Best & Fun Things To Do + Places To Visit In Champaign, Illinois

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Champaign, Illinois: Best & Fun Things To Do + Places To Visit (That Don’t Involve Drinking Champagne)

Are you planning a trip to Champaign, Illinois and wondering what to do and where to go? Look no further! Champaign is a vibrant city with plenty of exciting activities and attractions to explore. Whether you’re a foodie, a history buff, or an outdoor enthusiast, Champaign has something for everyone.

One of the highlights of Champaign is the University of Illinois, which offers a unique college town experience. You can visit the beautiful campus, catch a game at Memorial Stadium, or explore the Krannert Art Museum. There are also plenty of museums and exhibits to check out, such as the Spurlock Museum and the Orpheum Children’s Science Museum.

If you’re a foodie, Champaign is a paradise with a diverse range of dining options. From farm-to-table restaurants to food trucks, there’s something to satisfy every palate. And don’t forget to check out the vibrant downtown area, which is filled with local shops, restaurants, and bars. Whether you’re looking for a night out on the town or a family-friendly adventure, Champaign has it all.

Key Takeaways

  • Champaign offers a unique college town experience with the University of Illinois.
  • The city has plenty of museums, exhibits, and historical highlights to explore.
  • Champaign is a foodie’s paradise with diverse dining options and a vibrant downtown area.

The University of Illinois Experience

Ah, the University of Illinois. It’s not just a college, it’s a way of life. As one of the largest public universities in the country, it’s impossible to ignore the impact that the U of I has on the Champaign-Urbana community.

First things first, let’s talk about the campus. It’s huge. Like, really huge. You’ll definitely get your steps in if you decide to take a leisurely stroll around the quad. And let’s be real, there’s no better place to people-watch than on a college campus. You’ll see everything from students rushing to class to tourists taking selfies in front of Alma Mater.

But the U of I experience isn’t just about the campus itself. It’s about the culture of the college town that surrounds it. Campustown, as it’s affectionately called, is a hub of activity. From restaurants to bars to shops, there’s always something going on. And let’s not forget about the famous Green Street. It’s a rite of passage for any U of I student to stumble down Green Street on a Friday night.

Speaking of students, let’s talk about the people. The U of I is home to a diverse student body, with people from all walks of life. You’ll find everything from future engineers to artists to athletes. And let’s not forget about the Fighting Illini. Whether you’re a die-hard sports fan or just enjoy a good tailgate, there’s nothing quite like a game day in Champaign.

In summary, the University of Illinois experience is one that you won’t soon forget. From the sprawling campus to the bustling college town to the diverse student body, there’s truly something for everyone. So grab an orange and blue shirt and get ready to cheer on the Illini.

Museums and Exhibits Galore

You might think museums are boring, but in Champaign, you’ll change your mind. The city is home to some of the most exciting museums and exhibits in the region. Whether you’re interested in art, history, or science, you’ll find something that will blow your mind.

First on the list is the Krannert Art Museum. This museum is a must-visit for art lovers. It has an impressive collection of over 10,000 works of art from all over the world. You’ll find everything from contemporary art to ancient artifacts. The museum also hosts temporary exhibits, so there’s always something new to see.

If you’re interested in history, head over to the Spurlock Museum. This museum has an extensive collection of artifacts from all over the world. You’ll learn about different cultures and civilizations and how they shaped the world we live in today. The museum also hosts events and programs for all ages, so it’s a great place to take the whole family.

For a more local flavor, check out the Champaign County History Museum. This museum tells the story of the county and its people. You’ll see artifacts and exhibits that showcase the history of the area, from its early days to the present. The museum also hosts events and programs throughout the year, so there’s always something going on.

In conclusion, museums and exhibits in Champaign are not to be missed. With a variety of options to choose from, you’ll find something that interests you. So, get out there and explore!

Foodie’s Paradise

Are you a foodie? Well, you’re in luck because Champaign, Illinois is a foodie’s paradise! From classic American cuisine to international flavors, this college town has it all.

