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The Daily Illini

Champaign-Urbana attractions expand past campus borders

Courtney Boyer, Assistant opinons editor

Life at University of Illinois is never boring. With endless possibilities for fun, food and adventure, it’s no wonder why students fall in love with campus and miss it when they’re home for break. However, exploring off campus spots is another way to gain new experiences.

Champaign-Urbana and the surrounding areas are famous for cool new places to explore. It’s no wonder why Champaign-Urbana has been ranked high on best college town lists for years. Outdoorsy people will appreciate timeless treasures that include Curtis Orchard and Allerton Park. Those who are looking for cool things to do during the winter, or just to check out some the arts will be amazed at all the nifty spots downtown Champaign and downtown Urbana have to offer. Just miles off campus are all the cool places to hang out that won’t want to be missed.

Curtis Orchard is an apple and pumpkin orchard, depending on the season. It is located in Champaign about 5 miles from campus on Curtis Road. The orchard includes a family-run store and bakery, a play area, goat feedings, pony rides and much more. It is also home to some of the best tasting apple cider and apple donuts that this world has ever seen. University groups often take a hiatus there during the school-year and it leaves everyone wanting to go back.

A little farther off campus stands a true treat for nature-lovers. Allerton Park is located in Monticello, Illinois, just about 20 miles off campus. It is home to gorgeous gardens, a greenhouse, art and old Victorian homes. Allerton Park also hosts numerous events such as yoga in the gardens, garden tours and insect hunting. It also hosts some music events from time to time.

Closer to campus, just a few miles away, downtown Champaign is bustling with cool new places to eat and hangout. The Art Theatre is a local favorite, it’s an old theatre adorned with crown mouldings that will make one feel as if they were back in the 1940’s.

As you approach campus, on Kirby Avenue sits one of Champaign’s most prized treasures, Jarling’s Custard Cup. It is home to a secret custard recipe that delights townies and visitors alike. Try the cold fudge on top of the custard flavor of the week. You won’t be disappointed.

Urbana has one of the best barbecue spots that anyone on the north side of the Mason-Dixon Line has ever tasted. Black Dog Smoke and Ale House leaves everyone who eats there in awe of the delicious barbeque and great atmosphere. It is definitely worth the visit for college students who are looking for some great new restaurants to try. Student’s rave about their experience at Black Dog, and family members also look forward to eating there when they visit.

Even though it is hard to get bored with campus, it is great to know that the college town has more to offer students. Whether it be parks or restaurants, you’ll always find somewhere cool to be in Champaign-Urbana.

Courtney is a junior in Media.

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