Take some time to escape campus
May 24, 2019
The offerings of the University of Illinois campus are endless. There are so many clubs to join, unique classes to explore, new friends to make and special events to attend.
But sometimes, campus life can also feel overwhelming. The days move by quickly, and while campus offers so many opportunities, it’s easy to get caught up in the stress of academics and your social life. That’s why it’s important to take some time to get away from campus and explore what the cities of Champaign-Urbana have to offer every once in a while.
Both communities are vibrant, with many different dining and entertainment offerings not enough students take advantage of. The pace of life always feels a bit slower, so escaping downtown means a chance to take a breath and get outside of the Campustown bubble.
Some students choose not to leave campus simply because they don’t know how. C-U’s bus system, the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District, is easy to understand and can take students all around campus and the surrounding areas. There are lines that run to the downtown areas of Champaign and Urbana and other neighboring areas which students can access via their mobile app and website. Just make sure you take your I-card along since you’ll need to present it to the bus driver once you’re off campus.
In downtown Champaign, students can get away from the dining hall and Green Street fast food with dining options like soup, sliders and sandwiches at Seven Saints, chicken at Watson’s Shack and Rail and American fare at Big Grove Tavern. While all these options are slightly more expensive than what you’ll find at the heart of Green Street, they’re still reasonable for a fun outing with friends to celebrate a special occasion or when you have family or friends in town.
Downtown Champaign also hosts The Art Theater on Church Street which offers a variety of film events including national releases as well as a variety of special events that allow students and locals access to unique film opportunities they might not get anywhere else. Tickets are reasonably priced, so it’s a great option for students who are interested in frequenting the movies and seeing films but might not be sure what their options are on campus.
Champaign and Urbana also offer many different opportunities for students to attend live music events. Venues like the City Center and Virginia Theatre in downtown Champaign and the Canopy Club right off campus in Urbana host a variety of national, regional and touring acts. You can catch local and student bands at venues like Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center and The Iron Post in Urbana. Social media is a great way to learn about the different shows happening off campus, so be sure to use that resource if you want to stay in the loop.
So throughout your four years here, don’t think the offerings of campus have to be the end-all, be-all of your experience. We are so lucky to have such an exciting campus culture, and we should take full advantage of every part of it, but it’s good to get away sometimes and explore the culture of the surrounding cities.
Katie is a junior in LAS.