The University of Illinois' Beckman Institute, located on the Beckman Quad
Champaign-Urbana is a metropolitan area of almost 230,000 located amongst the corn and soybean fields about 150 miles south of Chicago. The area dates to about the mid-nineteenth century, as Urbana was founded in 1833, Champaign in 1855 and the University in 1867. Starting out as a farming community, the area matured into two cities with influences at various times through the years including the Illinois Central railroad, the University, now-defunct Chanute Air Force Base in nearby Rantoul and others. Today, the cities can be described as growing, cosmopolitan and ethnically diverse, with a modern urban feel in the area's core.
Today Champaign-Urbana is defined by some amount of traditional industry such as Kraft Foods and others, a growing technology and information sector, and the University. The University is the county's largest employer and a very large instituion of 43,000 students. It would be short-changing Champaign-Urbana to call it merely a college town. But there is no doubt that the center of gravity of the arts, entertainment, and intellectual communities rest with the University.
It would be safe to say that Champaign-Urbana is a very open-minded community with regard to social issues, and retains some Midwestern values such as virtue of hard work. Urbana is seen as the more politically liberal and pastoral of the two, and Champaign is seen as having more of a big-city feel. Champaign-Urbana residents are proud of their oasis of culture and big-city amenities amongst the cornfields, of the less intense traffic, sprawl and lower cost of living here compared to major cities, and of the University of Illinois Fighting Illini sports teams.
Willard Airport (airport code:CMI) , is a regional airport operated by the University of Illinois and located roughly 20 minutes south of downtown Champaign. American Eagle flies from Willard Airport to Chicago and Dallas. Delta Connection offers service to Detroit. Allegiant Airlines flew to Las Vegas in the second half of 2007, but discontinued service to the airport in early December of the same year supposedly due to an unmanageably high cost of fuel.
The airport is served by a municipal bus line, the CUMTD No. 27 "Air Bus". This makes for a cheap and convenient option to campus or the downtown Champaign transit center. Fare is $1 each way and it operates 5 am to 6 pm daily (except University breaks and major holidays). The "Air Bus" service maintains a very precise schedule, usually arriving at the airport at the bottom of the hour without delay.
A typical taxi fare between the airport and Urbana west of Vine Street is $14 for the first person and $10 for each additional person (not including tip).
Car parking at Willard Airport (short- or long-term) costs a maximum of $5 a day. In contrast, all parking at nearby (45 mins away) Central Illinois Regional Airport  (airport code:BMI) in Bloomington, Illinois is free. This is due to land ownership differences (BMI is municipally owned and subsidized, whereas CMI is owned by the university and can not be crossed-subsidized by others). Passengers with car problems should contact the parking booth attendant for free assistance provided by Crash and Rescue (for example, jump starting a dead car battery).
It is possible to bicycle to Willard Airport from Champaign-Urbana via country roads. One can bike south on First Street in Champaign or Race Street in Urbana and then head west on County Road 1100 N which runs directly into the airport. The distance is 8.4 miles from downtown Urbana and 7.0 miles from downtown Champaign. There is an outside bicycle rack in front of the terminal.
The nearest major airports are in Chicago (O'Hare (ORD) and Midway (MDW)), Indianapolis, and Saint Louis. Land carriers such as Illini Shuttle, Greyhound, Burlington Trailways, and Amtrak connect Champaign-Urbana to these other cities and airports.
Outside Illinois Terminal in downtown Champaign. This is the Amtrak station and also the Greyhound and local bus depot.
Champaign-Urbana is on the Amtrak system, and is served by three regularly-scheduled train routes, the 58/59 City of New Orleans, the 390/391 Saluki and the 392/393 Illini. All trains run Chicago to Carbondale and the 58/59 continues southward to Memphis, Jackson, and New Orleans. Here are the daily arrival/departure times:
The train is an excellent option for traveling between Champaign-Urbana and downtown Chicago, with tickets costing as little as $15 each way if booked far enough in advance. Trip time to Chicago is about 2h 50m, and one can connect to the Amtrak national network there. Amtrak, the commercial bus lines (Greyhound, Burlington Trailways, LEX, Illini Shuttle) and the municipal bus system (CUMTD, DMT) all arrive and depart from Illinois Terminal in downtown Champaign. However, it should be noted that there is only one set of tracks along much if not most of the route between New Orleans and Chicago and freight trains are given priority. This can result in long delays, particularly toward the Chicago and New Orleans ends of the City of New Orleans train service.
