Peoria is Ready for March Madness

Mar 9, 2018

Peoria area news personalities are gathered for the March Madness kick-off press conference. That was followed by the annual friendly competition where reporters and others face-off in some of the March Madness Experience games.
Credit Tanya Koonce

It’s IHSA March Madness kickoff weekend in Peoria. The two weekend run of the event started Friday. It’s the 23rd year the boy’s basketball tournament is being hosted in Peoria. 

Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis says it’s time the city gets to showcase everything it has to offer.

“It’s not just the restaurants in the downtown area. I mean you can’t get a hotel room within 40 miles of Peoria. I mean all the restaurants and other retail businesses in the community really have an opportunity to shine. So it’s good for the pocketbook but it’s also good to get people introduced to our community.” 

The two weekend run of March Madness in Peoria is expected to bring in about $4 million. 


Peoria Civic Center security and entrance information:

Shuttle Service with CITYLINK:

CityLink will operate continuous bus shuttles from participating hotels to the Peoria Civic Center for the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Boys Basketball State Finals on Friday, March 9 and Saturday, March 10 for the Class 1A and 2A games, and Friday, March 16 and Saturday, March 17 for the Class 3A and 4A games. 

Shuttles will pick up in 20-30 minute increments beginning at 9:30 a.m. and will run through 11:00 p.m. each weekend.

The CityLink March Madness Express Shuttle Day Pass offers unlimited rides on any CityLink bus for $3.00.  A new Day Pass is required for each day and is available for purchase on any CityLink Bus. The passes are also available at the Downtown Peoria Transit Center, located at 407 SW Adams; and during regular business hours at the CityLink Administration Building, located at 2105 NE Jefferson. 

Customers may also choose to pay the cash fare of $1.00 per ride or $0.50 per ride for seniors 65 and over and students who present a valid school ID. Children 54 inches or shorter ride free if accompanied by an adult.

Hotels participating in the March Madness shuttle service:

East Peoria area hotels: Best Western Plus, Embassy Suites, Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott, Hampton Inn, Motel 6, Par-A-Dice Hotel and Stoney Creek Inn.

Participating Northwoods Mall area hotels: Baymont Inn & Suites, Comfort Suites, Courtyard by Marriott, Econo Lodge Inn & Suites, Extended Stay America, Quality Inn & Suites, Red Roof Inn, Residence Inn by Marriott, SpringHill Suites by Marriott and Super 8 Motel.

Not all hotel locations are shuttle stops, but there is a stop near each participating hotel.  The Northwoods Mall area shuttle has direct access to the Northwoods Mall at stop #2 on the Sterling-side (upper level) at JC Penney.

For a complete listing of shuttle stop locations, please visit, or contact CityLink Customer Service at 309-676-4040.

Travel and Parking Tips from the Peoria Police Department:

 School and charter buses that unload in front of the Civic Center shall be directed to John Gwynn Avenue or Sam Stone, where there will be reserved bus parking. Maps will be furnished to the drivers for the return pick up route. On-street parking will be allowed along the curb (both directions) on R.B. Garrett from Kumpf to Richard Allen. 

VIP’s will park in the Civic Center Lot. Media will park in the Civic Center lot at Monroe and Fulton. Both will have issued placards in their vehicles allowing them to park at these locations.

If you plan to travel in the downtown over the next two weekends, please allow extra time to reach your destination. Please be aware of increased pedestrian traffic. Impacted intersections include:  

Jefferson & Harrison  Jefferson & Liberty  Gwynn Avenue & Kumpf  Busey Bank & Kumpf  R.B. Garrett & Kumpf  Monroe & Fulton  Madison & Fulton 

Onsite Medical Care:

OSF HealthCare is providing comprehensive medical services for athletes and game officials throughout each weekend of the IHSA Boys State Final Basketball Tournaments at the Peoria Civic Center, Peoria, Illinois.

On-site athletic trainers and access to multiple physician specialists will be made available to allcompetitors and game officials.

AMT staff and ambulance will be on-site for all game sessions.