Entertainment and Recreation

Carbondale has become a regional center for business, transportation, and an educational center being the home of Southern Illinois University. 



Cedar Lake, located just south of Carbondale off Cedar Creek Road, boasts a large sandy beach on one of Southern Illinois’ most scenic lakes. Cedar Lake Beach is open to the public from Memorial Day to Labor Day Mondays through Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Admission is free for children younger than four and $2.50 for others. Cedar Beach has restroom and changing facilities, a concession stand with beverages and snacks, and two lifeguards on duty at all operating hours. Large shade trees and grassy picnic areas surround the perimeter of the beach area, creating cooler green places in which to take refuge from the sun.

Cedar Lake is a 1,750-acre (7.0 km²) reservoir in southern Illinois, created by the damming of Cedar Creek, a tributary of the Big Muddy River. The lake is located in Jackson County, southwest of Carbondale, Illinois. The lake is accessible from U.S. Highway 51. The lake was constructed for the purpose of supplying tap water to the residents of Carbondale. In addition, the lake serves fishing, swimming, and active recreation purposes. In addition to water supply purposes, Cedar Lake is managed for bass and crappie fishing. It was described in 2007 as receiving "moderate to heavy" fishing pressure from the recreationally active people of southern Illinois and southeast Missouri.


The City Pavilion is a open air historic shelter located in the Town Square and is available to rent for your special activities. Also available at the Pavilion area is Town Square East and West. Downtown offers the Friendship Plaza area which is also available for rental. 

During the Summer months various activities are held in the Pavilion such as Brown Bag Concerts on Wednesdays at noon. 

Held the first weekend of December, The Lights Fantastic Parade, starting on Mill Street, going up on Illinois Avenue and ending at the Downtown Pavilion, is a community wide event.


Carbondale Community Arts

Since 1903, the Southern Illinois Symphony Orchestra (SISO), composed of faculty and students of Southern Illinois University, talented community members and area professionals, has presented live orchestral music in southern Illinois. In January 2001, the Illinois Council of Orchestras named SISO the Community Volunteer Orchestra of the Year in Illinois, and in January 2005, the Council named Music Director, Edward Benyas, Conductor of the Year in the Small Orchestra category. In 2005, the SISO established the Southern Illinois Music Festival, an annual summer festival that includes over 40 professional performances/presentations of classical music, ballet, art and jazz in two-dozen venues throughout southern Illinois during the three weeks leading to the 4th of July.







The Carbondale Park District offers a wide variety of programs to fit the needs of the community. The Park District serves a diverse population with a wide range of interests. Our programs and services serve infants, preschoolers, youths, teens, adults and seniors, as well as family interests. We offer special events, instructional lessons, free programs and leisure services. For more information on current and/or upcoming programs, call the Recreation Division offices which are housed in the Life Community Center at 549-4222 or send us an email.


Welcome to the Science Center of Southern Illinois! The Science Center is a hands-on children's museum featuring interactive science exhibits. Our target audience is children age 3-13. Patrons of all ages enjoy our exhibits, programs, and events. Located inside the University Mall, Carbondale. (618) 529-5431
Fax: 457-2195 










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