The climate of the district tends towards extremes. In January, it has an average temperature of 1 degree above freezing, which means that snowfall is common at this time of year and this can make travel unsafe. The ideal time to visit the city is between May and June while the schools are opened and temperatures remain between 10 and 20 degrees Celsius. July visitors will enjoy the Heart of Illinois Fair, hosted in the city every year since 1949. Its entertainment includes performances of rock and classical music, motor sports and amusement rides. However, temperatures of 28 degrees and above, coupled with humidity, may make it an unsuitable time for everyone to visit. An alternative attraction is the Wheels o’Time Museum, north of the city, that exhibits displays of old steam trains and farming equipment, clocks and musical instruments. It is open from May to October.
Peoria is the largest city on the Illinois River, and the oldest European settlement in the state. French explorers built a fort on what is now its site, a fort that later burned to the ground and was subsequently rebuilt. Famous inhabitants of the city include Richard A. Whiting, the musical genius behind many Hollywood hit songs. Today, it is a place of beauty, and visitors can experience its prestigious buildings and the Illinois River valleys by driving along the 2.5 mile-long (4 km) Grandview Drive. The city’s many historical buildings include the modernistic Civic Centre, designed by world-famous architect, Philip Johnson. For lovers of sport and the outdoors, there are five golf courses on offer and the Peoria Park district to enjoy. The zoo offers an African Safari experience, an Asian trail and an Australia Walk-About. The Block, on South-West Washington Street, houses the Peoria Riverfront Museum, filled with exhibits and experiences for all the family. Its Dome Planetarium is very popular, a place both to learn and have fun.
The Peoria Mass Transit District, the public bus service, facilitates travelling around the city and its suburbs. Visitors can also avail of trolley tours by the Peoria Historical Society, which runs seasonal tours throughout the year. One example is Haunted Peoria, taking place on selected days in September and October. Rail services within the district are provided by Metro Peoria, although there are no rail links to other cities.
The city is served by the General Wayne Downing Peoria International Airport (PIA), which is situated five miles (8 km) to its west, near Interstate 474. Major airlines fly into it from cities all over the United States. Airport services include car rental, which must be booked online in advance of arrival. Passengers who have booked a car simply collect their baggage and proceed to the area outside of the Arrival Hall where they will find their transport awaiting them. There are also taxis and a bus service available.