Best & Fun Things To Do + Places To Visit In Peru, Illinois

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Peru, Illinois: Where Fun and Adventure Collide – The Best Places to Visit and Things to Do!

Are you looking for a fun and exciting vacation spot that’s off the beaten path? Look no further than Peru, Illinois! This charming town may not be the first place that comes to mind when planning your next trip, but it has plenty to offer for visitors of all ages and interests.

From outdoor adventures to cultural attractions, Peru has something for everyone. History buffs will love exploring the town’s many museums, while nature lovers can take in the stunning scenery at local parks and hiking trails. And if you’re looking for a night on the town, Peru has a vibrant nightlife scene with plenty of bars, clubs, and live music venues to choose from.

So why not plan your next vacation in Peru, Illinois? With so much to see and do, it’s sure to be a trip you’ll never forget!

Key Takeaways

  • Peru, Illinois offers a wide variety of activities for visitors of all ages and interests.
  • History buffs and nature lovers alike will find plenty to explore in Peru’s museums and outdoor spaces.
  • Peru’s vibrant nightlife and local cuisine make it the perfect destination for a fun and exciting vacation.

History of Peru, IL

Peru, IL may not be a big city, but it has a rich history that is worth exploring. The city was founded in 1837 and named after the South American country of Peru. Why? Nobody knows for sure, but we like to think it’s because the founders had a great sense of humor.

Peru’s industrial history is also fascinating. The city was once home to the Westclox Company, which produced clocks and other timepieces. In fact, you might have a Westclox clock in your home right now. If you do, take a moment to appreciate the history behind it.

But it’s not just industrial history that makes Peru interesting. The city has a rich social history as well. For example, did you know that during the Civil War, Peru was a stop on the Underground Railroad? Many slaves passed through the city on their way to freedom.

Peru also has a marketing and advertising history. In the early 1900s, the city was home to the Peru Electric Appliance Company, which produced electric ranges and other appliances. The company was known for its catchy advertising slogans, such as “Electric Cooking is Clean Cooking” and “Peru Electric Ranges are in a Class by Themselves.”

In conclusion, Peru, IL may be a small city, but it has a big history. From industrial history to social history to marketing and advertising history, there’s something for everyone to explore. So next time you’re in the area, take some time to learn about the city’s past. You might be surprised at what you discover!

Top Attractions in Peru

Are you looking for some fun things to do in Peru, Illinois? Look no further than these top attractions that are sure to entertain and educate you on the history and culture of this charming town.

Speciality Museums

Peru is home to several speciality museums that offer a unique glimpse into the town’s past. Visit the Illinois Valley YMCA History Museum to learn about the history of the YMCA and its impact on Peru. Or, head to the LaSalle County Historical Society Museum to see exhibits on local history, including Native American artifacts and a replica of a pioneer cabin.

Westclox Factory

If you’re a history buff, you won’t want to miss the Westclox Factory. This former clock factory is now a museum that showcases the history of the Westclox company and its impact on the town of Peru. You can explore the factory’s many exhibits, including vintage clocks and watches, and learn about the factory’s role in World War II.

Peru Mall

Looking for some retail therapy? Head to the Peru Mall, which offers a variety of shopping options for all tastes and budgets. From clothing stores to electronics shops, you’re sure to find something you love. Plus, the mall hosts events throughout the year, including craft fairs and holiday celebrations.

Baker Park

For some outdoor fun, head to Baker Park. This beautiful park offers hiking trails, picnic areas, and playgrounds for the whole family to enjoy. Plus, the park hosts events throughout the year, including concerts and festivals.

Whether you’re a history buff or just looking for some fun things to do, Peru has something for everyone. So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip to Peru today!

Outdoor Activities

Peru, Illinois is a great place to be if you’re an outdoor enthusiast. There are plenty of activities to do outside that will keep you entertained for hours. Here are some of the best outdoor activities you can do in Peru, Illinois.

Fishing at the Lake

If you’re a fishing enthusiast, you’re in for a treat. Baker Lake Park is one of the best places to fish in Peru, Illinois. The lake is stocked with a variety of fish, including bass, catfish, and bluegill. So grab your fishing pole, some bait, and head down to the lake. Who knows, you might even catch the big one!

