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Things To Do in Marion, IL

Marion, Illinois is a wonderful city situated in Williamson County. This city has a rich history, lots of attractions, and plenty of things to do. Whether you’re a resident or a visitor, Marion has something to offer for everyone.

From breathtaking outdoor activities and family-friendly events to shopping and great dining, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Here are some of the top things to do in Marion, Illinois.

Visit the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge

The Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge is situated approximately north of Marion. More than 300 animals, including white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, and other species, call this refuge home.

In addition, the refuge has approximately 8,000 acres of terrain that can be explored on foot or by driving the scenic auto tour route. The refuge is home to over 270 species of birds, including bald eagles and ospreys, so if you enjoy bird watching, this is the spot for you.

One of Marion, Illinois’s most breathtaking natural features is the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge. Numerous species of fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals can be found in this sanctuary.

Excellent chances for hiking, wildlife observation, bird viewing, and photography may be found at the refuge. The refuge also hosts a number of events throughout the year, as well as educational programs and guided tours.

Explore the History of Marion at the Williamson County Historical Museum

The Williamson County Historical Museum is a great place to learn more about the history of Marion, Illinois. This museum features a variety of exhibits, artifacts, and educational programs that explore the city’s past. There are also special events held throughout the year, including a popular Heritage Day celebration.

Take a Walk Through Williamson County Park

If you’re looking for some fresh air and a great view, Williamson County Park is the perfect spot. This park features over 800 acres of trails, campgrounds, and picnic areas. Whether you’re looking to take a leisurely stroll or take on some more challenging hikes, there is something for everyone here.

The park also offers fishing opportunities and is home to various wildlife including deer, turkeys, and more. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even explore the nearby Big Muddy River by canoe or kayak.

Enjoy the Outdoors at Rent One Park

Rent One Park is a great place for families and outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy the great outdoors. This park offers many recreational activities, including fishing, swimming, boating, and biking. There are also several trails for hiking and picnicking. Rent One Park is a great place to spend the day outdoors and enjoy the beauty of Marion, Illinois.

Shop at the Marion Town Center

The Marion Town Center is a great place to do some shopping. This shopping center features a variety of stores, including clothing stores, bookstores, and home décor stores. There are also great restaurants and cafes, perfect for grabbing a bite to eat. The Marion Town Center is a great place to find unique gifts and souvenirs.

Visit the William Jennings Bryan Home

The William Jennings Bryan Home is a historic house museum located in Marion, Illinois. This home was built in 1923 and was the residence of William Jennings Bryan, one of the most influential politicians in U.S. history. This home is now a museum and offers guided tours, events, and educational programs.

Attend a Performance at the Marion Cultural and Civic Center

The Marion Cultural and Civic Center is a great place to enjoy a variety of performances. This center hosts plays, concerts, and other events throughout the year. The center also features a museum and an art gallery, making it a great place to learn more about Marion’s culture and history.

Take a Train Ride on the Williamson County Scenic Railway

The Williamson County Scenic Railway is a great way to explore Marion, Illinois. This railway offers a variety of scenic rides, including trips to local attractions, such as the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge and the Marion Cultural and Civic Center. The railway also offers special events, such as a chocolate train ride and a sunset dinner train.

Experience the Arts at the Marion Arts Festival

The Marion Arts Festival is a great place to experience the arts. This festival features musicians, dancers, and other performers from all over the world. The Marion Arts Festival also offers art exhibits, workshops, and educational programs.

Visit the Marion Arts Council

If you’re looking for some culture while in town, then be sure to visit the Marion Arts Council. This organization has been providing the community with cultural events since 1973 and hosts everything from theater performances to art galleries.

The council also offers classes and workshops throughout the year on topics such as painting and photography. If you’re interested in exploring the local art scene while in town, then make sure to check out the Marion Arts Council.

Relax at the Marion Aquatic Center

The Marion Aquatic Center is an excellent place for families to relax and have fun. This center features a wave pool, a lazy river, and several slides. The Marion Aquatic Center also offers a variety of lessons, classes, and events throughout the year.

Sample Some Local Cuisine at Hodak’s Restaurant & Bar

When it comes to dining out in Marion, Hodak’s Restaurant & Bar is always a great choice. Known for its delicious burgers and sandwiches, Hodak’s has been serving up classic American cuisine since 1932. They also offer daily specials so be sure to check those out before visiting.

If you’re looking for something more unique, then try their famous fried frog legs or alligator bites. No matter what you choose here at Hodak’s Restaurant & Bar, you are sure to have a delicious meal. 

Visit Pyramid State Recreation Area

If you’re looking for some outdoor fun while in town, then Pyramid State Recreation Area is definitely worth checking out. This park features over 7,000 acres of land with plenty of activities including hiking trails, camping sites, and fishing opportunities.

There is also a variety of wildlife that can be seen throughout the park including deer and wild turkeys. The park also has several lakes where visitors can enjoy boating and swimming activities as well as access to an 18-hole championship golf course called Rend Lake Golf Course. 

Relax at Blue Sky Vineyard & Winery 

If you’re looking for some relaxation while in town then look no further than Blue Sky Vineyard & Winery. Located just outside of Marion in nearby Makanda, this winery offers stunning views of Southern Illinois’ rolling hills while sipping on some delicious wines made right here at Blue Sky.

They also offer tours where visitors can learn about the history of winemaking as well as tastings where guests can sample different types of wines produced at the winery. 

What To Do in Marion IL for Kids?

Marion, Illinois has something to offer for kids of all ages. From a historical museum to a mini-golf course and even a zip line course, Marion is full of fun activities that the whole family can enjoy. Here are 10 things to do in Marion IL for kids:

  1. Visit the Williamson County Historical Museum for a fun and an educational history lesson.
  2. Catch a movie at the Marion Cinemas 8.
  3. Play a round of mini-golf at Putt Putt Fun Center.
  4. Have some fun at the Splashdown Waterpark.
  5. Take a tour of the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge.
  6. Spend the day at the Kokopelli Adventure Park, with its zip line course, climbing wall, and more.
  7. Learn about science and technology at the Science Center of Southern Illinois.
  8. Enjoy a performance at Marion Cultural & Civic Center or the Marion Theatre Guild.
  9. Take a hike or bike ride along the Tunnel Hill State Trail. 
  10. Play some laser tag or hit up the arcade at Zone Laser Tag & Arcade Fun Center.

Why You Should Go to Marion IL

Marion, Illinois is a great destination for anyone looking to explore the Midwest. It is located in the heart of Illinois and has a great array of attractions to explore. From its vibrant downtown to its beautiful parks and trails, there is something for everyone in Marion.

There are plenty of unique shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues to explore, as well as a variety of museums and historical sites. Marion is an excellent place to visit for anyone looking for fun, relaxation, or adventure.


Whether you’re visiting Marion for a weekend getaway or just passing through on your way somewhere else, there are plenty of great things to do here that will keep everyone entertained! From outdoor activities like hiking and fishing to cultural attractions like art galleries and wineries – there are plenty of great things to do in Marion that will make your trip one to remember!

Marion, Illinois has something for everyone! With so many activities available, you’re sure to find something that your whole family will enjoy!

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