Ah, the prairie … rolling, green pastures, aging barns with flecked paint and thatched roofs, golden fields of wildflowers … and boxy buildings housing tech companies. Wait. What? Welcome to the new prairie! While you’ll still find those open fields and aged barns, this isn’t the prairie of the past. This is the Silicon Prairie – this is Champaign, Illinois!
Your “little apartment on the prairie” will be in one of the nation’s most important research and development hubs. And while Americana still thrives in the beautiful city of Champaign, so does technology, education, and culture. This is the home of the University of Illinois, a top-ranking research university. Want to know more about the Silicon Valley of the Midwest? Get the information you need here then start searching for your new apartment in Champaign!
Things to Do in Champaign:
The perfect balance of green space, history, and progress exist in this eclectic area. Museums, including the Early American Museum, Spurlock Museum, and the Octave Chanote Aerospace Museum, blend seamlessly with the beauty of the Anita Purves Nature Center, Crystal Lake Park, and the Wandell Sculpture Garden. A touch of whimsy also exists in nightlife hotspots such as the Blind Pig and the Cowboy Monkey.
Champaign hosts several wonderful festivals, including the Taste of Champaign, the Boneyard Arts Festival, the Champaign Music Festival, and the Roger Ebert Film Festival. The Central Illinois MetalFest is a three-day heavy-metal rock concert that draws thousands each year. The Annual Sweet Corn Festival and the Champaign County Fair are also terrific events.
Museums in the area include Champaign County Historical Museum at the Cattle Bank, the John Philip Sousa Library and Museum, and the Orpheum Children’s Science Museum. The Krannert Center for the Performing Arts is the ideal place to attend a play, concert, or special event, and the Assembly Hall is ideal for live music events. Sports fans can cheer on the Fighting Illini at Memorial Stadium.
Downtown Champaign offers boutiques, nightclubs, pubs, and restaurants. The pedestrian-friendly downtown area contains all types of shops, from comic book stores to jewelry stores to an Amish furniture store to the unique Ten Thousand Villages, which features handmade fair-trade items from around the world.
Market Place is another great shopping destination. The large mall is the anchor, while North Prospect Avenue contains strip malls and popular chain stores. The area features over 150 stores and restaurants, several hotels, and a variety of businesses.
Pedestrian-friendly and bike-friendly, Champaign is home to an extensive park system with miles of trails. Golfing, fishing, skating, canoeing, and hiking are all available. The University of Illinois Ice Arena is ideal for figure skating, hockey, and public skates. UI is the home of Olympic Gold Medalist Bonnie Blair and Katherine Reutter, so the university’s ice rink is top-notch! The Sholem Aquatic Center water park includes tube slides, a lap pool, a winding lazy river, and a toddler pool and is open from Memorial Day until Labor Day. Champaign even has a seven-acre, off-leash dog park that includes a four-foot fence and double-gated entry, with separate areas for large and small dogs. Those using the dog park must have a membership and adhere to dog park rules.
What to Consider When Moving to Champaign:
As part of the “Silicon Prairie” and home to UI, Champaign has a strong, diverse economy. Research Park, located near the university, is home to companies such as Dow Innovation Center, Citrix Systems, Abbott Laboratories, Yahoo!, and Riverbed Technology. Other high-tech companies include Wolfram Research, Intelligent Medical Objects, State Farm Research Center, and Volition, Inc. The University of Illinois, Kraft Foods, and Parkland College are among the top employers in Champaign.
Champaign contains 39 neighborhoods. When looking for apartments in Champaign, you’ll find neighborhoods containing everything from quiet, tree-filled neighborhoods to historic districts to busy downtown hotspots.
Bloomington & Prospect is a busy area filled with shops, restaurants, and businesses. This downtown neighborhood contains a variety of businesses, antique stores, and several bus stops. Morrissey Park is a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood that offers a variety of neighborhood stores, schools, offices, and banks. This neighborhood is also close to several parks and hiking trails.
One of Champaign’s oldest neighborhoods is South Downtown. It is pedestrian-friendly and features a mix of single-family homes and apartment communities. Residents of South Downtown can walk to nearby shops and restaurants.
Campustown is Champaign’s hip and trendy neighborhood. Located on the west side of IU, Campustown caters to students and contains a variety of restaurants, bars, pubs, bookstores, and small businesses. This neighborhood has a high concentration of apartment communities, many catering to students, but it also contains some of the tallest buildings in Champaign, including high-rise residential towers.
Why Champaign Apartments Are Hot:
Champaign apartments aren’t just hot – they’re the “toast” of Illinois! Champaign has the perfect blend of small-town charm and urban sophistication. From the beauty of Allerton Park’s formal gardens and sculptures to the fast-paced excitement of downtown’s nightlife, Champaign has something for every mood.
After renting an apartment in Champaign, you’ll enjoy hiking, cross-country skiing, fishing, and more in the extensive parks system, which includes more than 650 acres. Enjoy the afternoon at a sidewalk café in Campustown, marvel at the beauty in Wandell Sculpture Garden, and spend a serene afternoon at Japan House. See a musical or a Broadway show at the modern, domed State Farm Center or see a movie in a throwback setting at the historic Art Theater, built in 1913. The Art Theater screens independent films while you enjoy locally-produced baked goods and popcorn and sip on beer, wine, or soft drinks.
And, of course, a tip of the Champagne flute to the city’s crowning glory: the University of Illinois! This top-ranking school has a beautiful, historic campus. The university is one of the original land-grant colleges created by the Morrill Act of 1862.
Great culture, including the Champaign Music Festival and the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.
The prestigious University of Illinois, a top-ranking US school.
Biker-friendly, walker-friendly, and home to an amazing park system.
Home to several major corporations, Champaign has a strong job market.
Attending concerts at Assembly Hall and sports events at Memorial Stadium.
Great downtown areas with coffee shops, restaurants, and pubs with live music.