15 Exciting Things to Do in Quincy, Illinois

If you’re looking for things to do in Quincy, Illinois, look no further!

Also known as “Gem City”, Quincy, Illinois is located in western Illinois near where Missouri, Iowa and Illinois meet. Quincy earned its ‘jewel’ nickname when it began to flourish in the 1800s.

The area had abundant land for agriculture and various trees for building houses, creating a cash cow for new settlers. The State of Illinois decided that Quincy was full of hidden gems, earning him the nickname that has stuck with him ever since.

Today Quincy is a charming town with a thriving community. Located on the Mississippi River, Quincy makes a fantastic weekend getaway, offering historical attractions, cultural activities and great restaurants. Keep reading for the top 15 things to do in Quincy, Illinois.

Best Things to Do in Quincy, Illinois

things to do in Quincy Illinois

Why should you go

Who would have guessed that a small town in the Midwest would be home to an ornate Moroccan-style castle? Located on the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River, Villa Kathrine was built in 1900 for W. George Metz, a wealthy native of Quincy.

Although this structure eventually fell into disrepair, it was beautifully restored in 1998. Tours are available by appointment only, and architecture enthusiasts are sure to appreciate this unique home.

Enjoy the local food scene

Why should you go

Quincy has several fantastic restaurants, ranging from American comfort food to Italian cuisine. A unique feature of some restaurants in Quincy is that they serve both pizza and Mexican food in the same joint. You can have delicious pizza, Mexican and margaritas at the Gem City restaurant or at the Pizza and Mexican tower.

Kelly’s is another great place to grab a bite to eat. This joint is known for its expansive salad bar, with its famous cheese soup and huge homemade cinnamon rolls. Another Quincy must-do is a visit to Maid-Rite, which serves (you guessed it) Maid Rites. This Quincy staple features ground beef on a bun with mustard, ketchup and pickles, much like a sloppy joe without the sauce.

things to do in Quincy Illinois

Why should you go

The Quincy Museum looks more like a mansion than a museum, but it happens to be both! This home was built in 1890 and has been beautifully restored, with details such as rich wood materials, ornate chandeliers and beautiful fireplaces.

Today, visitors can tour the house and enjoy the museum’s exhibits, featuring exhibits on dinosaurs, wildlife, Native Americans, and more. This museum is especially nice during the holidays when it’s adorned with tons of lights and several Christmas trees.

Why should you go

The Quincy Art Center is one of the best free attractions in Quincy. This art museum houses more than 400 works by regional and national artists. You can also see their rotating exhibits and they even offer art classes for kids of all ages.

things to do in Quincy Illinois

Why should you go

For a small town, Quincy has a surprisingly vibrant arts community! This is reflected in the Quincy Symphony Orchestra Association, which typically presents about five concerts each year.

The Quincy Symphony Orchestra performs regularly with the Quincy Symphony Chorus, so you can experience both instrumental and choral music. Their shows are held at Quincy Junior High School, which is easily one of the most elaborate auditoriums in Illinois.

Why should you go

Built between 1835 and 1838, the John Wood Mansion is an incredible home and historic site that attracts many visitors. This house was built by John Wood, the founder of Quincy, who became governor of Illinois in 1860.

You can visit this ornate mansion, with details such as Doric columns, antique furniture and elaborate woodwork. On the grounds, you can also explore an 1835 pioneer log cabin, well preserved from its time.

things to do in Quincy Illinois

Why should you go

Not only is Quinsippi Island perfect for nature lovers, but it is also home to incredible history. This island is a 130-acre park located on the Mississippi River.

In addition to the many trails, sandy beaches and forested areas you can explore, this island is home to a log cabin village where visitors can experience life in the 1800s. The island also hosts the Annual Frontier Settlement Day, a live re-enactment of 19th century settlers, where you can even see a real ‘President Lincoln’.

Explore Downtown Quincy

Why should you go

Also known as “The District”, downtown Quincy is home to several shops, restaurants, cafes and festivals. Washington Park, located in the center of downtown Quincy, was the site of the historic Lincoln-Douglas Debate.