Interstate 74 runs east-west. 120 miles east is Indianapolis and continues to Cincinnati. To the west are the cities of Bloomington-Normal and continues to Peoria, Galesburg, and the Quad Cities of Davenport/Moline/Rock Island/Bettendorf. Interstate 57 runs north to Chicago and south into Southern Illinois, joining up with I-55 to Memphis. Interstate 72 runs east from Hannibal/Quincy,Springfield (Illinois) and Decatur (Illinois), terminating in Champaign.
Burlington Trailways offers 2 daily frequencies for its east-west service between Champaign and Peoria and Galesburg, and to Danville and Indianapolis. Burlington Trailways buses are also sold as connecting Amtrak Thruway services for Amtrak passengers.
Danville Mass Transit operates a Champaign-Danville bus, using city transit-style buses. There are 7 weekday round trips and 5 Saturday round trips. See the Danville Mass Transit website  for details.
Greyhound Lines runs frequently between Chicago and Champaign-Urbana, as well as to/from Springfield and St. Louis.
Illini Shuttle by Suburban Express  offers daily service between Champaign-Urbana and Chicago Airports.
Suburban Express offers reliable weekend scheduled services (Thu-Mon) from various UIUC points to various Chicagoland suburbs. Fares start at $20 each way when ordered online way in advance.
Greyhound, Burlington Trailways, Suburban Express, Illini Shuttle, trains (Amtrak), and the city buses (CUMTD, DMT) all arrive and depart at Illinois Terminal in downtown Champaign.
Megabus, . Low-cost carrier offers daily service to Champaign from Chicago and Memphis. Fares start at $1 each way when ordered way, way in advance. The bus stop is located along the north side of East Logan Street, west of Market Street.
Most of Champaign-Urbana is laid out on a grid, aligned with due north, making navigation not too difficult. The exception is the oldest part of downtown Champaign, which is rotated East from the main grid. (This is because Champaign first developed parallel to the railroad).
However, be aware that street addresses can be ambiguous, if not given with the city name. For example, there are four Green Streets: East and West in Champaign, and East and West in Urbana. Therefore, if you drive eastward from Champaign to Urbana along Green, you will start out on West Green, go through East Green, and then you'll be back on West Green again-- but in Urbana. Other examples are the two Washington Streets, which have nothing whatever to do with each other, and the two Elm Streets, one of which goes east-west, and the other, north-south.
Champaign-Urbana has a significant number of bicyclists who cycle for transportation and recreation. The flat geography of the community makes it easy to get around on bicycle. While there are few on-street bike lanes or marked bicycle routes and the University of Illinois campus bike path system is considered by some to be obsolete and a bit chaotic, traffic on non-arterial streets is usually light and conducive to bicycling.
The Bike Project Coop  in downtown Urbana provides a shop for do-it-yourself bicycle repairs and also recycles and sells bikes at low prices. Two other bicycling organizations are the the Prairie Cycle Club  and Champaign County Bikes.org .
The only known source of rental bicycles in Champaign-Urbana is the University of Illinois' Division of Campus Recreation  which rents bicycles (including tandems) to students as well as to the general public starting at $15/day for students and members to $20/day for others.
The Champaign-Urbana Bicycle Map , published in 2008, shows recommended routes for bicycle travel in the community. It can be obtained at no cost at many locations in Champaign-Urbana .
The Champaign County Regional Planning Commission  publishes maps of Greenways and Trails  that includes bicycle paths in Champaign-Urbana and surrounding areas in Champaign County.
Every Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District bus is equipped with a bike rack that will carry two bikes on the front of the bus (see instructions for use ). Additionally folding bikes may be carried on buses as per the transit district policy.
