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The Daily Illini

Best spots to hang out around campus

Emma Palatnik, Assistant features editor

Throughout freshman year, my roommate and I discovered some of the best places to hang out. We found ourselves spending way too much time in our room and needed a reason to leave other than classes.

My roommate found the first spot on one of her daily walks: the garden at the Japan House. We went there later that day, and it reminded me of the Chicago Botanical Garden from home. Over the rest of the year, we made the trek the Champaign side of the Main Quad all the way to Lincoln Avenue to see the gardens.

Another place we found was Helms Park by the Boneyard Creek Second Street Basin. It’s filled with green space and lots of places to sit and hang out. It is a bit of a walk, but I promise it is worth it.

Possibly the most famous place at Illinois, the Main Quad is a beautiful hangout spot that should not be overlooked.

There are always groups of students playing games and hanging out, and one Saturday, I laid out on the Main Quad with a book for a couple hours and could not have been happier. Take a piece of advice from my experience: on hot days, wear sunscreen.

For a classier vibe, downtown Champaign isn’t too far from Campustown (especially by bus). The downtown area has many restaurants and shops to explore.

While hanging out at the mall may give you high school flashbacks, Market Place Shopping Center still satisfies an afternoon with retail therapy.

Being from the Northern suburbs of Chicago, Market Place Shopping Center doesn’t compare to Old Orchard or Hawthorn Mall, but it’s a close substitute. It has all the main stores I like and is reachable by bus. The bus ride is a bit long, so taking an Uber may be a wise choice.

There are a few chain and local movie theaters in the area, and tickets aren’t too expensive (just make sure you ask for a student discounts).

Living on campus, I noticed that students tend to end up in a University bubble. They forget that Champaign-Urbana is a real town that real adults live in. Nearly all the stores from home exist here too.

Even though Chambana has many places to explore, my favorite place is still where my friends are. As boring as it got sometimes, the nights I spent in my room with friends or at my sorority are the ones I remember the most.

Emma is a sophomore in Media.
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