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Food and Fun

Spend time on local farms, which offer samples of their harvests and a variety of experiences. Tour Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery to learn about their herd of Nubian goats, and taste award-winning cheeses and gelato made with goat milk and the dairy-free sorbetto (that also uses local fruits). Stroll the grounds of the 81-hectare Great Pumpkin Patch, and see more than 300 varieties of pumpkins, squash and gourds from more than 30 countries. Explore mazes, wander the gardens and see animals, such as goats, rabbits and chickens. At Curtis Orchard & Pumpkin Patch, pick your own apples, drink fresh cider and taste honey harvested on site. Find your way through a four-hectare corn maze, then meet a herd of friendly Alaskan reindeer – they like getting kisses – at Hardy’s Reindeer Ranch, which is especially active during the holiday season with 5,000 Christmas trees.

Back in town, you’ll also find a tasty food scene. In fact, Champaign was named Greatest Midwest Food Town by Midwest Living in 2017. Choose your pick from more than 40 locally owned restaurants – many featuring local ingredient – set among lively bars, breweries, theaters and public art pieces.

 

Arts and Local Culture

Top arts venues include the second largest fine arts museum in the state of Illinois, Krannert Art Museum, and the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, featuring more than 300 performances annually, both on the university campus. Catch live music, a stage production or a movie at The Virginia Theatre, tour the European-inspired Allerton Park & Retreat Center estate and gardens, and ride a train and see more than 100 pieces of historic railcars at the Monticello Railway Museum. Don’t miss an opportunity to visit Illinois Amish Country just south of Champaign, where the locals get around by horse and buggy, and create fine crafts without the use of electricity.

 

Intellectually Stimulating

Technology geeks will feel like they hit the jackpot in Champaign. Visit the National Center for Supercomputing Applications and see the Blue Waters Supercomputer, the fastest supercomputer on a university campus and one of the most powerful in the world. The Champaign-Urbana Fab Lab is another fun destination to see 3D printing and get hands-on with the latest technological gadgets.

Fun Fact

The Roger Ebert ‘thumbs up’ statue outside the Virginia Theatre in Champaign, Illinois
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Famed film critic Roger Ebert, who made the “thumbs up” sign universal in film review is from Champaign-Urbana. During the annual Ebertfest film festival, festival-goers uphold the unofficial tradition of taking a “thumbs up” photo with his statue.

A screenshot of Wolfram Alpha
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Siri on your iPhone gets some of her data from Champaign. Wolfram Alpha developed at Wolfram Research in Champaign provides a computational search engine to answer phone users’ analytical questions.

Undergraduate library at the University of Illinois in Champaign
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The undergraduate library at the University of Illinois was built underground so it wouldn’t cast a shadow on the Morrow Plots, the longest running experimental cornfield in the Western Hemisphere.

Foellinger Auditorium on the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus
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