Champaign-Urbana has an award winning municipal bus system, the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District . The adult fare is $1.00. Students, faculty, and staff of the University of Illinois need only show their university ID card to ride. Routes that serve campus with 10 to 15 minute frequency are the 1 Yellow, 5 Green, 10 Gold, 12 Teal, 13 Silver, and 22 Illini. Most community routes will drive through campus, but with limited frequency. iStops are designated stops for boarding and alighting that do not require passengers to pay a fare or show their ID card. These iStops are positioned along high density corridors found mostly in Campustown. Designated Stops require riders to show ID or pay a fare, but also designate where passengers may board and alight .
The Yellow, Green, Teal, Silver, and Illini run past 3 am during the academic year. SafeRides is a late-night pick-up service provided to and funded by University of Illinois students. Vans are dispatched through the night to safely transport small numbers of students (1-3) within the designated community zone until 6:30 am .
Routes that serve the community are the 2 Red, 3 Lavender, 4 Blue, 6 Orange, 7 Grey, 8 Bronze, 9A and 9B Brown, 14 Navy, and 27 Air Bus. On evenings and weekends, the decennial series of the routes operate (ie 20, 30, 50, 60, 70, 100, 120, 130, 220, 270). Community routes operate on 15 to 30 minute frequency, but vary by time of day. The 27 Air Bus runs every hour due to the length of its trip .
MTD's Hoppers run along the heaviest traveled portion of a route and operate at either 10 or 15-minute frequencies. This gives passengers the freedom to travel without a schedule. Hoppers connect downtown Champaign, downtown Urbana, and the University of Illinois. There are four Hopper routes: GOLDhopper, GREENhopper, ORANGEhopper, and YELLOWhopper. The GREENhopper is the only one of the four that only operates when the University is in session .
The 280 tranSPORT operates before, during, and after all home men's football games. This special route transports fans from parking garages and the Campbell Alumni Center to Memorial Stadium. In addition to providing service to Champaign and Urbana, the bus also serves the village of Savoy. The 331 Northeast Direct and 334 West Direct provide transportation to designated areas within the District that are not served by fixed routes. Direct Services bring community members into areas of frequent service .
MTD's bus fleet is composed primarily of 40 foot transit buses. The fleet is supplemented by 16, 60 foot articulated buses that operate primarily on campus. MTD also operates 30 foot buses. All buses are low-floor and equipped with ramps, wheelchair tiedowns, and lift-up seats in the handicapped-priority seating area - ideal for wheelchairs, walkers, canes, and service animals. The front of every bus is also equipped with a bicycle rack that can hold two bikes. (see instructions for use) Additionally folding bikes may be carried on buses as per the District's policy. All buses had GPS locators installed several years ago and have "Stop Annunciators" to meet ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) requirements for blind travelers. Transit vans are used for SafeRides, Direct Services, and for ADA Paratransit .
CUMTD has used GPS for several years to track buses and has developed a suite of STOPwatch services to provide real time information to passengers. STOPwatch.WEB provides arrival times for every bus stop in the District on cumtd.com. STOPwatch.WIDGET is a downloadable application that tracks buses on your desktop. One of the most passenger-friendly utilization is STOPwatch@theStop, which provides real time "Next Bus Arrives..." signage at certain high-traffic bus stops throughout Champaign, Urbana, and the UI campus. Other STOPwatch services include STOPwatch.MOBI for smartphones and STOPwatch.SMS for texting. Learn how to use these services on MTD's STOPwatch page .
Free printed maps and schedules come in booklet form (about 160 pages) and include color maps, schedules, and general information. They are easily found on MTD buses, at Illinois Terminal, most UI buildings, dorms and apartments, and at many businesses throughout the cities .
Most of Champaign-Urbana is easy driving. However, the campus area is complex. Many streets are one way, traffic lights are set to favor pedestrians, parking is limited, and some streets are restricted to buses, so its easy to get sucked into frustrating loops. Hassles can be minimized by avoiding the rectangle inside Green Street, Fourth Street, Florida/Kirby Avenue, and Lincoln Avenue.
In general, there is little congestion to speak of. The exceptions:
Brief rush hours on weekdays
Prospect Avenue in Champaign, north of I-74
Home football games
Move-in-day at the dormitories, in late August
As of the Summer of 2009, there are Zipcars available in Downtown Champaign.