Today, several events take place in the park, such as “Blues in the District”, a summer blues series, and the Farmer’s Market. If you need a bite to eat after exploring and shopping in the neighborhood, stop by one of the many restaurants, such as Thyme Square Cafe, Maine Course or the Pier.

Take a day trip to Hannibal

things to do in Quincy Illinois

Why should you go

Just a 20-minute drive from Quincy, Hannibal, Missouri is ideal for visitors who enjoy reading. Hannibal was the childhood home of author Mark Twain, also known as Samuel Clemens. Many of his stories in The Adventures of Mark Twain and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn were based on Hannibal and its surroundings.

You can explore Mark Twain’s Grotto, Mark Twain’s childhood home, and walk to the Mark Twain Memorial Lighthouse. Hannibal also has a cute downtown area with plenty of restaurants, including Java Jive (an ice cream and coffee shop), The Brick Oven (a pizzeria), and the Mark Twain Brewing Company.

things to do in Quincy Illinois

Why should you go

Located adjacent to Washington Park, the Quincy History Museum houses permanent and rotating exhibits that range from the pioneer era to the present day. This museum is housed in a historic building that includes a three-story corner tower and a sculpture garden with architectural artifacts.

Permanent installations include Early Quincy, Edward Everett Gallery, Window Onto the Square, Stained Glass Gallery, and City of Mormon Refuge. History buffs will love this attraction!

things to do in Quincy Illinois

Why should you go

Clat Adams Bicentennial Park comprises three acres and is located along the Quincy River. This park is a lovely place to relax at sunset, with a lovely view of the river, a fountain, and a lovely gazebo. Clat Adams also hosts several celebrations, such as the 4th of July fireworks and concerts by community groups.

Indian Mounds Park

things to do in Quincy Illinois

Why should you go

Covering 37 acres of land, Indian Mounds Park offers incredible views of the Mississippi River, a swimming pool, walking trails and picnic areas.

However, its real fame is that it houses some of the best preserved Indian cemeteries in the country. Along the North Pool Route, a walking timeline tells the story of the Quincy area, from the last ice age to European settlement.

Why should you go

The Quincy Community Theater dates back to 1923, when the founders presented two or three plays a year at the Illinois Veterans Home. Today, this theater presents several shows each year in its 500-seat auditorium in the Oakley-Lindsey Center.

The organization offers many summer theater courses for children and adults, a fun activity for the theater lover in your life!

things to do in Quincy Illinois

Why should you go

Originally known as “Scotties Skateland”, Scotties Fun Spot was renovated in 2010 to include a laser tag, massive arcade, bumper cars and mini bowling alley, plus its original roller rink . The on-site Winner’s Grill serves pizza, nachos, pretzels, and sweets. With so much to do, it’s a great meeting place for the whole family!

Visit a local winery

things to do in Quincy Illinois

Why should you go

Wine connoisseurs are sure to enjoy the Quincy area, as it is home to the Mississippi Valley Wine Trail, made up of five wineries along the Mississippi River. Every winery along the trail is family owned and operated, with some of these businesses dating back to 1857.

Along the way, you’ll enjoy stunning clifftop views, lush vineyards, and pristine lakes. Be sure to savor the tasty, handcrafted wine from all these places. Wineries on the trail include Baxter’s Vineyards, Lake Hill Winery, Village Vinyard Winery, Spirit Knob Winery, and Hopewell Winery.

Map of things to do in Quincy Illinois

Frequently Asked Questions about Quincy Illinois

Why is Quincy famous?

Located in western Illinois where Iowa and Missouri meet Illinois, Quincy is famous as the “Gem City”. In the 1800s, Quincy was a transportation hub for railroads and riverboats, connecting many destinations West and South.

What is there to do in Quincy, Illinois for kids?

Scotties entertainment venue
Quincy Public Library
Quincy Community Theater
Indian Mounds Pool
Quincy Gems Baseball Game

Why is Quincy, IL called the Gem City?

Quincy is called the Gem City because of the abundance of crops, farmland, and goods produced in the area. The state has given Quincy the nickname “Gem City” because of all of its agricultural gems.

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