Best places on campus to bring your parents


Lisa Chasanov

The intersection of Green and Wright Street.

You might be wondering where to bring your parents during their visit. Lucky for you, the Champaign-Urbana area is lively and vibrant, and has many fun spots the whole family can enjoy.


Twice Is Nice Thrift Shop

Twice Is Nice is a folksy consignment store full of steals in Urbana. Racks of clothes and shelves of knickknacks fill the first floor to the brim inside its historic home location. 

You can find anything there, from formalwear for networking events to ceramic plates for your new residence hall. 

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Opened by the First Presbyterian Church of Urbana, the thrift store is full of kind characters donating their time. This quaint earthy place offers a sustainable shopping experience for you and your family.


Japan House and the Arboretum 

The Japan House, located at 2000 S. Lincoln Ave., Urbana (Candice Zhou)

Japan House is a cultural staple of the campus that brings Japanese traditional arts to the area. 

The house was established in 1964 by Professor Emeritus Shozo Sato. He renovated a Victorian house on campus to teach classes, but the University needed the land, so Japan House relocated to its current property. 

The current structure is a traditional Japanese building with tea rooms and a large classroom. There, you can attend different Japanese art classes or traditional tea ceremonies. If you’re lucky to visit during the summer, you might even see the cherry blossoms blooming.

The University of Illinois Arboretum, located right next to Japan House’s property, provides a serene walk with nature. Trees, flowers and unique landscaping will surround you on your stroll. It’s also a great place for a picnic.


Krannert Art Museum

The University’s visual art museum has an extensive collection, and notably a piece by widely known abstract painter Mark Rothko. 

KAM holds art from various countries in Africa, the Andes and the Mediterranean. Most impressive is their 20th century work including their collection called Modernist Strategies, art made for the Federal Art Project funded by the Works Progress Administration during the New Deal. 

This can also be seen in the Art Since 1948 collection, which displays pieces exploring history through surrealism and abstraction in a 60-year span. 

Admission is always free. Current exhibitions include Patterns and Process, about repetition within the world; and The Ink Wash Drawings of Shozo Sato. 


Spurlock Museum

The Africa Middle East exhibit the Spurlock Museum located at 600 S. Gregory St., Urbana. (James Hoeck )

The Spurlock Museum has art and artifacts from cultures around the world: Southeast Asia, Native American communities, Africa and Greece. 

The museum has been finding and sharing archaeological collections at the University since 1911. 

Here, you can see the many tools of life different cultures use, including beautiful handmade South American ritual clothing and musical instruments. 

One impressive exhibition is the current Nikkeijin Illinois exhibit, a collection of stories from the Japanese American students, staff and faculty of the University throughout the 20th century. 


Rose Bowl Tavern

If music is something you or your family might enjoy, look no further than the friendly atmosphere of the Rose Bowl Tavern. 

With live music every night of the week, the downtown Urbana performance space showcases a variety of talent from across the C-U. 

From jazz to country, the Rose Bowl has taken the lead in hosting performances for small musicians in the area. 

A complete calendar of events can be found online here.

Bring your family and friends to support local musicians, all while getting a better taste of the social scene in Urbana.

Spoon House Korean Kitchen

A major perk of campus is the abundance of restaurants representing various cultures from around the world. 

One of these is Spoon House Korean Kitchen, a tasty Korean fusion restaurant with something for everyone. 

Located at the very heart of campus on Green Street, Spoon House is a fairly close walk from most dorms, so no need to panic while looking for parking! 

Korean style burritos, quesadillas and tacos stand out from some of the more traditional items on the Spoon House menu. Whatever you’re craving, Spoon House Korean Kitchen provides a nice space on campus to enjoy any meal of the day.



If your family can’t decide between a treat of dessert or coffee, there is a delicious option right on campus which offers both. 

Built in a former pizza restaurant, small business Cocomero is a unique frozen yogurt place, as it presents a wide-ranging menu from coffee to bubble tea to waffles. 

The two-story café has a nice view of the famed Alma Mater statue, just across the street in front of Altgeld Hall. 

After customizing your yogurt bowl or ordering your drink of choice, you and your family can lounge in comfortable chairs and enjoy this classic Champaign dessert spot.


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