The twin cities of Urbana and Champaign boast a combination of metropolitan culture and small-town charm that's ideal for learning, living, creating, and exploring. 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. Recent guests have included writer David Sedaris, artist Louise Bourgeois, musician Ravi Shankar, and the nationally touring Les Misérables. The annual Ebertfest film festival, run by prominent film critic and university 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
- Artists Against AIDS
- Art on the Green
- Boneyard Arts Festival
- Boneyard Pottery
- Glass Lake Studio
- Old Vic Art Gallery
- CU Community Fab Lab
- Parkland College Art Gallery
- Springer Cultural Center
- Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center
- Wandell Sculpture Garden
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 ethnic restaurants and international markets also pepper the area. On Saturday mornings, spring through fall, you can venture to downtown Urbana where the increasingly popular farmer's market welcomes a wide variety of local growers, bakers, artisans, and organizations.
If you want to get some exercise, you needn't look any further 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.