When living in Peoria, it can become all too easy to exclusively solicit the same widely known businesses within the
“Bradley Bubble.” Instead of falling back into routine when school starts this autumn, try visiting a few of Peoria’s
hidden gems listed below.
1. Ribbon Records
Located right down Main Street, Ribbon Records allows patrons to purchase vintage clothing, books and, of course, records. With every musical genre from classic rock to hip-hop, and with clothing dating from the 60s to the 90s, Ribbon Records has something for everyone. Owners Matt McClellan and Jenny Foster make sure to keep items affordable for the budget-conscious. But regardless of whether you want to purchase something or not, Ribbon Records offers the unique experience to visit a business “stuck in time.”
Address: 641 W. Main St.
2. Lit. on Fire Used Books
Just down the block from Ribbon Records, Lit. on Fire Used Books provides students another opportunity to shop affordably while also receiving an experience unlike any other. Lit. on Fire maintains a book collection that represents nearly every genre, including literature from local authors, as well as multiple comfortable areas to get cozy and read. In addition to selling books, Lit. on Fire hosts an open mic night every Wednesday for local artists and an LGBTQ book club that meets monthly.
Address: 712 W. Main St.
3. Art at the Bodega
Across the river in nearby Washington lies a quaint and welcoming art studio: Art at the Bodega. Regardless of skill or ability, patrons of Art at the Bodega can enjoy a night of painting pottery, canvases or messing around with clay. Because of its setup, a group of friends can pursue different activities while still being able to enjoy each other’s company. Art at the Bodega also serves food and drinks, making it an ideal location for a group party or event.
Address: 2407 Washington Rd.
4. Broken Tree Coffee
Only a few shops down from Lit. on Fire, Broken Tree Coffee offers its customers made-from-scratch pastries and organic coffee. Aside from serving food, Broken Tree actively supports the Peoria arts scene by hosting local musicians and displaying works by local artists.
Address: 700 W. Main St.
5. Northmoor Observatory
Illinois’ oldest telescope is free and open to the public on clear, cloudless nights every weekend from May to October. Located just 15 minutes from campus in Donovan Park, Northmoor Observatory allows its guests to see the Moon, Saturn and other planets in real time, while also providing informational space displays in the main reception room.
Address: 5805 N. Knoxville Ave.
6. Gone in 60 Escape Games
For those seeking a challenge, Gone in 60 offers discounted escape rooms to all Bradley students. By locking cell phones in a separate area, Gone in 60 allows groups to connect with each other without the use of technology. Detailed storylines and eerie interior design include the coven, the contagion and the morgue. Gone in 60 escape rooms provide an outlet for patrons to “escape reality” for an hour.
Address: 1028 SW Adams St.
7. Las Delicias Helados y Paletas
Las Delicias is a family owned and operated ice cream restaurant located on Main Street just beyond Campustown. Las Delicias serves customers homemade ice cream and smoothies using fresh juices, fruits and vegetables. Owner Jenni Vega claims that her ultimate goal is for people to feel like they’re at home or in Mexico.
Address: 837 W. Main St.
8. The Hindu Temple of Central Illinois
The Hindu Temple of Central Illinois allows visitors to hike its trails for free during open hours Monday-Friday. The Hindu Temple trails are located just eight minutes from campus and are the perfect way to enjoy Peoria’s diverse ecology while immersing oneself in nature.
Address: 4224 W. Prairie Ln.
9. Riley’s Vegan Sweets & Eats
Riley’s Vegan Sweets and Eats started as a regular bakery in 2018, but by the end of the year, the business completely transitioned into producing exclusively vegan pastries. Today, it also serves “vegan lunch boxes” that include a meal and a dessert.
Address: 1233 W. Brons Ave.
10. Jukebox Comedy Club
Peoria’s self-proclaimed “Home for Comedy Since 1990” is located just down the hill on Farmington Road, across from the race tracks. Every Wednesday night, The Jukebox allows its guests to listen to several of Peoria’s top comedians for free, as long as they’re willing to get up and tell a few jokes themselves. On the weekends, The Jukebox hosts big named talent at affordable prices. Past comics include Marlon Wayans from “White Chicks” and Kevin Heffernan and Steve Lemme, the creators of “Super Troopers.”
Address: 3527 W. Farmington Rd.