Running/Walking Path

Are you a runner or a walker? If so, you’ll love the running/walking path at Washington Park. The path is a 1.5-mile loop that takes you through the park and around the lake. It’s the perfect place to get some exercise while enjoying the beautiful scenery.

Dog Park

If you have a furry friend, you’ll be happy to know that Peru, Illinois has a dog park. The Peru Bark Park is a great place to take your dog for some exercise and socialization. The park has a fenced-in area where your dog can run around off-leash. There are also plenty of benches for you to sit and relax while your dog plays.

So whether you’re into fishing, running, or just hanging out with your dog, Peru, Illinois has something for everyone. Get outside and enjoy all that this great town has to offer!

Fun Things To Do

Peru, Illinois may be a small town, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of fun things to do. Whether you’re looking for a night out with friends or a family-friendly activity, there’s something for everyone in Peru.


If you’re looking for a classic night out with friends, look no further than the Illinois Valley Super Bowl. This local bowling alley has everything you need for a fun night out, including 24 lanes, a full-service bar, and arcade games. Plus, with affordable prices and weekly specials, you won’t have to break the bank to have a good time.


For a more laid-back night out, head to the Peru Mall Cinema. This local movie theater has all the latest releases, as well as comfortable seating and affordable prices. Plus, with matinee showings and discount days, you can catch a flick without breaking the bank.

And the best part? Both the Illinois Valley Super Bowl and Peru Mall Cinema offer free popcorn on certain days of the week. Who doesn’t love free snacks?

So, whether you’re in the mood for some friendly competition or just want to relax and watch a movie, Peru has got you covered.

Food and Drink

When it comes to food and drink, Peru, Illinois has some great options to satisfy your cravings. From sweet potato fries to aged rum, there’s something for everyone. Here are some of the best places to eat, drink, and explore in Peru.


If you’re looking for a delicious meal, Peru has plenty of options. For some classic American food, head to Lou’s LaGrotto. Their pizza is a local favorite, but they also have great burgers and sandwiches. If you’re in the mood for Mexican food, try out Los Ranchitos. Their tacos and enchiladas are top-notch.

For a more upscale dining experience, check out MarkAllen’s American Kitchen. They have a great selection of seafood, steak, and pasta dishes. And if you’re looking for something unique, try the traminette brandy at August Hill Winery. It’s a local specialty that’s not to be missed.


When it’s time to unwind, Peru has some great bars to grab a drink. For a cozy atmosphere, head to The Lone Buffalo. They have a great selection of craft beers and spirits, including their own aged rum and navy strength dark rum. And if you’re hungry, their food menu is full of delicious options.

If you’re looking for a more lively atmosphere, check out The Red Dog Grill. They have live music on the weekends and a great selection of cocktails. And if you’re a whiskey fan, head to The Bourbon Barrel. They have over 100 different types of whiskey to choose from.

Distillery Tours

If you’re interested in learning more about spirits, Peru has some great distillery tours to check out. Head to Star Union Spirits to learn about their unique brandy made from grapes and apples. And if you’re a fan of gin, check out Tangled Roots Brewing Company. They have a great gin made from locally sourced ingredients.

Overall, Peru, Illinois has plenty of great food and drink options to explore. Whether you’re in the mood for a delicious dinner or a refreshing cocktail, you’re sure to find something you love.

Nightlife in Peru

You may think that a small town like Peru, Illinois might not have much of a nightlife scene, but you’d be wrong! There are plenty of places to go out and have a good time in this charming town.

If you’re looking for a laid-back atmosphere, head over to the Pink Chihuahua. This cozy bar is the perfect spot to grab a drink and catch up with friends. They have a great selection of beers and cocktails, and the bartenders are always happy to make recommendations.

For a livelier experience, check out the Red Door. This bar has a great jukebox and plenty of space to dance. They also have weekly karaoke nights, so get ready to show off your singing skills (or lack thereof).

If you’re in the mood for some live music, head over to the Westclox Art Gallery. They host regular concerts featuring local musicians, and the atmosphere is always electric. Plus, you’ll get to check out some amazing artwork while you’re there.

And of course, no night out in Peru is complete without a trip to the legendary Chuck’s Tap. This dive bar has been a local favorite for decades, and for good reason. The drinks are cheap, the jukebox is always playing great tunes, and the regulars are always welcoming to newcomers.

