Relaxing to live music at the Sipyard beer garden, which operates out of a shipping container in downtown Urbana
A full arena to cheer on the Fighting Illini basketball team at the University of Illinois
After touring local farms, patronize a restaurant serving locally sourced food
Enjoy farming activities at Curtis Orchard & Pumpkin Patch
Strolling the Great Pumpkin Patch grounds and seeing more than 300 varieties of pumpkins, squash and gourds
On a winter day, the University of Illinois campus
Picturesque setting at Mabery Gelvin Botanical Garden in Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve
Traditional tea ceremony at the Japan House and Gardens
Opening night at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts
Public art installation in the 32-hectare Meadowbrook Park, which features creeks, trails and gardens
Smart destination oozing with Midwestern hospitality
Technology geeks will feel like they hit the jackpot in Champaign. Visit the National Center for Supercomputing Applications and see the Blue Waters Supercomputer, the fastest supercomputer on a university campus and one of the most powerful in the world. The Champaign-Urbana Fab Lab is another fun destination to see 3D printing and get hands-on with the latest technological gadgets. Also on campus is the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, where exhibits highlight Arnold Beckman’s work.
Food and Fun on the Farms
Spend time on local farms, which offer samples of their harvests and a variety of experiences. Tour Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery to learn about their buckwheat crop and herd of Nubian goats; taste cheeses and gelato made with goat milk and the dairy-free sorbetto that uses local fruits. At the 81-hectare Great Pumpkin Patch, stroll the grounds and see more than 300 varieties of pumpkins, squash and gourds from more than 30 countries in addition to mazes, gardens and animals, such as goats, rabbits and chickens. Pick your own apples, drink freshly made cider and taste honey harvested on site at the Curtis Orchard & Pumpkin Patch. Find your way through a four-hectare corn maze, then meet a herd of friendly Alaskan reindeer – they like getting kisses – at Hardy’s Reindeer Ranch, which is especially active during the holiday season with 5,000 Christmas trees.
A Healthy Dose of Arts and Local Culture
Top arts venues include the 4,460-square-meter Krannert Art Museum and the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts on the university campus. Catch a play or a movie at The Virginia Theatre, tour the European-inspired Allerton Park & Retreat Center estate and gardens, and ride a train and see more than 100 pieces of railroad equipment at the Monticello Railway Museum.
Famed film critic Roger Ebert, who made the “thumbs up” sign universal in film review is from Champaign-Urbana. During the annual Ebertfest film festival, festival-goers uphold the unofficial tradition of taking a “thumbs up” photo with his statue.
Siri on your iPhone gets some of her data from Champaign. Wolfram Alpha developed at Wolfram Research in Champaign provides a computational search engine to answer phone users’ analytical questions.
The undergraduate library at the University of Illinois was built underground so it wouldn’t cast a shadow on the Morrow Plots, the longest running experimental cornfield in the Western Hemisphere.