festival and the Tazewell County Veterans Memorial Fair Association 4-H Fair.

Riverfront Park: A collaborative effort between the City of Pekin and the Pekin Park District, Riverfront Park sits on six acres along the banks of the Illinois River. The park features a festival plaza, event meadow, picnic grills, an interactive water play area, large gazebo, vehicular overlook parking area, playground, picnic shelter, a large viewing pier, boat launch and access to the Pekin Bike Trail.

John T. McNaughton, Everett McKinley Dirksen and Independence Parks: These parks, known as the outer parks, are mainly preserved land and water sites through the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission. There are many trails for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. Non-preserved areas within these parks include an archery range, radio controlled airfield for model airplanes, 18-hole disc golf course, Soldwedel Program Center and Rockin’ P. Riding Ranch.

Pekin Park Sports Complex: This 80-acre complex features 12 ball diamonds for baseball and softball. The soccer area can accommodate up to 10 separate fields, depending on the age group. There are also four football fields, restrooms and concession facilities, a 1.6-mile walking path, two playgrounds and parking for 500 cars.

Whatever your park and recreational desire may be, the Pekin Park District has you covered. Visit for more information on what the park district has to offer from a vast variety of park amenities to more than 150 programs, classes and camps offered throughout the year.

Pekin golfers have plenty of choices when it’s time to hit the links, including two park district courses.

  • Parkview: The oldest local course, Parkview offers a challenging 18 holes that are popular for all skill levels.
  • Lick Creek: Ranked as one of the top public golf courses by Golf Digest magazine, Lick Creek provides a greater challenge.
  • The Clubs at Sunset Hills: Open for public play, Sunset Hills is an 18-hole course with a full restaurant, bar and banquet facilities.
  • Pekin Country Club: Provides 18 holes for golfers seeking a challenging course layout.

For the outdoor enthusiast, Pekin’s prime location on the banks of the Illinois River provides many opportunities to hunt, fish, boat, observe bald eagles or view an egret rookery. Many people enjoy relaxing and enjoying the view from the riverfront pier, watching the tugboats and barges that work the river.

Pekin’s young residents enjoy a plethora of organizations focused on providing and coordinating recreational activities, such as the Pekin Union Mission, the Boys & Girls Club of Pekin and the Pekin YWCA. Boys and girls of all ages can participate in recreational and competitive youth sports programs including baseball, softball, swimming, ice hockey, football, soccer and basketball. Over 100 different clubs and organizations are also well established in the Pekin community. From social to fraternal, service organizations to business and hobby-based groups, there is a group that will meet your needs.

The Avanti’s Dome Events & Sports Center of Pekin is a 75,000-square-foot, versatile sports complex. The Dome plays host to soccer, softball and football leagues and tournaments, as well as trade shows, meetings, concerts, banquets and conventions.

Pekin Paintball Park, an outdoor paintball field, is the perfect place for birthday parties, corporate events, team building, tournaments and more.

The Pekin Civic Chorus is a group of roughly 90 talented performers who present a bi-annual show of Broadway style songs over five nights of performances. Founded in 1953, the Civic Chorus has donated more than $186,000 to various community groups and scholarships to students pursuing a career in music each year.

From musical performances to a thriving local theater troupe, the Pekin area has many entertainment offerings. Nearby you’ll also find the symphony, ballet, theater, opera, art museums, a planetarium, a zoo, professional sports, a riverboat casino and concerts. Additionally, Pekin’s close proximity to a number of colleges and universities provides even more cultural and entertainment options.