So whether you’re looking for a low-key night out or a wild party, Peru has got you covered. Just remember to pace yourself and drink responsibly!

Where to Stay

After a long day of exploring Peru, Illinois, you’ll need a comfortable place to rest your head. Luckily, there are plenty of options for you to choose from, whether you prefer hotels or vacation rentals.


If you’re looking for a traditional hotel experience, Peru has got you covered. Here are some of the best options:

  • Fairfield Inn & Suites: This hotel is conveniently located near the Peru Mall and offers a complimentary breakfast to start your day off right.
  • Hampton Inn & Suites: With its indoor pool and fitness center, this hotel is perfect for those who want to stay active during their trip.
  • Holiday Inn Express: This hotel offers a free shuttle service to Starved Rock State Park, so you can explore the great outdoors without worrying about transportation.

Vacation Rentals

For those who prefer a more homey feel, vacation rentals are a great option. Here are some of the best options in Peru:

  • Airbnb: With a variety of options ranging from cozy apartments to spacious houses, Airbnb has something for everyone.
  • VRBO: If you’re looking for a vacation rental with a view, VRBO has plenty of options that overlook the Illinois River.
  • HomeAway: This vacation rental platform offers unique options like a converted barn and a historic schoolhouse.

No matter where you choose to stay in Peru, Illinois, you’re sure to have a comfortable and enjoyable experience.

Shopping in Peru

When it comes to shopping in Peru, Illinois, there are two main options: the Peru Mall and local malls.

Peru Mall

The Peru Mall is the largest shopping center in the area, offering a variety of stores and restaurants. Whether you’re in the mood for some retail therapy or just looking for a quick bite to eat, the Peru Mall has got you covered.

One of the highlights of the Peru Mall is the variety of stores it offers. From clothing and accessories to home goods and electronics, there’s something for everyone. Some of the most popular stores include JCPenney, Target, and Bath & Body Works.

But shopping isn’t the only thing to do at the Peru Mall. There are also plenty of dining options, including fast food and sit-down restaurants. So whether you’re in the mood for a quick burger or a leisurely meal, you’ll find it at the Peru Mall.

Local Malls

If you’re looking for a more low-key shopping experience, there are also several smaller malls in the area. These malls offer a more personalized shopping experience, with a focus on local businesses.

One of the benefits of shopping at local malls is the opportunity to support small businesses. You’ll find a variety of unique stores, from boutiques to specialty shops. And because these stores are often run by locals, you’ll get a more personalized shopping experience.

So whether you’re in the mood for a day of shopping at the Peru Mall or a more personalized experience at a local mall, Peru, Illinois has got you covered. Happy shopping!

Tours in Peru

Looking for a fun and exciting way to explore Peru, Illinois? Look no further than the wide variety of tours available in the area! Whether you’re interested in exploring the city, taking a boat ride down the river, or embarking on a multi-day adventure, there’s something for everyone.

City Tours

If you’re looking to get a taste of the local culture and history, a city tour is the perfect way to do it. Take a stroll through downtown Peru and learn about the city’s rich history, from its early days as a bustling river town to its modern-day status as a hub of industry and commerce. Don’t miss out on the chance to see the historic Westclox Clock Tower, one of the city’s most iconic landmarks.

Boat Tours

For a unique and relaxing way to see Peru, take a boat tour down the Illinois River. You’ll be treated to stunning views of the surrounding countryside, as well as a chance to see some of the local wildlife up close. Keep an eye out for bald eagles, river otters, and other creatures that call the river home.

Multi-Day Tours

If you’re looking to really immerse yourself in the beauty and history of Peru, consider taking a multi-day tour. These tours typically include visits to some of the area’s most iconic landmarks, as well as opportunities for hiking, biking, and other outdoor activities. Whether you’re interested in exploring the stunning Starved Rock State Park or learning about the area’s rich Native American history, there’s sure to be a tour that’s perfect for you.

So what are you waiting for? Book your tour today and get ready to explore all that Peru, Illinois has to offer!

Special Events

Are you planning a special event in Peru, Illinois? Look no further! Peru has plenty of options to make your event unforgettable.


Prom season is just around the corner, and Peru has everything you need to make it a night to remember. Start the evening off with a photoshoot at Baker Lake Park, one of the most popular spots in town for prom pictures. Strike a pose in front of the fountain and show off your best dance moves.