Champaign County Historical Museum (Cattle Bank), 102 East University Avenue, Champaign, . Houses quilts and other historical artifacts documenting the history of Champaign County.
Orpheum Children's Science Museum, 346 North Neil Street, Champaign, ☎ +1 217 352-5895, . Constructed in 1914 as a movie theater, it has been converted to a children's museum.$2-3.
Krannert Art Museum, 500 East Peabody Dr, Champaign, . Both permanent and rotating collections on exhibit.$3 suggested donation.
Spurlock Museum, 600 S Gregory St, Urbana, . Cultural artifacts from around the world.$3 suggested donation.
Sousa Archives and Center for American Music, 1103 S Sixth Street, Champaign, . The Sousa Archives and Center for American Music(SACAM) acquires and preserves significant archival records and historical artifacts in multiple media formats that document America's local and national music history and its diverse cultures. Tours are available at no charge though donations are accepted.
Early American Museum, 600 North Lombard S., Mahomet, IL, . Mon-Fri.
Boardman's Art Theatre, 126 W Church St, Champaign, . Just two blocks from the Virginia, and shows first-run art, independent, documentary, and other films daily.
Virginia Theatre, 203 W Park St, Champaign, ☎ +1 217 356-9053, . Built in 1921, the theater is home to the annual Roger Ebert's Overlooked Film Festival  and is also used for monthly film series, live concerts, and theatre. It retains its original Wurlitzer pipe organ, which is played before many of the shows.
Beverly Cinema 18, ☎ 217-359-4995.
Station Theatre, 223 North Broadway, Urbana, . A small playhouse constructed in a former train station.$15.
The Canopy Club, . Located at the edge of campus in Urbana and is an excellent musical venue; it draws some big-name acts regularly.
Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, . The main venue in town for music, theater and dance. Features community, university, and world-famous performers.
Assembly Hall, . Home of the Illini basketball team. Also hosts large rock performances. Elvis Presley, Aerosmith, U2, The Rolling Stones, Phish, and Garth Brooks have all performed here.
Memorial Stadium, . Home of the Illini football team.
Champaign-Urbana and the surrounding countryside is an attractive place for bicycling. The Prairie Cycle Club  has organized rides of varying distances and intensities throughout the non-winter months.
Japan House, ☎ +1 217 244-9934, . Houses informal and formal Japanese tea rooms constructed by Japanese artisans, and surrounded by Japanese-style gardens. Tea ceremonies are held every other week throughout the year ($5, reservations required). Classes and free tours are also available.
Market at the Square (Urbana Farmer's Market). Sa: 7am-noon. Held every Saturday morning from May to November at the corner of Illinois Avenue and Vine Street, Urbana.
Urbana/Champaign Independent Media Center (IMC), . Community run center for community media and social events located in downtown Urbana. It regularly hosts independent music, cultural, and political events as well as a variety of classes and community group meetings. A schedule of events can be found on the Independent Media Center's website.
Illini Union, . The University of Illinois Student Union hosts many dance, music, comedy, and other assorted social events in it's ballroom or outside in it's patio. A link to their schedule of events can be found on their online calendar (linked).
Central Illinois Metalfest, . Three-day heavy-metal festival, held annualy in July.
Champaign County Fair, . Annual fair held by the county in Urbana in late July.
Annual International Beer Tasting and Chili Cook-Off. Annual festival held in downtown Urbana in September.
Roger Ebert's Film Festival (Ebertfest), . Annual film festival hosted by Roger Ebert every April. Held at the Virginia Theater.
Taste of Champaign-Urbana. Annual event in late June where dozens of restaurants, artists and music groups set up on West Side Park in Champaign.
Pygmalion Music Festival, . Indie music festival in late September, lasting four days.
Insect Fear Film Festival, . Held each February on the campus. Motto: "Scaring the general public with horrific films and horrific filmmaking since 1984."
The Annual Sweetcorn Festival is organized by the Urbana Business Association  each August in downtown Urbana.
Boneyard Arts Festival, . Occurs each April and is hosted throughout Champaign-Urbana.
