Mattoon is a charming city in Coles County, Illinois. It is known for its rich tapestry of history and vibrant community spirit. The city was established in 1855 and has evolved from its railroad origins to become a hub of warmth and hospitality.
Mattoon’s name is often associated with the Lincoln-Douglas debates, and echoes its historical significance. Mattoon annually welcomes a steady stream of visitors who are drawn not only by its historical landmarks but also by its unique attractions.
The Coles County Historical Society, Mattoon Bagelfest Amphitheater, and the Mattoon Railroad Depot offer glimpses into the city’s storied past and captivate history enthusiasts and curious travelers alike.
Mattoon also boasts a moderate climate which makes it an appealing destination throughout the year. Summer, with temperatures ranging from 70°F to 85°F, is ideal for outdoor activities like exploring Peterson Park and attending the renowned Bagelfest Celebration.
Spring and fall offer pleasant weather that makes it perfect for strolls through Mattoon Market or a round of golf at Mattoon Golf & Country Club.
Mattoon’s unique blend of history, culture, and outdoor recreation make it an increasingly popular tourist destination. Whether you’re a history buff, nature lover, or a food enthusiast, Mattoon promises a memorable experience.
Pack your bags and explore this quaint gem, where the past seamlessly intertwines with the present, creating an inviting destination for all. Whether you’re a local looking for new adventures or a traveler passing through, here are the 10 most fun things to do in Mattoon.
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1. Lender’s Bagels
Lender’s Bagels was established in 1927 and holds a storied history as a prominent bagel producer. This beloved establishment has been a cornerstone in the bagel industry for nearly a century.
Harry Lender and his family, was the pioneer of the mass production of bagels and introduced the convenient, pre-sliced variety that would become a household staple.
Lender’s Bagels gained widespread recognition and revolutionized the way people enjoyed these round delights. Interestingly, the Lender family played a key role in popularizing bagels in the United States and turned them from a regional specialty into a national phenomenon.
Today, Lender’s Bagels continues to be a trusted name, known for its commitment to quality and innovation. This bagel institution and remains an enduring symbol of the American breakfast tradition.
3801 Dewitt Ave, Mattoon, IL 61938, United States
2. Peterson Park
For a dose of tranquility, head to Peterson Park. This expansive green space offers walking trails, picnic areas, and a peaceful lake. It’s the perfect spot for a leisurely stroll, a family picnic, or simply unwinding amid nature.
Peterson Park was established in 1948 and is a cherished recreational haven with a rich history. The park was named after William C. Peterson, a local civic leader and has evolved into a community focal point.
Its founding aimed to provide residents with a serene escape and a space for outdoor activities. Over the years, the park has grown to encompass walking trails, a scenic lake, and ample picnic areas and offers a diverse range of leisure opportunities for visitors of all ages.
The park’s establishment was a collaborative effort between the city and local residents, reflecting a commitment to fostering green spaces within the community.
Peterson Park has picturesque landscapes and family-friendly atmosphere and remains a beloved destination. It invites locals and visitors alike to connect with nature and offers them an opportunity to explore unique things to do in Mattoon.
500 Broadway Ave, Mattoon, IL 61938, United States
3. Coles County Historical Society
Discover Mattoon’s rich history at the Coles County Historical Society. Explore exhibits showcasing the city’s past, including artifacts, photographs, and fascinating stories. This engaging journey through time is both educational and entertaining.
The Coles County Historical Society was established in 1974 and serves as a guardian of local history. It began when passionate residents joined forces, driven by a shared commitment to preserving the area’s rich heritage.
The society has actively collected and documented artifacts, photographs, and stories that vividly depict the region’s evolution. Over the years, it has become a hub for community engagement, fostering a sense of connection among residents.
The society’s museum showcases exhibits that transport visitors back in time and offer a glimpse into the bygone eras that shaped Coles County. The Coles County Historical Society has a mission to educate and inspire and remains a vital institution.
1320 Lafayette Ave. Mattoon, IL 61938, United States
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4. Mattoon Bagelfest Amphitheater
If you’re in town during the summer, don’t miss the opportunity to catch a live performance at the Mattoon Bagelfest Amphitheater. From concerts to community events, this outdoor venue hosts a variety of entertainment for all ages.
The Mattoon Bagelfest Amphitheater was established in 1998 and stands as a cultural gem with a rich history. This venue hosts various events and is a focal point for community gatherings and entertainment.
It was constructed to celebrate Bagelfest and quickly became a hub for music, art, and festivities. The amphitheater has a seating capacity of over 5,000 and offers a vibrant space for both locals and visitors to enjoy performances.
The amphitheater’s origins trace back to a collaborative effort among community leaders who envisioned a dynamic space for celebration. Over the years, it has played host to a myriad of events, from music concerts to local festivals and providing a space to experience new things to do in Mattoon.
The venue’s design ensures an immersive experience for attendees, with state-of-the-art sound systems and lighting. The Mattoon Bagelfest Amphitheater proudly stands as a symbol of community spirit and brings people together to celebrate life and culture.
500 Broadway. Mattoon, IL. 61938, United States
5. Mattoon Farmer’s Market
Explore the Mattoon Market for a taste of the local shopping scene. Browse through unique boutiques, antique stores, and specialty shops. You’ll find one-of-a-kind treasures and support local businesses in the process.
The Mattoon Farmer’s Market is rooted in community spirit and began its journey in 2005. It was established as a local marketplace and quickly evolved into a vibrant hub for farmers, artisans, and community members alike.
