How to survive a slower summer in Champaign-Urbana

The view as you enter Big Grove Tavern in downtown Champaign.

By Abrar Al-Heeti

If you’ll be spending the summer in Champaign-Urbana, you’ll quickly notice some differences in the town’s landscape.

Green Street will be populated with families taking their kids to Noodle’s and Co. and Mia Za’s; campus frozen yogurt joints will be decked with townies enjoying the lack of traffic and waiting times; and the Quad will be spotted with joggers, a handful of people catching some rays on the lawn and children enjoying the empty space.

You may not recognize the quiet campus, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy summer life in Champaign-Urbana.

My first tip will be for you to find a friend or group of friends to accompany you throughout the summer months. If all of your closest pals are leaving town, find new company.

It’s not a secret that Champaign-Urbana isn’t the most happening city; you’ve figured that out by now. But good company can make any place more interesting.

I will say, as a townie who’s spent my whole life here: I survived, backed by friends who love late-night ice cream runs and random shopping trips as much as I do.

So, with some searching and the right group of people, you can have a good time. After all, there are still other people who live in this town year-round, and they find things to do.

Agritourism is a unique component of this town AG

Champaign-Urbana features an array of fun agritourism establishments where you can try something a little different while connecting with nature. Pick your own apples and try the signature doughnuts at Curtis Orchard.

AGHave some goat cheese gelato or pick berries at Prairie Fruits Farm and CreameryAG. Take a fun selfie with a reindeer at Hardy’s Reindeer Ranch AG(yes, apparently they’re real).

Downtown Champaign and Urbana

Champaign and Urbana’s downtowns have so much history. Within the old buildings that adorn the little streets, you’ll find some of the most unique local businesses and restaurants in town.

Have a nice dinner in a unique setting. Watch a movie at the Art Theater or the Virginia TheatreAG. Then, to top it all off, grab some delicious pastries from one of the many bakeries.

Food trucks

There’s nothing more fun than being on the hunt for your favorite food truck (and then being angry when you get there only to realize you’re too late to catch it).

Follow local food trucks via their social media pages to find out who’s going to be where. Try some Korean tacos if you’ve never had them before. Eat a doughnut with Fruity Pebbles on top, because why not? There’s virtually no limit to the variety you can get in a diverse town like this one.

Japan House and the ArboretumAG

You guys basically miss this garden when it’s at its most beautiful because you leave campus just before the summer months. But if you’re sticking around, now’s your chance to check it out! The gardens are filled with the most vibrant, colorful flowers and plants (and they make for quite a sweet backdrop to pictures, I might add). Sign up for a tea ceremony at the Japan House and connect even more with the tranquility of nature.AG

Abrar is a senior in Media.?

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