Quad Day, . An event at the beginning of the fall semester in which student organizations at the University of Illinois showcase their clubs on the main quad. Although mainly for students, many clubs put on interesting showcases that are quite entertaining and worthwhile to see.
Glass FX, 202 S First St, Champaign, ☎ +1 217 359-0048, . Stained and decorative glass gallery. Also sells supplies and teaches classes.
Boneyard Pottery, 403 S Water St, Champaign, ☎ +1 217 355-5610, . Local pottery studio, for both decorative and functional items. Also offers classes.
Champaign Surplus, 303 S Neil St, Champaign, ☎ +1 217 356-4703, . Clothing and gear for hiking, camping and other outdoors activities. Military surplus is in the back.
The Meat Salesroom (Meat Lab), 102 Meat Sciences Lab, 1503 S Maryland, Urbana, ☎ +1 217 333-3404. 1-5:30 p.m. Tues/Thurs; 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Fri.. One of the stranger local institutions, this University of Illinois facility sells a variety of meats produced by the agriculture college. Offerings vary widely depending upon what classes and experiments are in session. The beef jerky is a local legend. Call for price list & specials.
Champaign contains most of the chain restaurants in the area; Urbana has relatively few. There are four main concentrations in Champaign:
Campustown, mostly along Green Street: Chipotle, Coldstone Creamery, IHOP, Jimmy John's, Cocomero, Noodles & Company, Pizza Hut, Potbelly Sandwich Works, Starbucks Coffee, Subway, Dunkin Donuts, and Panera
South Neil Street: Biaggi's, Hardees, Hooters, McDonalds, Monical's Pizza, Steak'n'Shake, Subway.
West Springfield Avenue: Arby's, Burger King, Famous Dave's BBQ, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Niro's Gyros, Original Pancake House, Taco Bell, Wienerschnitzel.
The Apple Dumplin' Family Dining 2014 North Highcross Road Urbana, IL 61802. Great local American diner. Don't miss the biscuits 'n gravy and, of course, the famous Apple Dumplin'. Cardiac procedures at Carle Clinic, necessitated by the food, are free when you have your frequent diner card punched 10 times.
La Bamba'sBurritos as big as your head
The Courier Cafe, 300 S Broadway Ave, Urbana, . For students, a popular place to have breakfast with their parents. For locals, a comfortable place to have burgers, malts, and fountain drinks. Several options for vegetarians.
Jarlings Custard Cup (Custard Cup), 309 West Kirby Avenue, Champaign. Local favorite for frozen custard desserts.
Famous Daves At the corner of Mattis and Springfield Avenues, the BBQ chain, in a Red Barn House, with a Famous Daves Sign on the Top.
Golden Wok Thai, Laos, and Chinese food.
Jerusalem Restaurant Palestinian food.
Lil' Porgies BBQ Incredibly good 'cause it's cooked on wood.
Merry Ann's A local diner.
Peking Garden Chinese, good whole steamed fish as well as their shrimp with lobster sauce.
Papa Del's 206 E. Green St, Champaign. A local take on Chicago-style pizza.
Po Boys BBQ open on Fridays and Saturdays only. Order meat like you're at a bar.
Red Herring Vegetarian, quirky place across the street from Roger Adams Lab and down the street from Espresso Royale. Awesome soups served with fresh bread.
The Ribeye 701 S Neil St, Champaign. Steak and salad bar that locals love.
Seaboat. Best place in town for cheap, fresh seafood. Known for the 'Seaboat Sandwich', a fried fish sandwich and their homemade coleslaw. Be prepared to wait, your food will be cooked only after you place your order. The wait is worth it.
El Torrero Mexican, Great food, prompt service, and the best Margarita in town.
Za's Italian Cafe A student favorite.
Zorba's Greek and Mediterranean fast food, specializing in gyros.
Cafe Luna. Intimate atmosphere, with an eclectic menu, including tapas.
Bombay Indian Grill, 401 East Green Street, Champaign, ☎ +1 217 344-3380, . Small restaurant usually packed with people. Fresh roti and naan are especially good. Portions look small, but are quite filling.$10-15.
