Local Atmosphere

Champaign, IL
Tuition (in-state)
$28,664 ($14,522)
Admission Difficulty
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3 College Freshman

Local Atmosphere: The scenery is beautiful, but the cost of college tuition is too expensive and overwhelming to the non-resident students.

4 Recent Alumnus

Local Atmosphere: U of I overall has a good atmosphere there are a few museums and such on campus. The shopping is ok either you can go to Green St. or go to the mall if so inclined. The recreation center, ARC is great and people are always doing things if it is nice out. As for safety it seems that there always safety alert emails, but I have never experienced anything. As for sports teams our football and men's basketball team are the jokes of the Big Ten.

5 College Sophomore

Local Atmosphere: Everything revolves around the students. It's a small town of just students.

1 College Sophomore

Local Atmosphere: The local atmosphere is very poor and urban.

3 College Sophomore

Local Atmosphere: The cost of living is somewhat expensive, albeit cheaper than the dorms. The cheapest ones are off-campus and are a 20 minute walk to the quad from what I have been hearing. There is a nearby community college, Parkland, but I have not met anyone from there yet. Transportation is amazing, buses will take you all over campus and there is an app that tells you the arrival times of buses at certain stops.


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Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Emily Thiersch
Wilmette, Ill.
View all previous student authors

While Urbana-Champaign is bounded by prairie land, students often forget how close they are to farms and fields when they walk around campus. The U of I campus, nestled between the twin cities of Urbana and Champaign, is like a city unto itself. Every day, 30,000 students flock to the University’s popular main road, Green Street, which runs along the Quad and comprises the busiest part of the campus-town. Urbana and Champaign, however, are each cities in their own right. Each has a small downtown with shops, bars, and clubs, and each has its own unique charm and culture. They have truly kept the small-town feel as much as possible.

The University offers a daunting number of on-campus events, not to mention non-stop parties, so many undergrads don’t bother to explore Urbana-Champaign as much as they could. Among the most popular happenings are music shows, school sports games, and artsy events which are campus- or locally-sponsored. Some students do say that the campus bars and clubs grow old, and being so far from a big city can make them feel restless. However, there are always alternatives to the Green Street bars if you know where to look. Many musicians and artists call Champaign-Urbana their home, and with the University’s thriving theater program, there is no shortage of performances. Buzz Magazine and the217.com, both publications of the student-run Illini Media Company, keep students posted on community and campus events.

Facts & Statistics

Fun Local Trivia
  1. Urbana-Champaign was named one of the world's "10 Hot New Tech Cities" by Newsweek.
  2. Famous alumnus Hugh Hefner allegedly donated every issue of Playboy to the University.
  3. The auditorium of Foellinger was used in the graduation scene of the Brendan Fraser movie With Honors.
  4. Special cows at South Farms have holes cut into their bellies, which allows vet students to take samples from their insides while the cows are still living.
  5. The English Building was once a dormitory, and a pool was originally in the present sunken lounge. Legend has it that a girl from that old dormitory still haunts the English Building halls, and many students say strange occurrences have happened to them late at night in the computer lab.
Notable Natives
  • Hugh Hefner - founder of Playboy
  • Andy Richter - actor/comedian
  • Roger Ebert - film critic
  • Ken Holtzman - Cubs pitcher
  • Phil Baker - CEO, Proctor and Gamble
  • Ken Dilger - Super Bowl champ, Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end
  • Harold "Red" Grange - Chicago Bears Hall of Fame running back
  • James Cantalupo - president of McDonald's International
  • Dr. Harold Osborn - 1924 Olympic gold medalist, track and field
  • Jerry Hadley - opera singer
  • Robert Falls - Tony Award winner
  • Michael Colgrass and George Crumb - Pulitzer Prize winners and composers
Local Slang
  • Aggie: Someone majoring in Agriculture
  • Brewski: Chicago slang for beer
  • Chi-Town: A name for Chicago (used only by those who aren't from there)
  • Pop: What people from Northern Illinois call soda
  • Toasted Ravioli: Breaded pasta from St. Louis/Southwestern Illinois
  • Windy City: Yet another name for Chicago
Points of Interest
  • Allerton Park
  • The Alma Mater
  • The Armory
  • Foellinger Auditorium
  • Krannert Art Museum
  • Morrow Plots
  • Spurlock Museum
Shopping Centers
  • Farmer’s Market
  • Lincoln Square Mall
  • Market Place Mall
Movie Theaters
Beverly Cinemas
910 Meijer Dr.
(217) 359-5687
Movie Theaters
Boardman's Art Theater
126 W. Church St.
(217) 355-0068
Movie Theaters
Goodrich Savoy 16 Theater
232 Burwash Ave.
(217) 355-9475
Major Sports Teams
  • Chicago Bears: football
  • Chicago Blackhawks: hockey
  • Chicago Bulls: basketball
  • Chicago Cubs: baseball
  • Chicago White Sox: baseball
  • St. Louis Blues: hockey
  • St. Louis Cardinals: baseball
  • St. Louis Rams: football
Distances to Nearest Major Cities
  • Chicago: IL: 2 hours, 30 minutes
  • St. Louis: MO: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Student Polls

Rate the local atmosphere on the following topics    Based on 180 responses

Very poor
  • Cost of living
  • Dining
  • Friendliness of locals toward students
  • Museums/cultural attractions
  • Nightlife
  • Parking
  • Parks and recreation
  • Professional sports
  • Safety
  • Scenery
  • Shopping
  • Transportation

What is the local atmosphere like at your school?    Based on 175 responses

  • 6% Painfully remote.
  • 6% In or near a big city, but there's not much to do off campus.
  • 10% Small town with plenty of charm.
  • 74% Vibrant college town. There's no big city, but there are plenty of things to do off campus.
  • 5% City living at its finest. There's always something fun and interesting going on.

What is the proximity to other universities? Is there much interaction?    Based on 175 responses

  • 29% There aren't any nearby schools.
  • 30% There are nearby schools, but students do NOT interact much.
  • 41% There are nearby schools that students often interact with.

Can you see yourself living here after graduation?    Based on 175 responses

  • 41% No way.
  • 54% Maybe, if I could find a good job.
  • 5% Totally.



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