Start your day off right with a cup of coffee from one of the many local cafes. Try the espresso at Flying Machine Coffee or the pour-over at Pekara Bakery and Bistro. If you’re in the mood for a sweet treat, head over to Hopscotch Bakery + Market for their famous macarons or the Chocolate Shoppe for some delicious ice cream.

For lunch, grab a sandwich at the legendary Merry Ann’s Diner, where you can enjoy classic diner food and milkshakes. Or, if you’re feeling fancy, head over to Big Grove Tavern for some upscale American fare. Their al fresco dining option is perfect for soaking up the sun and enjoying a delicious meal.

If you’re in the mood for international cuisine, Champaign has got you covered. Head over to Sakanaya for some sushi or try the Indian buffet at Bombay Indian Grill. For some authentic Mexican food, check out Maize Mexican Grill or Dos Reales.

And let’s not forget about the drinks! Champaign has some great breweries and bars to check out. Try the craft beers at Triptych Brewing or the cocktails at Blind Pig Company. If you’re in the mood for some live music, head over to The Canopy Club for some great drinks and entertainment.

With so many options to choose from, you’ll never go hungry in Champaign. So put on your stretchy pants and get ready to indulge in some delicious food and drinks!

Champaign’s Vibrant Downtown

If you’re looking for a fun and lively atmosphere in Champaign, look no further than downtown. This vibrant area has something for everyone, whether you’re into shopping, dining, or just soaking up the local culture.

One of the highlights of downtown Champaign is the abundance of bars. Whether you’re in the mood for a craft cocktail or a cold beer, you’re sure to find a spot that suits your tastes. Some of the most popular bars in the area include Blind Pig Brewery, Esquire Lounge, and Radio Maria.

If you happen to be in town during the summer, be sure to check out the annual Streetfest. This three-day event features live music, food vendors, and plenty of opportunities to mingle with the locals. It’s a great way to experience the energy and excitement of downtown Champaign.

Of course, no trip to downtown Champaign would be complete without a little shopping. From trendy boutiques to vintage shops, there are plenty of retail options to explore. Some of the top spots include Jane Addams Book Shop, Art Mart, and Pekara Bakery & Bistro.

Overall, downtown Champaign is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to experience the best of what this vibrant city has to offer. So grab a drink, hit the shops, and soak up the local culture – you won’t be disappointed!

Outdoor Adventures in Champaign

Are you itching to get outside and explore the great outdoors? Look no further than Champaign, Illinois! With plenty of green space and adventure opportunities, you’re sure to find something that suits your fancy.

One of the best places to start your outdoor adventure is at Hessel Park. This park has it all – a playground, tennis courts, a basketball court, and even a swimming pool. Plus, it’s conveniently located near restaurants and shops, so you can easily grab a bite to eat or do some shopping after your outdoor fun.

If you’re looking for something a little more serene, head over to the University of Illinois Arboretum. This 160-acre garden is home to over 2,500 plant species and is the perfect place to take a relaxing stroll. You’ll feel like you’re in a different world as you explore the various gardens and habitats.

For those who want to get their heart rate up, Centennial Park is the place to be. This park has a variety of sports fields and courts, as well as a skate park and a BMX track. You can also rent a canoe or kayak and hit the lake for some water fun.

And of course, no outdoor adventure in Champaign would be complete without some summer fun. There are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy during the warmer months, from hiking and biking to picnicking and fishing. So grab your sunscreen and get ready to make some memories!

EntityRelevant Information
Things to doChampaign offers a variety of outdoor activities for everyone.
ActivitiesHiking, biking, picnicking, fishing, and water sports are just a few of the activities available.
Hessel ParkHessel Park has a playground, tennis courts, a basketball court, and a swimming pool.
University of Illinois ArboretumThe Arboretum is a 160-acre garden with over 2,500 plant species.
Centennial ParkCentennial Park has sports fields and courts, a skate park, a BMX track, and a lake for water sports.
Green spaceChampaign has plenty of green space for outdoor activities and relaxation.
AdventureThere are plenty of adventure opportunities in Champaign, from canoeing to BMX biking.
Summer funChampaign offers a variety of outdoor activities to enjoy during the warmer months.

