Located two hours south of Chicago, Normal is a former agricultural community that now supports several large corporations including State Farm Insurance and Country Financial. It's also the home of Illinois State University, which is the 14th largest university and the oldest public institution in the state.
The roots of Normal start in the 1850s when a railroad was built between Chicago and St. Louis. In 1865, Illinois State Normal University was founded as a school for teachers, also known as a "normal school," giving the town its unique name. Today, the downtown area has a vibrant dining and nightlife scene, partially due to the large influx of college students for nine months of the year. Whether you're here for leisure or business, it's important that you find the right accommodation to suit your needs.
When to Visit Normal, IL
The best time to visit Normal is in the spring, when the local foliage springs to life and temperatures are mild. During this time, you can explore one of the city's 24 parks or hit one of its three golf courses. These courses are held in such high regard that Golf Digest named Normal the fifth-best American City for Golf. During this time of the year, hotels are harder to come by, though you should be able to find suitable accommodation if you book a few weeks in advance.
During the fall, the university springs into life with students excited for the new semester. There are also basketball and football games that attract tens of thousands of spectators. In addition, the fall foliage turns a variety of colors and provides an excellent backdrop to the city. Another great way to explore the city is through the Constitutional Trail, which offers over 37 miles of trails to hike. At this time of year, it's important to book ahead, especially if there's a sporting event.
The winter still features collegiate sports, although attendance may be down if the team isn't performing at a high level. When college is out of session in the summer, the amount of tourists and college students diminishes and Normal becomes a shadow of what it is during the other months of the year. However, this means that you have a great chance to score a sizable discount on a hotel room.
Below is a chart of the current pricing seasonality of hotels and motels in Normal, IL:
Normal by Star Rating
Below are 3 charts demonstrating mean nightly cost trends by star rating class in Normal, IL. You can use these charts to determine the best dates to book a room in Normal during the year.
Luxury Hotel Options in Normal, IL
4 Star Average Prices: $118.70
If you're wanting to bathe yourself in opulence, Normal has a surprising number of hotels to fit your needs. The premier hotel in the city is the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel. This cozy, relaxing hotel is right near several points of interest, such as U.S. Cellular Coliseum, Miller Park Zoo, the Children's Discovery Museum, the Prairie Aviation Museum and Maxwell Park. Each of the 197 guest rooms at the hotel gives you access to a refrigerator, a microwave, cable programming, free local calls, and complimentary Wi-Fi. There's also a restaurant on-site that serves delicious food, as well as a bar and lounge area to indulge in a few beverages after a long day.
Just a few miles from the center of Normal, the Courtyard Bloomington provides a close proximity to the Shoppes at College Hills, Ironwood Golf Course, and Eastland Mall. You'll have the opportunity to choose from rooms that feature a king bed, two queen beds, or a king bed with a sofa bed. Hopefully, one of these layouts accommodates your party with ease. Other amenities include an on-site bar and lounge, an indoor pool, laundry service, a free grocery shopping service, free newspapers, and a snack bar with a deli.
Affordable Hotel Choices in Normal, IL
3 Star Average Prices: $94.46
Finding an affordable hotel in Normal is far simpler than you may have thought. One awesome choice is the Baymont Inn & Suites. Located right by the Illinois State University campus and Redbird Arena, it's the ideal location if you're going to the game or you're visiting one of your kids on the university campus. In addition, it's also close to the Ironwood Golf Course and the Children's Discovery Museum. You have your choice of one king bed or two double beds, and each room features amenities such as cable television, free coffee, and an ironing board. There's also an indoor pool and fitness facilities.
The Days Inn & Suites is another great budget option for travelers coming to Normal. Some of the features you'll enjoy at this hotel include a heated outdoor pool, a jacuzzi, a complimentary breakfast, two meeting rooms, 95 guest rooms, and 12 suites. For the person that can't leave their furry friend at home, this hotel is pet-friendly. In-room benefits include a self-controlled air conditioner, a radio, a refrigerator, a microwave, free wireless internet, and newly released movies. It's also only two miles from downtown Normal, and it's in close proximity to nightlife, restaurants, and pubs.
