Campus provides must-sees and dos

Pictured is a beef brisket sandwich covered in Georgia peach barbecue sauce and a side of sweet potato fries, served at the Black Dog Smoke and Ale House in Urbana. This barbeque joint is well-known by students and community members alike for its mouth-watering food.   

By Declan Harty

With over seven square miles of campus covering two towns and hosting more than 40,000 students, the University has an endless amount of places that students need to see.

The rush of college can take away from the campus, especially in your first year. So make it a point to maybe spend a night at a restaurant in downtown Champaign and not on the dance floor at Joe’s, or visiting the Japan House instead of cramming for a test that is three weeks away.

Here are a few must-see buildings, restaurants and areas of campus that students should aspire to see in their four years on campus.


With over 600 campus buildings housing 17 different colleges and programs, students and professors often travel from one building to another in hopes of making the next class on time.

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But, unfortunately, many students and professors on campus do not end up appreciating the buildings. Whether it is because you think that, as an English major, you never need to go to Grainger Engineering Library or because you are trying to think of how you can maximize the amount of work that is done before happy hour — many people are limited in their ability to stop and look around at their surroundings.

Some buildings to check out this year include Temple Hoyne Buell Hall, Smith Memorial Hall and the Stock Pavilion.

Each building, which are all located on or near the South Quad, offer something interesting.

Temple Hoyne Buell was actually an accomplished Architecture alum. The hall was constructed in 1997, made possible by the contributions of Buell. Right now, it is the home of the architecture program, as well as the departments of landscape architecture and urban and regional planning, on campus.

Smith Memorial Hall has housed many music programs and classes since the 1920s and remains squeezed between Foellinger Auditorium and the Foreign Language Building. Its concert hall is exquisite and still remains a venue commonly used by the music department.

As for the Stock Pavilion, the fireproof building was built in 1913, and has become the home of many groups in its 101 years. In addition with playing host to the Mom’s Weekend Flower Show, various campus RSOs, community groups and events take place and use the facility such as stock judging, and formerly the building housed the University’s Spring Carnival from 1963 to 1974, according to


Yes, your meal plan at the dining hall is already paid for and unlimited pizza is every college student’s dream, but dining options across Champaign-Urbana and campustown are endless. Here a few of campustown’s and Champaign-Urbana’s best options:

Black Dog Smoke and Ale House

Black Dog Smoke and Ale House, located at 201 N. Broadway Ave. in the heart of downtown Urbana, Black Dog is the number one restaurant in Urbana according to Trip Advisor. With the line always extending outside, the procedure at Black Dog is just as important as the food — try to always arrive at the restaurant’s opening to ensure eating as soon as possible if you are in a rush. But do not get fearful of the line, they typically always go through fast. In regards to the food, it is the best barbecue, hands down.

Papa Del’s

Papa Del’s, located at 206 E. Green St. in campustown, provides students with a pizza option that is not covered in grease and a possible destination for a date. Ranked number 5 out of the 271 restaurants in Champaign, Papa Del’s is known for its deep dish reminding students from Chicago of the native dish. The restaurant is one of the few pizza options on campus that is not notoriously known as a haven for drunken students after a night of drinking.


Destihl, ranked as the number two restaurant in Champaign, is a must visit. With elaborate concoctions including a surplus of bacon along with various steaks, burgers and seafood. Destihl, at 301 N. Neil St., is the ultimate place for family, friends and girlfriends or boyfriends that are visiting and looking for a great meal. With only two locations, Destihl is a rare find and worth the bus ride to downtown Champaign.

Other places to visit

Illini Grove, located at the corner of Lincoln and Pennsylvania in Urbana, plays host to various different amenities including tennis courts, picnic tables and a volleyball and basketball court. Illini Grove is a must see for its difference from the rest of campus. With trees looming overhead, Illini Grove provides a break from the infamous central Illinois flatland that makes up the majority of campus.

Japan House has become one of the most interesting unknown places on campus for students to discover in their four years. Located at 2000 S. Lincoln Ave., the Japan House is not only a must see because it is next to the arboretum, but because it is also the home of its own garden and grounds.

Declan is a junior in Media. He can be reached at [email protected].