Escobar's, 6 E Columbia Ave, Champaign, ☎ +1 217 352-7467, . Nuevo Latino cuisine.$8.50-12 lunch, $13-23 dinner.
Milo's, 2870 S. Philo Rd, ☎ 217-344-8946, . "Nuevo American" cuisine, with a friendly, low key atmosphere. Relocated from downtown to southeast Urbana August 2008.$7-10 lunch, $10-22 dinner.
Black Dog Smoke & Ale House, 201 N Broadway, Urbana, IL, ☎ 217-344-9334. New barbecue in Urbana. Sometimes hard to find seats.
Bacaro, 113 North Walnut, Champaign, ☎ +1 217 398-6982, . Italian restaurant in downtown Champaign with a vast selection of Italian wines and a creative artesianal menu. Small portions.$25-28, $75 fixed meal.
Jim Gould's, ☎ +1 217 531 1177, . A new steakhouse on mainstreet Champaign. Sometimes live jazz.
Kennedy's at Stone Creek, 2560 Stone Creek Boulevard, Urbana, ☎ +1 217 384-8111, . Overlooking the Stone Creek Golf Course, serves American-style steaks and seafood. Reservations encouraged. No dress code.$6-9 lunch, $16-28 dinner.
Ko-Fusion, a "fusion" style Japanese restuarant on Mainstreet Champaign. Featuring organic meats, local specialties, wild caught seafood. Many types of sushi, both traditional and original. Salsa dancing some nights. Often has $1 sushi specials Monday nights.
There are three "scenes" that contain most of the best known bars in town. These are campustown, downtown Champaign and downtown Urbana. All bars will be smoke-free in state of Illinois on Jan 1, 2008, but most (not all) bars below are already smoke-free due to local ordinances and exemptions. Closing time is 2 am, set by local ordinances, but may be earlier based on individual businesses.
Since the real St. Patrick's Day often falls within the University's Spring Break, local bars often celebrate "Unofficial St. Patrick's Day" the 2nd Friday before. The event goes off much like a normal St. Patrick's Day, and attracts party animals from all over Illinois and other Big Ten schools. Be aware of it if you plan to travel to Champaign-Urbana in early to mid-March as it parking can be scarce and drunk driving checkpoints are common.
Campustown contains perhaps a dozen and a half bars. Here you can expect a clientele that is uniformly college-aged, if it is not Homecoming weekend. Most bars here have a pretty open floor plan and what seating there is tends to be in a loud and exposed area, in contrast to more of a "lounge" establishment. Most bars have an over/under age entry policy, but specifics can vary by location. Must be 21+ years old to purchase liquor at all times. Generally, all ages can be on the property for food and non-alcoholic drinks during the day and evening until 9 pm. After 9 pm, you must be at least 19 years old to enter (some bars may charge cover for under 21), and ID's required by all patrons after 9 pm at most places, due to video scanning/recording of IDs and patrons by doorpeople.
Green Street Cafe -Originally a hookah bar, it is more of towny bar than a Campustown bar. Since the smoking ban, they've opened up a separate location next door with hookahs. It's a very chilled bar with open mic night on Tuesdays, $7 pitchers every night, as well as darts and pool.
Legends Bar and Grill -Sports bar popular with upperclassmen and graduate students. Generally not very crowded and usually no cover.
Murphy's Pub -Traditional Irish pub. Very popular for Friday happy hours. Also popular with upperclassmen and graduate students and usually no cover.
Brothers -Sports bar with an open floorplan. Two stories with an indoor balcony make it very spacious. Popular with upperclassmen and has become the hot spot in Campustown in the last year with lines consistently 1 hour+ long. No cover for those 21+.
Firehaus -Relatively new sports bar. Tri-leveled with a beer garden The front windows are glass 'garage doors' that can be opened up when it's warm out. Fairly expensive but generally clean for a Greek bar. No cover for 21+. Cochrane establishment
The Clybourne -'Upscale' Greek bar. Touts itself as 'The Class of Champaign.' Tri-leveled with a coat check. Dance floor, dark, and loud. Popular with under agers due to the fact that they do not use an ID scanner. Once housed a kitchen that was later taken out. Cochrane establishment.