2 Star Average Prices: $72.72
Great Discounts in Normal, IL
Many hotels around the Normal area provide substantial discounts. One such hotel is the Country Inn & Suites, which offers great discounts on two queen bed rooms for AAA members, AARP members, and current or retired military personnel. At this prime location, you'll be close to places such as the Bloomington-Normal Factory Stores, Miller Park Zoo, and Illinois Wesleyan University. You'll love on-site recreational opportunities like an indoor pool, a spa tub, and a fitness center. The lobby also has wireless internet access and a real fireplace in the lobby. Rooms have a private bathroom with deep-soaking tub, a 32-inch LCD television with satellite programming, a refrigerator, and a microwave.
Another place to get great discounts is at the Comfort Suites. At this establishment, you'll receive a sizable discount if you're a member of AAA or AARP, a senior citizen, or government or military personnel. Aside from the money you'll save at Comfort Suites, you'll also be within a short drive of Illinois State University, Weibring Golf Club, and the Prairie Aviation Museum. Once you're a guest here, you'll love the superb amenities offered, like an in-room refrigerator, microwave, cable television, free coffee and tea, a safe large enough for laptops, and free local calls. Outside of the room, the hotel has complimentary breakfast, a spa tub, an indoor pool, and a 24-hour fitness center.
Best Value Options in Normal, IL
If you're willing to spend a bit more, but you don't need something overly indulgent, Normal has a number of excellent mid-range and value hotel options. The Hampton Inn Bloomington West is only three miles from the center of Normal, yet it still has an ideal location for short trips to the Miller Park Zoo, as well as shopping, dining, and nightlife. Each room comes equipped with a 32-inch LCD television with cable programming, complimentary Wi-Fi, and a hair dryer. On the first floor you'll find a common room with televisions, wireless internet access, on-site shopping, an indoor pool, and a complimentary breakfast.
Those willing to travel a bit further away from Normal will love the Holiday Inn Express, which is located about 20 minutes away from Normal. Here you'll have your choice of a king bed, two double beds, a queen bed, or two queen beds. Each floor plan offers a flat screen television with cable programming, a work desk, a microwave, and free phone calls. There's also an indoor pool, a hot tub, and complimentary breakfast. Located in a rural area outside Normal, the Holiday Inn Express is located near Woodlawn Country Club, Moraine View State Park, and Weedman Park, each of which provide outdoor recreational activities, hiking, and wildlife viewings.
Top Things to Do in Normal, IL
For a city of only 57,000, Normal has a vast number of activities for each type of individual taste. For the Picasso in you, head over to Artful Designs, where you can create, fire, and paint your own pottery. If you just like to look at artwork, check out the Angel Ambrose Fine Art Studio, the Beluga Press Studio, or the Eaton Studio and Gallery. The town also has amazing historical heritage which can be seen with at places like the David Davis Mansion State Historical Site, the G&W Scout Museum, and the Empire Township Historical Museum.
If you're looking for some of the best grub or drink in town, head over to the Destihl Brewery, which serves up some of the finest craft brews in central Illinois. For some of the most delicious food you've ever eaten, try Medici, which has some interesting menu items including a Cajun coffee Ribeye, red pepper fettuccine, spaghetti squash Bolognese, or the mango glazed tuna.
Wherever you decide to spend your time in Normal, remember that the perfect hotel can make a world of difference in enjoying your trip.
FAQs about hotels in Normal
How much does a cheap hotel in Normal cost per night?
In the last year, a 2 star hotel in Normal can be as cheap as $72.72 per night. (based on HotelPlanner prices)
How much does a 3 star hotel in Normal cost per night?
In the last year, the average 3 star hotel in Normal has been $94.46 per night. (based on HotelPlanner prices)
How much does a luxury hotel in Normal cost?
In the last year, the average 4 star hotel in Normal has been $118.70 per night. (based on HotelPlanner prices)