There’s more to C-U than just Green Street

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The Daily Illini File Photo

Cars pass the intersection of Sixth and Green Street while students wait to pass. Opinions editor Tyler writes about campus life during breaks and what students can look forward to when campus is much less busy.

By Tyler Panlilio , Columnist

paliliotyler_cutout I specifically remember my campus visit tour guide explaining how spectacular Green Street is. Six months later, coming in as a freshman, the few upperclassmen I know practically said the same thing.  And for the first few weeks of school, it definitely lived up to its expectations.

I’m not trying to bash on Green Street; in fact, it’s a whole lot better than it was a decade ago.

The area is filled with tons of restaurants, shops and bars, making it a great place to go on weekends with friends. Location-wise, it’s in the heart of campus, making it relatively easy for all students and residents to get there. And the area is always bustling, mainly because of the great reputation it has built up over the years.

But it can get both repetitive and expensive pretty quickly. While trying out new restaurants with friends is always fun, it costs a lot of money. So, like many other frugal students, I’d much rather use the rest of my meals and credits or eat leftovers than spend money and waste them.

Shopping for new things is fine and dandy, but I almost always find myself walking out with nothing in hand because of the absurd prices. Green Street may have a wide selection of stores, but it’s difficult to argue that it’s not overpriced.

And possibly the most appealing part of Green Street for some students, the bars, is not for everyone. Now, I’m not even 19 yet; but I already know that I’m not the type to go to bars. Regularly, at least.

So, naturally, I wanted to see what else there is to do around or off campus. A simple Google search escalated to about two hours of researching stuff that I could do when I’m bored out of my mind on weekends.

Downtown Urbana is a great place for more obscure, unique stores and restaurants that cater to students like myself.

For all you hipsters out there, See You CD & Vinyl sells, well, CDs and vinyls. There’s also a store called Priceless Books which sells new and used books, along with critical essays and sheet music. Flying Machine Coffee shop serves solid coffee and shares its space with Pizza M, making it a weird, but surprisingly good combo of food and beverage. And there’s even Cinema Gallery, an art gallery that showcases pieces from many colleges across the Midwest, including ones from the University.

Of course, there are so many other places that I didn’t mention in the downtown area. The same goes for downtown Champaign.

For students who absolutely can’t spend any money whatsoever, there’s always the Union. Weekend movie nights are every Friday in the Pine Lounge. The Courtyard Café offers comedy on Friday evenings and open mic on Saturday nights.

There’s even an arboretum. I didn’t even know the University had one, and I’m sure plenty of freshmen still don’t either. If nature’s your thing, I’d definitely recommend checking it out — especially while the leaves are still falling.

And even if none of this interests you, pick a direction and walk until you find something. There are so many places to explore on and off campus, whether it’s a quiet spot next to some trees and a bench or a small mom-and-pop store that sells discontinued cereal brands. (I should disclose that such a place might not even exist, I’m just trying to make a point.)

But like most things in life, it requires some effort, so you might as well try. At the very least, you’ll get some decent cardio.

Tyler is a freshman in Media. 

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