I would expect few towns to have this name, but there are said to be 14 of them. The Peorias were a Native American tribe in what is now the state of Illinois, but the towns with this name are now quite scattered. The word Peoria in Peorian meant, “carrying a pack on one’s back.” Peorias are never found in other countries, but there is one in Canada. It’s in Alberta and reportedly has a population of 12.
Not unexpectedly, the 2nd largest Peoria is the city in central Illinois. It has a population of more than 100,000. I have been there several times but not recently. There used to be not much to do in this city, but that has changed. I used to visit its art museum, but that was just about the extent of its tourist attractions. Now it’s different probably due to community spirit. According to Tripadvisor there is now a Grand View Drive with glimpses of the Illinois River, a Caterpillar Visitor Center, and a new Riverfront Museum. There is a zoo, a botanical garden, a historic house called the Pettengill Morron, parks and malls; but for the most part Peoria remains a not-too-exciting travel destination even though the people of Peoria are known for their good manners and the city has a highly industrial atmosphere.
The largest Peoria in the United States is part of the city of Phoenix, AZ. Its population is said to be 176,000. There is a Peoria in the states of Oklahoma (population 131), but a lot of Peorias have become ghost towns.
There are said to be towns named Peoria in states like Florida, Texas, and Missouri, but most of them are very small. Many are listed as unincorporated. Those with several people are often said to be “populated places” like the Peorias in New York and Mississippi. The Peoria in North Carolina in Watauga County has an elevation of almost 3,000 feet. That places it in the western part of the state near Asheville and Mount Mitchell, this state’s highest point.
Peoria seems to be a dying town name with 2 exceptions. Maybe that’s a good thing.