Arts and Cultural Events

So you decided on southern Illinois for a little getaway. Wonderful choice!

Hiking.   Check

Waterfalls.    Everywhere

Wine and Sun.    Oh ya

Zipline Adventure.    Down the road

Museums, Performing Arts and Entertainment Venues.    Of course!

The awesomeness of the "off the trail" events and entertainment along the Shawnee Hills Wine country deserves its own blog and we'll take you along to some of our favorites at another time.
We're going closer to "town" for this one.

Within reach when you stay in southern Illinois is an abundance of top notch staging platforms as a backdrop to local artisans, musical performances, and galleries. Some of the bigger venues are centered around Carbondale and Marion.


The University Museum at SIU. The museum has been a repository of artifacts since 1874. Not only does it have a beautiful outdoor sculpture garden (sit under the magnolia during spring!), inside you'll find 10,000 square feet of exhibition halls that will house, at different times, local or traveling collections.

The summer of 2013 held an exhibit of the art of Lee and Eldon Benz. The Creole House currently has the honor of exhibiting some of Eldon Benz' own framed art and photography. Eldon has shown his work not only across southern Illinois, but his winning Red Cube Project was exhibited at the Art Institute in Chicago. How cool is that?

SIU's other not so hidden secret is Shryock Auditorium, certainly the finest performing arts center in the region. Its elegant venue makes one feel that an evening gown or tuxedo would be appropriate attire, but there is no dress code. Choose jeans or your special cocktail dress and attend a variety of events at Shryock: SIU School of Music performances, broadway shows, talent shows, dance, and well known comedians. You never know who's coming to Shryock. See what's coming up at Southern Tickets Online.

More music and drama abounds at the Varsity Center for the Arts on South Illinois Avenue in Carbondale. They play host to The Stage Company, now in its 32nd season of plays.
Coming up for Spring of 2014 is Other Desert Cities, by Jon Robin Baitsz (April 2014) and Mother Hicks by Suzan L. Zeder (July 2014).

Nice acoustics at the Varsity Center for the Arts also makes for some great music. During the holidays, we were treated to the bluesy sounds of the Ivas John Band along with Big Larry. Nobody was sitting in their seats!
For more information on The Stage Company go here.

Southern Illinois University also plays host to many well known speakers and it might be worth checking in on the SIU website to see who might be arriving.

The diversity and cultures represented with the presence of Southern Illinois University also provides a multitude of offerings for the area, from bigger events such as the International Festival to smaller, more intimate offerings.


Definitely up to par with some of Carbondale's best is the Marion Cultural & Civic Center, a production venue and outlet for other artistic opportunities including local paintings and artwork displayed at the center. The MCCA is a 1094 seat performing arts center located in the historic town square of Marion.

While you're visiting the area, attend one of the many headlining events including the Southern Illinois Music Festival and the Miss Illinois pageant during the year, or check out their schedule to get tickets to other fun productions.

More Music!

One more reason to head towards Carbondale is for the the free Sunset Concerts, held alternately in front of Shryock Auditorium or Turley Park every Thursday during the summer. Bring your blanket, cooler, chairs, and sit back for some sultry, summer music.

Walker's Bluff

A huge, picturesque vineyard that brings in unique, world class entertainment.
Sheryl Crow and Heart have both made appearances at their large entertainment complex.

Walker's Bluff carries both local and national wines.  Enjoy tours with wine tasting, large micro-brewery selections, and small appetizer plates in the gorgeous wine cave. Go to to see what's on their line-up for the year.

Check back in and we'll share some more of the local entertainment flavor.

Everywhere you look, southern Illinois has it.


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