Family Fun in Champaign

You’re in Champaign with your family and you’re looking for some fun activities to do together. Well, you’re in luck because Champaign has plenty of family-friendly options that will keep everyone entertained!

First up, let’s talk about the Sholem Aquatic Center. This place is a blast, especially on a hot summer day. They have a lazy river, water slides, and plenty of pools to splash around in. It’s the perfect place to cool off and have some fun with the family.

If you’re looking for something a little more low-key, then you should check out the gardens in Champaign. The Meadowbrook Park and Japan House gardens are both beautiful and serene. Take a stroll through the gardens and enjoy the scenery. It’s a great way to spend a relaxing afternoon with the family.

For a more hands-on experience, head to one of the farms in the area. Curtis Orchard and Pumpkin Patch is a great place to start. They have apple picking, pumpkin patches, and plenty of other activities for the whole family. You can even take a hayride or visit the petting zoo.

No matter what you choose to do, just make sure you’re spending quality time with your family. Champaign has plenty of options to keep everyone entertained.

Historical Highlights of Champaign

You might not think of Champaign as a historical hot spot, but think again! There are plenty of historical highlights to explore in this charming town.

First, let’s talk about the history of Champaign itself. The town was founded in 1855 and named after the Champaign County in Ohio. It was originally home to the Illinois Central Railroad, which brought new residents and commerce to the area.

If you’re a sports fan, you can’t miss Memorial Stadium. This historic stadium has been the home of the Fighting Illini football team since 1923. It’s also hosted a variety of other events, including concerts and soccer matches.

But the history of Memorial Stadium goes beyond sports. During World War II, the stadium was used as a training ground for the U.S. Navy’s V-5 program. And in 1965, it was the site of a historic civil rights march led by Martin Luther King Jr.

If you’re interested in learning more about Champaign’s history, head to the Champaign County History Museum. This small but mighty museum is packed with exhibits and artifacts that tell the story of the town and its residents. From the early days of the railroad to the present day, you’ll find plenty to explore here.

So whether you’re a sports fan or a history buff, Champaign has plenty of historical highlights to discover.

Cultural Experiences in Champaign

If you’re looking for a cultural experience in Champaign, you won’t be disappointed. The city has a variety of options that will satisfy your inner art enthusiast.

One must-visit location is the Japan House, located at the University of Illinois. The Japan House is a serene and peaceful place that offers visitors a glimpse into Japanese culture. You can participate in a tea ceremony, stroll through a beautiful garden, or attend one of the many cultural events held throughout the year.

If you’re looking for something more international, head over to Champaign-Urbana’s International Festival. This festival happens annually and is a celebration of the diverse cultures that make up the community. You can try food from different countries, watch traditional dances, and learn about different cultures from around the world.

Champaign-Urbana is also home to many art galleries and museums, including the Krannert Art Museum and the Spurlock Museum. These museums offer visitors a chance to see art and artifacts from around the world and throughout history.

So, whether you want to experience Japanese culture, celebrate diversity, or admire art from around the world, Champaign has something for you. Don’t miss out on the cultural experiences that this city has to offer.

Champaign’s Performing Arts Scene

You may think that Champaign is a small town in the middle of nowhere, but you’d be surprised by the vibrant performing arts scene here. Whether you’re a theater buff or a music lover, there’s something for everyone.

First and foremost, you can’t talk about Champaign’s performing arts scene without mentioning the Virginia Theatre. This historic venue has been around since 1921 and has hosted some of the biggest names in entertainment. From live music to classic films, the Virginia Theatre has it all. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a good sing-along to “The Sound of Music”?

