A vibrant community of more than 100,000, Urbana-Champaign is the premier destination in downstate Illinois.
On or off campus, you’ll quickly notice that art and culture play a large role in the life of the community. The Krannert Art Museum, the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Assembly Hall, and the Virginia Theatre host a wide range of internationally acclaimed artists and performance groups each year. The annual Ebertfest film festival, founded by prominent film critic and alumnus Roger Ebert, comes to downtown Champaign each April, bringing a cast of silver-screen luminaries with it.
The local art scene is thriving as well. From small galleries to area-wide art festivals, Urbana-Champaign has many opportunities for practicing artists to engage with the community, exhibit their art, and consort with other creative minds.
Check out this sampling of organizations, venues, and activities:
- 40 North
- Boneyard Arts Festival
- Boneyard Pottery and Schwegmann Studios
- CU Community Fab Lab
- Parkland College Art Gallery
- Springer Cultural Center
- Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center
- Wandell Sculpture Garden
- Urbana’s Market at the Square
And this is just the beginning of what you’ll find in Urbana-Champaign. You won’t have to look too hard to locate movie theatres, bookstores, golf courses, bowling alleys, batting cages, boutiques, specialty shops, music venues, nightclubs, and bars. A wide selection of restaurants and international markets also pepper the area. On Saturday mornings, spring through fall, you can venture to downtown Urbana for a farmer’s market with a wide variety of local growers, bakers, artisans, and organizations.
If you want to get some exercise, you needn’t look any farther than the top-notch on-campus fitness centers, where all students receive memberships. The area’s nearby parks and preserves offer plenty of outdoor options, like fishing, biking, hiking, camping, running, and horseback riding. Half an hour south you’ll come across the unique shops of America’s largest old-order Amish community, and half an hour north you’ll discover the Harvest Moon Twin Drive-In, where you take in the latest movies at the edge of the cornfields.