The Champaign-Urbana metropolitan area stands out from its agricultural surroundings in central Illinois. It is located roughly 130 miles from both Chicago and Indianapolis. The community is defined to a great extent by the campus of the University of Illinois.

Of course, the campus is a hub of academic pursuits and historic architecture. But, the university adds to the city with an array of public attractions and things to do. Some community additions sponsored by the university include art and cultural museums and sporting events throughout the year.

University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana

The university was founded in 1867. In fact, the University of Champaign-Urbana has helped define the city for over 150 years. The institution currently educates more than 40,000 students each semester. The top-tier degrees and programs offered here attract a large student enrolments from around the world. Plus, the sprawling campus and academic spirit make many proud to be the Fighting Illini alum.

The University of Illinois is part of the larger University of Illinois System. It has campuses in Springfield and Chicago too. The Champaign-Urbana campus is well integrated into the city. 

Fighting Illini sporting events are a longstanding tradition throughout the state. Some popular events include Saturday football at Memorial Stadium and basketball at the State Farm Centre. 

Impressive pieces of architecture and historical landmarks dot the entire campus. Plus there are plenty of pedestrian pathways supporting foot traffic. Simply walking the grounds can make for a fun visit or break between classes. The outdoor classroom and UI Arboretum displays the richest natural attractions on campus.

Food and Entertainment

Downtown Champaign is lined with local shops and restaurants. Breakfast is a popular option at the locally owned Sam’s Café. Spots like Bacaro feature seasonal menus and unique American cuisine. Al fresco dining is very popular during the summer months.


Younger explorers of the city can find plenty of hands-on entertainment at the Orpheum Children’s Museum. It is located in a historic and renovated vaudeville theater. For bibliophiles and casual readers, Jane Addams Bookshop is a must-visit. The Aroma Café is regarded as one of the best coffee shops downtown, though Caffe Benne is also a close contender.

On the east side of the University campus, is the Museum of World Cultures. It houses more than 50,000 artefacts from across the globe. The “Central Core of Humanity” connects the nine galleries and rotating exhibits at the Spurlock Museum. These highlight human beings throughout history from different regions of the world.

The Krannert Art Museum hosts two floors and several distinct galleries of fine art. Spanning millennia and from across the globe, the Krannert art collection features historically significant art. These include Andean artworks, West African headwear, and American and European paintings from the previous two centuries.

The William M. Staerkel Planetarium is one of the largest in the state. It is highly recommended for anyone interested in catching a show. The planetarium is popular for field trips and astronomical society meetings. In fact, the 50-foot dome screen of the planetarium hosts several public showings. 

The Japan House lies within the University of Illinois Arboretum, lies . This traditional Japanese-style home aims to broaden perspectives and provides moments of tranquillity in the day. As part of the College of Fine and Applied Arts, the Japan House offers experiential education through various programs and events. Not to forget aesthetic pleasure with features like the Japanese tea garden outside.

The Greens

Meadowbrook Park is a popular place to walk in nature. More than five miles of paved and unpaved trails weave throughout the park. The park features a unique sensory garden, and an 80-acre tall grass prairie. Plus it has an organic community garden where residents can reserve a plot.

The Hessel Park has a long history as one of the most popular parks in the city. Encompassing nearly 30 acres, the park’s central location and sprawling layout contribute to its popularity. But what makes it such a crowd-puller is the abundance of trees and play spaces.