FU Bar -New upscale bar. Used to be Gully's. Not as popular as other Campustown bars. Cochrane establishment.
Red Lion -The definition of a Greek bar. Large open dance floor. Loud techno. Very popular with Freshman Greeks, making it the 'hook-up' bar. Cochrane establishment.
CO Daniels -'Cochrane on Daniel's'. SHUTDOWN in the Fall of '09 due to an underage drinking bust by local police. Greek bar popular with Freshmen due to the fact that they don't use an ID scanner. One room with a central bar and a basement. Sticky floors painted black to hide the vomit stains. Possibly the worst bathrooms in Campustown. Wednesday's 'Bomb Night' is a popular draw. Techno and sorority girls. Cochrane establishment.
Kam's -'An Illini Tradition'. Down the block from CO's. Very Greek. Numerous HDTVs purchased during the 2005 Illini Basketball Final 4 make it a popular spot to watch Illini sports. Dance floor and numerous booths with a central bar and a basement. Nauseating smell emanating from both Kam's and CO's make it the dirtiest block on campus.
Illini Inn -Hole in the wall bar on 4th that holds only 79 people. Becoming a member of the 'Mug Club' is a popular campus tradition.
Joe's -Four distinct areas give everyone a place at Joe's. Large beer garden, bar area with indoor seating and pool tables, upstairs that can be rented out, and the main draw: the dance floor with a stage and stripper poles. Probably the best dance floor in Campustown. $2 U-Call-It every night.
Geovanti's -Small bar underneath Geovanti's restaurant. $4 pitchers and a quiet atmosphere make it a good 'chill' spot.
Murphy's, Legends, Joe's, and Firehaus are the sports bar types with food and drinks, while Brothers has more of a dancing atmosphere (but not a dance floor) to it. Dance floors are at Joe's, Station, Kam's, Clybourne, and CO Daniels. Outdoor seating/beer gardens are at Joe's, Legends, Firehaus, and Kam's. Almost all bars have daily and weekly specials, too numerous to mention here, but some examples include:
'Brothers has dollar Miller pints on Thursdays
'Legends has $1.50 bottles on Wednesdays
'Murphys has $6.50 Leinie's pitchers on Thursdays. Murphy's Wednesday logo nights are the best known on campus.
'Firehaus has logo glass night and 2$ drafts on Wednesdays
Downtown Champaign contains maybe a dozen bars and is growing all the time. It has a more varied clientèle with people of all ages, although the median age still probably isn't any higher than thirty. The atmosphere is more upscale than campustown in almost all cases.
Maybe the most upscale establishments in downtown are Boltini and Soma. These bars are new, have had the most thought put into their aesthetics, but still have drink prices pretty much in line with the other establishments and attract trendy as well as less trendy people.
Esquire (Older age range, pool tables, fried food)
Bacaro (Modern Italian wine bar with a full menu and small plates)
The Blind Pig (English pub style, large beer selection, rotating draft beers.)
The Blind Pig Brewery (Blind pig's 2nd location that doubles as a brewery and an English pub style bar. Large beer selection, rotating draft beers.)
Mike & Molly's (Irish pub style, large beer selection, rotating draft beers)
Boltini (Loungy martini bar, known for their specialty martinis, can be difficult to find a place to sit)
Soma (Upscale, has been rumored to deny admittance to people who are dressed sloppily)
Radio Maria Tapas Bar (Wine, beer, "tapas-style" dishes, has good dancing nights)
Memphis on Main (Blues, Harleys, etc)
Jupiters (Best thin crust pizza in town, pool tables, decent beer list)
Guido's (sports bar)
Seven Saints (Good selection of beer + quality food)
Nick Donaldson's Liquor Cabinet
Finally there is downtown Urbana, which contains about a half-dozen bars. Ages of patrons are similar to downtown Champaign or older, and the atmosphere is a little more laid-back in comparison.
Black Dog. Wide beer selection, also great food at a fair price with some of the best BBQ in the C-U.
Crane Alley. for extremely wide beer selection, and it is a good place to get dinner as well.
Hubers. Nice neighborhood bar. This is in Champaign.
