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Urbana-Champaign, Illinois

Urbana-Champaign, Illinois (Map)Located in Central Illinois, the combined population of Urbana-Champaign is 150,000. This vibrant university community provides the amenities a metropolitan city would offer, including outstanding restaurants, a vibrant fine arts scene, shopping and plenty of Division 1 sports. Located within three hours of Chicago, St. Louis and Indianapolis, residents have easy access to big city amenities.

The area offers a diverse work environment in health care, office and banking, higher education, light manufacturing, retail, government and social services. High technology and research jobs also are abundant and the area is home to seven Fortune 500 companies.

Urbana-Champaign is home of the University of Illinois, tied for 13th as the best public university in the nation, according to the 2019 Best Colleges rankings by U.S. News & World Report. The university includes a medical school with teaching opportunities.

 

Arts and Culture

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.

Champaign also serves as an arts and culture hub with acclaimed film and music festivals, such as Eberfest and the Pygmalion Festival. The city is host to University of Illinois sporting events and high school football and wrestling state tournaments.

It also is home to the William M. Staerkel Planetarium at Parkland College, the second largest planetarium in Illinois. With 128 seats beneath a 50-foot dome, the planetarium digital projection system immerses you in the universe.

The 1914 Orpheum Theatre is home to Champaign-Urbana’s only children’s science museum. Live exhibits (a snake, tarantula, turtles, bearded dragons, moon crabs and two species of cockroaches), a water flume, Vet Clinic and more create exciting hands-on fun.

And the Champaign County History Museum is located in Champaign County’s oldest commercial building, the beautifully restored and nationally listed Cattle Bank. 

If theater is your choice, the Virginia Theatre is an historic performing arts center and movie palace that has been a landmark since 1921. It hosts concerts, plays, dance events, films, comedy shows and more.

If you’re looking for a music or entertainment venue, Urbana-Champaign has a wide variety to choose from, such as the Station Theatre and Krannert Center for the Performing Arts

Education

Urbana-Champaign 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 2017-2018 school year, the elementary schools, middle school and high school had an enrollment of 4,590 students with a student/teacher ratio of 17:1, according to the Illinois School Board of Education annual report card.

The Champaign Unit 4 School District is a large unit school district serving more than 10,000 students in grades pre-K through 12th in Champaign, Savoy and Bondville, Illinois. The district’s 18 campuses employ more than 1,900 teachers, administrators and support personnel.

For the 2017-2018 school year, the student-teacher ratio was 16:l, according to the Illinois State Board of Education annual report card.

There are also several parochial schools within Urbana-Champaign.

Opportunities for higher education are also available through Parkland College in neighboring Champaign, Illinois, and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, ranked the 13th 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.

Shopping and Recreation

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.

The Champaign Park District offers miles of walking and biking opportunities, youth sports programs and dozens of parks that host a variety of festivals, holiday celebrations and family-friendly events.

For those looking for shopping, dining and entertainment venues, Champaign boasts both urban-downtown and campustown, a regional mall and many neighborhood destinations. Throw in six breweries, a winery and locally owned restaurants with farm-to-table food, and you have a diverse food scene thanks to a large international population.

Religion

Whether you are Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist, Lutheran, Baptist, or any other faiths, Urbana-Champaign and its surrounding communities offer a wide range of churches and houses of worship.

Real Estate

Throughout Urbana-Champaign, 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.

Champaign offers a variety of housing options, from downtown loft living, to condos, well-maintained subdivisions and of course, the more rural environment available on the outskirts of town, which attracts people looking for peace and quiet – and a little more space. From Gothic Revival farmhouses to post-WWII Lustron houses, newcomers are sure to find a home suited to their taste.