Off-campus spots to shake up your routine


The Daily Illini File Photo

Containers filled with squash and pumpkins at Curtis Orchard & Pumpkin Patch during the fall. Buzz editor Elani writes about interesting spots students can visit off-campus.

By Elani Kaufman , buzz Editor

The University has a large campus, with so many hidden gems to explore. But if you manage to see all there is to see, or just want a change of pace, the cities of Champaign and Urbana both have their own unique offerings. Whether you are looking for a unique night out or just need a new place to study, here are some off-campus spots worth making a visit to.

If you like being outside:

Curtis Orchard & Pumpkin Patch

Curtis Orchard is one of Champaign’s big fall attractions; odds are on any given day, you’ll see some student organization on a group trip. The Orchard is the perfect place to take in the crisp fall air and to stock up on fall favorites like apples and pumpkins for Halloween carving. Along with the famous apple orchard, Curtis also has a petting zoo and a corn maze, so be sure to dedicate a solid afternoon for exploring. Curtis Orchard is open for the fall season and is roughly a 15-minute drive from campus.

Location: 3902 S. Duncan Road, Champaign

The Robert Allerton Park

For those in search of the great outdoors, look no further than Allerton Park. While it’s a bit of a trek to get to — you will probably need a car to get there — the scenery is unmatched and provides an opportunity to hike in the middle of the flatlands of Illinois. Along with 14 miles of hiking trails, the park also has a sprawling manor house with large gardens filled with sculptures for those who are exercise-averse. Because there is so much to see, odds are you’ll need to make a second trip.

Location: 515 Old Timber Road, Monticello, Illinois

If you’re looking for a unique study session:


The Sipyard in Urbana is hidden in plain sight. A colorful alleyway in downtown Urbana, if you walk too fast you might miss it. But once you see it, it’s hard to unsee it. The Sipyard is Illinois’ only beer garden that operates from a shipping crate and is a great space for getting a breath of fresh air and studying outside when the weather is nice. And if you are artistically inclined, add your own personal flair to the walls, as the art is always changing.

Location: 204 W. Main St., Urbana

Champaign Public Library

The Champaign Public Library is a short walk off campus into Champaign and is worth the trek. One of the most architecturally unique buildings in Champaign, you’re guaranteed to find your own perfect study nook, even in the midst of finals season. On top of private study rooms, couches and tables with outlets along every wall, the library also has a community bookstore, so you can get some used books really for cheap all while supporting your new favorite library.

Location: 200 W. Green St., Champaign

If you’re looking for a night out:

The Art Theater

The Art Theater is Champaign’s very own art-house theater, offering smaller independent and foreign films. Conveniently located in the middle of downtown Champaign, make the most of a night out with some shopping, dinner and a movie. Along with newer films, the Art Theater also plays older films and cult classics and every October hosts a week of “Rocky Horror Picture Show” screenings, with student actors acting out the film in real time. It’s a unique experience and one of many the Art Theater offers regularly.

Location: 126 W. Church St., Champaign

The Iron Post

The Iron Post may seem like just another bar in a campus filled with them, but it’s actually one of Urbana’s main music spots. On any given night, you can catch a local act performing at the intimate venue, often for the price of cover. Grab a burger, settle into the cozy atmosphere and take in some jazz, soft rock or one of the other genres the Iron Post will have playing on any given night.

Location: 120 S. Race St., Urbana

Soma Ultralounge

Soma Ultralounge is Champaign’s very own nightclub, with theme nights dedicated to music from across the globe, so you’ll never get bored with just dancing. Along with typical nightclub fair, Soma also offers weekly comedy nights with local and touring comedians.

Location: 320 N. Neil St., Champaign

Elani is a senior in LAS.

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