Things to Do in Belleville, IL
Like any community, there are plenty of great things to do in Belleville, IL. Sometimes these events, attractions and restaurants are well known, while other times it takes a well-trained eye or local guide to introduce you to them. If you are looking for more variety, the more populous cities in Illinois are certain to accommodate your desires of activities.
The Lincoln Theatre has been around since 1921, and today it looks much like it did in the Roaring Twenties. It opened with four acts of vaudeville and a silent movie, and a Wurlitzer organ was installed in 1927 to accompany silent films. It was eventually removed from the theater once the silent film era died in the early 1930s.
One of Belleville’s most historically important structures is undergoing a major facelift – again. Political activist Gustave Koerner originally built his home in 1849, but he had to rebuild following a devastating fire in 1854. And now, more than 150 years later, the home will sustain yet another restoration. Located at the main entrance to Belleville’s National Historic District, the house is rich with history. But before the public can truly enjoy it, the property will see some major changes.
Looking for an Irish pub, lively taproom or a hangout to hear some live music? You’re in luck – just stroll through Belleville for some far-flung food and entertainment options. Crehan’s Irish Pub has been owned by Barry and Patti Gregory for more than 10 years. Open for lunch and dinner, the restaurant is known for its sandwiches and steaks. “People also like the Irish chips, a deep-fried potato chip,” says manager Mary Gaston.
Eckert’s Country Store and Farms, with locations in Belleville, Millstadt and Grafton, Illinois, has grown to become the largest you-pick apple and peach orchard in the nation. The business serves a half million customers per year at its three locations, all within 20 to 50 minutes of St. Louis. Sixth and seventh generations of the Eckert family run the operation, which traces its roots to 1837.
Every summer, a growing group of conscientious citizens gathers for an ambling bike ride through downtown Belleville, followed by ice cream treats for all. The annual Tour de Belleville is a favorite even for children, who can ride a shorter version of the near 20-mile course. The real draw for many riders, though, is the summer moonlight; the ride doesn’t kick off until 9 p.m. Phil Elmore and his wife, Barb, began organizing the race three years ago to raise money for public safety projects the city couldn’t afford.