Summer survival guide: A map to C-U’s hidden gems

While all your friends have gone home to reunite with their old high school friends, spend time with family, or gain experience in that “awesome” internship that you have heard way too much about, you are stuck in the C-U for the summer. Though this may seem like a death sentence to many suburban kids, aching to go explore the wonders of the windy city; never fear because your favorite townie is here to tell you some tips, benefits and activities to surviving your summer in the C-U.

1. Two-dollar Long Islands and The Piano Man at Canopy Club. Believe it or not, there is more than meets the eye here. Of course, the question arises: Can you really beat a $2 Long Island? Yes. In the C-U, we don’t pay expensive prices for simply-made drinks like in large cities such as Chicago. In the Windy City, expect to pay close to ten dollars for ONE long island. After a few of those, your wallet can be feeling pretty thin. Plus, because the entrance age at Canopy is only 18-years-old, people watching can be a thrill when you are watching newly graduated high-schoolers attempt to explore the world of drunken debauchery, some for the first time. What’s more, The Piano Man is pretty sick too.

2. Champaign and Urbana Park Districts. I can say with confidence that both Champaign and Urbana have some of the best parks around central Illinois. Sure, they are no Millennium Park with a giant metallic bean for people to stand in front of to take completely touristy pictures; however, they are a way to get out and enjoy a beautiful, relaxing day in the C-U, while steering away from traditional lounging locations like the Quad.

3. Experience what downtown Champaign has to offer. WHAT? Champaign has a downtown? Yes, my fellow classmates, townies need to have a place to get their drink on too. The positives of downtown include great people watching (who doesn’t love to observe and study the every move of a townie in the flesh?), clean floors, better drink selections, better dining options and a change of behavior. Let’s just say, you will not see people getting the typical “white-girl-wasted” that you will see on campus. Give it a try. At least by graduation, you can say that you experienced it.

4. Make friends with a townie. Trust me, it has its benefits. Usually townies, like myself, know the ins and outs of the C-U and can give you a handful of activities to do outside the norm. I know my friends love that I’m a townie because I can give them rides to where ever they choose!

5. Go to the drive-in. Okay, this one is cheating a bit because it is not directly pertaining to the C-U. After you have befriended a townie, tell them to take you to the Gibson City, Harvest Moon Twin Drive In. If they say they don’t know what that is, not only do they not have a childhood, they are not a true townie. If you haven’t been to a drive-in, it will really get you in touch with your country roots. There is just something about watching a movie on a big, flat board outside while being surrounded by corn fields in the middle of nowhere that really makes you appreciate being in central Illinois for a quick second.

When your friends come back from their extravagant summer get-a-aways in never-never land, wow them with how much of a townie you are after experiencing some of these things. You will be sure to impress.

Judd is a senior in Media.