If you’re more into live theater, you’re in luck. The Station Theatre is a local favorite and always has something interesting going on. From comedies to dramas, this intimate theater puts on some of the best shows in town. And if you’re feeling adventurous, check out the University of Illinois’ Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. With multiple theaters and a wide range of performances, you’re sure to find something that piques your interest.

But wait, there’s more! Champaign also has a thriving music scene. The Canopy Club is a popular spot for both local and national acts. And if you’re looking for something a little more low-key, the Iron Post is a cozy jazz club that’s perfect for a night out with friends.

So, whether you’re in the mood for a classic film, a Broadway musical, or some live music, Champaign’s performing arts scene has got you covered. Don’t miss out on all the fun!

Sports and Events in Champaign

You may think that the only sport in Champaign is cornhole, but you’d be wrong! The Fighting Illini are the pride and joy of the town, and their games at the State Farm Center are a must-see. Whether you’re a die-hard fan or just looking for a fun night out, you’re sure to have a ball.

The Fighting Illini have a long and storied history, and attending one of their games is like stepping back in time. You’ll see fans decked out in orange and blue, chanting and cheering their team on to victory. And if you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of Chief Illiniwek, the team’s controversial mascot.

But sports aren’t the only thing happening in Champaign. The State Farm Center also hosts a variety of events throughout the year, from concerts to comedy shows to monster truck rallies. So even if you’re not a sports fan, there’s still plenty to do.

And let’s not forget about the tailgating! Before every Fighting Illini game, the parking lots around the State Farm Center come alive with grills, games, and plenty of beer. It’s the perfect way to get in the spirit and meet some new friends.

So whether you’re a die-hard sports fan or just looking for a fun night out, Champaign has plenty to offer. Just make sure to wear your orange and blue!

Champaign’s Libraries and Educational Opportunities

You might think that libraries are boring, but the Champaign Public Library will prove you wrong. They have a ton of amenities that will keep you entertained for hours. You can browse the shelves for your next favorite book, attend a workshop, or even participate in a book club. Plus, they have free Wi-Fi, so you can stream all the cat videos your heart desires.

But wait, there’s more! The Champaign Public Library also offers educational programs for all ages. From preschool storytime to adult computer classes, there’s something for everyone. They even have a program where you can learn how to make your own soap. Who knew libraries could be so sudsy?

If you’re looking for more educational opportunities, check out Parkland College. They offer a variety of programs, from nursing to automotive technology. Plus, they have a great transfer program if you’re planning on continuing your education at a four-year university.

So, next time you’re in Champaign, don’t overlook the libraries and educational opportunities. You might just learn something new and have a great time doing it.

Unforgettable Champaign Tours

Looking for a unique way to explore Champaign? Look no further than the unforgettable tours available in this lively city. Whether you’re a history buff, foodie, or just looking for a good time, there’s a tour for you.

Champaign-Urbana Adventures in Time and Space

If you’re a fan of escape rooms and time travel, you’ll love the Champaign-Urbana Adventures in Time and Space tour. You and your group will work together to solve puzzles and travel through time to save the world. This tour is perfect for families, friends, or team building exercises.

The Blind Pig Brewery Tour

Craft beer lovers, this one’s for you. The Blind Pig Brewery Tour takes you on a behind-the-scenes look at one of Champaign’s most popular breweries. You’ll get to taste a variety of their delicious beers and learn about the brewing process. Plus, you’ll get a souvenir pint glass to take home.

Champaign Food Tours

Foodies, rejoice! Champaign Food Tours offers a variety of tours that showcase the best of the city’s food scene. From a downtown brunch tour to a farm-to-table experience, you’ll get to taste the flavors that make Champaign unique. Plus, you’ll learn about the history and culture of the city along the way.

Ghost Tours of Champaign

Looking for a spooky adventure? The Ghost Tours of Champaign will take you on a journey through the city’s haunted past. You’ll hear chilling tales of ghostly encounters and visit some of the most haunted spots in town. This tour is not for the faint of heart!