The Mattoon Farmer’s Market was initially conceived as a platform for local farmers to showcase their products and has grown over the years, expanding its offerings to include handmade crafts, baked goods, and more.
The market serves as a catalyst for economic growth in the region and fosters a direct connection between producers and consumers. Visitors can explore a diverse array of goods, all while supporting the local economy.
The Mattoon Farmer’s Market stands as a testament to the community’s commitment to sustainable living and fostering a sense of togetherness.
Mattoon, IL 61938, United States
6. Isaak’s Family Fun Center
Isaak’s Family Fun Center is a lively attraction in Mattoon, Illinois. The center opened its doors in 1994 and was established with the goal of providing family-friendly entertainment.
The center quickly became a go-to destination for locals and visitors alike. This recreational hotspot offers a diverse range of activities, from arcade games and mini-golf to go-kart racing that ensures a fun-filled experience for all ages.
The center’s history is woven with a commitment to creating an environment where families can bond and create lasting memories. Over the years, Isaak’s Family Fun Center has expanded its offerings, introducing new attractions and updating facilities to keep the experience fresh and exciting.
The center has a vibrant and colorful atmosphere and continues to be a gathering place for the community, hosting birthday parties, group events, and casual family outings.
Isaak’s Family Fun Center remains a cherished destination and embodies the spirit of joy and togetherness, while offering charming things to do in Mattoon.
1421 Old State Rd, Mattoon, IL 61938, United States
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7. Lytle Park Pool
Lytle Park Pool is a refreshing oasis in Mattoon, Illinois. It has been a summertime haven since its establishment in 1958. The pool was created to provide the community with a place to cool off and enjoy the sun.
The pool has become a beloved fixture in the area. Lytle Park Pool has a commitment to fun and relaxation and offers a welcoming environment for families and friends.
Over the years, Lytle Park Pool has undergone renovations to enhance the visitor experience. From its early days as a community pool to its current status as a well-maintained recreational facility, it continues to be a focal point for summer activities.
The pool features amenities such as water slides, diving boards, and spacious lounging areas and ensures a delightful experience for all who visit.
Lytle Park Pool stands as a testament to Mattoon’s dedication to providing accessible and enjoyable leisure options for its residents since its establishment over six decades ago.
3298 Cedar Ave, Mattoon, IL 61938, United States
8. Bagelfest Celebration
If your visit aligns with July, make sure to attend Mattoon’s iconic Bagelfest Celebration. This annual event features parades, live music, delicious food, and, of course, bagels. It’s a lively celebration that captures the community spirit of Mattoon.
Bagelfest Celebration traces its roots back to 1986 when it was established as an annual event to celebrate the bagel, a beloved round bread product. This lively celebration, inaugurated to foster community spirit, has since become a cherished tradition in Mattoon.
The festival typically features a variety of activities that include live music, entertainment, and, of course, a diverse array of bagels. Visitors can explore the fest and find some unique and charming things to do in Mattoon.
Founded with the idea of bringing people together, Bagelfest has evolved over the years to include a Bagel Queen Pageant, parades, and contests that showcase the creativity and enthusiasm of the community.
It serves as a platform for local businesses and vendors to showcase their products and talents. The festival has grown in popularity and draws visitors from near and far to join in the festivities.
Bagelfest Celebration has become an integral part of Mattoon’s cultural landscape, symbolizing the community’s love for good food and good times.
500 Broadway Ave, Mattoon, IL 61938, United States
9. Amtrak Mattoon Station
The Amtrak Mattoon Station in Mattoon, Illinois, was established in 1879. It holds a rich history as a crucial transportation hub.
The station was originally constructed as part of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, the station has been witness to the ebb and flow of time. In 1988, it became an Amtrak station and served as a vital link for passengers traveling through the region.
The station is nestled in a charming community and exudes a timeless appeal with its historical architecture. Passengers can explore the town’s heritage or simply enjoy the scenic surroundings.
The station is more than just a transit point; it’s a piece of living history that has adapted to the changing needs of the community. As one of the oldest stations in Mattoon, it continues to connect people and places and weave the narrative of the region’s past and present.
1718 Broadway Ave, Mattoon, IL 61938, United States
10. Mattoon Golf & Country Club
For a leisurely day on the greens, head to the Mattoon Golf & Country Club. Play a round of golf surrounded by scenic landscapes and enjoy the club’s amenities. It’s a great way to relax and soak in the beauty of Mattoon.
The Mattoon Golf & Country Club was established in 1925 and boasts a storied history as a premier recreational destination. The club was originally founded to provide a picturesque setting for golf enthusiasts and has evolved into a community focal point.
The club has a sprawling course designed to challenge and delight golfers and also offers a range of amenities that include a clubhouse for social gatherings.
Over the years, the Mattoon Golf & Country Club has become a cherished local institution, hosting events and fostering a sense of camaraderie among members.
The well-maintained greens and fairways contribute to the club’s timeless appeal and attract both seasoned golfers and those looking to enjoy a leisurely round.
Beyond golf, the club contributes to the vibrant fabric of Mattoon and provides a space for relaxation and recreation for members and visitors alike.
6700 N Country Club Rd, Mattoon, IL 61938, United States
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Mattoon, Illinois, maybe a hidden gem, but it’s one that promises a delightful and memorable experience for those willing to explore. From culinary delights to outdoor adventures, this charming city has something for everyone. So, pack your bags and get ready to discover the 10 most fun things to do in Mattoon!