Which is better suited for you: Urbana or Champaign?
February 15, 2021
You’ve probably heard different conceptions about both Urbana and Champaign, like how Champaign is the place to live, with the nice high-rise apartments and the fraternity parties and Bromley studs, while Urbana is not the place you want to live unless you are a slow-drip drinking metrosexual who enjoys listening to The Velvet Underground and cannot be seen in public without a pair of Dr. Martens on your feet.
From observation, this conception is not entirely false: Urbana and Champaign are indeed two cities with seemingly two different realities, with Champaign being the exuberant, dynamic and modern city and Urbana being the grungy and estranged twin, sporting cobblestone streets and odd yet charming idiosyncratic houses that grin as you walk past. Both cities offer two types of lifestyles, but choosing where to live depends entirely on the kind of college lifestyle you desire.
If you prefer nightlife and socializing—and not walking in the cold—Champaign is probably best for you. In a non-COVID-19 reality, Champaign is a bustling city, littered with popular dining options and bars. Virtually every popular college bar is located within Champaign: KAM’s, The Red Lion, Legends Bar and Grill, Brothers Bar & Grill, etc.
Champaign is also home to the one and only “Senior Land,” which is a neighborhood where seniors typically spend their final year on the outskirts of campus. Senior Land is similar to Urbana, with older houses where students can — or used to — throw parties. During a normal syllabus week, Senior Land would come alive with parties, most often thrown by fraternity and sorority members.
Finally, living in Champaign has the perks of being near the sporting events, the Six Pack and the ARC. If you are an extroverted, dynamic and sociable person, Champaign is more for you.
As most people say, Urbana is a vibe. Further away from most recreational places and popular dining spots, many students unwillingly end up in Urbana their first year, living in either Allen Hall, ISR, FAR or PAR. People tend to stray from living in Urbana to avoid having to walk far to class during the brutal Illinois winters.
For those who do not fear the cold, the beauty and nostalgia of Urbana are worth it. In a way, Urbana has a darker aesthetic to it. Nowhere else has the same atmosphere as Urbana; it is its own reality. Innovative, creative and open-minded, the quaint city is more progressive compared to Champaign. There are a lot of sights to see in Urbana, such as watching shows in Krannert Performing Arts Center as well as small, independent businesses like Espresso Royale.
Finally, there is a large artistic student body that lives in Urbana and a bustling music scene. House parties in Urbana normally often have live music. Additionally, there is a lot of nature and beauty to see. Urbana is home to Japan House gardens, which are enticing to see in the spring. If you are looking for a more unconventional and aesthetic college experience, Urbana is a great place to call home.
Meghan is a junior in LAS.