Art in the Park

For a more relaxing tour, check out Art in the Park. You’ll take a leisurely stroll through Champaign’s beautiful parks and learn about the public art installations along the way. This tour is perfect for art lovers and nature enthusiasts alike.

No matter what your interests are, Champaign has a tour that will leave you with unforgettable memories. So grab your friends and family and get ready to explore this vibrant city in a whole new way!

Unique Champaign Experiences

You may think you’ve seen it all, but Champaign has some unique experiences that are sure to surprise you. From attractions that will take you back in time to festivals that celebrate the local culture, Champaign has something for everyone.

If you’re a fan of music, be sure to check out the Rolling Stones and Elvis displays at the Champaign County Historical Museum. You’ll get a chance to see some of their iconic outfits and learn about their impact on music history.

For a more educational experience, head to the William M. Staerkel Planetarium. With its 50-foot dome and state-of-the-art technology, you’ll feel like you’re exploring the universe. The planetarium offers a variety of shows that are perfect for all ages.

If you’re looking for a place to relax and unwind, head to the Champaign Public Library. With its free internet access and comfortable seating, it’s the perfect place to catch up on some reading or get some work done.

Animal lovers won’t want to miss the opportunity to visit the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital. You’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at how they care for animals and learn about the latest advances in veterinary medicine.

For bookworms, the Jane Addams Bookshop is a must-visit. With its cozy atmosphere and wide selection of books, you’ll feel right at home. And if you’re lucky, you might even catch one of their author events.

Finally, don’t miss out on the local festivals. From the Taste of Champaign-Urbana to the Urbana Sweetcorn Festival, there’s always something going on. These festivals celebrate the local culture and offer a chance to try some delicious food and drinks.

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and explore all that Champaign has to offer.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some free things to do in Champaign that won’t leave me broke?

Well, you can always take a stroll around the beautiful University of Illinois campus. It’s a great place to people-watch, and you might even learn a thing or two. If you’re feeling adventurous, head over to Meadowbrook Park and check out the sculptures and gardens. And, of course, you can’t forget about the Champaign County Historical Museum. It’s free, it’s educational, and it’s a great way to kill an afternoon.

Can you recommend any hidden gems in Champaign that aren’t crawling with tourists?

Absolutely! If you’re a fan of craft beer, you have to check out Triptych Brewing. It’s a little off the beaten path, but trust us, it’s worth it. For a more laid-back vibe, head over to the Art Theater Co-op. It’s a cozy little cinema that shows indie and foreign films. And if you’re in the mood for some live music, don’t miss out on Mike ‘n Molly’s. It’s a dive bar with character, and the bands that play there are always top-notch.

What’s the best way to survive a Champaign winter without hibernating?

Layer up, my friend. It may seem obvious, but it’s the key to staying warm. Invest in a good coat, some boots, and a hat, and you’ll be good to go. If you’re feeling adventurous, try ice skating at the University of Illinois Ice Arena. It’s a great way to get some exercise and enjoy the winter weather. And if all else fails, just cozy up with a hot cup of cocoa and binge-watch some Netflix.

Where can I find the best arcade in Champaign to unleash my inner child?

Easy. Head over to the Blind Pig Company. It’s a bar and arcade all rolled into one, and it’s a blast. They’ve got everything from classic arcade games to pinball machines, and the drinks aren’t half bad either. Plus, it’s a great place to meet new people and make some friends.

Which restaurants in Champaign have the most mouth-watering food?

Oh boy, where do we start? For some killer barbecue, check out Black Dog Smoke & Ale House. If you’re in the mood for some authentic Thai food, head over to Siam Terrace. And for some seriously delicious pizza, look no further than Papa Del’s. Trust us, you won’t be disappointed.

Are there any escape rooms in Champaign that won’t make me feel like I’m in a horror movie?

Absolutely. Check out the Puzzle Factor. They’ve got a variety of escape rooms to choose from, and none of them involve creepy dolls or chainsaws. It’s a great way to challenge your mind and have some fun with friends.

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