The Ice House. Nice neighborhood bar. Also in Champaign.
The Iron Post. has live music most nights, often Irish.
Rose Bowl. Live country music.
"The Office" is closed
"Red Star Liquors' Great DJ's, Every Wed old school hip-hop (DJ Delaney is great!
Aroma Cafe, . M-F: 7am-11pm, Sa/Su: 8am-11pm. Also serves sandwiches, beer and wine. WiFi access.
Cafe Kopi, . 7am-midnight. Also serves sandwiches, beer and wine.
Caffe Paradiso. 7am-11pm. Also serves sandwiches. WiFi access.
Espresso Royale. Across the street from the CLS building and the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.
Pekara, . Mon-Sat: 7am-9pm Sun: 8am-5pm. Next to Aroma Cafe in downtown Champaign. Serves a very unique selection of sandwiches and baked goods. Free WiFi is available.
There are a multitude of hotels/motels in the Champaign-Urbana-Savoy area. Most national chains have a hotel in the area, so check your favorite hotel's web site or hotel booking web sites for more complete listings and details. The area also has a fairly decent Couchsurfing (via couchsurfing.com) community, but a lack of visitors. Because of this you are likely to find plenty of couchsurfers willing to host you in their homes and show you around the city.
The Illini Union Hotel, 1401 West Green Street, Urbana, ☎ +1 217 333-3030 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Located in the center of the University of Illinois campus and adjacent to campustown, the Illini Union offers guests the unusual experience of sleeping in a student union -- in this case, a grand colonial building built in 1939 on the north end of the University's main quad. This location grants guests access to the on site bowling alley, video games, food court, art gallery, reading rooms and lounges, walk-in massage clinic, and other amenities (additional charges apply). Room rate includes continental breakfast, local phone calls, and one extremely good parking place. Often completely booked far in advance. Accepts reservations by e-mail.$94-170.
Comfort Inn Champaign Hotel 305 Market View Dr. (217) 352-4055. A hotel that combines comfort with great value for money for both business and leisure travelers. Convenient to Interstate 74 and Interstate 57.
Econo Lodge Inn Suites Champaign Hotel 914 W. Bloomington Rd. (217) 356-6000. Affordable accommodations in the Champaign / Urbana market that will also give you a quiet, relaxing and comfortable setting. Secure Online Reservations.
Sleep Inn Urbana Hotel 1908 N. Lincoln Ave. (217) 367-6000. Conveniently located on Lincoln Avenue, right off Interstate 74, exit 183. The Sleep Inn is close to the University of Illinois, Carle Medical Center, the Champaign County Fairgrounds, and Market Place Mall.
A number of day trips are an easy drive from Champaign-Urbana, but many day-trip destinations are notable for their eccentricity or are otherwise offbeat.
Monticello, 20 minutes west via I-72. Features Allerton Park, is a University facility containing a Georgian-style mansion, large formal gardens, and some lovely nature trails.
A variety of Amish tourism destinations surround the town of Arcola, a 30-minute drive south on I-57. This area represents one of the largest concentrations of Amish in the United States. The attractions can be surreal, and include an Amish theme park (almost a contradiction in terms) called Rockome Gardens where it is possible to pay to play tic-tac-toe with a chicken. Other destinations include local Amish businesses selling specialties like Shoo-Fly Pie, Apple Butter, quilts, and hand-made furniture. (Note that Amish goods have a reputation for being extremely well-made, not for being bargains.) More information and directions are available from the Illinois Amish Interpretive Center.
The town of Arcola itself is also home to the official Raggedy Ann & Andy Museum, as well as the world's only Hippie Memorial, a 62-foot monument erected by local eccentric Bob Moomaw (worth driving by if the weather is good). Arcola also boasts the world's largest broom and brush museum. More information is available from the Arcola Chamber of Commerce.
Rantoul is 12 miles north on I-57 or US-45. On the south side of Rantoul is the site of the former Chanute Air Force Base. Now it is the site of the Chanute Air Museum. The museum contains traditional indoor exhibits as well as a broad collection of aviation equipment and aircraft from WWII era up to a F-15A jet.
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