Dominated by the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana campus, this city has all the perks of a university city while remaining quaint and contained. Within the city boundaries are a wealth of educational centres, museums, and nature parks which welcome all visitors with open arms. Read on to learn about the best things to do in Champaign-Urbana!
1. Memorial Stadium
Memorial Stadium is a football stadium located on the University of Illinois campus. It is primarily used for the University’s football team. The stadium is a memorial to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign students who died in World War I; their names are engraved on the nearly 200 pillars surrounding the stadium. The stadium can hold almost 80,000 spectators which makes for an ear-deafening sound during home games. It is easy to get swept up in the electric atmosphere at football games even if sports aren’t really your thing. If you’re visiting during football season be sure to buy a ticket.
Memorial Stadium at Champaign-Urbana
Address: 1402 S 1st St, Champaign, IL 61820
2. Spurlock Museum
The Spurlock Museum located on the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana campus is a museum open to the public with nine permanent exhibitions. The museum holds artefacts from all over the world and includes areas for hands-on learning and auditoriums for guest lectures. In total it is estimated that within the museum walls there are 45,000 objects from all over the world. In addition to the permanent exhibitions the museum also hosts regular temporary and visiting exhibitions, film nights, concerts and storytelling nights which can be enjoyed by the public.
Address: 600 S Gregory St, Urbana, IL 61801
Website: Spurlock Museum
3. Krannert Art Museum
KAM is the second largest general fine art museum in the state of Illinois. Located on the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the College of Fine and Applied Arts, it is the permanent home for the University’s collection of fine art. Across ten galleries a large portion of the University’s collection of over 10,000 works of art is displayed for the public to observe. Additionally, the museum presents 12-15 changing exhibitions from national and international galleries each year. The museum aims to create a closer connection between art and the local community. KAM is the perfect place to feast your eyes on complex pieces of fine art and modern art which seek to educate visitors about the link between art, history, and politics.
Krannert Art Museum
Address: 500 E Peabody Dr, Champaign 61820
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4. Anita Purves Nature Centre
The Anita Purves Nature Centre is located at the north end of Crystal Lake Park. Crystal Lake Park is a mature urban forest on the outskirts of Urbana. The tranquil park is home to a variety of native plants and wildlife. The Anita Purves Nature Centre aims to educate the 50,000 visitors it greets each year about the area through it environmental programs. Next door to the Anita Purves Centre you’ll find the Busey Woods which its notable for its bird-watching opportunities.
Anita Purves Nature Centre
Address: 1505 N Broadway Ave Urbana, Illinois
Website: Anita Purves Nature Centre
Urbana Natural Parks
Website: Urbana Parks
5. The Cattle Bank
The Cattle Bank is a historic bank building which was built in the late 1850s, the building is the oldest commercial building in Champaign. It opened as a branch of the Grand Prairie Bank, Urbana’s first bank, it then became the Cattle Bank as it was the location the local cattle farmers would drive their cattle to ship them to the Chicago market. Subsequently it became a mineral water manufacturer and a grocery store. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places on August 19, 1975 and is currently home to the Champaign County Historical Museum which has documented the history of Champaign since 1934.
The Cattle Bank
Address: 809 E Lawn Ave Urbana, OH 43078
Website: Champaign County Historical Museum
6. William M Staerkel Planetarium
As the second largest planetarium in Illinois, the William M Staerkel Planetarium is a magnet for anybody interested in stars. The full dome viewing platform is equipped with the latest technology allowing the audience to really feel lost in the stars. Every Friday night from 7pm you can observe the night sky in real-time: witness the constellations and planets as they truly are in the sky whilst listening to legends and stories about the stars. The planetarium also has a full calendar of events with special guest lecturers and entertaining shows throughout the year.
William M. Staerkel Planetarium
Address: 2400 W Bradley Ave, Champaign, IL 61821
Website: Staerkel Planetarium
7. Art Party Studio
Photo is only for illustrative purposes
Take part in an unconventional activity in Champaign at the Art Party Studio. Get together with a group of friends or make some new ones at the studio whilst creating some art and enjoying a some wine. The instructors at The Art Party Studio will teach you step-by-step how to create a masterpiece so even if you’re a little artistically challenged you’ll still walk out with a beautiful painting. They provide everything you need for the classes including the canvas, paint, brushes, aprons and easels. All you have to do is bring your wine or beer.
Art Party Studio
Address: 300 S Broadway Ave #161 Lincoln Square Mall, Urbana, IL 61801
Website: Art Party Studio
8. Aikman Wildlife Centre
Photo is only for illustrative purposes
Aikman Wildlife Adventure is a wildlife drive-through park where you can get up close and personal with animals from 6 continents. The Park has over 50 different species you can take a selfie with. Drive your vehicle along the mile long path through the sanctuary and see animals of all kinds right from your car. Afterwards, you can visit the Petting Zoo or wander the rest of the park to see the other animals roaming around the site. The Aikman wildlife park is committed to animal conservation and protection through education.
Aikman Wildlife Centre
Address: 125 N Co Rd 425E Arcola, IL 61910
Website: Aikman Wildlife Centre
Cheers to Champaign-Urbana
Benefiting from the wealth and knowledge of the university nearby, Champaign-Urbana is home to a wide selection of education centres which serve to enrich any traveller’s trip to the town.
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