Carbondale plays host to a number of fun festivals each year to bring residents out to play. The Lights Fantastic festival, held in December, lights up most of the downtown core with Christmas spirit. The Big Muddy Film Festival takes place each year in February or March, bringing together local and international films. Diwali, an Indian festival, also plays a big role in the local culture and is celebrated each year in December. You can even enjoy free outdoor concerts each summer during the Sunset Concerts that take place on local campuses and in parks.
Enjoy the Food
Carbondale plays home to a variety of dining options to whet your whistle. Quatro's Original Deep Pan Pizza Restaurant makes excellent Chicago-style and serves up other gourmet food with an Italian twist. If it is a bit of soul food you are after, try out MO Wallace BBQ, which serves up a large variety of Southern-style comfort food and is the most highly-rated restaurant in the area. Traditional gourmet American food can be found in a great environment with plenty of ambiance at Global Gourmet, which also offers an extensive wine selection if you want a glass or two to pair with your meal.
Getting Active Outdoo
You will find endless choices for outdoor activities in Carbondale. Wandering throughout the small forest and walking trails on the Southern Illinois University campus is a great way to relax and slow things down. Camping, hiking, and simple walking comes easy in the nearby Shawnee forest. Cedar Lake reservoir allows for non-motorized boating, and is a welcome haven for canoers and kayakers. One of the most unique outdoor areas in Illinois, the Cache River Swamp, sits just north of the city and is the only Cypress swamp this far north in the United States.