Explore the treasures of downtown Champaign


By Michelle Tam, Design editor

Urbana-Champaign may seem sleepy at times, but Downtown Champaign is filled with numerous gems. We’re lucky to have such a lively downtown area so close to our campus. Make sure to set aside an afternoon during a spring or fall weekend to explore the many different vintage boutiques, cafes, and restaurants that Downtown Champaign has to offer. It’s a great place to spend with a few of your friends, your parents, or your significant other. There are endless places to look into, but these three places are, in my opinion, some of the most unique places that I would recommend making a beeline for.

The I.D.E.A. Store

One man’s trash is definitely another man’s treasure. This fun and unique store collects donated materials, from textiles to toilet paper rolls to Mardi Gras beads. The store is filled with barrels and boxes and shelves of miscellaneous items that you may consider trash at first glance, but can be further reused. It promotes recycling second hand objects, which is both earth friendly and extremely easy on your wallet. I’ve gotten dorm and apartment decorations as well as supplies for class projects. If you devote enough time to digging through the massive piles of stuff, you can find some really awesome, one-of-a-kind objects. This is hands down one of my favorite spots in the whole Downtown Champaign area.

Jane Addams Book Shop

This book shop is not your average Barnes & Noble. When I first entered the shop, I had to catch my breath because I had never seen so many books in one building. With books on everything you could think of lining every wall of every room and hundreds of shelves groaning under the weight of the thousands of books, you are sure to find something you’re interested in reading. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, another room full of books emerges. The staff is very eager to help you find what you’re looking for. If you’re not looking to buy a book, there are places for you to curl up and read on your own. This shop has everything from vintage manuscripts to children’s picture books to your favorite series.

Dallas & Co.

If you’re looking for an outfit for that party you’re heading out to on Halloween night, look no further. This store is hard to miss when you’re traveling through downtown due to the Tyrannosaurus Rex peeking out of one of the outer walls. Dallas has a huge collection of full costumes, accessories, and decorations that you can browse. Around Halloween, they even have a haunted house that you can walk through for free, and if you get to the end, they award you with a medal! Totally worth the nightmares later. Whether you’re going as something terrifying, cute, or a little more revealing, there is bound to something at Dallas that will complement your outfit ideas.

Michelle is a junior in Media.

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