Ten places to visit during your Champaign-Urbana summer stay

Living on campus in the summer is definitely an entirely different experience than living on campus during the school year. You can walk to class without having to dodge bike riders left and right, bars and restaurants are a lot less crowded and it feels like everyone is always looking for something to do.

Although campus seems quieter now, it doesn’t mean you have to sit at home alone in your apartment and be bored for the remaining eight weeks of summer. There are still many things you and your friends can do on and off campus in Champaign-Urbana to fill your time and have some fun. Here are ten places in the area that may make your summer a little more exciting:

1. The ARC Pool

This one may seem too obvious, but the ARC pool is really a great place to go and relax for a few hours after a long day of class or work. The ARC has plenty of beach chairs set up for ARC members to use for tanning, and the water is always a refreshing temperature to cool off in after a hard workout or a long walk over to the gym. The pool also offers pool floats for students to lay out on in the water, while soaking in the sun and listening to the Campus Recreation radio station. The ARC’s on campus location makes it easy for students with or without a car to get to, making it the perfect place to hang out on a hot summer day.

2. The Illini Union

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The Illini Union has a lot to offer to students. The Courtyard Cafe will be screening games of the World Cup every day, giving students a place to go watch the game with friends in a cool and relaxed environment. The Union also provides University students with various kinds of games, where you can go and hang out with friends and play arcade games, Xbox, Wii, billiards or bowling. Afterwards you can all go grab a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants in the Food Court, or get a delicious smoothie from Jamba Juice.

3. Trivia Night

If you and your friends think you know it all, at least three different venues in Champaign-Urbana host Trivia Nights. Mike ‘N’ Molly’s, located at 105 N. Market St., Champaign, hosts trivia nights on Wednesday nights from 8 to 10 p.m. for free. Pizza M, located at 208 W. Main St., Urbana, also offers a free trivia night on Wednesday from 7 to 9 p.m. However, on Monday nights, the Blind Pig, located at 120 N. Walnut St., Champaign, hosts a $5 trivia night starting at 8:30 p.m.

4. Just Fore Fun Golf Center

Thinking about taking up a new sport for the summer during your free time? Head over to Just Fore Fun Golf Center, located at 301 Eisner Drive, Champaign, where you can hit some balls at the driving range (70 balls for only $7), or play a game of golf through the center’s three state-of-the-art indoor golf simulators. According to their website, you can play alone or with a group of friends and customize your round by playing any one of 69 world-class golf courses in sun, rain, wind and adjustable course conditions. Renting golf clubs from Just Fore Fun is also free, making it a cheap and fun place to go.

5. Outside at Research Park

Held at 1816 S. Oak St., Champaign, Outside at Research Park is a partnership between the Research Park, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts and Fox/Atkins Development, LLC that presents a series of summer concerts in a “welcoming, eco-friendly public venue featuring tempting food and beverage options,” according to their website. Outside at Research Park has hosted artists such as Grammy winner Terrance Simien and Davina and the Vagabonds. Outside will again host Terrance Simien as the main act July 18 at 6 p.m. with opening act Candy Foster and Shades of Blue. Outside at Research Park is a perfect place to sit back and relax with friends while listening to different genres of live music.

6. Allerton Park

Allerton Park is another local place to go enjoy some live music once a month with friends. On July 18 at 5:30 p.m. Allerton Park, located at 515 Old Timber Road, Monticello, will be hosting Allerton’s Blues and Roots show at the Allerton Gate House Lawn. The show has a suggested entry donation of $5 a person, and will be featuring blues bands David Adcock and the Painkillers, and Cody and the Gateway Drugs. Another concert will be held on August 8 at the Allerton Gate House Lawn at 5:30 p.m. featuring bluegrass bands Henhouse Prowlers and Special Consensus.

7. Friday Night Live

If you enjoy downtown Champaign night life, Friday Night Live is a great event to attend. Friday Night Live is hosted every Friday night at three separate locations in downtown Champaign: Neil and Church streets, Neil and Park streets and Walnut and Chester streets. Each location plays live music with different bands at the same time, but offers listeners a different genre of music at each location. The bands set up on the sidewalks and streets near restaurants, where people gather around to listen to the band’s music. Each band is set up in walking distance of each other, making it easy for listeners to go from one band to another in a short amount of time.

8. Market at the Square

Market at the Square, located at the corner of Illinois and Vine streets in downtown Urbana, is open every Saturday morning from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m., rain or shine. The market provides people with a variety of made-in-Illinois goods including fresh produce, meat, dairy products, plants, jewelry, pottery, wood workings, candles, clothing and more.

9. Champaign County Fair

This year will be the 162nd Champaign County Fair, which will be held from July 18 to July 26 located at 1302 N. Coler Ave., Urbana. The fair will have a carnival, car and truck show, demolition derby, rodeo, tractor and truck pull and other events that can be found on the event schedule. Country musical artists such as the Matt Poss Band, Ryan Ideus and The Hillbillys and Scotty McCreery will perform at the fair, with tickets ranging from $5 to $30.

10. Prairie Farm

Prairie Farm, located at 2202 W. Kirby Ave., Champaign, has a variety of different farm animals to see, with a petting zoo open to visitors. Prairie Farm has animals such as turtles, miniature horses, ducks, goats, rabbits, pigs, baby chicks, peacocks and more, with goats and miniature horses located within the petting zoo. Admission is free to walk around, look at the animals and go into the petting zoo, and visitors must wear tennis shoes or boots to get into the petting area. Prairie Farm is open Monday through Sunday from 1 to 7 p.m., and the petting zoo is open Monday through Sunday from 3 to 5 p.m.

Christine can be reached at [email protected].