Adventure abound in downtown Champaign


By Alice Smelyanksy

If you’re anything like me, the first time you wander off-campus may be due to a severe miscalculation in the direction of your dorm. Though this may result in a traumatic call home to Mom, and a stressful journey home, I promise it gets better.

If you take that brave first step onto a 5W Green CUMTD bus into downtown Champaign, your new surroundings won’t disappoint. Stumble into a coffee shop and find your new favorite coffee blend (sorry not sorry, Starbucks isn’t cool anymore). Catch an underrated movie at the Art Theater Co-op, and search through piles of books at the Jane Addams Book Shop. Wherever your exploration may take you, find it in downtown Champaign.

Sip on this

Café Kopi

109 N. Walnut St.

Bring your backpack and homework, and get into study mode at this relaxing coffee shop. With free WiFi, yummy treats, and a variety of gourmet coffee drinks, this café could just be your new go-to spot.

Walnut Street Tea Co.

115 S Walnut St.

If you’re tired of coffee and ready to transition into something a little less bitter, you’ll have plenty to pick from at this tea shop. Though it may be tiny, you’ll find just the perfect spot of tea from their loose-tea selection, not to mention a unique gift to bring back for your roommate.

Catch a flick

The Art Theater Co-op

126 W. Church St.

With over a century of history, today the Art Theater boasts a unique viewing experience unlike any other in Champaign. Discover a love for foreign film, a new indie director, or a forgotten classic at this theater designed for a true movie lover.

The Virginia Theatre

203 W. Park Ave.

To get your performing arts fix, the Virginia Theatre brings viewers stage plays, concerts, dance, and movies. The theater was restored only a few years ago, so you might find yourself having a hard time looking away from the ornate ceiling paintings.

Listen up

Jane Addams Book Shop

208 N Neil St.

Though there’s plenty of bookstores on-campus, you won’t find one like the Jane Addams Book Shop anywhere other than downtown Champaign. Rare books, used books, and out-of-print books span 15 rooms over three floors in this well-stocked shop. In addition to browsing through titles, stop by for a book signing or a reading.

Exile on Main Street

100 N Chestnut St.

If you’re a music/movie/game junkie, then this is the place for you. There are vintage goodies such as old vinyl and video games, but you can also catch a local band performing here. You might just find the perfect record to play for your new crush on that record player you stole from Mom and Dad.

The campus bubble can be hard to escape, but don’t let yourself get stuck going to the same Froyo place every time you’re in the mood for adventure. Amidst the cornfields, you can discover the unknown; that is, if you’re willing to look.

Alice is a senior in Media. She can be reached at [email protected]