Things To Do in Illinois: Champaign-Urbana

Leigh Kunkel
| January 5, 2024 | 1 Minute Read
The Union, a large brick building on University of Illinois campus University of Illinois/Fred Zwicky


The Virginia Theatre

With more than a century of performances under its belt, the historical Virginia Theatre is a simply stunning venue to take in a show. Whether it’s a film on the 52-foot-wide movie screen or a play on the stage, you’ll love the atmosphere created by this restored 1920s gem. It even has one of the country’s only working Wurlitzers, operated by the house organist for pre-show performances.

The Spurlock Museum of World Cultures

The Spurlock Museum was established in 1911 to showcase cultural and archaeological artifacts from around the world. It has nine permanent exhibits, including explorations of cultures in the Americas, ancient Egypt and Europe throughout the ages. Rotating exhibits run the gamut from a display of string instruments played by Jewish musicians during the Holocaust to a celebration of the Latinx tradition of quinceañeras.

Students dressed in orange and blue cheer University of Illinois/Fred Zwicky

Catch a University of Illinois game.

No matter what time of year you visit, the University of Illinois, which is located in Champaign-Urbana, has an athletic event for you to check out (above). This season, you can catch the Fighting Illini playing basketball, doing gymnastics, diving and more. Don’t forget your blue-and-orange gear!

EAT & STAY              

Big Grove Tavern

Outdoor dining at the Big Grove Tavern, surrounded by greenery

Looking for a modern tavern with a twist? Head to Big Grove Tavern (above), a AAA Three Diamond eatery where the menu spans the globe, from zesty Mexican street corn to Korean BBQ salmon to hand-cut steaks grilled to your liking. The drink list is equally diverse, with zero-proof cocktails, a global wine list and even “adult slushies.”

Hyatt Place Champaign/Urbana

You’ll need somewhere comfy and quiet to rest up after a day of exploring, and you can’t do better than the Hyatt Place Champaign/Urbana. This AAA Three Diamond hotel is right in the middle of the action, with more than 30 restaurants in a two-block radius, representing cuisine from all over the world. The rooms are modern and streamlined, with plush beds and plenty of space to spread out. Getting home late? There’s a 24/7 market with grab-and-go items for midnight snacks.

Blind Pig Brewing

Interior view of bar and barstools at Blind Pig Brewing

A favorite of students and locals alike for more than 30 years, Blind Pig (above) has seen several iterations over the years, but British-born owner Chris Knight’s beer-focused spot has always had something brewing. If you go for a drink, keep your eye out for Brewster the Brew Cat.

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