Located in east central Illinois, Urbana serves as the county seat of Champaign County. The city has a population of more than 41,000. Most of Urbana is situated south of I-74.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Urbana has one of the lowest unemployment rates in Illinois with the University of Illinois being the largest employer in the area.*
Urbana makes every effort to be environmentally sustainable. The city has been a member of Tree City USA since the program started in 1976. According to the Arbor Day Foundation, there are four core standards to maintain a Tree City USA status: maintain a tree board or department, have a community tree ordinance, spend at least $2 per capita on urban forestry and celebrate Arbor Day. Urbana maintains over 15,000 trees on over 95 percent of its parkways. Additionally, Urbana is the only originating member still in the program in Illinois.
Though Urbana is considered a small town by population standards, the city provides the amenities a metropolitan city would offer, including outstanding restaurants, a variety of recreational activities and unique shopping experiences.
Dating back to 1833, Urbana is home to 28 properties on the National Register of Historic Places either individually or as part of a district. Urbana has no shortage of history. Abraham Lincoln spent nearly 20 years in Urbana where he practiced law on the Eighth Judicial Circuit.
Urbana is a designated Illinois Arts Friendly Community. The City Council established the Public Arts Program in April 2008 to expand the city’s public arts, such as music, theatre, visual arts, creative writing, film/video and environmental arts just to name a few. Through this program, the city seeks opportunities for art creation.
Annually, Urbana hosts an art contest called Murals on Glass. Artists in Champaign County are invited to paint murals on downtown Urbana business windows. The top two murals are selected and reproduced into an adhesive vinyl to be displayed for two years on the City of Urbana’s building window and Phillips Recreation Center’s building window.
If you’re looking for a music or entertainment venue, Urbana has a wide variety to choose from, such as the Station Theatre and Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.
Urbana offers a variety of educational opportunities. Urbana School District 116 is made up of an early childhood school, six neighborhood elementary schools, one middle school, one high school and an adult education center. Each school has been recently updated to provide the very best learning environment possible.
For the 2016-2017 school year, the elementary schools, middle school and high school had an enrollment of 4,449 students. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, Urbana School District 116 has a low student/teacher ratio of 13:1.
There are also several parochial schools within Urbana. Calvary Baptist Christian Academy serves grades kindergarten through 12th grade. Campus Middle School for Girls is the sole middle schools for girls in the area and serves students in grades sixth through eighth. Canaan Academy serves grades kindergarten through sixth grade. Kingswood School serves children third through 12th grade.
Opportunities for higher education are also available through Parkland College in neighboring Champaign, Illinois, and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, ranked the 14th best public university in the nation. Fifty-four percent of Urbana residents over the age of 25 are college graduates or have attained advanced degrees.*
The award-winning Urbana Park District has 22 parks and natural areas. Things to do at each park are as vast as they are diverse. Lohmann Park has a nine-hole disc golf course, which is just like golf except a disc is used instead of clubs and a ball.
Crystal Lake Park offers boating, playgrounds, a family aquatic center, sand volleyball and more.
In November 2014, Urbana was the first city in Illinois to be designated a Gold-level Bicycle Friendly Community. The city has made it a priority to ensure biking is an easy, safe and enjoyable alternative to a car for residents and visitors.
Visiting the downtown area of Urbana is a must. This walkable hot spot has a bustling restaurant scene that features many local, gourmet restaurants that will satisfy any palette.
Downtown Urbana hosts a variety of annual festivals, including the Sweetcorn Festival, Pygmalion Festival and the Boneyard Arts Festival.
Every Saturday from May to November, the local farmer’s market called Market at the Square features over 130 vendors. The vendors offer fresh produce, local coffee, meat, dairy, arts, crafts and food trucks. It’s not to be missed!
Whether you are Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist, Lutheran, Baptist, or any other faiths, Urbana and its surrounding communities offer a wide range of churches and houses of worship.
Throughout Urbana, there are a number of residential options. The west Urbana neighborhood has been nationally recognized and features large homes. The east and north Urbana neighborhoods feature average-sized homes. And finally, the south and northeast neighborhoods are rural.
Urbana has been named one of the top 10 most affordable housing markets in the United States by the National Home Builders Association.