After the photoshoot, head over to Peru Mall to find the perfect outfit. With over 50 stores, you’re sure to find something that suits your style. And don’t forget to grab a corsage or boutonniere from one of the local florists to complete your look.

Wedding Parties

Peru is the perfect place for your wedding party photoshoot. Baker Lake Park is a beautiful backdrop for your pictures, with its serene lake and lush greenery. And if you’re looking for a unique location, Star Union Spirits offers private tours and a beautiful bar for your wedding party.

After the photoshoot, head over to one of Peru’s many restaurants for a celebratory meal. Whether you’re in the mood for Italian, Mexican, or good old-fashioned American cuisine, Peru has something for everyone. And for dessert, stop by Cops & Cones for some delicious ice cream.

No matter what kind of special event you’re planning, Peru, Illinois has plenty of options to make it unforgettable.

Sustainability in Peru

Peru, Illinois, may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of sustainability, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do your part to help the environment while you’re here. Here are some tips for being eco-friendly during your visit.


Recycling is an important part of sustainability, and Peru has plenty of opportunities to do your part. You’ll find recycling bins throughout the city, so be sure to use them. And don’t worry if you’re not sure what goes in each bin – there are usually signs to help you out.

When it comes to recycling at your hotel or Airbnb, be sure to ask about their recycling policy. Many places have recycling bins in the rooms, but some don’t. If your accommodation doesn’t have recycling, consider bringing your own recycling bag and taking it to a recycling center when you leave.

Garbage Bins

While recycling is important, it’s also important to dispose of your garbage properly. Peru has plenty of garbage bins throughout the city, so be sure to use them. And if you’re out and about and can’t find a bin, hold onto your trash until you can properly dispose of it.

Plastic, Glass, and Aluminum

Plastic, glass, and aluminum are all materials that can be recycled, so be sure to look for recycling bins specifically for these materials. And if you’re out and about and can’t find a recycling bin for these materials, hold onto them until you can properly dispose of them.

When it comes to reducing your use of plastic, consider bringing a reusable water bottle and a reusable shopping bag. Many stores in Peru offer paper bags, but bringing your own bag is even better for the environment.

In conclusion, sustainability may not be the first thing on your mind when you visit Peru, Illinois, but it’s important to do your part to help the environment. By recycling, properly disposing of your garbage, and reducing your use of plastic, glass, and aluminum, you can help make Peru a more sustainable place to visit.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the most fun way to spend a weekend in Peru, Illinois?

Well, that depends on your definition of fun. If you’re a history buff, you might want to check out the Illinois and Michigan Canal State Trail, which runs right through Peru. Take a leisurely bike ride or hike along the canal, and imagine what life was like for the people who lived and worked along its banks in the 19th century.

If you’re more of a thrill-seeker, head over to Skydive Chicago, just a short drive from Peru. Jump out of a perfectly good airplane and experience the rush of freefalling at 120 miles per hour. Don’t worry, you’ll be strapped to an experienced instructor who will make sure you land safely back on the ground.

Can you recommend any quirky activities to do in Peru, Illinois?

Absolutely! How about a visit to the Pickwick Society Tea Room? This charming little tea room is housed in a historic building in downtown Peru, and serves up delicious tea and treats in an atmosphere straight out of a Jane Austen novel.

Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, head over to Lock 16 Visitor Center and take a mule-pulled boat ride along the canal. That’s right, a boat pulled by mules! It’s a unique and unforgettable experience that you won’t find anywhere else.

Where are the best places to shop in Peru, Illinois?

If you’re looking for unique gifts and handmade crafts, check out the Artistic Garden. This charming little shop features the work of local artists, and has everything from jewelry to pottery to paintings.

For more traditional shopping, head over to Peru Mall. This indoor shopping center has all the big-name stores you know and love, as well as a food court and a movie theater.

What makes Peru, Illinois unique and worth visiting?

Well, for starters, Peru is home to one of the most beautiful state parks in Illinois – Starved Rock State Park. With its towering bluffs, cascading waterfalls, and miles of hiking trails, it’s no wonder this park attracts visitors from all over the country.

But Peru is more than just a pretty face. It’s a town with a rich history, a vibrant arts scene, and a friendly, welcoming community. Whether you’re here for a day or a week, you’re sure to find something to love about this hidden gem in the heart of Illinois.

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