Best Things To Do In Normal, Illinois

things to do in normal illinois
Navraaz
Navraaz 
Updated

Home to Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois is a college town with lots to offer its visitors. Whether you are dropping your student off or simply roaming in and around the town, Normal has so many activities for people of all ages and all interests. For families, there are a variety of museums, indoor and outdoor activities as well as a well-loved farm nearby. If you’re on your own or traveling with a small group of friends, you could also try out the local wine tastings, art galleries, local shopping, and nature sanctuaries. Come and explore all Normal, IL has to offer as the home of the famous ISU Redbirds! Here is a list of the best things to do in Normal, Illinois.

1. Come shop for college wear and comic books in the Uptown Shopping District

Businesses in Uptown (Downtown) Normal Illinois
Source: Photo by user ParentingPatch used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Find everything from campus supplies to yoga wear while strolling through Normal’s Uptown Shopping District. There is also an amazing variety of dining options that can satisfy your need for gourmet ice cream and Chicago-style pizza. Uptown is also home to music festivals and different weekend markets that bring local and international cultures to life.

Uptown Shopping District

Address: Normal, IL

Website: Uptown Shopping District

2. Transpace Gallery gives you a glimpse into the work of the university's artists

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Located within the University’s Center for Visual Arts, Transpace Gallery is responsible for hosting the work of student artists and gives them their first taste of what it is like to showcase their work as well as giving guests the opportunity to view the art of rising artists.

Transpace Gallery

Address: 468 W. Beaufort St., Normal, IL 61761

Website: Transpace Gallery

3. View contemporary art any day of the year at University Galleries

pictures at an exhibition
Source: Photo by user Robert Couse-Baker used under CC BY 2.0

As one of the most exclusive exhibition spaces in the Midwest, University Galleries has been home to contemporary artwork from around the region and the country for several decades. With artists featured such as Andy Warhol and Ansel Adams, this is one gallery you won’t want to miss.

University Galleries

Address: 11 Uptown Circle, Suite 103, Normal, IL 61761

Website: University Galleries

4. Take a relaxing stroll through Hidden Creek Sanctuary

Hidden Creek enters the Nature Sanctuary
Source: Photo by user guano used under CC BY-SA 2.0

If you’re looking to get away from the noise of Uptown and take a quiet stroll on a trail alongside a stream, then look no further than Hidden Creek Sanctuary. This little gem of a park has everything you need to settle into nature and listen to the birds sing for you.

Hidden Creek Sanctuary

Address: Sycamore Street, between Linden and Fell, Normal, IL 61761

Website: Hidden Creek Sanctuary

5. Visit the history filled McLean County Museum and be amazed by the architecture inside and out

McLean County Courthouse and Square
Source: Photo by user Teemu008 used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Learn the history of the region around Normal while viewing thousands of artifacts and exhibits that explain the rich heritage of McLean County. This amazing institution is housed within the county’s old courthouse and serves as an educational site for anyone interested in the history of this county and its people.

McLean County Museum

Address: 200 N Main Street Bloomington, IL 61701

Website: McLean County Museum

6. Taste some amazing cheese with a sustainable history at Ropp Jersey Farm

A gourmet tasting platter of the finest artisan cheeses of the Americas. #mayflower #vscocam
Source: Photo by user Rob Sinclair used under CC BY-SA 2.0

This family-run farm is as old as the state of Illinois and it has been consciously farming since then. Ropp Jersey Farm will be a delicious stop for your trip to Normal, where you can go to their store and buy artisan cheeses made from the milk that comes from their famous Jersey cows.

Ropp Jersey Farm

Address: 2676 Ropp Road Normal, IL 61761

Website: Ropp Jersey Farm

7. Spend a day exploring the exhibits at the Children's Discovery Museum

Children's Discovery Museum in Uptown Normal, IL
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user HyoungCDM used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

If you’ve got little ones traveling with you, then a stop at the Children’s Discovery Museum is a must. This innovative museum has hands-on stations that will keep the kids thinking and moving through each one. You’ll be amazed at what they’re capable of at this museum.

Children's Discovery Museum

Address: 101 E Beaufort St, Normal, IL 61761

Website: Children’s Discovery Museum

8. Take a fun break at the Bowling and Billiards Center on campus

bowling
Source: Photo by user Ginny used under CC BY-SA 2.0

The Bone Student Center on ISU’s campus has a Bowling and Billiards Center that you can take advantage of for some relaxing fun. The center also has air hockey tables, table tennis, and more. The activities are all reasonably priced for the public, so stop by and enjoy the college fun!

Bowling and Billiards Center

Address: 100 N. University St Normal, IL 61761-4441

Website: Bowling and Billiards Center

9. Fall time is fun time at Rader Family Farms

Corn Maze
Source: Photo by user Angela Severn used under CC BY 2.0

Rader Family Farms has been a regional favorite for many years. This activity-filled farm opens to the public in the fall for pumpkin picking, rides, great food, and the atmosphere of a farm fair. Try the corn maze and then get an aerial shot of the breathtaking designs!

Rader Family Farms

Address: 1238 Ropp Rd. Normal, IL 61761

Website: Rader Family Farms

10. Cool off at the Pepsi Ice Center

things to do in normal illinois | cool off at the pepsi ice center
Source: Pixabay

If you’ve never been ice skating, then this is your chance to try it out! Or it perhaps you’re a pro, then you can drop in at an open hockey session at the Pepsi Ice Center. This ice rink has open skate hours that you can participate in during your trip to Normal and you can be guaranteed a fun time!

Pepsi Ice Center

Address: 115 E. Washington St. Bloomington, IL 61701

Website: Pepsi Ice Center

11. Go karting, bumper cars, mini golf, and batting cages anyone?

Go-karting
Source: Photo by user Andy Rogers used under CC BY-SA 2.0

For those of you that are looking for some high-paced activities that will get your heart racing, then check out Grady’s Family Fun Park in nearby Bloomington. This amusement park will be sure to make you smile as you take advantage of their many options to maximize your good times.

Grady's Family Fun Park

Address: 1501 Morrissey Dr. Bloomington, IL 61701

Website: Grady’s Family Fun Park

12. Waterfalls and rock formations like nothing you've never seen

French Canyon at Starved Rock Park
Source: Photo by user sharas kveder used under CC BY 2.0

About an hour’s drive south of Normal is the Starved Rock State Park, Illinois state’s premier attraction. Take in the amazing natural beauty of the multiple trails, camping sights, dinner cruises, and lodge stays that will allow you to fully experience the breathtaking views around the park.

Starved Rock State Park

Address: 2668 East 873 Road, Oglesby, IL 61348

Website: Starved Rock State Park

Normal, IL is anything but normal

Your time spent in Normal, IL will not be wasted with the number of activities you can find in and around town no matter what season or what kind of weather. With the college town always bustling with great minds and great energy, this is one trip you will be able to remember as good times.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

Get Trip101 in your inbox

Unsubscribe in one click. See our privacy policy for more information on how we use your data

 Want to contribute as a Local Expert?
Explore Normal
Looking for accommodation?
Good things are meant to be shared!